Thursday, January 31, 2008

I'll Believe It..

...when I see it.

ABC News' Eloise Harper Reports: Senator Hillary Clinton, in an interview with ABC News' Cynthia McFadden for ABC News' Nightline, was asked about President Clinton’s controversial comments about race and Senator Obama in the past weeks. Clinton apologized for her husband.
“I think whatever he said which was certainly never intended to cause any kind of offense to anyone,” Clinton said, “if it did give offenses then I take responsibility and I’m sorry about that.”
"Can you control him?" asked McFadden.
“Oh of course,” Clinton replied.

I'm a single guy, and I may be speaking out of turn, but I would rather be single than live in the fresh hell that must be the Clinton marriage. Thankfully, I see examples both in real life and the blogosphere of guys who are doing it right and are experiencing marital bliss.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Wacky World of Muslim Dating

Instead of Eharmony, it's E-hijab.

A Wall Street stockbroker fears for her life after she rebuffed a Brooklyn imam she met on a Muslim dating Web site.
In an explosive $50 million lawsuit that blows the lid off the wacky world of Muslim dating in New York, Cherine Allaithy alleges the religious leader promised he would make her one of four future wives and boasted of a cousin in al Qaeda. When she dumped him, he trashed her reputation in the Arab press.
It gets better.
In June, she claims in court documents, Saleh proposed marriage, telling her she would have to start wearing a veil and be subservient to him.
When Allaithy rejected the sheik's proposal, she alleges, he suggested they have a temporary marriage, or mu'ta, so they could have sex without committing a sin.
I've heard of this temporary Muslim marriage from other sources, but it looks like there is no vacancy at the Mu'ta Motel for poor Sheik Saleh.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Book 'em, Danno

Huzzah! A book meme from Sheila! (She didn't tag me, but one of her taggees is on a temporary hiatus, so... I'm pinch-hitting.)

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

This is one of the few problems I don't have. If someone says "You've got to read this," I usually do. I am much more resistant to movies than books, and especially adaptations of favorite books. With a book I can curl up comfortably, read at my own pace, re-read things I want to understand better, flip around, and what have you. In a movie the pictures and the pacing are forced on me. For example, I refused to see The Fellowship of the Ring when it came out. I eventually relented by the time The Two Towers hit, and while I enjoyed all three, I was also right: they left out some things I felt important, AND tinkered with the characters to an uncomfortable degree - especially Faramir.

If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?

Wow. There are probably dozens, and it would depend heavily on which event we were discussing. To me, one of the greatest joys of a good book is the feeling of living this question in reverse. The characters are the real people, and you are the work of imagination, brought to life to join them for a short time.

Now, if you want an actual answer, my thought is a holiday dinner, where people can talk and laugh and have drinks for hours and there's no worries about getting up for work the next day. This is assuming that Sherlock Holmes would likely decline, and take Dr. Watson with him: I'm going to invite Anne Shirley, David "Puddn'head" Wilson, and Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy (which I know is cheating, but do you think they'd come separately? So there).

I would be completely unable to keep up, and it would be completely awesome.

(Borrowing shamelessly from the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde): you are told you can’t die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realise it’s past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?

Well, I've already read "Moo" by Jane Smiley, so that whole immortality thing? Yeah, that ain't happening.

Come on, we’ve all been there. Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you’ve read, when in fact you’ve been nowhere near it?

Sheila's answer to this was pretty funny. My story? Well, we were assigned a paper in Exposition and Argument; my book was "The Wretched of the Earth" by Frantz Fanon. I browsed it enough to grasp about a third of the idea, and then totally weaseled out of the assignment by writing a short play representing a debate between Fanon and a fictional US Ambassador to Algeria. I still can't believe that I even tried something so pathetic; nor that I scraped a B out of the farce. The professor helpfully noted that I seemed to misinterpret some of what Fanon was saying, and I should pick a book more within my abilities next time.

As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realise when you read a review about it/go to ‘reread’ it that you haven’t? Which book?

I've had the reverse, where I've forgotten entirely that I read something, and then constantly realized "Hey! I know this part!" upon re-reading. The closest to this, though, is my experience with "The Three Mustketeers." I've read an abridged version of it, wonderfully illustrated (not a comic but an illustrated book, about 100 pages or so). It was actually very good. I wish I still had the thing, as I've tried to find it since and been thwarted. But not only can I not find that, but I find the actual Three Musketeers to be somewhat less crisp than the "good bits" version. Now that I'm older I need to try again.

You’re interviewing for the post of Official Book Advisor to some VIP (who’s not a big reader). What’s the first book you’d recommend and why? (if you feel like you’d have to know the person, go ahead and personalise the VIP)

Tough one. Of course, I take for granted that everyone ought to be reading their Bible, so that doesn't need my recommendation. I think I'll just start handing out poetry anthologies.

A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?

Well, now. Only reading? I'd love to be able to speak these languages also. I think my first choice would be Russian, like Sheila, because of the richness of the literature. It would definitely be worth it to read guys like Dostoyevsky and Chekhov in the original. Second, I'd take Italian, since I've always been ashamed that I don't know the language of the country where all my ancestors came from. Third, Japanese, just because.

A mischievious fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread one a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?

"The 500 Hats of Bartholemew Cummins." It's excellent, and it's short so I won't get absolutely bored plowing through it over and over.

I know that the book blogging community, and its various challenges, have pushed my reading borders. What’s one bookish thing you ‘discovered’ from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?

Here, my wings are tipped to the one and only Sheila O'Malley: a prodigious reader and a prolific (and great) writer. Her blog got me reading more poetry, taught me a lot about getting more out of what I read, and has also gotten me to commit to reading James Joyce. Yes, this is my shame - in a criminal case of bowing to the literary zeitgeist, my high school and college assigned me exactly ONE James Joyce tale - his short story "The Dead." That's IT. (Come to think of it, I had to get my Jane Austen on my own too.) A lot of what people have always considered part of the classical canon of Western Literature was ignored for trendier modern work; not that it's bad to read new things, but to ignore the giants? No Joyce, no Austen, no Victor Hugo; no Hemingway, even? Whew.

That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she’s granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leatherbound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favourite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

This library is designed for reading comfort and ease of use. All of the furniture is plush and relaxing and tasteful - there are private rooms with recliners and ottomans, and larger rooms where groups can lounge on couches and talk about their books as loudly as they want without fear of disturbing anyone, since the rugs are all deep and the walls muffle everything going on outside. There are fireplaces and good lighting, solid wooden tables with plenty of space to stack books, coasters for your mugs of what-have-you, and a small stone-flagged kitched where drinks and light snacks are prepared by a skilled staff of grandparents, just the way you like it, dearie.

There is a research section, and computers for lookups - and Google and Wiki are always correct. Left-click opens a new browser window for you, and right-click tells you exactly what room and shelf holds the book if you'd rather just read the thing properly. There is a special section here for literary criticism: the authors themselves on their work, other books, and life in general.

The books themselves are never mis-shelved, always look and smell perfectly like good old books, and are printed on special paper that can neither rip nor stain. The shelves are recessed so nothing sticks out into the room and one can walk freely. They have ladders on wheels in tracks so you can safely reach the books on high shelves. The free-standing bookcases in the middle are cherry and mahogany, and they don't go all the way to the ceiling, so nobody gets too claustrophobic. And there are blank spots on the walls for art, and windows looking out on the woods and the mountains.

There is an actual card catalogue right in the middle; the cards are printed on the same paper as the pages of the books. And there is an official cat of the library that nobody is ever allergic to, and who knows almost as much as the librarian, but will never tell your secrets. She always has the best advice, expressed entirely in purring.

For those who want a break, there is also a room with chess sets, Scrabble, sketch pads with pastels, pencils, and charcoal (we're always looking for new artwork); and there is a children's section with the classic edition of every great kid's book, lots of bright colors, instructions on how to use the card catalogues and find things, and Legos, because every kid should stop to build things every once in a while. For the same reason, adults caught sneaking in to read or play shall not be reprimanded, as long as they share.

Programming note

The Spider's been hauling a lot of the bricks around here, for which I am quite grateful. There are a number of reasons - one of which he noted in the comments - but since he's been getting a lot more hits on his posts than I have, it's rather helped more than hurt.

One thing that's slowing me down started here. It is a moving and well-done post from Nina, and it called up a lot in my own heart. I was going to link it two weeks ago, but decided that this was the sort of thing that deserved a little privacy. Now yes - I know, it's on a public blog and everything - but still, a public blog written anonymously by someone who has become a friend, and it felt wrong trumpeting the post from the rooftops.

So, why post it now and bring it all up? (Jerk.) First, to illustrate my difficulty; second, to quote something that took me quite off guard when I read it:
Here is the part of the post where Nightfly gasps audibly and says, 'Oh, Nina, no... you did not say that.' Sorry, 'fly. I cannot pretend to have responded well to all this material for spiritual growth.

Hm, thought I. That is quite a compliment. I was surprised and touched that a cyber-friend of short acquaintance would think so well of me - and know how to gibe me a little at the same time. I should comment and thank Nina, thought I.

Now, this is where things get kind of stupid. (By things, I mean ME.)

Immediately I thought of an objection. So it's all about you, right? She's pouring out her heart about her father and that's all you can say?

Well, no. Gosh, that would be terrible. But I can understand how she feels. I should be more supportive of her post.

Oh, well that's even better! Go right ahead and pontificate about someone else's personal life.

NO! That's not what I meant!
Sure. Like anyone will know that.
No, really.
Aaaargh! All right, just an email then.
That's not a bad idea.
OK, I'll get right on it.
Yes, I think Nina will really appreciate the personal intrusion.
Righ - uh. What?
Just barge in! Really, it's fine.

Well, everyone knows by now what happened. I didn't comment, didn't write, didn't link, just prayed and let it go. Or at least, I let it go - but The Internal Scold decided that causing the problem wasn't enough; it had to get bigger and bigger.

Now what?
You still ignoring Nina?
Oh, are you kidding me?
So you don't have an answer!
This is so middle school...
Yeah, you'd think you'd be more mature by now.
[unprintable response]

In the end, I was kicking myself. (Told you this got really stupid.) (By this, I mean ME.) Truth is, one of my worst habits is drawing abstract morals from particular problems. Then I start writing, and after I'm done and all stupidly proud of myself, one of two things happens.

1. I realize that I've been preaching at a real person with a real problem, who is now hurt.
2. I realize that I'm the real person and I just convicted myself in the dock with my alleged brilliance. (And I spelled something wrong.)

Well, I'm not going to do that this time! Ha!
Aren't you forgetting something?
Probably. Wish it was you.
Heh. No - in the post. She mentioned you specifically.
Well, DUH. That's how you got loose.
It was very kind of her.
Of course it was!
And now you're ignoring her.
[unprintable response]
No, seriously. She's going to think that you really WERE offended.

GAH. (Jerk.) So - two weeks later, long after all the intelligent and sensible people have moved on, wondering what in hell I'm going on about, I'm working on something. Hope to have it done soon, but this weekend is similarly busy.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Vatican has cable...

…or maybe the dish. Because B16 didn’t get this from reading Thomas Aquinas.

Pope Benedict called on the media on Thursday to practise "info-ethics", saying it was often used irresponsibly to spread violence and impose "distorted models" of life.

In his message for the Catholic Church's World Communications Day, Benedict said that while the media did much good, it was also often used for ideological reasons and tried to create reality rather than report it.
"When communication loses its ethical underpinning and eludes society's control, it ends up no longer taking into account the centrality and inviolable dignity of the human person," he said in the three-page message.

Apparently, Papa-Ratzi has been watching TMZ and Entertainment Weekly:

Under Benedict and his predecessor John Paul, the Vatican has often accused the media of promoting consumerism and elements of lifestyles that it considers unethical, such as pre-marital sex and homosexuality.

"While claiming to represent reality, it can tend to legitimise or impose distorted models of personal, family or social life," Benedict said.

"Moreover, in order to attract listeners and increase the size of audiences, it does not hesitate at times to have recourse to vulgarity and violence, and to overstep the mark," he said.
Maybe it's us. Are they giving us crap because we want it? If media got responsible, would we still read/watch?
I am having trouble listening to sports radio here in Tampa. I know the audience is 90% men so I can understand the occasional "adult" business or male enhancement ad. But every 10 minutes I'm being told that certain body parts are too small and/or malfunctioning and all I need is this pill/cream and all will be well. I get to thinking, "Maybe it is too small. Maybe it is malfunctioning. How did these people get my email address?"
I don’t know if these statements fall under the doctrine of papal infallibility, but B16 is so right. Even my local “news” program is full of this Paris/Lindsay/Britney Pferdkaese. Not to mention the thousand “Infotainment” shows about the “beautiful people“. Not to mention waiting in the grocery store aisle. Those ladies magazines have almost as much porn in them as actually porn mags.

You ladies must think we are going to leave you
for Scarlett Johansson as soon as she gets back from Kuwait.

Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, {But} a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”

Real men love real women. And the Holy Spirit is better than Botox.

Where's my DD Form 214?

I was told to put it in a safe place, and I am sure that where ever it is it is safe. I haven't seen it in years (haven't needed to) but now I do. I have several gummint agencies looking for a copy to mail me. It's the most important document a guy needs after his birth certificate.
Now that I think of it, I can't find that either.

Ron Paul @ the March for Life

Delivering 4000+ babies helps one make the connection.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was the only GOP presidential candidate to make an appearance at the 35th annual March for Life on Tuesday, the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision giving women the right to abortion on demand.

Paul got an enthusiastic reception from the crowd, with many marchers waving Ron Paul signs and banners.

Dr. Paul, an OB/GYN, said he has delivered more than 4,000 babies and that in medical school he "quickly learned" that "when I dealt with a pregnant woman I always had two patients."

"The debate about when life begins should not be a debate," Paul said. "Let me assure you that all life begins at conception."

"You cannot defend liberty without defending life," he said.

I have poked gentle fun at Dr. Paul on occasion, now it's time to give him his due. Libertarians need someone like Dr. Paul to make the libertarian argument for life. I would be more sympathetic to their message if Dr. Paul had success in this area.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

You has it

My Ladybug:

You are made of wonderful. When I am grumpy, you are graceful and kind; and when I am goofy, you are patient. You know when to laugh at stupid ol' jokes. You are practical about serious things, and diligent about our marriage and our shared life.

People ask me, "Why are you the luckiest man in New Jersey?" and "Are we funktastic enough to dig this crazy scene?" and "Is your apartment building up to code for all the awesome?" I mean, it would be a pity if moving in caused the place to catch fire. Lucky for us the super is good where we live.

am lucky cat, i am! (pic from the lolcats)

Marrying you is a blessing I'm grateful for every day.

True Fact

Ultimately, Fred Thompson decided that being the leader of the entire free world was an unnecessary diminution of his might. He stands ever-ready to punch the enemies of America in the face, at need.

OK, that sort of thing is Frank J's bailiwick, and I've been shamelessly snitching. (I hope Fred doesn't taze me, bro.) And I live in New Jersey, where a vote for Fred Thompson is a tree falling in the forest, unobserved. I could just light my ballot on fire and at least I'd be able to make s'mores. (On the other hand, it's nice to be able to write him in, anyway, without conseqence - and I will do so unless by some miracle my vote is needed to help stave off Chairman Hil.)

So, if I must be a little serious about it, here's what I can do. First, the Judge has good observations, as always. Second, I admit that I'm bummed. I wanted to pull the lever without tamping down my gorge, for once. Third, I hate this endless primary/caucus/campaign bunkum. How is a guy's campaign finished when he does badly in three or four lesser-populated states, ten months before the only poll that actually counts? Sure, some of it is practical consideration: you can't campaign everywhere at once, and the candidates need time to get around and meet people, and get their message out. On the other hand, there's a huge portion of navel-gazing so concentrated that it bends logic and distorts perceptions. Every state wants that "kingmaker" rep. Then there are the forty-jillion news outlets that need a story to flog every second of every day*, lest people just watch a movie or "Judge Judy" or something. It puts us on a silly treadmill, thinking that politics are the main thing when there are so many other things to do.

(Oversimplification of the day: there are a lot of problems in the world, and it's best to solve them using all the tools we have on hand - not only political tools. Is a complex society of free citizens so impoverished as to have no ideas that do not involve their government? No churches, no banks, no pubs, no friends, no music, no families?)

Finally, there's an MSNBC article that outlines, for me, the thinking that causes a guy like Thompson to come up third in a state where he campaigned well, spoke impressively, was terrific in debate, and had a lot of support. The article is a litany of politics über alles thinking; I'd like to point out some lowlights:

Thompson, best known as the gruff district attorney on NBC's "Law & Order," placed third in Iowa and South Carolina, two states seemingly in line with his right-leaning pitch and laid-back style, and he fared even worse in the four other states that have held contests thus far. Money already tight, he ran out of it altogether as the losses piled up.

ALL of the DAs on Law & Order are gruff. There's a sign on the door: "You must be this curmudgeonly to hold this office. Geez, Steven Hill made Professor Kingsfield look frolicsome. But this quibble aside, the big problem with this graf is about money. Why is national elective office increasingly the plaything of rich people? I'm not even talking about the candidates (though many are) - I'm talking about scoring the necessary coin from said rich people to stay in the race.

Fans trying to draft him as a candidate launched an online effort, seizing on his conservative Senate voting record as well as his lumbering 6-foot-5 frame and deep baritone as they argued that he was right out of central casting.

I suppose that this is possible, but I call Bravo Sierra on this. Nobody was all that fired up to vote for Fred! because of his height and voice. And look at the man! He is certainly NOT out of central casting in the looks department - in fact I think he looks rather like Gerald Ford's older brother. And I don't think the author should have missed this, since the real reason people liked Fred! is in the very next sentence:

They painted him as the second coming of Ronald Reagan and the would-be savior of a Republican Party demoralized after electoral losses in 2006 at all levels of government.

Now, this is still very backhanded and stupidly-put, but there is the grain of truth in it: people did see him as someone who could energize the conservative base, who could make a good conservative case and speak about principles in a logical manner.

Expectations rose higher — and his standing in polls started to fall as he failed to meet them. ... He delayed his expected summertime entrance in the race until fall, perhaps missing an opening created by McCain's near campaign implosion.

In such a long race, most campaigns feature some sort of crisis - and again, most of those are media-driven. "Campaign Crossroads" is an easier story to pitch and write and deliver, rather than "Forty-three States to Go, Yawn." I think Thompson timed his campaign on his own timetable, rather than simply responding to what may have gone on at any one moment with anyone else. I also think that he knew he'd have an inevitable down after the high. Most people did, except apparently those at MSNBC, who took it as "failure to meet expectations." Voting hadn't even started yet! That's like failing a kid out of high school when he's in sixth grade.

Thompson also endured repeated questions about his career as a lobbyist and his thin Senate record.

Of course, everyone gets questions like this - or they should, if reporters are actually doing their job. I'm still looking for questions about Obama's thin Senate record myself. Instead of saying "people had questions, that's why he lost," wouldn't it be more productive to say, "people had questions and these were his answers"? Maybe it was his response that was a problem?

His easygoing style and reputation for laziness translated into a light campaign schedule that raised questions about whether he wanted to be president badly enough to fight for it.

And this is the sentence that actually got to me. You mean we could have voted for a guy who had interests other than campaigning? A guy who wasn't a cutthroat on par with Blackbeard? Someone who'd been successful in a variety of careers, rather than a career politician (most of whom succeed in that career merely by being elected, and not by actually governing well)? To me - I daresay, to many others - these things are positives, not drawbacks. I don't want someone so bloodthirsty for prestige that they regard the Presidency as a resume builder or an exercise in their own importance. Again, the article starts by quoting from Thompsons concession statement: "I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort." Country first, party second - what's not to like?

A spate of inartful answers to campaign-trail questions ... didn't help matters.

"More matter, with less art." Blather blather blather. An inartful point is still a POINT, and is preferable to an artful bag of air that takes no stand and expresses no position. Too many people are too afraid of offending the perpetually aggrieved to actually say anything, so half the important speeches and essays (in and out of politics) are a waste of time, like cooking that is all spice and no food. I prefer both if I can get it, but if I can only have one of them - I'd prefer not to starve. Nowadays, not only do we not get food, but we argue about which spice works better on the empty plate - and when a plate comes by with something worth chewing on, too many people find themselves unable to cope with it; they've licked plates so long they can't actually digest anything. In short, complaining about the inartfulness of it all doesn't actually address the real issue - what exactly were those answers? What position was Thompson staking out? Was it a good position or a bad one?

* There are so many side effects to this that one wonders if the cure is worth having - first, the increasing tabloid paparazzi celebrity jive that masquerades as actual news; second, the expanding egos and self-importance of the journalists; third, the constant need to come across well on TV rather than make a coherent argument; fourth, the stupid accusations that people "need an enemy" to motivate the base, when really it's the constant news cycle that "needs a story." At least we can turn off the set when it starts screeching like a troop of monkeys.

This Little Piggy...

...was banned in Britain.

A story based on the Three Little Pigs has been turned down from a government agency’s annual awards because the subject matter could offend Muslims.

The digital book, re-telling the classic fairy tale, was rejected by judges who warned that “the use of pigs raises cultural issues”.

h/t to Little Green Footballs.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

General Butt Naked...

...and the Butt Naked Battalion.

A former warlord known as General Butt Naked has confessed to Liberia’s post-conflict reconciliation commission that his men killed 20,000 people during the country’s civil war.

The commander earned his nom de guerre for charging into battle dressed only in his boots.

The feared rebel commander earned his nom de guerre for charging into battle dressed only in his boots, at the head of a gang of fighters known as the Butt Naked Battalion.

The nude gunmen became known for terrorising villagers and sacrificing children whose hearts they would eat before going into battle during Liberia’s 14-year on-off civil war which ended in 2003.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Ouija and vodka....

....don't mix.

The day a rural Benton City mother and daughter were killed, Joshua Tucker asked a Ouija board "if he was going to become a serial killer."

The Ouija board said "yes."

Tucker, 16, and his friend Donald Schalchlin, 15, were playing with the board and drinking vodka just before Tucker allegedly grabbed a kitchen knife and killed Schalchlin's sister and mother last month, according to court documents obtained this week by the Herald.

Donald Schal-chlin told police Tucker thought of himself as being possessed because he is a Satanist and the Ouija board told them they were talking to Satan.

I don't know what Catholics think about this, but trying to hook up with the underworld is frowned upon in Evangelical circles. Combined that with vodka and it's hard to tell which kind of spirits had the most influence on this piece of dirt.

Friday, January 18, 2008


If you care at all about Obsession Central... if you have obsessions, or know someone who does... Then you owe it to all things crazy to go here (and also go here) and vote for The Sheila Variations.

People, just today the woman has about forty posts on Cary Grant in honor of his birthday. Are you not entertained? Are you not obsessed?

Fly, my monkeys! FLY! FLY!

A world filled with darkness, turning gray

Today, Bobby Fischer's flag fell.

I had yet to be born when he defeated Boris Spassky for the World's Chess Championship in 1972, but I heard of him soon enough. My dad played a bit of chess and taught me the game when I was six. After learning the moves and how to bang out some rudimentary games, he got me my first chess book: Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess.

Once proud and full of passion
He fought the cause of man
Many people loved his courage
Many followed his command
He changed the old into the new
And the course of things to come
And then one day they noticed
He was gone

--Kansas, "Closet Chronicles"

This was a dangerous gift, if only my father knew. I loved chess, and I loved to read - and to learn that there are books ABOUT chess? Boy howdy! Of course, I wasn't blessed with a similar ability to employ the ideas I learned, so I am little more than a "wood-pusher," as it's derisively known. Still, it's a lot of fun, and the reading never hurt. And Fischer's book is good, holding up even now. After an introduction to how each piece moves, it's on to the whole point of chess, as Fischer put it: checkmate. In a series of diagrams, the reader is asked to find the mating move, starting with elementary wins (trapping the king behind his own pawns on the last row) and on to more complex ideas and patterns.

In effect, Fischer's approach teaches the beginner how to construct the cage that will eventually pin the king in place for his eventual execution. Some of the positions are taken from some of Fischer's games. And for those who want more, there's My 60 Memorable Games, which would seem to be out of print, considering how much it costs here at Amazon.

At first it didn't matter
Nobody seemed to care
They all became to busy
To find him anywhere
And no one knew, not even him
The problems he would find
On the day he journeyed
Deep into his mind

At this point I had yet to learn that Fischer was a living example of the GK Chesterton quip, "Poets don't go mad; chess-players do." (And of course, a few poets as well!) Before I had ever seen a chessboard, Fischer had abandoned his. His famous triumph in 1972 almost didn't come off: he balked about many of the arrangements, arrived late, and then, already trailing 0-1, forfeited the second game outright. Yet he inexorably reeled Spassky back in over the course of the long match, thrilling the observers in Reykjavik and the world over.

As a result, the anticipation for his first defense in 1975, against Anatoly Karpov, ran high, and ultimately these were frustrated. Fischer set similar conditions on this match, and when they were not met to his satisfaction he abandoned chess entirely and withdrew from society.

I close my eyes, I go far away
Away from the battlefield
In my dreams, here at least I can enjoy them
Where innocence plays with all the laughing children
The ones who are crying right now

He re-emerged decades later, claiming to be champion still, and arranging a lucrative rematch with Spassky in Yugoslavia. (As was observed by Tim Rice and Bjorn Ulvaeus in "Chess," it's always some exotic locale - Iceland, Yugoslavia... or this place!) This got him in trouble since it violated UN sanctions imposed against Slobodan Milosevic. It also raised some eyebrows, since Karpov had since surrendered the FIDE title to Garry Kasparov, and Fischer was not playing him. He won the rematch (for what it was worth) and then dipped back out of sight.

Allow me to forget the life I made my own
I held this nation in my hands
And yet it's not my home
Allow me just one answer, just one reason why
Why this refugee from the family of man must die
Tell me why

Through it all, of course, he was still Bobby Fischer, still regarded as possibly the strongest chessplayer who ever lived, even though Kasparov eventually exceeded his numerical rating record. (Chess uses something called the Elo score to rate comparative strengths of players, revising the formula over the years. The strongest players in the world rank 2800 or so; it's considered somewhat of an upset to lose to players 100 points lower. My own last published rating was 1450 - in other words, "patzer.") And even though Kasparov would ironically follow Fischer's example - cutting ties with FIDE due to strong disagreements - he's been active elsewhere; neither is he quite as out there as Fischer would prove to be.

One can see the process thanks to Tim Krabbé, the Dutch author and chess enthusiast (and a good player himself), via his invaluable chess diary. Starting here (scroll to the bottom and work your way upward) one can see that on the "" message boards, and in the ICC rooms, a very strong player appears at the turn of the century, playing bizarre openings and crushing grandmasters. This lead to speculation that it could be Fischer.

It was exciting news, even though he was a few pawns shy of a full board. Fischer had always been somewhat paranoid, and somewhat shy; this plus an insistence on things his way led almost inevitably to cutting himself off from chess and society - a break that many regretted, but likely saw as best for all concerned, at least until he got himself together. (A lot of people hoped for that more than worked for it, with a few exceptions. Larry Evans, a Grandmaster and longtime columnist for "Chess Life," helped Fischer prepare for Spassky in 1972; as recounted here he once said of Fischer, "It was ironic that the more you got to know about him, the less you wanted to find him." Mind that this is one of the men who did reach out to help his friend as time went on.) Then, in the wake of September 11, he tossed aside any lingering goodwill anyone had toward the Howard Hughes of chess.

Eventually he was arrested in Japan, which didn't keep him from marrying a Japanese woman; and Reykjavik, the home of his greatest triumph, gave him one last gift by welcoming him as a citizen of Iceland in 2004.

I heard the king was dying
I heard the king was dead
And with him died the chronicles
No one ever read

There will be much more said about the man in the coming days, from those who knew him or played against him. This blog seems to have a good round-up of Fischer-ia, including a link to Bobby In particular, I'd like to hear from Karpov, Spassky, Evans, and Krabbé.

The closet's fully empty now
It's occupied by none
Draw the drapes
Now destiny has won

Who gets drunk and goes to the zoo?

Apparently this guy does.

One of the three victims of San Francisco Zoo tiger attack was intoxicated and admitted to yelling and waving at the animal while standing atop the railing of the big cat enclosure, police said in court documents filed Thursday.

Paul Dhaliwal, 19, told the father of Carlos Sousa Jr., 17, who was killed, that the three yelled and waved at the tiger but insisted they never threw anything into its pen to provoke the cat, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle.

"As a result of this investigation, (police believe) that the tiger may have been taunted/agitated by its eventual victims," according to Inspector Valerie Matthews, who prepared the affidavit. Police believe that "this factor contributed to the tiger escaping from its enclosure and attacking its victims," she said.
Ya think?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Need a Bigger Gun..

Very dangerous... you go first! take out this rattler.

With a body as thick as a fencepost and a head like a clenched fist, the rattlesnake shook off the pesky .22-caliber bullets.

That's if the bullets even found the coiled, menacing serpent. The shooter didn't dare get any closer than 15 feet.

Jim Epley, who turned 74 last week, watched as his neighbor used a .22-caliber handgun to dispatch the Eastern diamondback. He knew it would take more firepower. He fetched his .44-caliber Magnum. Two shots later, the snake was dead, although it continued to squirm for hours.

Epley said it was in the backyard of Vince Tracy's home in the Orange Blossom Acres subdivision outside Sebring on Monday morning.

"It was stalking a little kitten," Epley said.

Big snakes and big gators, that's what we got here in Florida, and we need big guns to deal with them. Especially to save little kittens from a hideous fate.

Sebring is about 70 miles south of Orlando.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yes, Fly, that is the sound of a seal breaking (Update)

The ACLU is arguing that it is legal to look for love in all the wrong places.

In an effort to help Sen. Larry Craig, the American Civil Liberties Union is arguing that people who have sex in public bathrooms have an expectation of privacy.

Craig, of Idaho, is asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to let him withdraw his guilty plea to disorderly conduct stemming from a bathroom sex sting at the Minneapolis airport.

The ACLU filed a brief Tuesday supporting Craig. It cited a Minnesota Supreme Court ruling 38 years ago that found that people who have sex in closed stalls in public restrooms "have a reasonable expectation of privacy."

It gets better:
The ACLU argued that even if Craig was inviting the officer to have sex, his actions wouldn't be illegal.

"The government cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Senator Craig was inviting the undercover officer to engage in anything other than sexual intimacy that would not have called attention to itself in a closed stall in the public restroom," the ACLU wrote in its brief.

"Would not have called attention to itself"? Whoever wrote this brief needs to get out more. I'm not going to get specific, but you can tell if two guys are in the same stall. And making noises.

You dads out there. Will you ever let your young son go into a public restroom alone?

Update: Per the ACLU meeting friends in the men's room is okay, but a mayor asking pastors to pray for his city is another matter.
The mayor, city commissioners and other public officials had lunch Monday at First Baptist Church of Plant City with about 30 local ministers. Plant City Mayor Rick Lott delivered a religion-based keynote address and distributed a list of 10 areas where city leaders need God's help.
Maybe if the mayor held the meeting in the bus station men's room instead of a church it would have met ACLU approval.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Waving at girls...

...cost a man his arm.

I must confess that when I read the headline I thought it was the punishment for violating sharia law. But it appears to a poor decision made in traffic.
An Australian man who waved out of a car window at two young women was expected to lose his arm Monday after it was almost severed by another passing vehicle.

The 20-year-old was a passenger in a pick-up truck at Bunbury, in Western Australia state, when he waved at two women in a car wash.

But as he put his arm out the driver made a right hand turn and the man's limb was struck and almost torn off by an oncoming four-wheel-drive.

"His left arm was partially severed and doctors believe the limb may need to be amputated," police said.

Do you hear a seal being broken?

Yesterday, both A) Eli Manning AND B) Norv Turner won road playoff games, just a few hours apart. Their opponents were:

A) a team that beat them twice in the regular season, averaging 40 points per game; were 13-3
B) another 13-3 team that was the defending Super Bowl champion

In addition, Norv's boys (the Chargers) were playing, at the end, with their second-string QB, and RB, and TE. That's pretty much 80% of their offense.

It's enough to make me buy a scratch-off lottery ticket and an extended warranty.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Florida may get a new state song..

..and it may be this one.
I haven't heard the new one yet, but it's got to beat the current "Old Folks at Home". No, it's not about retirement villages in Sebring.
Actually, the songwriter never set foot in this state. The only connection with Florida the song has is the Suwannee River, a name that Stephen Foster found in a map.
The song was written in 1851. The words have been cleaned up over the years, but let me show you the original words and you'll understand why The Sunshine State can do better:
Way down upon de Swanee ribber,
Far, far away,
Dere's wha my heart is turning ebber,
Dere's wha de old folks stay.
All up and down de whole creation
Sadly I roam,
Still longing for de old plantation
And for de old folks at home.
All de world am sad and dreary,
Ebry where I roam,
Oh! darkies how my heart grows weary,
Far from de old folks at home.
All round de little farm I wandered
When I was young,
Den many happy days I squandered,
Many de songs I sung.
When I was playing wid my brudder
Happy was I
Oh! take me to my kind old mudder,
Dere let me live and die.
One little hut amond de bushes,
One dat I love,
Still sadly to my mem'ry rushes,
No matter where I rove
When will I see de bees a humming
All round de comb?
When will I hear de banjo tumming
Down in my good old home?
"Oh! darkies how my heart grows weary". That line just rolls right off the tongue, don't it? What ever succeeds it will be an improvement.
What's Jersey's state song? Springsteen's Born to Run?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dumbest Criminal in Tampa.. Michael Hess. He escaped from prison in 1979 while doing 65 years for multiple robberies. He assumed the identity of a dead guy and remained hidden until October of 2007, when police came to a sports bar called The Press Box and arrested him at his job there as a cook.
He was down Orient Road (sorry, in the Hillsborough County jail) awaiting transport to the state pen. On Thursday he was released by mistake.
It gets
Instead of leaving the area, deputies say Hess went back to The Press Box sports bar and tried to get his job back.
Deputies arrested him there. He is now on his way to state prison.
Sheriff's Office is reviewing its procedures to see how Hess came to be released.
This guy doesn't hop on a Greyhound to Idaho? Instead he goes back to the place where he was arrested and tried to get his old job back? He deserves to go to prison just for being stupid .
I'm sure the Sheriff is going to review procedures.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Big Brother Wants Your Thermostat

California wants control of the thermostat in your new home.

California utilities would control the temperature of new homes and commercial buildings in emergencies with a radio-controlled thermostat, under a proposed state update to building energy efficiency standards.

Customers could not override the thermostats during "emergency events," according to the proposal, part of a 236-page revision to building standards. The document is scheduled to be considered by the California Energy Commission, a state agency, on Jan. 30.The description does not provide any exception for health or safety concerns. It also does not define what are "emergency events."

This is related to my day job. In the Tampa area, Tampa Electric (TECO) has a volunteer program called Prime Time. During a time of high use, instead of firing up another plant, TECO would shut down air conditioning in selected homes to save energy. This is done so rarely that many Prime Time customers forget that they are on the program.

During the first freaky cold snap we would get no heat calls and then a half hour later the same folks would call back to say "Never mind" as TECO turn their heat back on.

In exchange for being on this program TECO customers get a discount on their electric bill.

Unlike the TECO Prime Time program (which is voluntary), this California proposal would be mandatory for new homes.

I know what you are thinking, and I am sure that there is a mechanism which would warn the powers to be if you should replace their thermostat with one controlled by you.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Why is Joel Osteen...

...all of a sudden ignorant of Mormonism?

More specifically, Osteen was asked about the Mormon faith, and whether a Mormon could be classified as "a true Christian."

"In my mind they are," Osteen said. "Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his Savior, and that's what I believe. I'm not the one to judge the little details of [Romney's religion], so I believe [Mormons are Christians] and Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me and I don't think anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like."

When asked about specifics of the Mormon faith, such as the gold tablets allegedly found by Joseph Smith with the so-called "new revelation" from God, and the belief that humans can become gods, Osteen said he did not know enough about the religion's beliefs to comment.

"I certainly can't say that I agree with everything that I've heard about it," the Houston pastor responded. "But from what I've heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his Savior, to me that's a common bond."

This guy preaches to 47,000 people every Sunday, could he be that admittedly ignorant?

Or maybe his memory is bad because a Mormon publisher is selling his book!

Jesus: Where your treasure is, your heart is also.

Deep Throat: Follow the money.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Dream Island Obsessional Park

It doesn't take an advanced degree to get the point behind some dreams.

Last night, I was stranded in a swamp. There was no way from where I was to safety, save train tracks. It didn't seem smart to risk kissing the express, or falling into the fetid slime, so I sat, and soon a braver guy in a suit decided that he had to get to me from another similar tussock. I envied how quickly he was able to move. Then he tripped and went into the soup.

Luckily I had a metal cane, sort of like House, with a hooked handle that I used to fish him out. Me and some other guy got him to land. He smelled like garbage juice but wasn't as dirty as I would have expected.

The train stopped to get us, so we got back to civilization. He started behaving oddly. So did the other guy. We wound up heading back to an apartment. I had the keys; it wasn't my place; I had figured out at this point that it also was neither of theirs. They were going to rob it, needed me to open it (fingerprints, see?) and then they were going to kill me and take all the stuff.

They were watching me pretty closely. I had to be careful. I swapped keys, jammed the wrong one in the door, and snapped it off. And then they turned into ridiculous action film villains, hollering "NO" and dropping their guard. I cudgeled them both with the cane. Sweet, sweet violence! Garbage Juice Guy got it first, and stupidly, the other guy just stared at him going down while I slugged him a few more times. He seemed rather shocked when I clobbered him next.

Now, I would say, "It's over... finally, it's over..." but I know better. They're probably lying in wait for me behind next Tuesday.

The night before that, I found myself back at my high school, as a teacher. Dream Alma Mater is on my regular sleep itinerary, and it's usually bad times; variations on the standard anxiety theme such as never being told where your class is, none of the rooms are numbered, etc. Though I've never been underclothed for a final exam, it's still bad. The only consolation is that the building is different each time. (Once it was a mansion with a theater and a grand ballroom, and since I didn't know where class was anyway, I spent the entire time exploring hidden passageways. Best anxiety dream ever.)

This time, I was the teacher. It also turned out that somehow, nobody knew which subject I was handling. I joined the dream on the first day of school, or I'm sure I would have asked during the interview.

There I was, sitting in the staff room, and finally I found a bag of stuff. "This is everything you need to know," another teacher said. Nobody handed it to me. I just knew that this was my bag, and my stuff, and I'd better figure this out or people would think I was an idiot. Nobody else was told what to teach - they just showed up and grabbed their bag; get with it, Fly.

I dumped the thing out. There were some pencils, some nametags for kids, and a lump of modeling clay in a Ziploc. Terrific - I'm teaching ART, the least grammar-like of subjects; a thing I love and am bad at. (Where's Tracey when you need her? Her bag probably had the script to Oklahoma or something.) "Fine," I said. "I'll start with some basic line stuff. Perspective, geometry." I'm actually a little proud of dream-self for hitting on a plausible first lesson plan six seconds after art instruction was foisted on me. "Where's the classroom?" (Like they were gonna tell me this time.)

Well, the answer was, all the other teachers had left, and thus where I was, was class. The kids came in and took a nametag, then a pencil, and then a seat. They giggled at the functional sink and commode that were sitting in plain view along the back wall. "I'm not using them," one girl sniffed.

"There's a bathroom behind that door," I said, and it was true. "Well, I don't care," she said. "Then you don't need to go on about it, do you?" I said. (Exhibit A why I wouldn't be a good teacher.) In the meantime, somebody wrote my name on the chalkboard. It looked something like this: Mr. Çaß~..#ƒ. The class laughed. "That's not how it's pronounced," I said. "Or spelled." Or anything else. I wrote it properly - it looked like this (Mr. Nightfly) because the class ws stocked with invisible chalk.

Well, welcome to ART, anyway. "We're going to start very simply - lines, angles, and simple shapes. No matter how complicated a picture looks, it starts with geometry, so that's where we're going to start."

You're reading this right - I applied grammatical principles to ART, and thus spawned a math lesson. The snotty dream kids were having none of it. Who could blame them? Their nameless teacher was writing in invisible chalk, who was going to be able to follow the lesson nobody liked? There was heckling, and counter-heckling, and as soon as I vanquished one little pissant, two others rose to take its place. I woke up half-expecting a pink slip under the alarm clock.

If only I could be that lucky. I know that sooner or later I'll be called back for another go. Graduate any time you like, but you can never leave.

The night before that dream was the one I'm stumped on. My Dad was in it. He hasn't paid a visit in quite a while. He looked great. My whole family was there, I think. He was relaxed, he laughed, and I can't remember what he said, except that it was a short stay. I don't know if a message wandered in from the outer world - alarm soon, be quick! - so I said, "Dad, I can't tell you how good it is to see you again." I had a lot more to say, but this was all I got out before it ended.

I had wanted to introduce my wife. I wanted to tell him that I was happy, and everyone was getting along, and life was good. When I sat up I felt cheated - and then I felt ashamed of my pettiness. It's the first time I ever got the chance to say anything to him. It was boorish not to be grateful for a glimpse and a quick word. For hours I questioned myself. You suspected that you only had time for one thing, and you said that?

I didn't get it; I don't get it. I am not at all the sort who forwards endless sludgy spam about loved ones visiting us in dreams, and now they're angels! And scroll down and forward this to everyone in twelve counties, for blessings!!1! Mostly, this is why. This dream was hardly anything like those shmaltz-and-turd sundaes. No neat bow, no pat ending. (I had more resolution with the other two.) I am leaning toward happy about it, but... hell. At least last night had closure.

The Nightfly..

...turns 25 years old today.

Not this blog, nor the blogger, but the album.

h/t to anklebitingpundits.

I'll let the Fly take it from here.

Tonight is kind of special

Whenever the church folks get together for a social outing, we all usually bring a little something for the occasion - and somehow I wound up being the beer guy. (I love it, if only because it's so unlikely; sort of like asking the PETA folks to bring the veal parm.)

Now for years I've been doing this, and focusing on microbrews, unusual vintage, and such. And in all my liquor store browsing, I had no idea that these guys were back. Yet there it is, in the history page -

Löwenbräu is back. Back by popular demand, Löwenbräu reintroduces Löwenbräu Original Lager in the US , importing it directly from the Löwenbräu brewery in Munich.

(That sentence, by the way, shatters the old Hive record for umlauts by three.)

Hat tip? Of course, the Swillers. Some things are unlikely, but most things aren't.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Warren Sapp retired from football..

..but will retire from babymaking? Apparently Warren had a lot of spare time on his hands, and he was productive with it.
In April (of 2003 - spider), Angela Sanders, 28, an Air Force veteran who filed a paternity suit against Sapp in 1998, reopened her case. She is seeking increased support for Jaelon Austin Sapp, born in a Nebraska Air Force hospital in 1997.

- On July 21, Jamiko R. Sapp, 27, filed papers in Tampa to dissolve her marriage to Sapp. The couple married during Pro Bowl festivities in Honolulu in January 1998, two months after the birth of their first child, Mercedes C. Sapp. Warren C. Sapp II was born two years later.
Mrs. Sapp seeks primary custody of the children, an equitable share of marital assets, child support, alimony and use of the family's 7,596-square-foot home in the Avila community in north Tampa.

- On Aug. 7, former Temple University basketball player Chantel Adkins won a final judgment in a New Jersey courtroom in a paternity case she filed against Sapp last year. Adkins, 30, is the mother of Autumn Jade Adkins Sapp, born in November 2000. Adkins won an award worth $177,992 in this year alone.

Sapp's approach to the cases contradicts the depiction of him as "a model athlete, adored by both kids and adults," as he is touted on the Web site of Nike, which has signed Sapp to a three-year deal.
Of course, Warren doesn't part with his coin easily, and there is no greater love than this - to take a paternity test for a friend:
When the support dried up, Adkins sued. A paternity test was ordered. But according to Nuzzi, it was not Sapp who showed up to take the test at a lab near Raymond James Stadium.

Paternity test protocol requires lab personnel to get a photograph, the signature and fingerprints of the man tested.

"There was a picture, but unless Warren Sapp had shrunk by 8 inches, it wasn't him," said Nuzzi. "The signature was nothing like the autographs you can see all over eBay. And there were no fingerprints at all."

The test showed Sapp was not the father of Adkins' baby. "We filed an appeal saying, "What kind of scam is this?"' said Nuzzi.
I told this tale to a friend and he told me that there's an old dusty Old Testament book that has advice that Warren should have followed:
Proverbs 5:8-10 "Keep your way far from her And do not go near the door of her house,
Or you will give your vigor to others And your years to the cruel one;
And strangers will be filled with your strength And your hard-earned goods {will go} to the house of an alien;
This lady is getting over $5,000 a month. It's a shame Sapp couldn't get me pregnant.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I have no mouth, and I must scream

There is no gummint program, no politician, no tax cut that can prevent this:

In Apopka, Florida, Darlanne Toussaint, 24, poured hot cooking oil on his girlfriend’s 17-month-old son, Kenneth. Then he shook the boy hard for 10 minutes, hit him, and used a hair dryer to burn the child’s skin off - all because the toddler wouldn’t stop crying and whining. Toussaint is charged with felony attempted murder.

It's bad:

Kenneth suffered second-degree burns on his genitals, chest, head and back. His spine was also fractured when Toussaint hit him. The boy is listed in stable condition.

H/T to Parents Behaving Badly. If you are a dad or mom, you don't want to go this site.

I need a beer.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...

..the Ron Paul Blimp!

It will be in Tampa this weekend! I'll be on the lookout!

Note that this is a smaller, unmanned blimp and the phrase "Who is Ron Paul?" is reminiscent of "Who is John Galt?" the first line in the Paulistinian bible, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

What's your digital footprint?

Somehow I missed this when it first broke. Scottsdale's Jeffrey Howell got a big start to the new year by getting sued by the RIAA.

Mr. Howell shared 54 copies of songs over a file-sharing network, but that's not all the RIAA is mad about. According to one of their lawyers, even if you buy the CD, you ought not to be allowed to rip copies of it to your computer or iPod. (Ooops - more than one of their lawyers.)

This hasn't a snowball's chance in the Sixth Circle - a "Ban the iPod" campaign is doomed, even with Weird Al's catchy "Don't Download This Song" as an anthem. Besides, if they're that mad, they could always pressure the manufacturers to make it impossible to copy any compact disc. Do your own dirty work, right?

That last link is to a blogger who says "My I-pod now has 1696 songs on it. All ripped from CDs I purchased." He is thus 31.4 times as guilty (in the RIAA's eyes) of theft as Mr. Howell. I am a whopping 62.3 times, and counting.

There are, I'm sure, a few gentle souls who respect Mother RIAA, who tilt their heads sadly and shed a single noble tear over the rampant fair use of our own purchased goods in the format most convenient to us. Making Howell's 54 songs the standard "digital footprint," tally up how large your impact is, and how much you make Barry Manilow cry. (Bonus points if you own a 160-GB iPod, the musical equivalent of a Hummer running on jet fuel.)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I Watched Law & Order Last Night

It was pretty good for a half an hour. NYPD detectives find kidnapping victim during a power blackout. I liked it, and I wondered why I ever stopped watching what the Fly and I once called "our favorite thing."
It wasn't long before I found out. Looking for kidnapping suspects led the new ADA to an investigation of power plant companies screwing the NYC consumer. I shut it off.
I left L&O because of this bait and switch where crime solving becomes liberal activism. I couldn't take it anymore. Did this stuff go on when Fred Thompson was the DA?

Another sick bastard

Via Boise's newest (legal) immigrant, SarahK, some disturbing news:

Yaser Abdel Said, the 50-year-old Lewisville father, remained at large, police said. He is accused of fatally shooting his 17- and 18-year-old daughters, police said.
Police said they suspect that Said may have shot his daughters -- Sarah Yaser Said, 17, and Amina Yaser Said, 18 -- and left them for dead in his taxi.

An excellent roundup is at hotair - the details are sadly familiar, and the pictures are heartbreaking. These were just typical girls, living typically. I know a lot of fathers with daughters, one of whom is an Egyptian immigrant, and I can say pretty confidently that every last one of them would jump between an armed assailant and one of his girls. I cannot fathom the man who would be that assailant himself; who would abdicate his responsibility to protect and nurture his own child to the extent of murdering her if she somehow failed to live up to his own unrealistic and stultifying visions of distorted femininity.

Cowardly monster.

I've posted it before, so I'll post it again - this sort of thing has got to be shut down in the West before it takes root. And fortunately for the daughters and sisters of other maniacs, this guy lives in a state that executes people for such crimes.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy 2008 everyone

I hope that y'all didn't have too much of a good time.

never mix catnip and Kahlua
(pic courtesy of the Lolcats, of course)

Back to the action!

Are You a Hearty Eater?

Wasn't this a Simpsons episode?
A 6-foot-3, 265-pound man says a restaurant overcharged him for his trips to the buffet line, then banned him and a relative because they're hearty eaters. A spokesman for the restaurant denies the claim.

Ricky Labit, a disabled offshore worker, said he had been a regular for eight months at the Manchuria Restaurant in Houma, eating there as often as three times a week.

On his most recent visit, he said, a waitress gave him and his wife's cousin, 44-year-old Michael Borrelli, a bill for $46.40, roughly double the buffet price for two adults.

"She says, 'Y'all fat, and y'all eat too much,'" Labit said.

Labit and Borrelli said they felt discriminated against because of their size. "I was stunned, that somebody would say something like that. I ain't that fat, I only weigh 277," Borrelli said, adding that a waitress told him he looked like he a had a "baby in the belly."
And another thing - unless you play the O or D line for the NFL or a major college program, you are not "only" 277.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Think he stayed home last night?

What a life! You made the majors at 25, and had a very average career, except for that brief, shining moment when you saved the day for the greatest baseball franchise in history in the greatest game of your life.

Here you are, a retired baseball hero celebrating your birthday by getting your Goose on with your Playboy model pal. What could be better than that?

There is no language spoken by men which can explain this, but when you are in Leyritz's condition you think you are okay. It's a tunnel vision of the eye and the soul. You may think that you are a little slow, but you'll drive with care and down back roads to avoid DUI checkpoints because you know you are over the limit but you're experienced at this so you're okay.

You're okay. Right?

A teary-eyed Jim Leyritz met with his lawyer yesterday, as the family of the woman he allegedly killed while driving drunk planned her funeral.

The former Yankee - who's accused of smashing into a car driven by Fredia Veitch at 3:20 a.m. Friday, shortly after his 44th-birthday bash in a Fort Lauderdale club - consulted with the attorney for an hour before racing off in a silver Hummer with a mystery blonde.

At the party, the slugger drank Grey Goose vodka and tonics, said his pal, Playboy model Erica Chevillar.

"There were a lot of us partying," she said. "Everyone was drinking."
Responders found Leyritz bleary eyed, red faced and reeking of booze, cops said.

Jordan Veitch, meanwhile, slammed Leyritz for robbing him of his wife and his children of their mom.

"If we didn't have drunk driving, I wouldn't have to explain why my son's not going to have a mother," Veitch, 29, said, adding that his 30-year-old wife was "a beautiful woman and a wonderful mother."

He said Julian, 5, keeps asking, "Why hasn't mommy come home? Will mommy be in the grass? Who's going to take care of me?"