Friday, September 28, 2007

Start working on that second gallon..

...because I can give blood again.

About four years ago I was told I couldn't give because back in the 80's I had spent three years in Germany on a taxpayer-funded vacation. The reason I was told is the fear of mad cow disease; three years of schnitzel eating may have put the bug in me, and there is no test for a living person.

I called Florida Blood Services today and the prohibition has been narrowed. I have never been to the UK, and I haven't spend more than five years outside the good old USA.

Some of the questions they ask ("Have you ever been in the parking lot of the Neptune, NJ Days Inn?") I like to think how Bill Clinton or Larry Craig would answer them.

Now if I can only remember if I've had sex with another man since 1977.

The 2007 Choke Tour

Bill Simmons broke with the Boston Bruins some time ago, a process that he describes thus:

There wasn't one of those defining, Michael Corleone-esque, "Fredo, you're dead to me" moments, either ... it was just one of those situations that transpired over the course of time, like when you look down one day and suddenly realize that you have a beer gut.


He just drifted off. "Just moving on, that's all. No hard feelings."

My problem is the diametric opposite, but it's leading me to a similar conclusion. I am just about done with the New York wife-beating, coke-snorting, athiest, lead-blowing !#%*%&^! Mets.

They were 34-18 at the end of May. Since then they've mistaken the pennant race for "Brewster's Millions" and have spent all of their time trying to give away their lead. Even when they had their little hot streak to go up seven games with 17 to play, I had a little clench in my gut. I never had the sense that they were safe in any sense, not with that rotation, not with a Carlos-Delgado-shaped hole in the lineup, and certainly not with their bullpen spitting up three-run homers like Linda Blair spat up pea soup.

Turns out they only needed 14 games to lose that hefty cushion. Do you know that, if they had just gone 7-6 every two weeks from June 1st on, the Mets would currently have 91 wins and a four-game lead with three to play? That would be it, finito, NL East Champions. I mean, 7-6 is pretty average - in fact, 7-6 every two weeks for a full season works out to 87-75, which is exactly what New York's overall record will be if they lose their last three games.

Philadelphia finishes with the woebegone Nationals, while the Mets 2007 Choke Tour finishes with the Marlins at Shea. You know what? It's officially hockey season, as of now. They can jolly well go the devil for this season. When I joined up as a fan, the Mets' best players were Rusty Staub and Lee Mazzilli; I survived the Dallas Green Mets, a club so joyless and surly it's a wonder that the Commissioner didn't order Albert Belle and Barry Bonds to sign with them; I suffered through playoff humiliations and the interminable Atlanta Braves run; I stuck with the Mets. How much more can a fan take?

If I left now, I fully understand that there is no rejoining the bandwagon. If they sweat it out and make the playoffs I would not be entitled to root for them. If they somehow win the World Series, I would forfeit the right to celebrate or gloat in any way.

This comes from a guy who, in 1986, was absolutely certain the Mets were coming back in Game Six, even as Keith Hernandez was flying out to center. So what do you think? Should I check out for the rest of the year in disgust? Pitchers, catchers, and disgruntled fans report in February... do I retire to the clubhouse until then?

The NFL took care of the cheerleader problem...

...now it's on to pigeon poop.

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Paul Brown Stadium officials want permission to shoot down pigeons that are pooping on Bengals fans' heads -- and in their food and beer -- during games.

Eric Brown, managing director of the stadium, sent a letter asking the city to allow stadium employees to kill the birds with an air-powered pellet rifle.

Brown says no shooting would take place on game days.

Bengals officials say fan noise used to drive pigeons away during games but apparently the birds have adapted. Pigeon poop is becoming a big problem throughout the NFL, but no one has come up with a foolproof solution yet.

Where else would pigeons poop on Bengals fans except at games? Would they poop on fans at home?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Peaceniks..

...are going to be upset.

The leading Democratic White House hopefuls conceded Wednesday night they cannot guarantee to pull all U.S. combat troops from Iraq by the end of the next presidential term in 2013.


"I think it's hard to project four years from now," said Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois in the opening moments of a campaign debate in the nation's first primary state.


"It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting," added Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.


"I cannot make that commitment," said former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.


You are probably wondering - Didn't these guys just try to push through a bill that would bring the troops home from Iraq in nine months? Yet they are saying they can't do it on the four years of their first term?

Lucky that you have me to explain this. You see, the Dems in Congress don't give a rat's toenail about the troops or what happens in Iraq as long as the aftermath gets blamed on Bush. The plan is to force W to pull troops out before Hillary swears in and when Iraq goes to hell, well it's Bush's war.


But that changes when the Harlot of Babylon takes command. GIs in Iraq won't be packing up on January 20, 2009 at 12:01 pm. Instead, she will be actually trying to win it, and Code Pink will be told to go pound sand.


The sad irony is that a sure way to insure victory in Iraq is to elect Hillary.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Thank God I'm A Guy

Because I couldn't do this.

A Siberian woman who gave birth to her 12th child -- doing more than her fair share to stem Russia's population decline -- was stunned to find that little Nadia weighed in at a massive 7.75 kg (17.1 lb).

Nadia was delivered by caesarean section in the local maternity hospital in the Altai region on September 17, joining eight sisters and three brothers, a local reporter said.

A 17-lb baby delivered caesarean - ya think!

This is why God gives ladies this special priviledge because it scares the meshuggah out of me just thinking about it.

Purple Jesus

Following up on this.

The Fly in a comment asked about Purple Jesus, and I am going to use this opportunity to tell you what it is.

I was watching McHale’s Navy when I was a youngster with my Dad. One episode showed McHale’s sailors having a party with the guest of honor being a torpedo. This confused me, so I asked dear old Dad what this all meant.

Dad had joined the Navy near the tail end of WWII, and he was very familiar with torpedoes being invited to parties. He told me that back in the day torpedoes were fueled with straight grain alcohol (this is the alcohol in traditional liquor, as opposed to the methyl alcohol that is blinding our Muslim friends), and sailors would mix this fuel 50/50 with grape juice, hence 100 proof Purple Jesus.

So Purple Jesus will not cause you to go blind, at least not right away.

Home Field Advantage...

...has its advantages.

The NFL apparently thinks its players are concerned more about sideline scoring than their coaches' game plan.

The league reportedly sent a memo to all 32 teams ordering them not to allow their cheerleaders to warm up — or do anything distracting — in front of the visiting team's bench.

CBS NFL analyst Charlie Casserly broke the story last weekend, saying there were concerns around the league that some teams specifically ordered their cheerleaders to perform in front of visiting teams in hopes of distracting them from pre-game instruction.

"Some players felt they were being a little distracted," Casserly reported.

"It had nothing to do with the Patriots,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy joked to the Boston Herald, a reference to the team's recent infractions related to improperly taping opposing team practices.

“Our cheerleaders don’t do their warmups on the field,” Patriots spokesman Stacey James told the Herald. “Sorry, but the missive wasn’t directed at us.”

I did not know of this until yesterday, but this is dirty pool. To prey upon the weakness found in every man.

You shouldn't be drinking...

...after you've been awake for 24 hours.

LOS ANGELES — Kiefer Sutherland was arrested early Tuesday for investigation of misdemeanor drunken driving after he was stopped for making an illegal U-turn and failed a field sobriety test, authorities said.

The actor was pulled over about 1:10 a.m. in West Los Angeles, said Officer Kevin Maiberger.
Sutherland, 40, tested over the state's legal blood alcohol limit of .08 percent, said Officer Karen Smith. Police declined to say what his blood-alcohol level was.

Sutherland spokeswoman Annett Wolf declined to comment.

The actor was released around 4 a.m. after posting $25,000 bail, according to Sheriff's Department records.
Maiberger said Sutherland was scheduled to appear in court Oct. 16.

Sutherland won a best actor Emmy last year for his role as agent Jack Bauer on the Fox TV series "24." The series is set to return to the air in January.

Jack Bauer failed a field sobriety test? Next time call Cloe and have CTU send a designated driver.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Nazis from Outer Space

Going from crop circles to crop swastikas.

Back behind the towering corn is a message that can only be seen from the air.
It is one of the most infamous symbols of hate -- a swastika -- cut into acres of cornfields in Washington Township, Mercer County.

A New Jersey State Police helicopter on a routine maintenance mission made the discovery Friday.

The swastika was located off of Hankins Road, near where similar swastikas were found in July 1998 and June 1999.

Monday, September 24, 2007

We can be Heroes

(programming note - there is a three-spot of Spider posts just below this, so keep reading... we're making up for our slacker weekend habits.)

Part of me wishes I'd been writing posts day by day about season one of Heroes, now that season two is launching tonight.

There was a lot to digest, and writing it out would have helped me. I think Tim Kring has done a wonderful job bringing this vision to life, and the cast and crew all deserve major credit as well. It's hard to make Sylar sympathetic, for example, but Zachary Quinto pulls it off; and the rest of the cast hits the mark - even to the point where they will annoy me with their sudden reversals (Mohinder is the worst), but never give the impression that it's the wrong mark. Mohinder is just that way, and it's not a fault in writing or acting, but in his own personality, and it's brought out very well in the show. (Sendhil Ramamurthy is the actor, and yes I had to look up the spelling.)

The best part of the show is in all the moral struggles of the characters to either rise or fall to the occasion. They all get the freedom to be what they wish, unhindered by the writers - a difficult job but it works here. It adds up to an engrossing show. I knew I was involved when I actually started to worry that Sylar was going to win, that he'd kill every one of the gifted and rule everything. (In fact, I kind of wonder if he's intended to be the anti-christ; especially in the "Five Years Gone" chapter, he says: "The world will be united in fear; and then, they'll just be united." The willingness of some to actively work towards calamity "for the greater good" is also a sign of the heavy questions the show poses. And people say that we don't want to think when we watch tv!)

And there are still unanswered questions - why Sylar and Peter will sometimes collapse, what a time-space rift is (we haven't seen one yet, remember), what Mrs. Petrelli's gift is, where Janice and Matt Jr. are hiding... and of course, the one who can see Molly when she thinks about him. I have a theory on that, actually... in Spoiler Vision, of course. (My bet is that it's future Sylar, the bugger. I know the "Five Years Gone" chapter was there for more than one reason.)

It got to the point where the show was beginning to leach into my dreams. It turned out that I'd approached Mr. Bennet and found him not ready to cooperate. Got my brain wiped by the Haitian, and my research snitched. (Of course, that was the plan all along... I had info to share, didn't think that I would be believed if I just handed it over, so I let them "find" it after a diligent search.)

Well, that meant that I'd have to return the favor, so I snuck into Primatech one evening, moused around, and found Sylar. We talked.

"Gabriel?"

-My name is Sylar,- he said, not bothering to sit up.

"Glad to meet you. I'm Mike."

That seemed to get his attention. He looked over his shoulder, through the triple-thick window, and saw somebody new... somebody he didn't recognize from the lists or the searches.

-Go away,- he said, and lay back down.

The new man shrugged. "Of course, but I think I can spare five minutes first. You seem free right now."

-Is that your power?- he sneered. -You tell bad jokes?-

"Oh, if that was my power, you'd think people would laugh at them. No," he sighed, "I'm just some guy."

Sylar rose and stared. After his failed attempt to escape, he'd been exhausted, and knew that a second attempt would be futile... unless he could get something out of it - perhaps the only thing that kept him from crushing the idiot against the far wall and letting him die. He didn't want to waste whatever gift he used to come in undetected. That wasn't right. He would have to wait for an advantage.

The visitor found a chair and sat where he could to face with the prisoner. He smiled. "I've been doing some research. Facts, dates, that sort of thing. But files tend to be a little short on motivation."

-Is that it? You want to see what makes me tick?-

"Quite the reverse. I don't think that something makes you tick... it's the other way around. A watch has no choice but to count time until it winds down or breaks. You aren't a watch, but a watchmaker; one who builds rather than the one who merely operates." And even as he spoke, he saw Sylar titling his head, listening for the inevitable clicking of his works.

-I'm doing more with my gifts now,- he replied.

"Yes," Mike said. "But it is essentially the same gift, applied differently."

-Yes.- Syler grinned, almost excited in spite of himself. It would make it more believable that way, so he didn't try to hide it. -It's just a more complex design, harder to fix, harder to master.-

"Is that the idea behind what you do?"

Sylar seemed to take offense at the question. -What else is there?-

Mike shrugged. "It seems an admirable goal. If you'll forgive me, though, I think you could choose a better method."

-Ah.- Syler turned aside. -For a moment I thought you were approaching my level.-

"I daresay I've seen it," he said. "All the ├╝bermensch crap you get in school, you know... How life evolves ruthlessly from form to form, extinguishing lesser species. Being special is its own justification."

Sylar crossed his arms and smirked back at the glass. -You have no point, do you? Are you going to try to talk me out of being what I am?-

"Heavens no, Gabriel. I am trying to talk you out of what you're doing." Mike stood and began to pace as he talked. "If you were really different, you'd act differently, wouldn't you? But how is this anything new or evolutionary? People are always using their talents to exploit others, to take their wealth and destroy their careers and families, ruin them, kill them. The tycoons did it, the conquerors and emperors did it, all the way back to the beginning. It's hardly original."

Sylar did not change his posture, but his smirk faded in an instant. He recognized the look on the man's face as he talked... the same look he got when he listened to the workings of the gifts he so treasured, but he seemed not to be hearing so much as gazing into it, trying to explain something he saw rather than knew.

"Anyone with a gun and a grudge can do what you're doing and wind up in a prison like you have; it doesn't take any training or any particular craft. To have power or talent, and to use it wisely, is very rare."

-You think I'm just a criminal?- Sylar said, coldly. -I have a mission to bring things to order.- He was pacing to match the stranger now.

"Like I said, admirable. What does everyone else get out of it? You don't exactly put them in order." He stopped abruptly. "I mean, aren't you bored?"

Sylar shook his head, not a No but a total question mark. This was the strangest conversation he'd ever had.

"Really - it's not dull to you, just wandering around, offing people's heads, learning a new trick, repeat until... when? When you're all that's left? When there isn't anyone who can understand how separated you feel?"

-You expect me to set myself against destiny because you made a speech. Now who's wasting their time?-

"Well, it would have been nice. 'Sylar sees the light!' No, I feared it wouldn't be that simple. If you couldn't convince yourself, it's unlikely I could."

Sylar froze.

"I saw the files, remember?" the visitor continued. "You wrote it all over your closet."

Sylar reeled. The ghost of Gabriel Grey, the small watchmaker, the man stuck in his track, a clockwork fixing his broken-down cousins... Was he no more than that now?

"You see the design. You used to repair things, not take them to pieces."

-Shut up!- he snarled, and struck out; the chair shot off to the far wall and crumpled, but the visitor, startled, did not move. Sylar was equally astonished. He hadn't heard that as he listened to the faint echoes of the visitor.

"I've overstayed my welcome," he said simply.

-Come back,- Sylar said; his voice sounded more like a thing of water than air, the currents pulling the visitor back and around to face him. -I haven't figured out how you work yet.-

"There's no trick to it," the visitor said.

-Come in here,- Sylar said, the words flowing out, creating an undertow. But again, the visitor didn't move.

"You can't expect to catch me off guard twice in a row, Gabriel. The next time we meet, I hope we can continue the conversation instead of fighting it out."

-It won't be a fight!- Sylar was practically spitting now. -You're weak. You have to hide behind logic; it can't fight for you.-

There was no good answer to that. The visitor just left him to fume.

Profiles in Courage

This is from the St Pete Times, no conservative rag.

The Republican National Committee is correct that Sen. Barack Obama of Illinios, a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, skipped a vote Thursday, Sept. 20, 2007, on a resolution meant to condemn the anti-war group MoveOn.org for an advertisement bashing Army Gen. David Petraues, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq.

The RNC release also correctly notes that Obama canceled a town hall meeting in Rock Hill, S.C., to stay in Washington for "important votes on the future of America's presence in Iraq."

It's not uncommon for members of Congress to miss votes because meetings can overlap with floor votes. But in this case, floor action on Iraq dominated the schedule, and Obama participated in the two Senate votes before and after the vote on the MoveOn resolution:

At 11:58 a.m., the Senate voted on an alternative resolution calling for support for the U.S. military. Obama voted yea. It passed.

At 12:35 p.m., the Senate voted on the MoveOn resolution. Obama did not vote. It passed.

At 2:54 p.m., the Senate voted on an amendment to a defense bill that sought to end most funding for the war in Iraq by June. Obama voted yea. It failed.

In a statement, Obama said he didn't vote on the resolution because it was a "stunt."

A real profile in courage. At least his colleagues admitted to being members of Moveon.org prison harem.

Where Bill Clinton....

...and Al Gore converge.

What is Cheat Offsetting?

When you cheat on your partner you add to the heartbreak, pain and jealousy in the atmosphere.

Cheatneutral offsets your cheating by funding someone else to be faithful and NOT cheat. This neutralises the pain and unhappy emotion and leaves you with a clear conscience.

Can I offset all my cheating?

First you should look at ways of reducing your cheating. Once you've done this you can use Cheatneutral to offset the remaining, unavoidable cheating.

And here we have some success stories.

Steve and Lisa met while on holiday in Spain, and quickly fell head over heels for each other. That Christmas, at his office party, Steve got drunk and unavoidably repeatedly cheated on Lisa with Cheri, a co-worker. He paid Cheatneutral just £2.50 and we invested his money in Alex, a single man with no prospect of finding a partner. In return for the payments, Alex agreed to remain single.

Thanks to Cheatneutral, Steve was able to come clean about his cheating to Lisa, and when he presented her with the Cheatneutral certificate they realised they wanted to get married. Their wedding is taking place in the summer. Steve continues to regularly cheat on Lisa and Cheatneutral continues to fund projects like Alex with his offset payments.

It appears that this is for real, but they acknowledge the satire.

Muslim Winoism

... can have repercussions.

Islamabad - 'Doctors say my eyesight is gone, totally, irreversibly gone. Allah has punished me because I did not respect the holy month of Ramadan,' Mohammad Jamil says from his hospital bed in Pakistani port city of Karachi after a drinking experience that has scarred him for life.

Jamil, 22, may consider himself lucky to have been only blinded. More than 40 people who partook from the same batch of home-made hard liquor died hours after they were admitted to hospital suffering from nausea, severe cramps, shaking and blurred eyesight.

Police on Saturday arrested six people for selling Kuppi or Tharra, a cheap methyl-based alcohol intended for industrial use but which is a standard ingredient in illegal moonshine that is easily obtained across the predominantly Muslim country.

With only three per cent of Pakistan's population of 160 million are entitled to buy and consume alcohol, quality-controlled liquor produced by the country's monopoly brewery is pricey and restricted to the black market.

'A Muslim has to pay 650 rupees (11 US dollars), almost double the price a Christian pays at a liquor shop, to buy a one litre vodka bottle from an illegal supplier,' said Chaudhry Tariq, head of Islamabad's Excise Department which issues alcohol permits to non- Muslims.

These guys were drinking methyl alcohol, the stuff that's in aftershave. You need ID to prove that you are an infidel to buy booze - talk about getting carded.

When I was in Air Force boot camp we were forbidden to consume adult beverages and since we had no hair or stripes no one on Lackland would serve us. On Christmas Eve I woke up to go to the latrine and found some of my fellow boots in the dayroom drinking Lectric Shave. Thankfully none of them woke up on Christmas morn blind.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Your dose of feline joy for today

Courtesy of I Can Haz Cheezburger:

becauz it is shiny k thx
Gimli looks waaaaaaaay too happy about the news.

No You're Not (Invictus)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbow'd.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

-William Earnest Henley (1849-1903)

These were the last words of that piece of dirt (whose name I will not repeat) who bombed the Oklahoma City Fed Building in 1995.

In his last interview he also said that he didn't believe in God or Hell, but if there were a hell he would use his Army training to evade and escape. He was right; there is a way to escape Hell even for those of us without Army training. But he based his plan on bad intel. If he would have read the right intel (as in the Bible) he would has seen the way of escape in the same way the thief on the cross did.

This guy was an atheist, something to remember when Islamo terror apologists point to this bombing as an example on "Christian" terrorism.

At Your Service...

...is a series of military-themed romance novels.

"At Your Service" is already being met with enthusiasm and excitement in the marketplace, and by Arabesque fans across the country," states vice president and publisher Linda Gill. "In particular, readers on military bases are honored to have a series dedicated to portraying both their military and family lives."

So, instead of bodice-rippers, these would be BDU-rippers?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Oh please, please, pretty please

Sometimes Christmas comes early.

Dan Rather Files Suit Against CBS

Dan Rather filed a $70 million suit against CBS Corp. and three of his former superiors alleging they violated his contract by forcing him to step down after Memogate in 2005.

Oh, yeeeeeeeeeeee-HA! This guy really wants extra scrutiny into the whole faked-memo report.

Suit, filed Wednesday in New York, ... alleges that the network commissioned a biased investigation of the story about President Bush's Air National Guard Service that "seriously damaged his reputation."

That's my emphasis. Rather is coming right out and saying that Les Moonves and company knowingly perpetrated this fraud.

WOW. There is absolutely no earthly way that CBS will ever permit it to be tested in open court. Knowing they were fakes is one thing; having a preponderance of the evidence prove that they were solicited from the git-go is quite a lot more. They'd rather hack off their own arms with a spork than admit this.

Watching these two sides go after each other? The cross-accusations, the egos, the tacit need on both ends to do-si-do around the obvious - that it wasn't to injure Gunga Dan, but George W Bush? Comedy itself may never recover.

Readin', 'Ritin' and Renouncin'

Thank God I'm not a parent...I'd end up in jail

Bidwell Junior High School administrators said a letter sent home with students in an eighth-grade class Tuesday was a good idea for a history lesson, with bad execution.

The letter, which appeared to ask parents to renounce their U.S. citizenship, prompted phone calls to the school from several irate recipients.

Principal Joanne Parsley said teacher Mike Brooks never intended to have parents sign the letters, or forward them on to President Bush, to whom they are addressed.

"It was a well-intended lesson that didn't shake out too well," she said, adding that Brooks would not be subject to disciplinary action.

Reached at home, the teacher said his U.S. History class is studying the Declaration of Independence, and he decided to write a letter putting the document into modern language. His intention, he said, was to send it home for parents to review, and possibly discuss with their children.

He concluded the letter with "After careful consideration of the facts of our current situation, I have decided to announce to everyone that I am no longer a citizen of the United States, but a free and independent member of the global community."

"The point was, I wanted to ask parents if they would sign such a letter if conditions that existed prior to the Revolution were happening now," he said. "I just wanted to start a discussion."
Parsley said Brooks sent the letter out with no explanation or disclaimer, and was relying on students to tell their parents it was part of a lesson plan.

She said several parents reacted adversely to the letter, but a few sent them back signed.
Chico resident Michael Hill said he was told by his daughter, Kaytlen Hill, 13, that the assignment was to have parents sign the letter and return it to class Wednesday.

"The lesson being taught in class was that the U.S. kidnaps innocent people and takes them to Cuba, where they are kept indefinitely and tortured," Hill said he learned through his daughter.
When Hill asked her if Brooks mentioned Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the U.S. imprisons terrorist suspects, he said his daughter replied "yes."

He said his daughter broke into tears when she talked about Brooks mentioning illegal wiretaps and other surveillance directed against innocent people.

"I think I was more irritated by the classroom discussion than the letter," he said.

Brooks said he was trying to establish a parallel between attitudes during Revolutionary times, and those of today.

"When it was written, the Declaration was considered an inflammatory document," Brooks said. "There were a lot of loyalists around then."

I don't believe the teacher or the school administrators. They are in full CYA mode. If this was supposed to be something that was only for discussion the teacher would have made that clear.

This is why even non-Catholics are taking part-time jobs to send their kids to Catholic schools.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I can't drive fifty-five

I've seen the questions here, there, and everywhere... and man, that's a lot of questions.

I'll have to get back to you on this.

UPDATE - ok, I'm back.

1. Is your second toe longer than your first? No. It would undermine the whole concept of "big toe."
2. Do you have a favorite type of pen? A couple. I like the Pilot G-2 gel pens, and a rare find, something I could only find at the local crafts store: Marvy! Micropoint, writes at any angle (which is nice, because I tend to scrunch up with a notebook), cheap to buy, and they last a long time. (I have one that's at least twelve years old that still hasn't dried out.) BONUS - my favorite pencil, sadly no longer made, is the Electro Test Scorer No. 240. I have a whole unopened package of the things because I am indeed a great nerd.
3. Look at your planner for March 14, what are you doing? Currently, looking at my planner for March 14.
4. What color are your toenails usually? Plain.
5. What was the last thing you highlighted? At work, we color-code any backordered items.

6. What color are your bedroom curtains? They are a lovely pale green, and poofy. On an entirely unrelated note, I got married last month.
7. What color are the seats in your car? To quote the head of the Central Bureaucracy: "I co-chaired the committee that reviewed the recommendation to revise the color of the upholstery of that car's seats. We kept them gray."
8. Have you ever had a black and white cat? Sort of. He was the house cat when I was a boarder, way back in the day. He was basically a breathing bean-bag, very mellow. You could scoop him up and put him just about anywhere and he'd just look around and go back to sleep. (I swear I saw him shrug once.)
9. What is the last thing you put a stamp on? An envelope.
10. Do you know anyone who lives in Wyoming? I know that Dick Cheney lives there, but I don't know Dick Cheney. That would have to be "No."

11. Why did you withdraw cash from the ATM the last time? Well, I tried to withdraw gravy, but it didn't go so well.
12. Whose is the last baby that you held? Close friends of ours.
13. Unlucky #? Not that I can think of.
14. Do you like Cinnamon toothpaste? Huh, never tried. It sounds wonky, though.
15. What kind of car were you driving 2 years ago? The Discount Chariot endureth.

16. Pick one: Miami Hurricanes or Florida Gators? Gators, because of the Keith Jackson Gatorade commercial. Keith Jackson makes everything cooler. Whoa, Nellie!
17. Last time you went to Six Flags? Two years, at least.
18. Do you have any wallpaper in your house? None. The closest thing is some contact paper on the closet shelves.
19. Closest thing to you that is yellow? My desk is of blond wood. Also, I'm wearing a yellow-checked shirt.
20. Last person to give you a business card? The DJ for the wedding reception.

21. Who is the last person you wrote a check to? I don't remember, once I send them I try not to think about it. Invariably I picture top-hatted plutocrats lighting cigars with my check and cackling over port and caviar.
22. Closest framed picture to you? Dad.
23. Last time you had someone cook for you? My wife cooked this evening, actually.
24. Have you ever applied for welfare? No.
25. How many emails do you have? Too many. But cutting down would be even more of a hassle. The dormant ones act as sump pumps for spam, and I don't want that stuff flooding the living areas, so to speak.

26. Last time you received flowers? I suppose the wedding would count, since I got a boutiniere.
27. Do you think the sanctity of marriage is meant for only a man and woman? Besides men and women, who's left?
28. Do you play air guitar? Yeah, I do. And air drums. And air keyboards. Even air bass. I'm like the air Paul McCartney.
29. Has anyone ever proposed to you? No - although it would be uncommon since I'm a guy, I've heard of the lady proposing, like Rose to Mr. Morton. (And they're happy, and the cat is too!) A fair number of women would say stuff like, "Oh, you're so sweet, someone is going to be lucky to have you!" (But lest you think I'm bragging, these were usually the women who would secretly be adding, "But not me, thank God." Ah, the joys of youth.)
30. Do you take anything in your coffee? One cream, one sugar. I like the raw sugar if I can get it, and I have a stash at work so I don't have to trust to luck when I need it.

31. Do you have any Willow Tree figurines? Who to the what now?
32. What is/was your high school's rival mascot? I don't know that they had mascots. Three high schools in town and I never saw a single kid dressed up as the embodiment of all things High School. Then again, I was on the chess team. Push that pawn! Seize that file!
33. Last person you spoke to from high school? Whew, good question. It's been a dog's age. After Dad died and everyone moved, I had no more ties to the old town.
34. Last time you used hand sanitizer? Uhhh.... What? (This is the weirdest questionnaire.)
35. Would you like to learn to play the drums? Questions about my checks, my hobbies, my curtains...

36. What color are the blinds in your living room? Jeepers! What, are you peeking in them?
37... Holy cats, I think I scared them off! I've been everywhere that has this quiz - and there IS NO QUESTION 37. What a twist!
38. Last thing you read in the newspaper? All about how bad the Mets, Giants, and Jets suck. Seriously, I'm about to burn my Mets batting practice jersey. They've spent four solid months trying to finish third. I can't wait until hockey season, so I can read about how bad the Islanders suck. At least it means they've made the paper. (I will now floss with a high-voltage wire.)
39. What was the last pageant you attended? The next one will be the first, and hopefully the last.
40. What is the last place you bought pizza from? Cafe Amici.

41. Have you ever worn a crown? Last time was when I was the Great Dalmuti.
42. What is the last thing you stapled? Work-related.
43. Did you ever drink clear Pepsi? The very question makes the bile rise in my gorge.
44. Are you ticklish? Not since childhood.
45. Last time you saw fireworks? Just the other night. The PC Scrabble game I own shoots off fireworks when you bingo. It was the PC that did it, though - "issuance." Good word, dammit.

46. Last time you had a Krispy Kreme doughnut? Penn Station. I forget now why we had gone to the city.
47. Who is the last person that left you a message and you actually returned it? I always return messages from real people. Who knows who the last one was?
48. Last time you parked under a carport? Last time I ate a burrito, last time I heard Barry Manilow in the supermarket, last time I said "chartruse" in a conversation... This is beginning to actually hurt me.
49. Do you have a black dog? I live in an apartment. No dogs allowed (or birds).
50 . Have you had your mid life crisis yet? This questionnaire just kicked it off. Why am I doing this? Why am I doing anything?

51. Are you an aunt or uncle? Not yet.
52. Who has the prettiest eyes that you know of? My wife. (Are they trying to get me killed?)
53. What kind of soap or body wash do you use? The cleaning kind of soap. How the flip do I know? Do they want me to check?
54. Do you remember Ugly Kid Joe? Cotton-Eyed Joe's stupider cousin? I'm better off not knowing.
55. Do you have a little black dress? No. My wife has black dresses. I know without testing it that they look better on her.

Tune in tomorrow, as I submit a stool sample and retinal scan for the next 55 questions.

Friday, September 14, 2007

OJ's Eleven

This is simply impossible to make up:

LAS VEGAS -- Investigators questioned O.J. Simpson and named him a suspect Friday in a confrontation at a casino hotel room involving sports memorabilia. The former football star said he went to the room to retrieve property that was stolen from him but denied breaking in.

If I'm in Vegas, there's a checklist of things I do NOT want to hear, ever, roughly in this order:

"Dealer has blackjack."
"Gimme your wallet, NOW."
"Mr. Linderman will see you now."
"Welcome to NBA All-Star Weekend!"
"Hey, 'fly, OJ's on the phone - he says he wants to drop by."

Las Vegas Metro Police Capt. James Dillon said the confrontation was reported as an armed robbery.

We have a new number one, ladies and gentlemen: "Hello, my name is Orenthal, and I represent the Ginsu Corporation."

Simpson told the AP he was conducting a sting operation to collect his belongings at the Palace Station casino. He said no weapons were involved.

He also said that the real killers were not hiding in the vicinity of the mini-bar.

Simpson told The Associated Press auction house owner Tom Riccio called him several weeks ago to say some collectors "have a lot of your stuff and they don't want anyone to know they are selling it."

Hm. If I'm an auction house owner who suspects that somebody is peddling stolen goods to me, I think that the police are a better choice for my first phone call. No doubt Riccio has an honest reason for avoiding the cops while conducting his perfectly legitimate Las Vegas sports collectibles business.

Simpson has had to auction off his sports collectibles, including his Heisman Trophy, to pay some of the $33.5 million judgment awarded in the civil trial.

This is what's normally called the key graf. Sell early, sell often, right?

Kinda pathetic

OK, so you're a major rock station in New York City... and the Yankees are playing three games at Fenway Park against the Red Sox. So, naturally, you want to support the team. Choices:

A - offer tickets to some die-hard road fans
B - go "Boston free" on the airwaves: no Aerosmith or Boston or any other bands from the general vicinity
C - you re-write Heart's "Magic Man" into a song insulting the Red Sox

If you went with B, you're a couple of years too late. As a result, today I got to hear a crappy Ann Wilson knockoff warbling "Try, try, try to understand, I'm a Yankees Fan." Mercifully it only lasted one verse, or I would have torn out my steering wheel and beaten myself into unconsciousness.

And for crying out tears, the least thing they could do is mention Alex Rodriguez in a Yankee song written to "Magic Man." The guy's hitting 1.287 or something. With that rotation, they ought to be ten games under .500, not sitting pretty in the AL Wild Card. (This would be yet another good reason never to forgive the Detroit Tigers.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

They also get paid to write this

UPDATED - with less snark and a key fact I missed at first.

Here's an example of the actual work of the BaseLine Report:

In an attept to scout a major league player (NY Yankees rhp/Philip Hughes), submitted 9/6/07 by Keith Law:

Why is Hughes’ stuff down? One possibility is that his left leg is still causing him trouble, since both the hamstring injury that landed him on the DL and the ankle injury that kept him there were to his left leg. His landing is now very soft, and it looked like he was babying that leg rather than landing firmly and pushing off that leg as he drives through his delivery. If the leg is indeed still bothering him, it would explain both the loss of velocity and the lack of sharpness on his curveball.

It seems like a perfectly reasonable observation, based on seeing the pitcher and knowing his history. In this case, it also carries the weight of some authority, since Mr. Law is a senior baseball analyst with Scouts Inc. If you thought that there was another possibility - say, for example, that Hughes was physically sound but struggling with his mechanics from nerves - how would you say this? HINT - they called Mr. Law's message "an attempt to scout."

Baseline Correction -

NOT "Baseline Observation" or "Mike Replies" or "Adam Says". No, this is a CORRECTION. You, Mr. Law, are wrong-o.

Hughes’s leg if fine just ask the trainers, the problem with his mechanics is the fact that he is young and undeveloped, Keith.

Keith never said that Hughes' leg is, in fact, still injured. He said specifically that Hughes seems to land more softly on the leg, is "babying" it, implying that it may be sore or worrying him without actually being hurt.

He is a tremendous talent and has a bright future, but his problem is simply rushing off of his back side. In terms of understanding from a fans perspective; the big right-hander is anxious and a bit jumpy during this crucial part of the season.

This does not help me understand anything from any perspective, except that the author is talking down to us. As usually happens in such a situation, we struggle to understand - not because it is so far advanced, but because it makes much less sense than the expert thinks.

He is being forced to learn at a very young age prior to the time of his complete development.

Will Strunk wept. Personally, I think that learning at a young age is HOW to complete one's development, rather than dithering around until we're 26 and never learning anything, in which case you can look forward to a career sniping at your professional competitors about their observations of major-league players.

During the game and his time on the mound, he tends to over-throw rushing his head forward, the correct mechanics would allow him to keep his head back, letting his arm work out in front. This action of rushing forward produces an inconsistent arm slot, as a result, he leaves his breaking ball up in the zone. His fastball is capable of getting hitters out up in the strike zone and at this time he is pitching in that area but not by design.

This, at least, does make sense. Hughes' problem (according to the BLR) isn't the leg, it's that he's rushing and not keeping his arm slot consistent, so he can't locate his pitches as well. He doesn't get the same spin on the ball each time and his breaking stuff suffers. This is good stuff. Now I have a question to ask - if this is true, does that automatically make Keith Law wrong? It's possible that Hughes is doing that AND landing differently on his leg, because he is tentative. It would be interesting to run film and see if there's a noticeable difference in Hughes' arm position on release vs. how he's striding and landing.

Wouldn't it have been possible just to have typed that one paragraph instead?

Capiche Keith?

Well, no, I guess not.

They get paid to say this?

As reported on FJM, former ballplayer Mike Pagliarulo has a website. On that website they have one of the most extraordinarily awful posts ever written. And the comments are even better. (One fellow has been taking to simply quoting Pags' career batting/on base/slugging, which is mean but makes me giggle.)

The author (not Pagliarulo himself) has been commenting too, including such gems as:

"However, acquiring/drafting players through an evaluation process that doesn’t consider fundamentals as MUCH as it does statistics is backwards and a non-championship formula."

One of the fundamentals of baseball is to hit well. Quick - if I hit .300 with a dumpload of walks, 25 dingers, and a high sb success rate, am I fundamentally better or worse than this guy? But this was the cake-topper:

“Player Asset Value” is the key to every successful organization, and evaluating the assets to proper categories supply the ultimate advantage. Advantages trading players, promoting players, and selling players. Maximizing (player) asset value encourages fiscal versatility and profitability. To not evaluate player assets properly, is to do as you say the A’s do, and LIMIT payroll. We feel quite differently and we feel the A’s shouldn’t be limited.

"To describe for you the process of player evaluation that we use, would be to supply you with our social security numbers. That’s not going to happen. However, we will show you the profit/loss player asset value from a few American League teams.

The proper term for this is FLIM-FLAM. This is the biggest flaming toss of gobbledygook I’ve ever read - it’s like something Dogbert would write to fool the pointy-headed boss into giving him millions in consulting fees. It has nothing to do with finding the best possible baseball players on a limited budget.

Just for fun, let's pretend. What would you do if Billy Beane was sacked and you were offered his job? Congrats, you’re GM of the Oakland Athletics. The owner will let you spend $80 million per season on player salaries. What do you do?

If you're Adam White (the author), you “Maximize player asset value.” It sounds an awful lot like what he criticized Beane for doing, because he didn't like the method - that method being to rely on the actual evidence of a player's performance, as represented in his statistical record, and focus on people very good at doing things that aren't too expensive to afford. As a result you get a mess of pretty good ballplayers at a discount cost and get into the playoffs every season.

I mean, anyone could fire up their old High Heat 2001, where there is no such thing as free agency or a player salary structure, and build a team that wins 130 games a year… and even then, every few seasons a lousy 88 win team will beat you in the playoffs. That’s not scrappiness or hustle - it’s odds, and over a long course of time, unlikely events become likely to happen at least once.

To put it in real-world terms, do you think St. Louis had a better team last year, or in ‘04?

Staff batting lines:
‘04 - .278/.344/.460; 214 HR
‘06 - .269/.337/.431; 184 HR

pitching lines:
‘04 - 3.75 era, 6.4 k/9, 1.25 WHIP; 169 HR
‘06 - 4.64 era, 6.1 k/9, 1.38 WHIP; 193 HR

smallball:
‘04 - 73 sh, 111 sb (70.25%), 121 GIDP
‘06 - 71 sh, 59 sb (64.8%), 129 GIDP

runs for/runs against
‘04 - 855/659
‘06 - 781/762

record:
‘04 - 105-57
‘06 - 83-78

(All numbers courtesy of baseball-reference.com)

Not only were they 22 wins better in ‘04, they hit better as measured by every metric, even to the extent of stealing far more bases at a better rate, sacrificing more often, and hitting into fewer double-plays. The only wash was in defense: errors within 1, dps within 3 (I think, it’s broken down by position so it’s hard to be certain on the team totals). If they played each other 100 times you’d expect the ‘04 guys to win 60 times at least - but you’d also expect to find at least one seven-game stretch where they lost four times. Congrats, that happened to the ‘04 team in the World Series, but it didn’t to the ‘06 team. Don’t make them better, or “built to contend” rather than compete.

BTW - Adam White's on-site bio indicates that he "has written business plans for the acquisitions of the World’s Strongest Man Competition and the Kansas City Royals."

The writer of the business plan for the Kansas City !$^%@! Royals thinks that Billy Beane is bad at being a general manager. It's almost as scary as Pags' mustache in the photo - he could leap from a bridge and glide to safety without spilling his beer.

RU President..

...apologizes for this.


Dear Vice Admiral Fowler:

Let me offer my apologies on behalf of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, for the disrespectful and disgraceful behavior exhibited by some of our fans at the Rutgers–Navy game last Friday. I was at the game but did not hear the offensive chants, which came from a relatively small number of fans, and I learned about them only later. What I witnessed was actually quite the opposite: a large number of Rutgers supporters standing to applaud the Navy players as they left the field at halftime.

No student-athlete should ever be subject to profane language directed at them from the crowd, and certainly not the young men of the Naval Academy who have made a commitment to serve our nation in a time of war. Your Midshipmen conducted themselves with dignity throughout the game and have my admiration.

You have my best wishes and, again, my apologies.

Richard L. McCormick
President
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Truthers on Parade

A friend of mine saw some of this in San Fran last Saturday.

Held on September 8, 2007 -- just before the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks -- San Francisco's "9/11 Truth March" wended its way through the city's Haight-Ashbury district and Golden Gate Park to the "Power to the Peaceful" festival in the park's Speedway Meadow. The goal behind the 9/11 Truth March was to raise awareness that the events of September 11, 2001 were either a hoax, or were carried out by George Bush and Dick Cheney and their minions, or were a planned demolition by neocon warmongers to create an excuse for starting a war, or were a mass hallucination, or something along those lines. The "Power to the Peaceful" festival is a combination all-day music concert and political shindig that has become an annual event. Blending "progressive" music, radical rhetoric, and revolutionary politics, Power to the Peaceful attracts tens of thousands of revelers and activists.

Plenty of pictures here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The empty sky

Sheila hits the bullseye.

And, not to be crass, but there are two thoughts that need to just step off in regards to terrible loss: "it's time to move on" and "we have to get over it." I say this full well knowing that it these are usually my first reactions to a sudden, shocking pain, ever since I was a boy.

(At this point I ask only that you bear with me - I have an unfortunate choice between personalizing a great atrocity, or pretending that my own foibles and motives are the universal condition of mankind. To me, the less danger lies in the first course. If I must seem like a colossal egoist, I'd rather it be on appearances only, and not in truth.)

In 1986 I was rushed to the hospital with sudden acute appendicitis. While I waited I alternated tossing my cookies, folding in agony, and running a non-stop stand-up act for the staff and patients. This went on for about six or seven hours - writhe, hurl, one liner. The surgeon came, examined me, and wheeled me directly to OR. Later he told my folks that I was about 30 minutes from a burst appendix. I cracked a joke about that too.

My dad died in late 1991. No jokes this time, but no tears, either. To my shame, I admit that I've cried more about dead pets, schoolboy crushes, and the New York Islanders than I ever have about my father.

In 2001 I was working, a Tuesday then as it is this year; I heard about the first plane just before I parked. I thought that it had to be a freak accident. Then of course the second plane hit, and every television in the place was re-tuned to the various news stations. We had a number of guests in the building that day for meetings - I remember leaving my office to ask about the general hubbub, only to see the first of thousands of replays of the second Tower struck. I went back to work.

I was still grimly working as I overheard the conflicting details as they came out: who it could be (since there was clearly someone's will behind it), the planes unaccounted for, about everything else aloft being diverted to the nearest airport. The first notice I got of the first Tower's collapse was a general sigh, like a felt gust of wind, and I vividly recall a former coworker crying out into that silence, "They blew it up!" As I went around to the nearest TV I could see him ducking out of the room in anguish, his hand held over his mouth in grief and fright.

The entire building was dismissed as of noon. Up until the last moment I just kept working. I could think of nothing else to do, since sitting at my desk in shock or staring at the TV were obviously not going to help anyone.

To this moment, I still wonder if I shouldn't have just stopped for a minute, anyway. What I did then, as I was doing all my life, was "moving on."

We build these defenses for good reason; again, you all have yours, so I can only give you mine. Everyone has something different about themselves they are trying to protect. It got the job done in my case, by grounding me in something other than my panic. At 13 I couldn't endure just lying there in pain, helpless until the doctors came to decide what was wrong with me - and I didn't have a mature framework to handle suffering, either emotionally or intellectually. "Death" didn't mean anything at that point. At 19 it did, but knowing and understanding were obviously two different things, and the difference didn't come out until we got a personal visit. At 29, it was the sheer enormity of it all - while I stood alone, like the only tree in a square mile somehow standing after a tornado. Somehow, despite living my entire life within 50 miles of the World Trade Center, I knew none of the killed personally. Everything happened at a remove, and I never wanted to cross that distance. Because I would not suffer my own hurts, I could not suffer with others when they hurt. I built a cage to protect myself, and then found that I could not get out.

To not be swept away, one needs an anchor. My refusing to submit to fear or panic is useful, but refusing to feel it at all is a step too far. It makes the crisis itself an anchor, and I risk never being free of it. I can't be swept out to sea, but neither can I sail at will. It makes it hard to reach the far shore where our true home lies - where we will no longer sail but soar. Protecting myself from pain has also meant protecting myself from the best kind of joy, the startling happiness that makes one feel as if one has never drawn breath before that moment, the joy that changes everything - that sends a jolt through you akin to nearly falling from a great height. The few times I have ever allowed myself to get absolutely carried away, I have wound up landing far harder than I pleased. Naturally, people tell me that it beats the alternative - and for the record I agree with them, and have told it to myself many times - but like Tommy Lee Jones said in MIB when Will Smith told him that it was better to have loved and lost: "Try it." It is better, but it doesn't feel better.

That's why I feel like moving on is a trap. "Getting over it" doesn't feel better either. That is in fact the whole point to it - it usually means to stop feeling at all. The danger lies in not healing the wound one is so anxious to get over. Moving on tends to make such wounds permanent, disabling. It may well be that one has to drag oneself away from a fire on a broken leg in order to survive; it is much different to keep trying to walk on it after the fire's out.

There was no "stake" in 9/11 for me, and that may disqualify this entire post in some eyes. I won't deny it. Some people have actually gone through it all, and are ready to "move on." I have no desire to hold them back, just because I've held myself back in other ways. My flaws aren't anyone else's. I'm just offering what I've seen in the mirror as an example of what we put ourselves through in order to avoid going through our heartaches. A death, a sudden illness, a broken heart, a destroyed home... it makes one feel as if the world has stopped. It's awful, when one is reeling, to spend our dying strength against all that terrible, still mass. It's far easier to move on so quickly that it seems like it's turning normally again.

Don't let anyone do that to you, not even you. To honor what is lost, it is necessary to carry it somehow, to move with it, and not leave it behind to bind us to the past. Move on? I think I'm done with that. Rather time to double back and find what I've missed. It's going to take a few trips.

Ashamed to be an RU grad

Would the fans have as much class as the coach and players.

Navy's Reggie Campbell took the kickoff and ran full speed ahead up the middle with all the force his 168-pound body could generate. Campbell, almost always the smallest and fastest man on the field, hit a wall of XXXL-sized scarlet jerseys and was slammed to the ground at the bottom of the pile. He got up slowly, limping off. This gutsy kid, a slotback who already spent three quarters being chased and tackled by gangs of defensive linemen and linebackers, all weighing at least 100 pounds more than him, was then given a dose of Rutgers' student section class.

''You got f---ed up. You got f---ed up. You got f--ed-up," they chanted.

Reggie Campbell is a senior. After graduation in June he has a five-year commitment to the American military, which, like it or not, is at war.

It gets worse.

Navy was booed and peppered with "You suck!" chants when they stepped on the field for both halves. Toward the end of the second half, Rutgers students in the new bleacher section began to serenade the adjacent section of Navy fans and uniformed Midshipmen.

''F--- you, Navy. F---you, Navy. F--- you, Navy."

"There were wives and small children up there," said Squires, an academic recruiter for the academy who has been to dozens of away games and never seen such contempt directed at his team. "Our Midshipmen reacted the way they were taught. They didn't respond, but the band started playing 'Anchors Aweigh' to drown them out. Me, I felt like going up there and smacking somebody. I was mad, and it bothered me all weekend."

When I was a kid a say Navy kill RU many times. The article goes on to say that since RU has gone big-time there are new kinds of fans who apparently can't get into Iggles games. The Ivy-league type class I saw as a kid is gone along with J.J. Jennings.

The Pulley

When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
Let us (said He) pour on him all we can:
Let the world’s riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.

So strength first made a way;
Then beauty flowed, then wisdom, honour, pleasure:
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that alone of all His treasure
Rest in the bottom lay.

For if I should (said He)
Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore My gifts instead of Me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
So both should losers be.

Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness:
Let him be rich and weary, that, at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to My breast.

-George Herbert (1593-1633)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Not only did the Bucs lose...

...but WR David Boston is busted.

Buccaneers wide receiver David Boston was under the influence of GHB when found asleep behind the wheel of his SUV last month, police say.

Boston was arrested and charged with misdemeanor DUI on Aug. 23, pending the results of a urinalysis. The test results came back last week and Pinellas Park police said the DUI charge would stand. But police refused to disclose the substance that Boston was alleged to have taken, saying the case was still being investigated. Police on Monday released the details of those tests.

GHB, or gamma hydroxybutyrate, has been abused in the U.S. since about 1990 for its euphoric, sedative, and anabolic (body building) effects. It is a central nervous system depressant that was widely available over-the-counter in health food stores during the 1980s and until 1992. It was purchased largely by body builders to aid in fat reduction and muscle building. Street names include "liquid ecstasy," "soap," "easy lay," "vita-G," and "Georgia home boy."

This is the infamous "date rape" drug.

Buc QB Jeff Garcia was knock out of the game as well. For O-line help, maybe the Bucs should call her.

Congratulations Ricki!

The cat has great news.

now we haz donuts k

(From my new favoritest place ever.)

I'm glad that's settled

Those Argentinian Catholic doctors are on the ball.

In the wake of a scandal caused by school professor who dresses up as a woman, the Consortium of Catholic Doctors of Buenos Aires rejected the idea that sexuality is sentimental and not biological, noting that science demonstrates that only two sexes exist: male and female.

The group of experts issued a statement referring to the case of a school teacher in Tierra del Fuego, who “dresses up as a woman and wears makeup.” Radical groups have backed the teacher saying, “What is important is what the person ‘feels’ and one’s sex is not biological, but rather the result of psychological and emotional impulses that attract the person to others of the same or of the opposite sex.”

“The natural, biological and scientific truth is that there are only two sexes: male and female,” the doctors countered. This has been demonstrated genetically, hormonally, anatomically and physiologically, they added.

Is it a sign of the Lord's return that we need scientists to confirm what most of us figured out when we were three? That a medical degree is needed to tell us that little boys have this and little girls have that?

I feel sorry for Steve Stanton, but no matter how much you like the Shania song "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" wearing drag, pumping yourself up with female hormones and having your wing-wang removed will not make it so.

Say I tell my doctor that I am a billy goat trapped in a man's body. Would my body be altered surgically to fit my feelings? Our would I be sent to the puzzle house?

Years ago, when I was still in the New Jersey Air Guard, I told my commander that I was a male lesbian - a woman trapped in a man's body, but attracted to other women.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Is it in the game?

Interesting... NHL '08 is due to ship in a few days.

Previous editions have disappointed in a few ways. In 2004, EA got as close as they could to that nerdvana I seek as a stat hound - an expanded career mode of 20 seasons, detailed control over spending, and the freedom to essentially build the team from the absolute ground up. The very next year they cut the career mode back down to ten years - which basically meant that you could never have the fun of drafting for a few years and then taking pride as your players developed.

This is why I'm a huge fan of the sadly-discontinued Eastside Hockey series; but if you want to actually see the games played, EA is about the only option.

It's a fabulous looking game, for sure. The virtual Roberto Luongo is creepily accurate. The jerseys look sharp (ugly in some cases, but sharp). There are foreign leagues, AHL teams... they seem to be giving us the gorgeous presentation while promising (yet again) to make it play as an accurate representation of hockey. That's not easy at all. (For example, there's a screen shot of virtual Alexei Yashin crashing the crease and scoring a goal.)

The big thing is, despite promising "deeper, more accurate, nicer graphics, waters your plants and pays the phone bill" etc. etc., I can't find anything detailed about the features yet. No reviews from third parties. No word on how many seasons career mode lasts. Lots about creating players and teams, but if they never get a chance to develop and play a full career who really cares? This thing supposedly ships Tuesday, and they haven't let any reviewers get their hands on copies yet - all the sites have identical press-release blurbs on their news pages. This bodes ill.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Sheriff McGettigan and the Bajorans

Sheriff McGettigan is running for Atlantic County NJ Executive. During a candidates forum, an audience member asks the Sheriff how his department deals with illegal immigrants in his cust.ody. A part of the exchange is here.

McGettigan: Wetbacks, as far as we were concerned, meant somebody that was just new into the country. I don't know what the term means today.

[current Atlantic County Executive Dennis ] Levinson: It's a pejorative term.

Audience member: It's not a slander; people make a slander out of it.

McGettigan (responding to Levinson): The Bajorans? Weren't they on Star Trek?

When I was a youngster, there were ads on TV reminding aliens that they needed to register at a gov't office. Mind you, the original Star Trek was on at prime time, and I was confused about the term "alien". I thought that Klingons and Vulcans and Romulans living in the USA needed to register with the gov't. I thought aliens were people from other planets, not people from other countries.

Perhaps McGettigan is as confused as I was.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

"All of them are Democrats"

What's the rule in NJ? Republicans are incompetent and Democrats are corrupt?

FBI agents this morning rounded up 11 New Jersey public officials on bribery charges related to roofing and insurance contracts following an 18-month operation that swept the state from south to north, authorities said.

The investigation probed nearly every layer of government, beginning with the Pleasantville School Board in Atlantic County, and gradually widened to include state Assemblymen, mayors and current and former councilmen from Passaic and Essex counties, according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie.

Among those charged are Samuel Rivera, the mayor of Passaic; Assemblyman Mims Hackett, Jr., who is also the mayor of Orange; Assemblyman Rev. Alfred E. Steele, from Paterson; and Keith Reid, the chief of staff to Newark City Council President Mildred Crump. All of them are Democrats.

Pleasantville High School is near where I grew up. If I were a teacher there I'd be carrying a sidearm.

But can she block Gaines Adams?

She's:

A 17-year-old senior who weighs 315 pounds and can bench press 264 and squat 525, she won a varsity letter last year, appearing in 20 quarters of play as a back-up offensive lineman.

I have nothing to add to this.



I bet you think this blog is about you

Don't you! Don't you! Don't you!
I guess there's nothing better to do with an old, condemned gas station.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

High School English teachers...

...Wer kann nicht Englisch sprechen.

Hundreds of students in Arizona are trying to learn English from teachers who don't know the language, state officials say.

The kids are taught by teachers who don't know English grammar and can't pronounce English words correctly. Last year, for example, a Mesa teacher stood in front of a class of language learners and announced, "Sometimes, you are not gonna know some."

A teacher in Phoenix's Creighton Elementary District asked her kids, "If you have problems, to who are you going to ask?"

A Casa Grande Elementary District teacher asked her kids to "read me first how it was before."

Each year, the state evaluates a sampling of classrooms where kids are learning English. Last year, officials visited 32 districts and found similar problems at nine. Some teachers' English was so poor that even state officials strained to understand them. The state also found that students learning English at all ages were being taught by teachers who did not have appropriate training or materials. At a dozen districts, evaluators found teachers who ignored state law and taught in Spanish. (Bold highlights by the Spider.)

During Christmas in my 'hood, about 4-5 houses in a mile square area have outdoor lights spelling "Viva la Raza". There are times when I go to the laundromat where I am the only person with the ability to speak English there.

Naw, there's no problem. I'm just a racist who hates Mexicans.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Cookware for Dummies

On the instructions for our new pots and pans: "Warning - remove stickers from cooking surface before use."

Pity. We love the flavor of freshly-melted paper and glue, with a hint of thyme.

Father Jim McGreevey

Or soon to be.

The nation's first openly gay governor is headed back to school Tuesday - as a seminary student.
Jim McGreevey will begin full-time studies at General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in Manhattan, seminary spokes-man Bruce Parker confirmed. McGreevey switched his religious affiliation from Roman Catholic to Episcopalian earlier this year and expressed interest in pursuing a call to ministry.

As a student in the non-degree program at the seminary, McGreevey has as long as a year to choose a course of study. In the meantime, he can choose a broad array of courses in theology, liturgy, ministry and related topics that are available to students who are unsure of their educational and vocational goals, Parker said.

McGreevey, 50, shocked the nation in 2004 by declaring his homosexuality in a nationally televised speech with his stunned wife and parents at his side. The former altar boy proclaimed himself "a gay American" to quash a blackmail threat by a former aide. He resigned as New Jersey's governor three months later.

Theology? Does the Episcopal Bible have Romans 1 in it? 1Tim 3? Could father Jim give marital counseling with a straight face? How would he advise Larry Craig?