Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Republic is Saved!

Ladies Night is constitutional!
It's closing time for a lawsuit alleging ladies' nights at nightclubs discriminate against men. Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum tossed the lawsuit out of federal court in Manhattan on Monday. She said nightclubs can price their products as they wish because they're not acting as representatives of the state.

The lawsuit was brought by attorney Roy Den Hollander, who has crusaded against feminism and recently sued a university over its women's studies program.

Hollander said ladies' nights at Manhattan nightclubs discriminate against men by offering women free or discounted admission and drinks. He tried to link the state to the discounts because it licenses the sale of alcohol at nightclubs.
Maybe I'm missing something, but why would a guy have a problem with ladies' night? It's been a long time since I did the club scene, but aren't beneficiaries of ladies' night the men who go to these clubs to meet all these young ladies who are there to enjoy the free or discounted refreshment?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Everything must go

For sale - one fleece blanket.

Well laundered - WITH BITTER TEARS.

Sweetheart deal! Our stadium is closing. (No, not that one. Shea. The Jets played there for while, too, you know! And the Beatles.) Must give away at once, heartbroken, but our loss is your gain! (Especially Philly and Milwaukee.)

Please keep out of direct sunlight - fades easily. Not recommended for use in the bullpen, as it will go up in flames. After September 10th, comes apart at the seams.

Interested? Call 555-Mstr-Met. Will pay all shipping costs ourselves.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pennants & Bracelets

Thanks to the Yankees, the Rays clinched the AL East around midnight.

I was getting a little nervous after they lost to the Tigers again. I was having flashbacks of the 1964 Phillies ("Is that Sonnenstine on the mound, or Bunning?"). Of course, you Mets fans don't have to remember that far back.

Their series vs. the Chisox or Twinkies doesn't start until Thursday, so they can set up a playoff pitching rotation.

Here's a highlight from the debate:

See Barry with his flag lapel and his bracelet. See Barry having to read the name of the deceased soldier off his bracelet because he probably put it on ten minutes before the debate started.

You can kiss the GI vote goodbye, Barry.

The McCain campaign is already writing the ad for this one.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

The Presidential Debate is @ 9pm tonight, which will be around the seventh inning of the Rays' pennant-clinching game.

I won't be watching the debate on NBC. The sight of Keith Olbermann makes me physically ill. This is why I don't watch the Sunday night pregame football show or halftime.

Come to think of it, do I watch anything on NBC?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Terrorist Hot Dogs...

...at the Phils home park.
The discovery of several hot dogs in packages outside Citizens Bank Park brought the bomb squad out and forced the temporary evacuation of the stadium Wednesday evening.

According to police, Pattison Street between Darien and 11th Streets was shutdown as officials investigated the discovery of several suspicious packages near a ticket office. Fans inside the stadium were evacuated, but players remained on the field during the incident.

Bomb squad members further investigated the packages and determined they were simply several hot dogs in foil wrappers. Sadly, the wieners were detonated as a precaution.
Once at the old Veterans Stadium I caused an evacuation of my section after eating hotdogs washed down with Ortlieb's.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another Multi -Million Dollar Corporation..

...in need of a bailout.
But now the Mets are petitioning the federal government for funds to hire relief pitchers. "If we collapse and don't make the playoffs again, thousands of hearts will be broken. Think of the children" said one Mets front office executive. "Think of the seniors who've been waiting over twenty years for us to win the World Series."

Other sources say the team not making the playoffs would affect local vendors as well. "When there's no game I don't make any money," said a man who identified himself as Tony and runs a parking lot near the stadium. Local sandwich makers said that perhaps a ton of pastrami would rot in area delicatessens without playoff games to boost sales.

The Mets salary this year is $137,793,376. In comparison, the first place Phillies have a mere $98,269,880 yearly salary. These stunning numbers have led many experts to argue that the Mets are just too big to fail. "If the Mets don't make the playoffs, the damage to New York would be so grisly that I can't even discuss it. In the end, the entire country would be hurt."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wife-beating, coke-snorting...

...athiest, cat-killing Mets.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Prosecutors say former baseball player and actor Joseph Petcka beat, stomped and kicked a cat to death in a jealous and drunken fury after complaining that his girlfriend loved the feline more than she loved him.
Petcka, who pitched in the New York Mets' minor-league system in 1992. ... claimed he unintentionally killed the declawed cat on March 27, 2007, while defending himself from it.

Bastard. What can a declawed cat do? Bite, maybe, but cats primarily use their claws in any confrontation - and we're not talking about a 100 pound dog or something. The largest breeds may reach twenty pounds. That's why a cat will usually retreat or hide, especially after coming off poorly in any initial meeting. Petcka would have had to follow the cat to wherever it tried to hole up, then drag it out and stomp on it to inflict all the injuries listed in the initial story.

This joker would have fit right in with the Dallas Green Mets - bleach squirters, firecracker tossers, and generally surly.

The trial took only four days. Hopefully I can update soon with news that this clown is going to the pokey.

What Dreams May Come...

...when you eat cheap hot dogs and fall asleep while watching the Rays on TV.

Last night I dreamt that I met the actress Jennifer Aniston at a Rays game. Except that the me in the dream didn't know that it was her. Someone had to tell me.

Jennifer and I became pals. I even went with her to her church.

In reality, Jennifer Aniston is pushing forty in an industry that worships youth and beauty. Any time spent in the grocery checkout will tell you about the misfortune she has had in her personal life.

This morning I prayed for her, that she would have a good church to go to and a friend to go with her.

Even if that friend is not me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Burger King & Shakespeare

I went to Burger King for a pre-church breakfast Sunday, and I couldn't help but notice that they served a small sandwich called the Hamlette (a ham omelette sandwich I guess).

I mentioned this to the girl behind the counter, and then I said,
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;No more;
and by a sleep to say we endThe heart-ache
and the thousand natural shocksThat flesh is heir to,
'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd.
By this time the girl behind the counter was looking at me like I had a third eye.

We are the Droogs we've been waiting for

Genius, thy name is Iowahawk.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Rays Republic

The Rays clinch their first playoff spot.
"Pinch me," read the sign behind the third-base dugout.

Few words could better describe the feelings of Rays fans, who saw their team bust out from the basement in 2008 and make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history after never winning more than 70 games in a season, which they did one time during a fourth-place campaign in 2004.

Tropicana Field had a soul Saturday afternoon, and every time one of Joe Maddon's Mohawk militia did something right, the echoes of the sellout crowd of 36,048 responded with raucous cheers. And there were plenty of cheers, because the Rays did plenty right in a 7-2 win over the Twins that served as the turnkey to enter the postseason party.
There is no earthly explanation for the Ray’s fortune. Their stats reveal no Big Papis, no A-Rods or Jeters. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we believe.

A lot of the players are sporting Mohawks for the playoff run (Should I get one?). The next step is to win the Al East. The Rays are 2.5 games up with 9 games to go. They won the season series, so a tie would go to the Rays.

After that is to gain the best record in the AL. We are two games behind the Angels. The good news is that, after one last game @ home vs. The Twins, we end the season playing two stiffs, 4 @. Baltimore and 4 @ Detroit.

Of course the final goal is to beat the Mets in the World Series.

The Polls You Don't See

Political campaigns take internal polls which are not seen by you and I. But you can tell what those polls say by the actions of the campaigns.

Things must look bad for Obama in Ohio because this is an act of
With the Republican presidential and vice presidential nominees in the Mahoning Valley today for a rally, two local Democratic state legislators said they believe a main reason polls show a tight race is because of racist voters.

“Race — that’s the only reason people in the Valley won’t vote for him,” said state Rep. Thomas Letson of Warren, D-64th, about Barack Obama, his party’s presidential nominee. “There are 1,000 reasons to vote for Obama and one reason why you won’t — race.”

“Staunch Republicans” who make up 35 percent to 40 percent of the population would never vote for a Democrat regardless of race, Letson said.

It is the independents, the “swing voters” and Democrats who are or will support Republican John McCain who are the “racists,” Letson and state Rep. Robert F. Hagan of Youngstown, D-60th, said.
I also must question the effectiveness. I would not respond favorably to this, but I would see it for what it is, political hacks trying to mau-mau me.

These people also don't care about the long term damage they are doing. Can you say "Cry wolf"?

I haven't taken Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson seriously since I quit drinking and started taking Jesus seriously. How many legitimate concerns of the black community fall on deaf ears because these two clowns and others like them have zero credibility?

I hope Obama doesn't pull this stuff here in Florida. I really respond poorly to this.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Not a good week at work for some families

During the last two minutes of the Denver/San Diego game this past Sunday, Jay Culter fumbled inside the Chargers' 10-yard line... only referee Ed Hochuili had blown his whistle and ruled it a misfired pass.

Replay, of course, showed that the ball simply squirted out of Cutler's hand before he was bringing it forward. But notably, this was the first time that Hochuili saw the play the way all of America saw it, from the side. At his angle, behind Cutler, and full speed, it would have been much tougher to notice.

Hochuili's hands were tied. The rules don't let you overturn that particular play on review. Denver, which was trailing with no timeouts, would have lost with a correct ruling, but they went on to score and win. The NFL announced publicly that they were downgrading Hochuili's status -a surprising rebuke for one of the most respected game officials in sports today.

I bring all of this up only because I happened across Baylor/UConn's football game tonight. With about ten minutes left, Baylor led 28-24, and their quarterback dropped into his own endzone and was dragged down, desperately trying to stretch the ball back across the goal line. The ruling on the field (which stood after review) was that he managed to succeed - no safety. Instead of a 2-point margin and a free kick coming their way, UConn had to defend another play, albeit from the 3-inch line.

The replay seemed to indicate to me that the QB's knee was down with the ball still in the end zone, but alas, not clearly conclusive. And the official in the end zone who made the initial call? Back judge Shawn Hochuili - Ed's son. (You can't make this stuff up.)

Right now there are four minutes left, and the younger Hochuili seems to be off the hook: after forcing the punt, UConn drove to score, aided by two Baylor penalties. The first came on the punt return, for running into the man trying to field the punt before it got there - but it was one of the UConn players who did it. (Yeah, not the best night for the officiating, but the crew is from three different conferences.) Baylor added a third penalty after the touchdown (late hit), and has committed another one on their current drive.

Oh, and the Mets won. They're in first place with a game in hand, nine games to play, and the Brew Crew continued to dissolve like a sandcastle at high tide, so the wild card lead is 2.5 games.

(update - 54 seconds left, Baylor just stalled out at midfield. UConn will win, barring a Pisarcik-sized brain fart. The star was the running back, Donald Brown - 34 carries, 150 yards, two scores (including the winning touchdown). He's from Atlantic Highlands, NJ. Rutgers REALLY misses Ray Rice.)

I Can Run For President...

...at least that's what the judge says.
A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit seeking to remove John McCain from the California ballot because he was born in the Panama Canal Zone.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup ruled late Tuesday that the law at the time of McCain's birth automatically granted citizenship to offspring of U.S. citizens.

McCain's parents were both citizens when McCain was born Aug. 29, 1936, in the Panama Canal Zone, a U.S. territory where his father was stationed with the U.S. Navy.

Okay, it's about McCain, but I was born under the same circumstances in the US Army Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Run for president? Me? The opposition research on me would be a target-rich environment.

Interviews would be a disaster, "Cut the Pferdkaese, Couric. You hate my guts and your head is so far up Obama's orifice that you need a flashlight. Next question."

I would lose, but I would have fun doing it.

Love and Baseball (update)

Pastor H told me Mrs H loved the game.

And what was there not to love? The Rays won, drunk Bosox fans got arrested, and the Rays won the season series vs Boston and were two games up with twelve to go.

Pastor told me that he's going to take Mrs H to a Rays playoff game.

Heck, if we were Episcopalian I'd marry him!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tell me again, who's mentally inferior?

I'm going to start with a language alert for the links below. Rachel Lucas and the Ace of Spades have been loading up with both barrels lately. But when you read the accounts, I'm not sure that you would blame them.

Starting here... there's the breathtakingly shallow, cruel, and self-serving opinion of one Nicholas Provenza -

Like many, I am troubled by the implications of Alaska governor and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's decision to knowingly give birth to a child disabled with Down syndrome. Given that Palin's decision is being celebrated in some quarters, it is crucial to reaffirm the morality of aborting a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome (or by extension, any unborn fetus)—a freedom that anti-abortion advocates seek to deny.

Notice how people like this are always "troubled by the implications," and it's ALWAYS about other people's actions. None of these jokers get troubled by the implications of what they do or say. Now, I'm not talking about making a mistake, because that's everybody - I'm talking about making a mistake, and being so emotionally involved in the mistake that one begins first to excuse it, and then to defend it, and finally to promote it. Every step escalates not only the original error, but leads one to new and worse errors, all taken (and justified) as necessary - even admirable! - in order to prove the point of the first mistake.

Why not just admit the first error and move along, happy? For all we hear of "it's the journey, not the destination," lots of people seem to be stuck in neutral, or worse.

That error, by the way, is in "reaffirm the morality of aborting a fetus." It's already been confirmed that doing so is evil. There's your morality question, easily answered.

...it is completely legitimate for a woman to look at the circumstances of her life and decide that having a child with Down syndrome (or any child for that matter) is not an obligation that she can accept. After all, the choice to have a child is a profoundly selfish choice; that is, a choice that is an expression of the parent's personal desire to create new life.

And this is the end result of trying to defend that initial error. It eventually turns one inside out, mentally - freedom is slavery, war is peace, and parenthood is selfish. To bring new life into the world, and to dedicate oneself to its service, is selfish. How dare you sacrifice your own prime years of life and all that time and money on somebody else! You thought it was noble to accept the grave responsibility of feeding, clothing, educating, civilizing, and above all unconditionally loving a creature who is at turns helpless, demanding, petulant, resentful, rebellious, and ultimately not even answerable to you in any way! Selfish bastards.

And most parents seek to create healthy life; in the case of the unborn fetuses shown to have severe developmental disabilities, one study reports that over 90% of these fetuses are aborted prior to birth. But if you notice, the anti-abortion zealots try to attach a dirty little slur to these abortions, labeling them a form of eugenics.

The Spider is fond of quoting the old saying, "Sin makes you stupid," and this is yet another example. Yes, Nicholas, this IS eugenics. That's what the word "eugenics" means. Aborting developmentally challenged fetuses is merely a means to achieve the ends of eugenics. Incidentally, so is demanding that others murder their own children in order to satisfy's one standards of racial purity.

Incidentally, that blends smoothly with the item that doubled my blood pressure: "Saving Bristol":

These are not empty words. I, Doug Stanhope, am offering you, Bristol Palin, the sum of 25,000 dollars so that you can abort your child and move out of that draconian home.

Yup - if you can't convince the mom to abort, convince her daughter. Mr. Stanhope (hereafter referred to by his initials, "scum-sucking lesion on the buttocks of humanity") is a D-list comic whose entertainment resume is nearly as thin as Obama's political one. Apparently, soliciting a contract murder on an unborn child is a step upward for his career.

Never in history has a woman been under more pressure to keep an unwanted pregnancy than Bristol Palin. She is the teenage daughter of Alaska Governor & Vice-Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin - a conservative, Creationist Christian power-vampire and pro-life huckster who has put Bristol and her un-welcomed fetus at the center of a politico-religious crusade to stop her exercising her constitutional right to terminate the pregnancy.

The creationist thing has been disproved, as far as I know. "Power vampire" is a hoot, coming from someone who is trying to further his own interests with this monstrous stunt. "Pro-life huckster" is stupid almost beyond fathoming. Huckster? As far as I can tell, asking someone not to kill their baby isn't a scam or a scheme. The pro-lifer gains nothing, and is in fact regularly reviled for it by morons like this. (But blessed are we who are cursed for the sake of righteousness...) And obviously the parents know what they would get into - in fact, many of them abort precisely because they DO know and wish to avoid it - but from purely altruistic reasons, of course...

I was once in a similar situation where I'd accidentally impregnated a girl and she had to make that same fateful decision that now faces you. It was easy for her... We made the right choice and rather than end up bitter rivals in court battles over custody or support, we are great friends who high-five over our decision and have all the free time and disposable income that young mothers never know.

I guess this stunted little troglodyte doesn't read enough Provenza. Alternately, he's making a huge sacrifice by taking on all that free time and disposable income... Lonely are the brave.

(Come to think of it, that would explain the socialist mandate to confiscate all private possessions and redistribute them - a noble sacrifice on behalf of the state, to amass all property and wealth so that we the people are not burdened by them. Or by the kids that we ought to be aborting. And if we can't be trusted to choose correctly, that choice can be made for us, capice?)

It's a spectacular, epic fail of a piece, really - it's a shocking low even for the likes of Stanhope, who is apparently so bad at his chosen field that he's been sacked from the Man Show on Spike, and failed as the on-screen host of the Girls Gone Wild video series. Mind you - this guy is so bad at what he does that he can't be trusted to attract paying customers to booze and sex.

Prohibition couldn't stop people from selling booze - Doug Stanhope did.
Sex is the one thing everyone uses to sell everything else - INCLUDING BOOZE - Doug Stanhope can't sell it.

You don't need to ruin your future in order to support the megalomaniacal self-promotion of a mother whose every action is rooted in a demonic ego and archaic superstition. Don't become victim of the same pressure that had your brother "volunteering" for duty in Iraq.

There's that selfish meme again. There's also the "burdened with a child" meme. And the "soldiers are all dupes" meme. And "ZOMG Xians are so DUM!!1!" I'd call this standard Palinsanity, but really, in a way she's just the lightning rod. The storm that rages is merely stooping upon her as the most convenient target.

If I were still the pro-choice leftist that is de rigeur in my family, this would clear the scales from my eyes. I can't fathom telling a mother that it's selfish of her to bear a child, or to suffer hardship for another's sake. It's so obviously the mirror image of what these pinheads say it is. And as far as "smarter than others," this is also proof positive that evil is not a matter of poor intelligence, but a poor heart. Provenza is obviously much more educated than Stanhope. He is possibly possessed of greater raw intellect. Yet they both come to the same conclusion - one through his intellect leading him astray, and the other through pure bile.

Evil is rooted in the will and the soul. Unchecked and undisciplined, evil rots the whole person - the emotions and the intellect. When that happens, even the strengths of a person become weaknesses, as those faculties are converted from their true ends to servants of that evil. An honest person becomes a liar, and a compassionate one turns cruel, and a smart one turns into a double-talking apologist for every sin and folly. It's like a virus turning a healthy cell into a factory for replicating viruses.

Eventually, it can reach what we see here. Everything that brings people closest to each other - family, community, faith, service - are called traps for chumps, conformist schemes designed to enslave people. But what does he offer that's so much better? Money. That's it. That's all he's got. He'll PAY to see his will done.

This guy is the turd in humanity's punchbowl. All the things he scorns are freely-chosen obligations accepted by the consent of those involved, and he thinks that money is a sufficient replacement. It's pitiable.

By contrast, virtue transforms even the humblest raw materials into great strengths. Brother Lawrence could not be trusted to handle anything more complex that answering the door to his monastery - and yet people flocked to see him rather than any of his more gifted brothers. The cart collector at the local Acme supermarket brightens everyone's day - ceaselessly cheerful and polite, and eventually named Employee of the Month. In fact, people campaigned for him to win! Who does that for anyone at a supermarket? When I worked at Friendly's our busboy and dishwasher, Frank, was about the hardest worker you could imagine. Whatever he had he poured into his menial tasks as if he were working the cure for cancer... how many "superior" folks could dare to claim that sort of commitment to their "more important" careers, or earn as much respect?

These three men are greater in the Kingdom than I. I would never dare to suggest that they were better off dead, much less that any of us would be better off if they were. The two colossal nitwits above can pour themselves a long tall glass of bugger off with a side of kiss my ass.

(update, 9/19 - noonish - ricki asked how long it would take, and the answer is, "Not long at all." [hat tip to Rachl Lukis, yet again])

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Unfrozen caveman voter

My friends, I'm just a simple caveman. Your modern machines confuse and frighten me. Your alternate media and grassroots citizen punditry upset me. It's all I can do to bitterly cling to my primitive faith system and magic bang stick in today's uptempo world of iPhones and taxpayer-funded corporate buyouts.

I don't know much about your world, but I do know one, simple thing... and that is that we must vote for our betters in this election:

Now, I want to be clear and speak directly to those of you who LOVED that Palin interview. You're an idiot. I mean that. This is not one of those cases where we're going to agree to disagree. This isn't one of those situations where we debate it passionately and then walk away thinking that the other guy is wrong but argued well. I'm not going to think of you as a thoughtful but misguided person with different ideas who still really cares about the country and the world. No, sorry, not this time. This time, if you watched those interview excerpts and weren't scared out of your freakin' mind, then you're mentally ill, mentally disabled, or mentally disturbed. What you are NOT is responsible, informed, curious, thoughtful, mature, educated, empathetic, or remotely serious. I mean it. ... Vote for someone smarter than you.

Clearly, to fail to do so - to intentionally decline to be led about by the hand like the mentally-shrivelled moonshine-chuggers we are - is to insult these great and elevated thinkers, who have so generously come down from being on high to shepherd us poor puzzled Jesus-yokels.

We should be grateful that they want to tax us into oblivion and take all of our rights. We'd just waste the money and freedom anyway! And it's a privilege to be paid any attention at all by such gods among the earth.

We are not worthy. Really, just ask them, they won't sugarcoat it for us. And thank our culturally-created God for it!

(hat tip to IMAO, where I lived up to this post by initially not believing that this could actually be written with a straight face. Well, yes it can!)

Love & Baseball

Today is my pastor's wedding anniversary, so he asks his bride, " Bride, what do you desire for this occasion?" And she replies, "I want to see the Rays!"

So they are going to see the Rays vs the Bosox tonight. The Rays are only one-up, so this is for the AL East lead.

A woman who loves baseball. I hope my pastor knows he has a keeper.

Of course, the concept of a pastor having a wedding anniversary is a pretty foreign concept to my Catholic friends out there.

Fly, deja vu all over gain for the New York Metropolitans?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tim Keown, how could you?

"It's pretty much unquestioned that quarterback is the most important position in any team sport. "

Oh, Tim.... In the middle of that otherwise excellent article about quarterbacking, you dropped a plonker.

I grant that a great QB can elevate teams that have no business winning, and bad ones can sink their teams at inopportune times. But if you look at the timing and intricacies involved in a typical pro offense - as well as the intricacies facing them in the typical pro defense - then you'd have to conclude that there's a lot out of the quarterback's control. Without an offensive line to block or a credible running game, even terrific quarterbacks can look mortal. Elway didn't win* until he had Terrell Davis and the chip-blocking, borderline-kneecapping offensive line to support him. Marino never won. Neither did Jim Kelly nor Fran Tarkenton, in four tries each. Even if everything works perfectly for the offense and the QB, a team can lose a lot of 41-37 games if their defense is unequal to keeping the other team's attack under control.

* By "win" I mean the NFL title; obviously these are successful quarterbacks, one and all.

Besides, there's a long list of pedestrian (or worse) signal callers with Super Bowl visits: Morrall, Lamonica, Morton, Grogan, Grossman, Humphries, Chandler, Collins, O'Donnell... and possibly Hasselbeck and Delhomme (jury's out on them so far). Some have gone on to win: Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, Mark Rypien, Ken Stabler, Jim McMahon, and Eli Manning (until proven otherwise). Important, clearly: but there are too many other important factors to make this the sine qua non of individuals in team sports.

I'd argue more for a possibility that Keown didn't even consider - the hockey goaltender. Admittedly, my bias as a goaltender is in play here, but the primary reason I love being a keeper is precisely this. The game always goes through me. If I'm bad, then we're most likely done. If I'm great, then my team, no matter how lousy, has a chance. We only need one fluke shot to ping off a defenseman to have that chance, as long as I'm at my best. Recently I saw a game where the shots were 60-11 (no joke) and it still went into a shootout; the goalies were the leveler. One guy was a little soft, and the other was lights out.

Sure, the goalie has no control over the offense. He can't possibly win if nobody scores a goal. In fact, the goalie and the baseball pitcher (at least the AL version) are alone in that distinction - they can never win the game alone. But if they do their job perfectly, then the least mistake by the other side will win the game for them. On the other hand, if a QB does his job perfectly, his team can still lose. He needs somebody to catch those pretty passes, and give him time to stay upright to throw them, and a kicker to turn near misses into three points, and a whole team of guys to keep the other team from scoring.

That brings up what I think is the biggest argument for the goalkeeper as the most key individual in a team sport - the mistake factor. A QB can make a ton of mistakes that wind up, ultimately, not hurting his team. He can bounce passes off defenders' chests and hands, or fumble, or get sacked, and still not turn over the ball. His team can score despite him, or simplify their offense to get more out of him, or take the game out of his hands as much as possible. Likewise, a basketball player can miss tons of shots but his team can rebound those misses; a pitcher can walk a bunch of guys and still squirm out of it, or groove a fastball that gets fouled away or smoked right at a fielder. A forward can miss a wide-open net, or a defender can give up a breakaway... but those mistakes do not automatically lead to goals against. None of the other mistakes are directly harmful in the way that a goalie's mistakes are. If the keeper screws up, then it's likely going into his net, and that's that. And if it's a soft goal it not only hurts immediately on the scoreboard, it usually dampens his team's performance. Nothing is worse than five minutes of domination without result, followed by a weak counterattack that leaves you down a goal.

Bottom line is, if the goalie is perfect, his team can never lose the game. You can't say that about a quarterback, so I'd give the edge to the keepers.

And that being said - I agree with the other 90-ish percent of the column, as usual. If you do need a quarterback, draft one before you need him, not the moment you do. Learn from the unfortunate fates of Alex Smith, Joey Harrington, Rick Mirer, Akili Smith, Andre Ware, Browning Nagle, Ryan Leaf, etc. etc. Much shorter than any QB list above is the list of rookies who made immediate Super Bowl visits, much less won them. The difference between rushing and ruining a guy vs. seasoning and succeeding with him is the difference between Steve Walsh and Steve Young.

Believers for Barack

Believers in what, I'd like to know.

The Obama campaign is preparing rolling out a new line of “faith merchandise” – the latest move in an ambitious effort to win over religious voters.

“Check out the Believers for Barack, Pro-Family Pro-Obama, and Catholics for Obama buttons, bumper stickers and signs….” says Obama Deputy Director of Religious Affairs Paul Monteiro in an e-mail obtained by the Beliefnet Web site.

They even have stuff for the Fly and the Ladybug. Do you think Nancy Pelosi has a "Catholics for Obama" shirt?

I don't know how much of this is selling. Two weeks ago Obama was running pro-abort ads on country music radio. Last week I was told that my Savior was a mere community organizer like their savior. We Bible thumpers can be pretty slow, but I don't know how many of us are that slow. Here's more:

We'll soon be rolling out merchandise for other religious groups and denominations, but I wanted to get this out to you without delay,” he adds.

Other religious groups? You mean, like these people?

News You Can Use

Naked man gets Tased while walking dog.

40-year-old man walking his dog in the nude Friday night in northwest Tallahassee was Tasered by police when he became belligerent and refused to follow an officer’s commands.

But it gets better. Here's his explanation:

When asked what he was doing, the man told the officer, “Allah told me to watch a Bruce Willis movie and walk the dog,” (Tallahassee Police Officer David) McCranie said.

Maybe there is something to this Muslim thing.

The naked man was taken to get a checkup from the neck up.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I Have Anger Issues

Colossians 3:8 “But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from you mouth.”

I confess to you that I am in disobedience to the above verse.

The St. Pete Times called me to ask for my subscription. My reply is not suitable for a family blog.

At work I am besieged by telemarketers, at times having to put the guy who signs my paycheck on hold to take a call from someone who wants to improve our company’s ranking on Google. Friday I snapped when a got a call from a telemarketer who spoke English so poorly that she could not pronounce the name of my

It takes all of my meager self-control to keep me from calling the local Dem HQ asking them to show me in my Bible where my Savior did His community organizing. I know that their savior did his in Chicago. ("Jesus Just Left Chicago" ZZ Top)

And today, this didn’t help with my struggle against

WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.
"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview.

Did I tell you that diabetics have to watch their blood pressure?

And while I’m at it, does anyone care what this
coked-up skank thinks?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Someone's Starved for Attention

Here's Rick Warren on the radio.

Pastor Rick Warren got a call from Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) this week seeking help in dealing with the "unfair, unjust attacks" the GOP vice presidential candidate believes she has come under.

On a Los Angeles radio show, co-host Kathryn Milofsky asked Warren what one question he would direct at Palin if he was able to have her sit down for a forum like the one he hosted last month with John McCain and Barack Obama at his Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California.

"Well actually she called me yesterday," Warren said. "The question I asked her was 'how can I pray for you?'"

If you read this carefully, it appears that Rick Warren is trying to lead us to believe that a beleagered Sarah Palin called him seeking spiritual guidance, when actually she was returning his call.

Palin's camp calls to say that the Alaska Gov. was returning Warren's call. According a Palin spokeswoman, Warren called her on Saturday September 6 and she returned his call on Monday September 8. The Monday phone call is when the above conversation described by Warren took place.

Governor Palin has her own pastor, one that will not be babbling about private conversations into the first microphone he gets in front of.

Pastor Warren, the first step in recovery is admitting the problem.

Sorry to scare you Fly,

..but I am fine. This is a condition all too common in diabetics.

Circulation issues beget nerve damage and numbness in extremities. I have trouble turning pages of a book.

Some folks are kept awake at night by a sensation of needles in their feet. Mine are just numb. My baby toes can be chopped off and I'd barely feel it. I've been like this for awhile. My feet were like this when you saw me last August.

I have to look at my feet every day to see that they are okay. And I am never barefoot. Not even from my bed to the potty. And when I see the doctor I always get barefoot so he can check out my feet.

The eyes are something else to check out. Tomorrow is my six-month eye exam to see if there is blood vessel damage in my eyeballs. Last exam was fine.

The other thing to watch is the kidneys. I am getting a kidney test next month.

Fly, I am going to be 50 years old in January. Unlike many who read this blog, I have the privilege of knowing my cause of death. Diabetes will eventually kill me. The day it does is up to the Almighty.

I'm getting a military pension when I hit 60. Hopefully I can hang around long enough to suckle from the teat of the American taxpayer for awhile.

I also know what is going to happen to me after I die. That is also up to the Almighty.

So fear not, friend Fly. If even a writer of God's Word like the Apostle Paul could be given a thorn in his flesh, who am I to complain?

Dr. Freud, Call Your Office!

I looks like John Roberts of CNN had a Freudian slip.

At 6:57 AM, after showing a video of Barack Obama saying, "Enough is enough," and with a caption on the screen reading "Polls Show Virtual Tie," Roberts said to his guest (video available here, file photo):

You know, this almost looks like what happened in 2004 where the Bush campaign was very, very good at defining John Kerry in their own terms, and he was on the defensive, and he was always trying to fight back against them. Do we risk, or does the Democratic Party here risk Barack Obama becoming John Kerry II?

Do we risk?

H/T to Newsbusters

I'm not surprised. Why this doesn't happen more often is a testament to the self-control of these, well, look at the where this post is filed under.

At Wal-mart

I saw a woman shopper in a black burga. It was one of those revealing burgas where you could see her hands and the skin around her eyes.

In Wal-mart.

In Tampa, FL.

Also, I experienced the challenge of trying on shoes when you can't feel your feet.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stuff I've been reading

I haven't put these on the sidebar or anything, but there are some interesting reads and blogs out there that I've been perusing lately:

The Puck Update blog - no combox, no drama; just quick links and short author's comments on all things hockey (and a few tangents). It's kind of Glenn Reynoldish, only about grown men in short pants with fewer teeth. If he had comments, I would point out something fun about his last entry: he says "The 1970's Pirates called, they want their uniform back," and the picture he used to illustrate it is clearly a 1984 Donruss card. Heh. (Poor old Johnny Ray....)

Joe Posnanski - excellent baseball (and other stuff) long-form blogger, with lively and polite commenters for the most part. He's writing a book about the 1975 Reds, too.

Dirty Harry's Place - "a conservative look at film, punk." It can get awfully political out there, hence the "conservative look" part. I see where DH is comin' from. A great deal of the creative folk out there are lefties. I'm not convinced that there should be a "right" and "left" or a "liberal" and "conservative" movie review. Hey - it doesn't matter if you make good film, right? Sure, a lot of bad films get made simply because they adhere to the template the majority of Hollywood holds; likewise, a lot of bad films get made simply because they uphold solid Christian values - sadly, none of them seem to have anything to do with strong writing, good acting, or production values.*

* I'm going to borrow a "pozterisk," as Joe Posnanski's commenters call it - I think a tale is better off with a clear moral worldview, but 1. that's not all that it has to have, it has to be a GOOD tale; and 2. that doesn't mean cookie cutter or black-and-white or "things that cannot be said or shown." For me, it means that I can't play my audience for fools: I have to "play for keeps" with mystory. Whether it's a happy or tragic ending, the choices the characters make have to be true choices THEY make, and not ones I make for them in order to get to where I want to go; or worse, where I want the audience to go. Playing fair by my story will automatically mean I play fair with anyone who reads it, but manipulating things will be noticed and resented.**

To be honest, I'm of two minds about it. I don't like politics ├╝ber alles. I don't particularly enjoy it when the whole production screeches to a halt to present The Point - if the creators are doing their job, the audience will get the point without a billboard, voiceover, and swelling soundtrack. Being a sinner, I will admit that I am far more annoyed at messages I dispute, but even those I agree with had better not take me out of the story. And agree or not, make me think, OK? Make the point an organic part of the story, and don't subvert the entire thing simply as a framing device for your Profound Theme for Important People. It's lying to your paying customers - you sucker us in with the promise of a well-told tale, and then fob off your shopworn term paper ethics on us. (As I said at DH's, I'm getting mental hypertension from all the salt I have to take while trying to just enjoy everyday life.)

DH is consciously trying to stand against people who shower heaps of praise on turkey-feather projects simply because they cater to the Correct Way of Thinking. He will drop everything to do an explicitly political post, and then drop everything else to do a pure film post - top five lists galore, open threads, etc. In the end, I haven't blogrolled him because ultimately I want a film look at film, not a liberal, conservative, or salt-water-taffy look at it, though I have blown off some frustration in his comboxes. It's just... well, I know what I'm getting into when I go there, it doesn't waylay me, but I can't live off of that alone.

(Besides, Sheila is fantastic on film from an artist's perspective.)

** Uh-oh - double Poz. I feel the need to add that I've always thought of God as more than merely a scientist or engineer, but a great artist and lover of poetry, beauty, and creativity. He invented all those things. So, a good tale has always been, to me, hand-in-glove with the mystery of free will for us. A great story is great in proportion to how closely it approaches the freedom God gives us while still "getting where He wants to go."

His story - the one in which we play our parts - is by definition "for keeps" because it carries real consequences for us and everyone around us; effects that definitely happen "live" like a stage show. We can't do the third scene of Act II over if we flub our lines or forget our motivation and sleepwalk through our role! It determines our eternal destiny as well - though there's the hope that, in His mercy, he can correct a few things post-production. And it also helps explain why te Author doesn't "make us do stuff" or magically undo our real choices. He will act Himself if He pleases, and sometimes the effects of what we do are mitigated, bu for the most part He isn't interested in ruining the story He wishes to tell for us, and to us, and through us. He is playing fair with us as we want to be played fair with in our art. We are offered that part in His creation (and thank God, we don't have to audition for the lead). To refuse that offer is, in effect, to trade our "walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage."

Rich's ComixBlog - featuring the completely awesome "Ten Doctors" webcomic. Yes, that's Ten Doctors Who. (Ten Time Lords leaping, nine K-9s rolling, eight Daleks zapping, seven companions yellng, six Tardii vanishing.... FIVE SONIC SCREWDRIVERS!) (Ba-dum BUM BUM) Just fun, well-done stuff. Even the special effects are better than some parts of the original run.

The Superest! - apparently, there's a game called "Your Team, My Team" in which someone thinks of a hero with a specific, narrowly-defined power, and someone else thinks of a hero with an ability that specifically defeats only that hero. The more specific and arcane the ability, the better - "My guy can turn into any animal" is pretty dumb; "my guy turns into a purple-throated thrush every Tuesday at 8 am" is much better. (And MY guy is a taxidermist specializing in purple-throated thrushes who only works Tuesdays, and HIS guy compulsively steals - but only the miniature glass eyeballs used in taxidermy, etc etc. And unexpected defeats are preferable to obvious ones.)

Matthew Sutter and Kevin Cornell have been playing this game for almost a year, and their creations (with the accompanying pictures) are a riot. (Thanks to Ricki for leading me to their site!)

The way she shined

Mr. Bingley heard it from Lisa, whose idea it was. I am pleased to follow their lead. The following was first posted on September 11, 2006, as part of the 2996 Project. (Mr. B reports that the site may be down, so he found a mirror site. Thanks, man.)

Many of the Pantheon also did tributes. Please take the time to visit them; the link will take you to the re-post if it's up, or to the original:

Michael J Pascuma at the Sheila Variations
Tom Burnett and Michael J Simon at It Comes In Pints?
Sylvia and John Resta at Coalition of the Swilling
Thomas W Kelly, FNDY at Trunk Full O Junk
Remembering Benito Valentine at Half a Pica; and Cullen's post today on the Anniversary
Jason Michael Cefalu at It Binds the Tuna
James M Roux at Grizzly Mama
Andrea Della Bella and others at A Wandering Confluence
And this general memorial from the Judge Report (and his post today)

On September 7, 2001, Angela Houtz joined her family in Ocean City, MD, to make holiday. She had turned 27 the previous day, but work had prevented her from arriving sooner. Angela worked as a senior analyst for the Office of Naval Intelligence. On her birthday she had still been aboard the USS DeWert; the next day she made her way back north from Florida and arrived in time for the celebration.

Her uncle, Sheriff Frederick Davis, was taking office as President of the Maryland Sheriff's Association that weekend, so there was a lot to celebrate. The family spent the weekend; at her birthday, Angela, as was traditional, wore the family Birthday Hat while she opened her gifts.

Come Monday, she was back at work at the Pentagon. Intelligent and dedicated, in nine short years she had progressed from salutatorian of Maurice McDonough High School, to an English degree from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, to her civilian work in the Navy. Like thousands of others on the morning of Tuesday, September 11th, she was at work when the word came through: first one, and then the other of the towers of the World Trade Center had been struck with airliners.

At the Pentagon, everything changed. Angela joined a meeting in the C-ring with several officials, other analysts, and military officers. They were still there when American Airlines flight 77 skimmed across the lawn and into their wing of the building. She joined many others - financiers, insurers, staff, the cooks and busboys of Windows on the World, the airline crews, firefighters and police and military - suddenly killed while simply about their business; but her business consisted of understanding the nature of the attack and helping to organize a response. Angela Houtz was among the very first to fall in defense of the United States in the current conflict.

She received full honors: a military funeral, the Distinguished Civilian Award of Merit, and a letter of condolence from President Bush; more importantly, an outpouring of the great respect and love from everyone who had known her. In an article for VOA News, Commander David Radi spoke about this respect:

“It’s a bond that approaches a brother or sister and although Angie was a civilian, she was a shipmate to us. I was proud to call her that. The way she shined. I put her eventually in a position where we had never had a civilian. It was because the trust I had in her; but more importantly, the more senior people in the Navy had in her. She would stand a watch in the off hours in particular. She would be the eyes and ears of the Navy in our command center. And there could be no better forerunner for that in the civilian world of Naval Intelligence than Angela Houtz.”

The service took six hours. If that had been all that there was to the affair, it would certainly be enough, but her father, Robert Houtz, speaking to the Boothbay Register, told of more: "Angie had had two full-time jobs, one for humanity and one for her country."

Many remember her now for her life for the country, but those who love her remember her other life: an active young woman, working with her own church and the Salvation Army for homeless relief; a lover of puns, a tutor of children; a joy to her family and friends. She was equally at home taking classes in dance or organizing food drives. And her finest tribute comes directly from Mrs. Julie Shontere, her mother:

“Most important in her life, above all else, was her faith in God. ... She gave so much to us all. She continues to teach me through her journals and spirit. ... I feel blessed beyond words to have had the honor to be her mom.”

Cmdr. Radi made a point to mention her faith in connection with the position of trust she had earned among the Naval staff; even people who had barely known her were dearly touched by Angela. Amy Moffitt of Washington DC met Angela only twice, and said: “She lived really vividly in everything. She was very present, she was very alive. ... There was not a person she met who didn’t go, ‘Wow,’ that was awakened by her presence, because she was so awake, so alive, so there.” All of the quotes about Angela in the sources below reveal the same compassion and the same vitality.

It is just and right to remember and to memorialize the loss that so many shared that day; but it is incomplete unless we can also celebrate the lives that were left behind. Angela Houtz gave joy and dedication that long outlive the events of one September afternoon. Her service to country did not end at the doors of the Pentagon. It is an honor to be recogized at your funeral by a president for your work; it is also honor to be recognized on a concert line by a passing homeless man for your generosity and mercy. Many hunger after the one sort of honor, but the other can only be given to those who pour themselves out in service, who give cheerfully of whatever they have, be it time, money, toil, or just a smile for a sad friend.

In celebrating Angela's life, we celebrate a woman who knew that joy only grows when you give it away. The lasting image to recall is of her happy family, laughing and snapping pictures of Angela in the Birthday Hat, unwrapping gifts - it is of they that she would be thinking of, and it is altogether fitting to respect her wishes and think of them as well. Today is but the anniversary of one moment; the full life of Angela Houtz endures beyond it, and defeats it. That life is real and lasting, and it abides through the many people she loved to the full.

Her friends and family have established a scholarship fund in Angela's name; more information is here. The comments section is open for anyone else who has a story or a memory of Angela, or a link to a tribute not mentioned above. My deepest thanks to Mrs. Julie Shontere, who was kind enough to provide much of the above information first-hand; and also to the following sources:

The Chicago Tribune, for this remembrance
The UMBC Alumni Newsletter, Summer 2002, for this profile
The Boothbay Register, October 4, 2001, for this article by Duey Graham
The VOA News, October 22, 2001, for this article by Betty van Etten
The Maryland State Archives
The Defend America Network
The September 11 Victim's Memorial

Meet Me In The Stairwell

Be still and know (Psalm 46:10).

You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news on September 11, 2001. Neither will I.

I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say “Good-Bye.” I held his fingers steady as he dialed. I gave him the peace to say, “Honey, I am not going to make it, but it’s O.K. I am ready to go.” I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to her children. I held her up as she tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn’t coming home that night.

Click the link to read it all...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I felt that all the way here in Jersey

Our blogpal WunderKraut has a running feature called "I Wish I Had Written That." Today's Lileks is certain to make the cut. Heck, I wish I had written it, too - especially the fun parts.

The subject is an essay written for the CBC in Canada, basically calling Sarah Palin a hick from nowhere appealing to backwoods cousin-wedding gun-toters. [By "essay written" I mean "screechy elitest pamphlet droppings an eighth-grader would be embarrassed to claim."] This sat ill with the Mighty Lileks, who brought forth the enduring power of his awesome against the writer, one Heather Mallick - sort of like shooting a mosquito with a howitzer. The resulting dope-slap probably fooled half of Toronto into thinking there had been a minor earthquake.

Plenty of good stuff, including some fun bits:

"Cleverist” [sic] is a matter of opinion, but I’d suggest that when Mark Steyn gets a haircut, the shorn pieces fall to the floor and form, at random, cleverer observations in the form of Chinese characters.


Rural people generally don’t like cities. That’s why they’re rural. As opposed to certain urbanites, who love the rural, as long it’s all there and interesting with faded painted signs and lovely small towns with farms and antique shops in case they want to go for a drive and get some apples or a lamp or something. Aside from that, they can screw themselves.

And, the one that still has me suppressing peals of laughter:

I don’t know what “violently rich” means, except that it certain[ly] sounds bad – like you walked up to Tony Rezko and punched him until a nice house deal fell out of his pockets – but yes, most Americans want to be rich, at least as rich as Obama, and there is nothing wrong with this.

I could go through James Lileks' wastebasket and find stuff he sneezed that is better than my best work. I am not worthy!

These are our (automated) readers

HaloScan is excellent at screening most spam, but every once in a while the bots put one past the goalie.

You know the saying: better to fisk one message than to curse the spambots - or, something. In any case, it's an opportunity for mockery advancing the dialogue, in order to get a cheap laugh further understanding and easy post, woo hoo! build bridges.

Hi, I am the webmaster of [redacted].

Oh dear, a snag right off. I can't post the link, you know. It defeats the purpose of erasing your spam comment and moc- whoops, advancing our dialogue.

I find your blog very interesting to read.

Thanks! Which were your favorite parts?

Your way of writing can magnet and lure a lot of visitors/readers.

Obviously, it wasn't the grammar parts.

Would you be able to write about our product after visiting our site?

Would you be able to write about our posts after visiting ours?

Or if you have a friend who is interested to try our product, we can send you one.

Aw... they want to send me a friend. Now I kind of feel bad about doing this.

From this, you can gain insights and share your friend's experience to us.

First insight - what, exactly, is this product? I've got a funny feeling that the product is a keylogger or some other malware designed to defraud visitors of their money and identity. Let's save time and say that our friend's experience would be unrepeatable in polite company, and go from there.

I would really be interested to know if you would be able to post your findings/review in your blog, it may be a positive or negative one, with links to our site.

Glad to oblige!

Regards, [completely generic name], [some email]

This much I'll do for you, Generic Name. The ISP address from your comment is, which checks out as coming from the Philippines. There's nothing better to do in the Philippines at 2-ish in the morning than to spam obscure blogs?


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Crazy Nancy talks with the Bishop

With apologies to William Butler Yeats.

San Fran Nan’s bishop
wants to have a word with her in regards to her part-time job as a Catholic theologian. I get the impression that after every bishop in the country jumped ugly on Pelosi, her bishop appears to have been shamed into taking action.

As an non-Catholic (Evangelical Protestant am I) I have no dog in this fight, but I have to wonder: What took these bishops so long? San Fran Nan, Rosary Joe Biden, Mario “the Pious” Cuomo, Uncle Teddy - not to forget Catholic GOPers like Tom Ridge, Rudy G and Aaaaahnold have been publicly in opposition to Church teachings about the sanctity of life since God was in boot camp.

What took them so long? I must plead ignorance as a non-Catholic, but if any of the above were members of my church my pastor would be all over them like Bill Clinton on a intern.

I know it’s tough for Catholics. The Church has a long tradition of social justice and peace which favors Dems, and among you, me and the blogosphere, if the Democrat Party went pro-life there wouldn’t be another Republican president in my lifetime. Heck, if the Dems ran a pro-life, secure borders guy against Crist in 2010 I might vote for him.

Forgive me for commenting on a fight that is not mine. The problem with evangelicals is that many of us are non-denominational. There is no evangelical Bishop or Pope. If Nancy Pelosi were in my church my pastor would have had a conversation with her years ago. But if she rejected my pastor’s correction, she could just leave and
emerge in another church.

The smartest guy in the room

Joe Biden, ladies and gentlemen:

MR. BROKAW: But if you, you believe that life begins at conception, and you've also voted for abortion rights...

SEN. BIDEN: No, what a voted against curtailing the right, criminalizing abortion. I voted against telling everyone else in the country that they have to accept my religiously based view that it's a moment of conception. There is a debate in our church, as Cardinal Egan would acknowledge, that's existed. Back in "Summa Theologia," when Thomas Aquinas wrote "Summa Theologia," he said there was no--it didn't occur until quickening, 40 days after conception. How am I going out and tell you, if you or anyone else that you must insist upon my view that is based on a matter of faith?

The good senator is a few weeks behind the times. Cardinal Egan has already acknowledged this "debate" in our church:

Like many other citizens of this nation, I was shocked to learn that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America would make the kind of statements that were made to Mr. Tom Brokaw of NBC-TV on Sunday, August 24, 2008. What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age.

Just update the title and the day of the interview, and it's the same press release. Did Biden think that referencing a different Doctor of the Church would change how this was going to go? He somehow missed what Cardinal Egan said regarding Speaker Pelosi's comments? Seriously - you'd think someone in the Democratic camp would pull him aside and say, "For pity's sake ixnay on the eologythay..." But that would be acknowledging that the evidence of the case is against them, and they are still emotionally invested in making this case: "closing the God gap" as Time Magazine put it a while back. They think the way to do that is to change Christianity to suit their own decisions, rather than change themselves in accord with sound teaching. It is the opposite of critical thinking, much less healthy formation of conscience.

Besides, this is not just a matter of faith, but of science. New life begins at conception. The debate was always about when God's part in conception - the creation and introduction of the soul - took place. That's what the Church has kicked around for centuries: not the actual presence of new life, which as a matter of morality has been protected by the Church since the first century AD, as outlined in the Didache. The teaching has always been that, whether or not the soul is present, the life is human and must be protected, not destroyed. And for this reason, His Eminence the Cardinal finished his statement thus:

Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.

Maybe Biden will notice it this time... or maybe another media-approved Catholic will give it another go with St. John Crysostom or something.

(big hat tip to CMR for the links - they've been all over this stuff)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Bucs fans say "No Mas"

The Buccaneers are having trouble selling out next Sunday's home game.

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers raised ticket prices back in February for the sixth year in a row, fans had to wonder whether there would be any end to the increases, especially with the economy putting so many on the injured-reserve list. Judging by sluggish ticket sales for the 2008 season, fans might have reached their limit.

Sales of Bucs tickets appear to have slowed this year after increases of as much as 30 percent for some seats and the demand that season-ticket holders renew 10-year seat licenses that can cost thousands of dollars.

The first home game against Atlanta on Sept. 14 is having trouble selling out, which means the sellout streak that started when Raymond James Stadium opened in 1998 could be in jeopardy.
What happened to the thousands of people on the waiting list for season tickets? Perhaps they joined veteran season-ticket holders who were shocked to learn they would have to re-pay a seat-deposit fee, which is gradually refunded over 10 years.

Many said never mind.

I thought there were a gazillion folks on the season ticket waiting list.

Many teams justify the seat license because they are building new stadiums. But the Bucs have s sweet deal with a publicly-owned joint. Throw in the fact that the Bucs are way under the salary cap (asking for more from fans while not investing in the team) and this may be the first Buc home game not on local TV in ten years.

NFL, meet the supply and demand curve.

Ina semi-related matter, I turned on NBC's Sunday night pregame show and saw Keith Olbermann. I turned it off. I was getting ill.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Depressing Music

On PBS last night I saw Australian Pink Floyd. This is a tribute band which plays the music of Pink Floyd. They sound like Pink Floyd, and kind of look like them as well. In October they will be at Ruth Eckerd Hall playing, in it's entirety, the 1979 Pink Floyd album "The Wall".

I hope the suicide hotlines are well staffed that night, because "The Wall" is one of the most depressing pieces of music ever created. These are talented guys, so they can effectively transmit their miseries to the listening audience. An example:

Day after day, love turns grey
Like the skin of a dying man.
Night after night, we pretend its all right
But I have grown older and
You have grown colder and
Nothing is very much fun any more.
And I can feel one of my turns coming on.
I feel cold as a razor blade,
Tight as a tourniquet,
Dry as a funeral drum.

Now, doesn't that just cheer you up? This is a double album. There are four sides of this stuff. I do not own this piece of music. The last time I listened to it for an extended period of time was about 15 years ago and I was looking for the rat poison afterwards.

Friday, September 05, 2008


Us Magazine is paying the price for it's Palin cover.

Us Weekly, which unlike People and OK!, chose a rather caustic cover line (“Babies, Lies and Scandal”) is said to have lost thousands of subscribers in just the first 24 hours following the printing of the issue.

“I’m hearing it’s 5,000, maybe more,” says one well-placed source in the industry. Another source claimed that as many as 10,000 readers have already cancelled their subscriptions. A spokesperson for Wenner Media, which publishes Us, says “it is completely false that we are losing 10,000 subscribers.” As for the 5,000 estimate, the spokesperson only said “that is false, too,” but wouldn’t comment further.

This is my favorite part (money phrase in bold)

Five thousand might not seem like a large number at first glance, but it’s significant in the context of Us’s printing schedule. The magazine goes to press Monday night, which means subscribers don’t receive their issues until Friday or Saturday. In other words, the cancellations are coming from subscribers who, in many cases, haven’t even gotten their hands on the actual issue.

“When Us went to print Monday night, it looked like the ticket was falling apart," says one magazine editor. “They went to print thinking Palin was dead in the water, and their mistake was thinking everyone who reads Us is a Democrat, when they’re not. Readers are loyal, but the base of a political party is more loyal. They don’t need to read the magazine when there’s so much press around it to know to be upset.”

Olbermann was waving this issue around on PMSNBC. Apparently people were so PO'ed that they were cancelling subscriptions before the magazine got to them.

Myself, I lost my mind. The St. Pete Times called me Thursday asking if I wanted home delivery. I told him I would sooner eat the entrails of a dead rhino before I paid money for his paper. I wrote an email to my local NBC affiliate explaining to them why mittens and thermal underwear will be worn in Hell before I watched news on that station.

And I had to confess to my pastor that I was in love with a married woman from Alaska.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Barracuda? How about country music?

Check out the bitter clinging in this shot, kids!
I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man
I'm going to show him what a little girls made of
Gunpowder and lead

-country singer Miranda Lambert


[crunching guitar riff]

So this is the end
For Obama/Biden
And the Truther brigades
She smiles like the sun
Smart with a gun
Has the brains to get the job done

She's run a town and a state
All they have is a campaign slate
They'd better watch out before it's too late -

Back in Chi-town
Barack gets down
Racists, felons, and mad bombers
Was it just wrong
Going along
If it could get him elected?

But now hope and change don't do the trick
They'll go after the children, quick
They're gonna sling that mud nice and thick
At the Sarahcuda

Sell me, sell you lies and dread
Try to save their lefty cred
With Kos Kids and the DU

Silly fools!

[bitchen guitar solo]

Well the hope and change is faux
It's lookin' bad for the Big O
They're gonna crash and burn at the polls
Ooooh.... Sarahcuda!

Darn it, Rush probably already did it better, but I may as well put it out there. Apologies if it's already been done - and thanks to Rachl Lukis! for the new nickname of our completely awesome VP candidate. (And the video at that link? First - language alert. Second - no beverages while watching. It's brilliant.)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The eternal question

Since the Spider is South Jersey born and raised, while I hail from the wilds of Lawn Guy Land, we get an interesting Philly/New York athletic conversation going on from time to time. One joke between us is that the term "Mets" is incomplete, with the full term being "New York wife-beating, coke-snorting, atheist Mets."

This isn't as goofy as it sounds. These cities each served as the capital of the entire US before Washington DC was built. If there had been professional sports in those days, one could well imagine Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin arguing about their cities' baseball fortunes between constitutional debates. (It's fun to imagine Hamilton as a newfangled stat guy - OPS+, VORP, WHIP - with the horrified old-school Virginians writing broadsheets extolling sac bunts and accusing Hamilton of selling out the soul of the game.) Instead, they had to settle for debating a national bank and the Report on Manufactures.

For the Spider, he best remembers the NHL's Devils as a very bad team called the Colorado Rockies. (As compared to today, when kids remember the Colorado Rockies as a very bad baseball team.) The guys to root for were the Flyers, along with the Eagles, Phillies, and 76ers. From 1974-1983 those four teams had a remarkable run:

'74, '75 Flyers - Stanley Cup champions
'76, '80 Flyers - lost Stanley Cup finals
'76-'78 Phillies - NL East division winners
'80 Phillies - World Series champions
'80 Eagles - lost Super Bowl
'77, '80, '82 Sixers - lost in NBA finals
'83 Sixers - NBA champions
'83 Phillies - NL pennant winner, lost in WS

That is one of the best sports decades of any city anywhere. Everywhere you turned you had Hall of Fame talent: those were the Phillies of Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton, and who borrowed Pete Rose for the occasion; the Sixers of Dr. J himself, Julius Erving; the Flyers of Bobby Clarke and Bernie Parent. The Eagles maybe didn't have anyone on par with those players, but just think - had they beaten the Raiders that day, we may have wound up with 20 years of EA Sports' "Dick Vermeil Football."

Now, I diverted from the standard Long Island pantheon, which usually goes Isles-Knicks-Mets-Jets. I'm not a big basketball fan, so the Knicks were never an interest for me (nor the Nets a viable option in any case), but my big thing was rooting for the Giants, not the Jets. Mostly it had to do with preferring my quarterbacks to be more upright than Kenny O'Brien usually was, with a large helping of annoyance with Mark Gastineau's sack dance. The guy literally had an episode every time he made a big play; I thought that he surely had to have a wallet jammed in his mouth every play to keep from swallowing his own tongue by halftime.

I got in just in time. From 1980 to 1991, the New York sports scene was pretty good to me:

'80-'83 Isles - four straight Stanley Cups
'86, '90 Giants - Super Bowl champions
'86 Mets - World Series champions

The Knicks were mostly nowhere then, but what did I care for basketball? Six titles in eleven years is pretty sweet. Hall of Famers all over - LT (the original and only) and Phil Simms; Mike Bossy, Denis Potvin, Billy Smith, Bryan Trottier, and Clark Gillies; and more sadly, the Mets who could have been all-time greats, Doc Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. It's tough to give an edge - the only head-to-head meeting goes to the Isles over the Flyers in 1980, but Philly also had Rocky I-III during their ten years, and that is a considerable plus.

However, I've just discovered an edge that may put my side back over the top. Go to this story and compare the various "beloved fans" of the football squads, as picked by the teams themselves.

The Eagles, who had a working court and jailhouse in their old stadium to handle their fan base on game days, nominated a Judge Dredd knockoff.

The Giants nominated Sister Carol Ann Nawracaj, who has rooted for the team since I was two.

Advantage, Big Blue.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Churchgoers are sinning, but losers are winning

So - yeah, why so grouchy?

Well, it was a rough time at the old hockey tournament. We had a great time the whole weekend, except for the actual hockey games. Bad times. It's no fun getting whupped on, especially since my job as goalkeeper is to prevent whuppings.

Then I got the whole tempest in a combox going. Or maybe it was the other guy, or both of us - at this point who cares, because it's petty and stupid. I would say something like "I can't believe I got so worked up about it," save for two things: one, I kind of can believe it. Second, I'm not really worked up about that. I'm worked up about fifteen other things and that whole thing just happened at the wrong time.

Bad fly!

Luckily for me, the Best Blog Game Mistress ever was coming up big in a big situation. Sitting on my porch this evening was a box of award goodness, thanks to Faramir's having kill'd with a sword the various leading ladies of professional tennis. (Figuratively.) Enclosed was a lovely card and a couple of other goodies.

There are THREE awesome things in this picture.

The sculpture thing did not come in the box, by the way. That was the cake topper for our wedding. I put it in the picture because my Ladybug and I are planning on sharing the coffee, which is a decaf blend; and also from love for my wife as demonstrated in the conversation below. The cup is a Boheme original, and its waxy bottom will never know a beverage: we shall keep it in honor.

And we both loved the card -

Ladybug: I thought you were Nightfly.
Me: Yup, but for the game I was Faramir.
Ladybug: So I get to be Eowyn?
Me: Yup.
Ladybug: That rocks. She was much better than that elf chickie.
Me: You're thinking of Liv Tyler from the movie, right?
Ladybug: Yup. Elf Tyler. Quit crying.

Seriously, she is the best wife ever, right? From now on I can never call her Arwen; she's Elf Tyler, the daughter of Agent Smith.

So... Faramir wins! Hooray for Faramir! And thanks a million, Tracey.

The Latest Palin Scandal

She prays to the Messiah. Not the Obamessiah - that would be okay. She prays to the other Messiah.

As questions have been raised over how thoroughly Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign vetted Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for the V.P. slot, it seems the McCain campaign was unaware of a video -- available online -- in which Palin talks about God's role in U.S. military action overseas, according to a political operative familiar with the situation.

I'm curious as to the identity of the political operative. A Dem? Heck, it may even be the PMSNBC reporter himself.

I'm starting to lose control. I am about to call my local NBC station and tear someone's ear off.

Trying not to lose my temper

The Creative Minority Report guys are good people. They also don't deserve a pissing match in their comments section, so I'm trying to be civil.

It started here. A fellow in the comments to that thread mentioned that Palin's lack of experience was troubling to him...

Obama aside; Biden aside; DailyKos and their illogic aside; even McCain aside--I just don't see myself voting for Palin. I just don't think she has "it" to run the free world if it came to that...

I happened along later and replied:

jon - you're not voting for Palin, you're voting for McCain. Palin may never serve a day as President even if the ticket wins two terms. On the other hand, voting for Obama based on Palin's supposed inability to lead in a tight spot is akin to hiding in a lion's den because you're afraid of being scratched by a house cat.

Well, you know, I thought I had myself a winning metaphor there, until one of their regular commenters took it upon himself to give me a civics lesson.

That said, both are on the ballot. Don't believe me? Check the ballot in November. Not one name. Two names. You are voting for both, not just one. This is verifiable. This is fact. Can we please stick to that?

Thank you David L Alexander! I didn't much like the condescension. I figured it was plain from context what I meant - you are not voting for Palin FOR PRESIDENT. She may never serve a day in that capacity. McCain is the one to compare to Obama.

(Of course, if Obama insists on drawing that comparison.... heheheheheheh.)

In any case, I was miffed and said so.

DLA - I am not six. I know they're both on the ballot. I also know in which order they appear, and in which offices they would serve. Obama's lack of experience - heck, his lack of about everything presidential - looms much larger that does Palin's experience and skill, given that he would be in the Big Chair from Day One while Palin may spend eight years presiding over the Senate. Hence my subsequent comment about voting for Obama because one feels Palin isn't up to a job that she may never hold anyway. Besides, I thought it was clever. ;)

Because, you know, picking that one statement from its context in the exchange and making me seem like a doofus? Yeah, that was fairly crappy. Based solely on his online work, I expected better of him, though I doubt he expected better of me, nor cared one way or the other. He did care enough to reply to the above, thus:

nightfly wrote: "DLA - I am not six. I know they're both on the ballot."
nightfly also wrote: "jon - you're not voting for Palin, you're voting for McCain."
I rest my case.

What case was that? The case of incredible nitpicking pissantery? I didn't think I had to be so painfully obvious, especially after going back to explain the initial comment. And now I get to see both of the comments sliced up and reassembled to suit someone else's willful stupidity.

Sigh. Sure, it's thin-skinned of me. This guy doesn't seem like a jerk, nor a fool, but what do I make of the above? I didn't piss in his cornflakes, so why is he pissing in mine?

In any case, somebody as obviously smart as he is should have understood what I meant in the context of the discussion - and a Catholic brother in Christ should not be so condescending. Nor is it particularly honest to ignore the point of my comments; nor is it particularly charitable to take sentences out of context from different points of the discussion and put them together to intentionally make me look worse than I am. Was it necessary to insist on a completely by-the-letter reading of one part in my statement and turn it into the focus of the conversation?

Yet another reason why I will never run for anything more important than a bus.

Voting for Hope and Change

Last Tuesday, I went to vote in the Florida Primary.

As a proud NPAer (that’s No Party Affiliation), I had a very short ballot. A few circuit court judges and a few school board members. But I had one race I wasn’t expecting to vote on, being that it was a Dem state representative primary on my NPA ballot.

Here’s how it got there. My district is the hood, the ghetto. Predominately African American and poor. I was probably the only Republican in the district until I repented. Clearly, the Dems are running unopposed , and when that happens the primary becomes open for all like a general election. My problem is that I knew very little about these two schmoes.

As I was walking to my polling place, a nine-year-old girl gave me a brochure for one of the candidates, the challenger Warren Hope Dawson. It featured a picture of him with the Obamessiah, which may have helped him with most voters here but not me.

Then I looked at the back, which listed the many shortcomings of the incumbent, Betty Reed. Here are some of them:

She failed to speak truth to power in Tallahassee. Did I tell you that my district is predominately African American? Maybe if Mr Dawson would invest in a new calendar he would know that it’s not 1968 anymore.

She was confused and voted for Republican sponsored vouchers, which take money away from the public schools in District 59. So this woman votes to give poor black kids a chance to get out of inner-city public schools and that is a bad thing? Mr Dawson is letting the voters know that, if elected, he will be the teachers union’s prison girlfriend. Speaking of schools, it appears that the writer of this flyer didn’t do so well there. The flyer describes Betty Reed as a “christian” which in my native language is capitalized. Also “Republican-sponsored” (saying ‘Republican’ in my district is like showing Dracula the cross) is an adjective modifying the word “vouchers” and should be hyphenated.

Her current campaign is largely financed by organizations and persons from outside of District 59 - many of whom are from outside the state of Florida. And Mr Dawson, so will your next campaign if you should get to Tallahassee and hook up to the gravy train.

Well, it appears that not even a photo of the Obamessiah and a promise to speak truth to power was enough. Betty Reed cleaned his clock.

Springer Nation

Enjoying a day off here in Labor Day. I had nothing planned. Cleaning up the apartment and trying to get Verizon out here for the third try to look at the static coming through my phone line. Living in the hood with lowly dial-up means I am cut off from the web until it gets fixed.

Since I am home on a weekday I saw things in TV I don’t normally see. For example, I watched the last ten minutes of the Jerry Springer Show.

Some interesting trivia: Thirty years ago Jerry Springer was the mayor of Cincinnati, OH. This was after checks he had written to prostitutes turned up in a police investigation. (Whorism & Politics, together again).

Also, over the years I’ve heard Jerry Springer being interviewed on talk radio, and he thinks his own show is a joke.

Today’s episode involved a guy who left is wife for her aunt. The audience makes no pretense about taking these people seriously. These were rural people (isn’t it always) and when the aunt’s accent got a little deep the crowd started chanting, “Speak English!” The show ended with the audience dancing on stage to Cotton-Eyed Joe.

Throw in the ads for Maury, featuring an oldie but goodie: a young girl awaiting the results of a paternity test to determine which of the three guys on stage is the father of her child.

My question is, why would someone degrade themselves like this? Is the money that good? Or maybe these people are actors? If I had these troubles the last thing I would do would be to display my miseries before a TV audience.