28 December 2006

The Rhino's Horn: A Johnny Bodkin Mystery - Chapter 1

She was tall. Like a tall drink of water, but taller. A drink of water was maybe eight, ten inches tops, and this dame was much taller than that. Maybe twelve inches, with a special commemorative glass you might get at a casual dining restaurant, but even that isn't as tall as this dame. She was tall, is all I'm saying. As she stood there, silhouetted in the light of the open doorway and surveyed the room, I looked her over.

Her gams started at her hips and went all the way to the floor. She had more curves than the Mississippi - either the river, or the word, with all those esses. Her dark hair flowed like water poured from a twelve-inch commemorative glass.

She closed the door and walked toward me.

"Mr. Bodkin, I need your help" she cooed.

"Sit down, and tell me your troubles" I croaked.

As she lowered herself into the seat, the light from the desklamp illuminated her face. Her deep brown eyes were like the ocean at night, at least what I imagined the ocean would look like if the moon weren't shining and the lights from the city weren't glowing and the smog ever lifted. Then again, the ocean's always got a bluish cast to it, and her eyes weren't blue at all, but brown. Perhaps they were more like...

"...and I don't think that...Mr. Bodkin, are you listening to me?"

"Sorry. You were saying, Miss?"

"Pomeroy. Ramona Pomeroy. And it's Mrs., Mr. Bodkin."

"Call me Johnny, please. Now you were saying?"

"Do you know who my husband is, Johnny? Jack Pomeroy?" Her lips pursed and seemed to blow a kiss as she said his name. I don't know if it was intended for my benefit or not, but it certainly had an effect. I reached for the bottle of bourbon in my bottom drawer, but it wasn't there. It was already on my desk with the glass I'd poured before Ramona came to my door. Funny, I didn't remember pouring that drink, but I must have if the glass and bottle were there. Regardless, I needed a stiff belt, so I downed the glass and poured another. She looked like she could use a drink, too.

"I'm afraid I don't, Ramona. Can I pour you a glass while you tell me?"

"I could sure use one, Johnny. You mind if I smoke?" She already had her cigarette case out of her purse and was opening it. It was a slim, silver thing and shone in her hands like a stiletto. She opened it and quickly retrieved a cigarette from the neatly arrayed row inside. I pulled my lighter from my jacket pocket and stood up, stepping around the desk and next to her. The spark ignited the lighter and she clasped my hand with both of hers, guiding the flame to the tip of the slender brown tube held tightly in her lips. She inhaled deeply, dragging the sweet, sticky smoke down to her toes.

I poured us each three fingers of the bourbon and sat down, then she told me about her husband.

Jack Pomeroy was a state senator who was rising fast in the party. He was planning on running for governor, and a lot of people were set to back him. Even without any backers, he'd do just fine with his daddy's money, though. I didn't know who Jack Pomeroy was, but I sure knew about Desmond Pomeroy.

Desmond Pomeroy made an honest living through Pomeroy Packing, down on the waterfront. Sardines and tuna, mostly. But an honest living wasn't good enough for the old man. Through his warehouse on the waterfront, old man Pomeroy controlled the illicit aphrodisiac trade for the whole west coast. Rhino horn, panda gallbladder, tiger bones, and harp seal penises were smuggled in on-board fishing boats and then sold from Seattle to San Diego. He owned half the cops in town, so they weren't likely to shut him down. The DA had tried, but he couldn't get a case to stick. From what Ramona said, the son believed his father was just an honest businessman, so that dirty business was going to die with the old man.

By her third bourbon and fourth cigarette, Ramona was ready to tell me what brought her to my door. "Johnny, I'm being blackmailed" she said, then drained her glass.

27 December 2006

Classic Question



Whatever happened to quipping when beating up henchmen? Damn, that Question was serious. This is like getting beaten up by Al Gore:

fisticuffs + political lesson = crazy painful

Of course, the spandex vigilantes generally repress a lot, so they're a tad to the right of Tipper's beau.

22 December 2006

Collapse: Light reading on starvation, cannibalism, and death (and a few success stories)



I first read Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel about five years back at the suggestion of my friend O. While I didn't buy into all its arguments - particularly the way he seemed to gloss over the out-sized impact of bovine-based diseases on unexposed populations as compared to porcine- and avian-based diseases of Asia and Melanesia. I also continue to wonder how important it is that wheat provides more protein than other cereal grains when so many older societies (not to mention modern societies) meet most of their protein needs from animal sources. These minor complaints aside, GG&S was a great read that brought Diamond's keen mind and broad knowledge to an ongoing 9000-year-old story.

I picked up Collapse a couple of months back, and after I finished reading DFW's Everything and More(which I recommend to none but those as aspergerlicious as I) I moved it into my lunch-time slot. Whereas GG&S tells the story of growth, expansion, and success, this companion piece tells the story of failure; however, this book kicked its predecessor's ass from here to the New Guinea highlands. Most significantly, gone is much of the ecological determinism from which GG&S suffered. The subtitle says it all: "How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed".

From Easter Island to Greenland, the Yucatan peninsula to modern-day Australia, Diamond weaves a compelling tale of ecological disasters and the resulting societal collapses. What struck me most was how (at least in Diamond's interpretations of events) so many of the collapses happened almost overnight. Reaching a tipping point beyond which their environments could no longer support the weight of their societies, they truly did seem to collapse, rather than slowly decay.

Offering some tales of societies that succeeded, this is happily not a threnody for Mother Earth, but a warning. Diamond's own feelings on our future makes him "a cautious optimist", and after reading Collapse I think I'm in that camp as well.

21 December 2006

Bite My Shiny, Metal Ass!



And alcohol! Lots and lots of alcohol!

Robots could one day demand the same citizen's rights as humans, according to a study by the British government.

If granted, countries would be obliged to provide social benefits including housing and even "robo-healthcare", the report says.

Someone at the Institute for the Future's playing a joke on the Brits, methinks.

20 December 2006

Mal Goes Cannonball

This isn't news, exactly. Nathan Fillion got attached to Drive a little while back; however, this quote is priceless.

So, just when we thought we saw the last of Fillion, other than Bruce Campbell rejected direct to video trash along comes one time writer and executive producer of Firefly Tim Minear with a new TV series.

"Slayers are strong, vampires and demons are not so good and Willow’s hot"

In this Wizard article, Joss Whedon talks some of the upcoming Buffy, Season 8 comic series. He's attracted some very big guns.

Whedon says he’ll write several of the book’s arcs, including the first, “The Long Way Home” with art by Georges Jeanty. For the rest, Whedon has assembled a veritable who’s who of comic book writing talent that includes Brian K. Vaughan (Ex Machina), Brad Meltzer (Justice League of America) and Jeph Loeb (Onslaught Reborn), along with former “Buffy” TV writers Jane Espenson, Drew Goddard, Drew Greenberg and Steven DeKnight.

19 December 2006

Excuses, excuses, excuses

I'm pretty drained and drawn of late. The weather, weight gain, seasonal affective disorder, and sad puppy are all wearing me out. I'm sitting at work, at about 50% efficiency right now, and wishing I were home with Parker. Of course, if I were, I'd just be surfing, snacking, or snoring. I've got no energy and no motivation right now. That's obvious: I haven't even been writing lately. Not even a haiku. Pathetic.

And so, anyway, here's something old to while away your time.

15 December 2006

Good Grief, Bambi!!!

Moo ha ha!!!

14 December 2006

Crappy, crappy week


Four years, almost to the day, since my sweet pup blew out the ACL on her right wheel...she's gone and blown out the left. This sucks. Recovery for her last time was slow and painful and sad - no running, no jumping, no sleeping in the bed, endless hours in her crate - and she was a juvenile then. This time, she's going to heal slower, not be able to rely on her "good" back leg to take so much of the load, and just generally be more unhappy. Damn her luck.

For the first time since we've been in PHX, the crate was put up and she was put in. Like a trooper, she got in with no complaints and spent the night. I slept on the couch to be next to her while the wife tossed and turned in empathy in the next room. This morning, a hobble out back and a quickly scarfed breakfast were followed by a half-hour of lying on the floor and giving my face the slobbering Dino-treatment. I'm not the best Doggy Daddy, but today she thought I was.

In a few hours, she and her moms will meet the orthopedic surgeon. If all goes well - Parker and Lori both like the doc - the slice and dice will be scheduled as quickly as possible. We already know what recovery's going to be like for all three of us; best to get started on it as soon as possible.

08 December 2006

A Pious Vulture of the Law?

Anthony Stewart Head is going to be appearing in Sweeney Todd! No announcement yet on what role he'll play, but I'm going to put my money on Judge Turpin. He's too old to play Anthony (note of interest: Victor Garber originated the role of Anthony) and certainly too old for Toby. Borat's already been cast as Pirelli, and I can't see using that sweet, rich voice for the Beadle, so that seems to leave the Judge.

This is great news, though the fact that Tim Burton's directing continues to dampen my spirits. I can only take solace in the fact that Sondheim retains veto power over casting choices.

07 December 2006

Look at the pretty flowers!

I wish I had something pithy (no, I do not have a lisp!) to say about this...

05 December 2006

B5 updates from JMS

Behind-the-scenes photos and updates from JMS on the set of Babylon 5: The Lost Tales here. Geek heaven!

02 December 2006

Buy a Diteionary

I hate having to defend and explain my team. I'm not alone in this. I mean, righties have to live with the likes of Limbaugh and O'Reilly and Coulter. I've gotta deal with stupid f'in hippies.

Like the one with this sign on his car:

IMPEACH
INDITE
INCARCERATE

Woohoo. Illiterate idjit.

The Perils of Paste Eating

  • Were you Second Chair in your High School Band?
  • Do you chafe under the demands of conductors who insist on playing in a single key?
  • Do you fear competition?
Come play for the University of Arizona Pep Band!

We went to the Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge today (in Phoenix? not Springfield?) to see the Zags. Seats on the aisle, sixth row, two gorgeous hours of flex motion and stifling D later, and we'd beaten down the Longhorns. But here's the weird thing - Suns Dancers, Adio Sol Patrol, the same lame timeout activities, no cheerleaders from the teams, and no visiting pep bands. It was odd and irritating that at a semi-neutral event there was no cheer/pep presence from anyone but the putative host school...right across the aisle. A bunch of slovenly, pimply paste-eaters tuning up just feet away.

I've seen a lot of pep bands - most are quite good - and some, like Montana State and Stanford, are exceptional. Good musicians, well-conducted, with a lot of - say it with me - pep! Arizona...not good. Oh my GOD, did they suck!

Swimming in a sea of Arizona fans, with band camp rejects on our left, game two kicked off.

A rematch of the '05 Chicago Regional final thriller, this one promised to be both dramatic and sloppy. Too many underclassmen, and too much Bruce Weber. Today's Dan Monson, Weber jumped from the Salukis to the Illini once the big paycheck was dangled. He's had a bit of success, but so far it's been with Bill Self's recruits. It remains to be seen whether Coach Weber will be able to succeed with a team all his own. I have my doubts. Particularly after watching his Illini piss away a big first-half lead.

We were both grumpy for most of the day, unfortunately. Food issues, goddamn cold weather, and paste-eaters to the left of us. It was great watching Derek and the Bulldogs beat up on Texas, but sucked watching Arizona win a game. I'm no Illini fan, but hate, hate, HATE the Wildcats. On the plus side, they should do pretty poorly in the Pac2 this year. That's at least small comfort.

Gods of the Yellow Sun

Took a longish lunch today, with side trips to try to find a second Wii controller for my friend. Walking through Best Buy, I spotted a movie I'd been looking forward to seeing - Superman II - The Richard Donner Cut - and figured I'd buy it. Popped it in back at the office and half watched while I worked through the afternoon.

A few bits of disclosure: when I was a wee lad I actually liked the boy scout better than the vigilante; I loved the original Superman, but even at 10-years-old I had massive problems with the stupid conclusion; I quite liked II (and more than liked Ursa) but likewise had problems with the flick. Still, it's a part of my low-culture heritage and I figured it would be good to see Donner's vision as it compared to Richard Lester's. And for about an hour forty, it was much improved.

Apparently, Richard Donner was way ahead of the curve. Long before Robert Zemeckis and Peter Jackson, Donner filmed both films at the same time.(1) His original intent, on display here, was for the first movie to segue to the second. Gone is the lame-o Parisian nuke that frees Zod, et al from the Phantom Zone; instead, the missile diverted from Hackensack blows apart the PZ. With a few establishing scenes from the first movie, we're off and running with very little setup.

This is the first of many improvements, large and small. The gee-whiz tone remains, as does the winking performance from Christopher Reeve as Clark. He was an underrated comic performer who rarely got to show his chops.(2) Great performances across the board, especially Gene Hackman's smirking monkey of a Luthor. Sure, I might prefer The Kurgan's turn in the various animated series, but Popeye Doyle gets a lot of laughs per mile.

The biggest improvement is Jor-El. I don't know if there were contract disputes, budget constraints, or idiots with their notes that pushed Donner and Brando out of the sequel, but he was sorely missed. I didn't realize how much until I saw this cut. The father-son bond is central to the story here, and even with no scenes shot together, Reeve and Brando make me believe a man can cry.(3) God bless Susannah York, but she ain't no Brando. In addition to the gravitas he brings to the proceedings, we finally get to see how Kal-El got his groove back.

Remember that hour-forty comment above? The movie (sans credits) runs about five or ten minutes longer than that. Shame. A much improved movie was right in Donner's hands...and then he screwed the pooch. Imagine the very worst ending to a movie ever. This movie has it. I won't explicitly spoil it, but it should be obvious how the movie ends from what I've said. Really pissed me off.

* * *

Of course, it's Friday, so tonight was BSG. Ahhh...now, maybe the title makes sense. Kal-El and Apollo: Gods of the Sun in their own special ways. And an excellent case in contrasts.

I'd been dreading this episode for the past two weeks. Goddamn it looked lame. Boxing? Unresolved conflicts, magically brushed aside? Bruised egos assuaged with broken bones? Surely, this was going to be yet another weak bottle episode. Unclear whether Ron Moore had lost his way (or blown his budget) after Exodus and the surprisingly excellent Collaborators, or there were just a few weaker episodes mid-season, I went into tonight expecting finally to be let way down. Foolish, foolish me.

Penned by Michael Taylor, this episode cleverly intercut flashbacks throughout. Mid-fight, we'd cut back to New Caprica and see things from a character's perspective - one of the fighters or spectators. There really was a lot still unresolved. The old man shocked me by grappling with Tyrol, clocking him but good a few times before being bloodied himself. Another great speech from Adama on duty, responsibility, and honor followed the fight. I didn't expect such drama from an undercard, but it was a tasty lead-in to the Apollo/Starbuck throw-down.

Kara kicked the crap out of Hotdog first (I suppose because it seemed less misogynistic than the more desirable Kara/Kat fight) and Helo beat on Lee. They were both primed and ready to go. Oh my, did they go. Like most movie fights, there was little clinching anywhere in this episode. In the real world, boxing tends to involve more hugging than punching, but that's pretty boring to watch. Instead, it's a lot of haymakers. This was no different...until...

Starbuck has really fucked up Apollo. We've always known that, but tonight we get to see just how badly she did it to him. He gets back his pound of flesh in the ring. They both do. Finally, wearied, worn down, and broken, they collapse in post-coital embrace. The repercussions from this fight will echo for quite some time, though the immediate effect on Anders' is clear and obvious.

What's truly sad is seeing how BSG succeeded where Donner failed. With a few weeks of thought, work, and effort, the BSG crew gave us a silk purse. From a bottle episode, we get drama, excitement, and character development. No cop-outs, no do-overs, and true lasting impact on characters we've grown to love. Donner could have saved his cut with one simple change - character growth - but he chickened out.



1 I don't actually know that he wasn't trying to create a four-hour Superman, but I'm going to assume that wasn't his intent.
2 Man, it's worse than I remembered. I just scanned his CV at imdb and he did mostly mediocre dramas. What a waste of a great ironic actor.
3 Sorry.

30 November 2006

Gopher Broke: Monson Season Over

INT. BASKETBALL ARENA
An athletic, dark-haired man in his late 30s paces the sidelines in a small, empty fieldhouse, talking on a cellphone. It should be a bit chunky, from the late-90s. He's dressed in a polo shirt and sweats, with a whistle still around his neck.

DAN
No. No. We've got to strike while the iron is hot. I've done all I can do here. I've gotta make my move while I'm a commodity
AGENT
I hear ya, Dan. We're getting a lot of interest from the big boys. This little run of yours is really impressing a lot of folks. If you can just avoid embarrassing yourselves against Florida this week I can get you a deal.
DAN
Florida? With that hairplug-wearing tool? We'll beat 'em, no problem.
AGENT
Well, if you can do that, I can probably get you the Minny job.
DAN
That would be right up my alley. I mean, this place is fine and all, but our 15 minutes are just about up. No one can build a big-time program out here. I just feel bad for poor Mark. He'll probably be stuck here for the rest of his life.

***
Ah, poor, poor Dan.

That's not Chamois Butt'r!!!

In Kathryn Bertine's e(sp)ndless quest to make an Olympic team for '08, she's now tried out track cycling. I neglected to post a link to her attempt to catch on with USA Handball (also a great read) so here it is.

I've never ridden in a velodrome, though I wanted to try it out when I was young. I used to have the ridiculous quads you need for it; unfortunately, I had those quads from keeping my bulk upright and moving (as) fast (as I could). Track cyclists are generally beefity folk, but in the muscular, not "husky fellow" way. If you've never seen a velodrome, or the insane lunatics who ride brakeless bikes around their steep walls at 30mph, think downhill skiing (10 at a time) confined to a ski jump. Not a perfect analogy, but it should convey the speed, proximity, and sheer terror.

As before, Bertine's self-deprecatory humor is the real draw for the piece. If Page 2 hadn't lost their braintrust to AOL Sports, they'd offer her a gig as the anti-Simmons. From the web scuttlebutt, they're paying an awful lot of money to Jemele Hill for her (so far, decent) pieces; if they can pay even half that to her, I'd think the WWL could find a few shekels in the breakroom couches to toss Bertine's way on a regular basis.*

Here's a sample from Bertine's rough go at it:

Although many bike companies make saddles specifically designed to accommodate the female anatomy, they are not on our loaner track bikes. There is a product called Chamois Butt'r that one puts "down below" before cycling workouts to ease the pain of the saddle. Today, bleary-eyed and tired at 7 a.m., I've accidentally put Bengay in my bike shorts instead of the intended cream. I don't remember the morning workout.


* I in no way mean to compare Hill and Bertine because they are both women. I bring up Hill because she's the latest, very high-profile, addition to Page 2 and her salary has been subject to much speculation. Frankly, I don't care if a writer goes by George or Mary Anne, or if s/he has Tab-A or Slot-B parts. I just care if s/he is good. Bertine is good. Hill is also good (which is a bit of a shock, as she took a job at a sinking ship.)

29 November 2006

Slacker Hacker?

In this real-life remake of Hackers, does McConaughey play the Jonny Lee Miller or Angelina Jolie role?

An article published last week in Le Monde by French journalist St├ęphane Mandard contained a claim that Lance Armstrong might be the mystery hacker of the LNDD lab, according to allegations by Betsy Andreu in her deposition of January 17, 2006 in the Armstrong/SCA Promotions arbitration case. When Armstrong's attorney Timothy Herman deposed Mrs. Andreu, asking "did you already tell anyone that Lance Armstrong has hacked your computer", Betsy Andreu, the wife of former professional cyclist Frankie Andreu said "I think [Armstrong] has hacked my computer and we are currently suing America On Line to find the IP address of who hacked my computer."

24 November 2006

Music for Black Friday



You should know Jonathan Coulton. If you're sitting in front of a computer reading this, it's just crazy that you don't know the composer of Code Monkey. Next you'll be telling me you don't download porn!

21 November 2006

Whimper to a Scream

Congressional Quarterly is reporting that the Foley investigation may fizzle out.

Nearly two months have passed since the disclosure of inappropriate computer messages from former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., to former House pages.

While the scandal that once dominated the headlines is no longer leading the news, a House ethics investigation that was supposed to take "weeks, not months" may not wrap up before mid-December, according to those involved with the probe. And it appears the investigation may end with a whimper, not a bang.

Interestingly, that's how many of Foley's evenings end up.

I need a Hiro

I've got a season pass for Heroes, but am three episodes behind. I really want to like this show (despite the Milo-factor) but its pace is wrong, the tone is too pretentious, and half the actors should be getting me free refills for my Pepsi. Then there's Masi Oka.

Masi Oka plays Hiro, the most interesting, interested, and exciting character on the show. I'd first noticed him as Franklyn, a lab tech on Scrubs, and thought he was a nice fit on the funniest show left on tv. It looks like Scrubs showrunner Bill Lawrence wants to bring Franklyn back this year...with his powers! Perhaps he'll do a Chem-7 and bring the results before they're requested?

Or maybe he'll use some of his other abilities and bring a perfect wave crashing on Sacred Heart?

...with a fat chick and a cigar!

From the mind of the man who thinks a midget can save the world every 24 hours

Joel Surnow, co-creator of "24," is shooting two half-hour pilots of a skein he described as " 'The Daily Show' for conservatives," due to air in primetime on Saturdays in January.

If successful, the show could take its place on the regular schedule, adding satire to FNC's formula of news and opinion.

20 November 2006

Rae will have lots of time to praise Jesus now

Here's the concession email from Rae Hart Anderson to Sen. Satveer Chaudhary, a practicing Hindu, in the District 50 State Senate race in Minnesota.

The race of your life is more important than this one--and it is my sincere wish that you'll get to know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He died for the sins of the world, yours and mine--and especially for those who accept His forgiveness. His kingdom will come and His will be done--on earth as it is in heaven. There's more....I love belonging to the family of God. Jesus is the way, the truth and offers His life to you and each human being. Pay attention...this is very important, Satveer. Have you noticed Jesus for yourself...at some moment in time, yet???

19 November 2006

Thanksgiving Travel

Great travel advice from Ken Levine. Here's a couple samples:

Before you fly to New York and have to negotiate JFK just remember – the parade is on TV. And it’s the same balloons as last year. The only difference is that the stars of NBC’s big new hit from last year, COMMITTED won’t be there.
* * *
Southwest has no reserved seating. Get in one of the latter groups boarding. You don’t want to be one of the first to sit then watch as fifty people glance at the empty seat next to you, then to you, and decide to sit somewhere else.

16 November 2006

Let's hit the fuckin' road!

"Without cheese, there wouldn't be an Inland Empire."

That David Lynch...he sure is crazy.

Shut up, hippie and sell me my music!

My Zune should be arriving tonight...I couldn't be happier.

I've been suffering with iTunes1 since I bought a Shuffle2 earlier this year. While I'm guessing the crap software MicroSloth has created for managing the Zune is barely better...it must still be better.

All the carping and complaining about the Zune Marketplace vs. the iTunes store is amusing to me. I don't want to buy very much music from either place, as I like my music DRM-free. So while I might pick up the occasional track now and then, I'll mostly be sticking to mp3s that I rip or of podcasts. I don't care if Universal is in MS's pocket on this. I don't care if Apple has the biggest music store online. I just want a damn player for my music (and videos, I suppose.)

And finally, there's this. If I didn't already hate Steve Jobs more than I hate Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer combined,3 I now have all the reason in the world to stay away from iPods. From MacWorld, of course:

Perhaps the difference can best be summed up this way.

iTunes = Passionate record store employees a la High Fidelity.

Zune = Landlord of the property occupied by that record store.

Yah. That's who I wanna hang with. A patchouli-reeking wasteoid record store hippie.


1 This, seriously, must be just about the worst software on the planet. I can't move my iPod from computer to computer (block the DRM-protected software if you must, but let me copy my mp3s) without clearing it out; the storage of ripped files is flat in that why-would-you-want-to-create-hierarchical-folders? Apple-y way; and even the podcast interface is goofy.
2 So, do Mac-heads think it's "normal" that when I put mp3s on my Shuffle they aren't always cued to the start? 'Cause where I come from, that's called a "bug".
3 Have you seen Ballmer? It looks like he ate Paul Allen and Woz. Combined with Gates that's a lot of mass and jackassery. Still better than the Tool Formerly Known As Jobs.

Shh! Be vewy, vewy quiet. I'm hunting co-workers

I'd get along with these guys.

A group of Saitama used car salesmen whose idea of punishing a co-worker allegedly involved using him as a target for air rifle practice and as an ashtray are now being targeted themselves, but by crime fighters, according to Shukan Shincho (11/16).
He wasn't just a co-worker. He was an incompetent co-worker.
"It's a fact that I wasn't used to the work and made a lot of mistakes. And I hated getting told off so much, I once forged some documents to cover up a bungle," he tells Shukan Shincho. "At first, even when I made mistakes all they did was scream out at me. But, by about autumn, whenever there were no customers around, they'd all hit me and kick me."

The air rifle was too gentle, I think. Forging documents? WTF? Bitch can't do his job, takes that employment opportunity away from someone who might be capable and competent, and he wants not to be tortured? In the U.S. we torture people* for looking like Arabs. In Japan, apparently, they can't torture people for being a complete drain on society.


* Technically, we don't torture anyone. We render them to a friendly nation to do our torturing for us.

15 November 2006

Why Cars Suck

Actually, cars are great. They get us around quickly, in relative comfort and safety. But sometimes, I miss horses. With horses, you get drawing and quartering. With horses, you get horsewhips.

It's not news that O.J.'s going on Fox to say how he woulda done it if he'd-a done it. It's not news that Fox is still lowly and disgusting enough to give this douche yet another platform. It's not even news that Mike Darnell, executive vice president of alternative programming for Fox, said "[i]t's the definitive last chapter in the Trial of the Century."

Really Mike? The definitive last chapter would be O.J., horsewhipped in a town square by Nicole and Ron's fathers. That would be news.

14 November 2006

Stream of Crappiness

I've been having an odd few days and find myself spinning my wheels. I want to write, but know not what...maybe stream-of-consciousness (in free [really free] verse) will do it for me.

Well, I just finished the "poem" below and think I should offer some pre-critiques:

  • That's some crappy free verse. It's more like weird blank verse that doesn't scan well
  • The first stanza doesn't hold together at all. It's almost SoC, but the jump from L3 to L4 is a bit too abrupt
  • The stanzas have no commonality tying them together, other than me whining "oh woe is me"
  • Seriously...the tennis stanza? WTF? Something almost, vaguely positive amidst all the bitching, and that's the best I can do? With the un-clever twist on its L5, it's aiming for a thematic twist like the closing couplet of a sonnet, but coming up way short
  • Ah, it's all okay. In the final stanza I go meta...since I acknowledge how crappy the poem is, it must be alright, right? It's okay to produce crap as long as you say it's crap

I flew
I drove
I ate on the road (crap I ate, fast food to go)
I watch my inbox, grow testy as it slumbers
Each day at work is worse than the one before it

Can't write
Can't think
Projects left half-done (half-done overstates the case)
Even this blog feels more like working than pleasure
Each day of life is worse than the one before it

My back
My knees
Pounding and twisting on court are taking their toll
Still, there's not enough tennis to fill up my days
Each game played is better than the one before it

This post
These lines
I cheated, of course; though the output really sucks
Whiny, dreadful verse; no better than a school girl's
Each post I write is worse than the one before it

09 November 2006

How much would you pay for Wal-nix?

Short, sweet, succinct ruling from the 7th circuit (the Fightin' 7th, as Colbert might say?) in Wallace v. International Bus. Mach.

Daniel Wallace would like to compete with Linux either by offering a derivative work or by writing an operating system from scratch but maintains that this is impossible as long as Linux and its derivatives are available for free. He contends that IBM, Red Hat, and Novell have conspired among themselves and with others (including the Free Software Foundation)* to eliminate competition in the operating system market by making Linux available at an unbeatable price. Under the GPL, which passes from user to improver to user, Linux and all software that incorporates any of its source code will be free forever, and nothing could be a more effective deterrent to competition, Wallace maintains.

Judge Easterbrook doesn't think much of Wallace's suit: "The GPL and open-source software have nothing to fear from the antitrust laws." Thank you, Your Honor.


* Plus the Illuminati, Opus Dei, Freemasons, Tri-lateral Commission, and the ghost of Lyndon B. Johnson.

08 November 2006

A Hard Habit to Break



Poor Sen. Santorum. First he loses his bid for re-election (don't let the door hit ya' on the way out, you freak,) and then he's got the disrespectful son who dresses like Sally Field.

A House Divided

I'd dearly love to see a reduction in the animosity and vitriol in this country, but I'm close to giving up hope for that. Both sides can crow about victories this year - and will.

  • We took back the House!
  • Midterm elections usually see a swing of 20-25 seats
  • Democratic incumbents held their seats
  • All the Democrats who won were conservative, anyway

Fantastic. I'll be happy to see gridlock at this point, compared to the rubberstamp we've had for the last six years, but I'd also really like to see some collegiality. Of course, with Sen. Bill Frist out, it will improve a little.

The race that speaks to me the most, that demonstrates where we are as a nation, is FL-16. Even with the cheeky "Punch Foley for Negron" campaign, Joe Negron should have faced a Sisyphean struggle. Not only was he running in place of a recently disgraced congressman, the ballots hadn't been reprinted. One really had to "punch Foley". And how many people found it in their hearts to do so? As of right now, CNN's reporting 110,317...a scant 4500 hundred votes fewer than his opponent.

Mind you, there's a lot of scary redneck country in FL-16 and even on the coast you've got Jupiter, which isn't exactly Miami. Still, one would think there'd be a little hesitation punching Foley.

I don't see things getting better. We're going to have a long recount in VA and even MT will take a little while to resolve. When this election season is over, it'll be back to the mat in Washington. Neither side has a mandate, so both will act is if they do. I'm glad, of course, that my side won; however, it's not like we swept in with overwhelming support.

We'll get our bills out of committee in the House and hopefully can take the Senate and do the same. If we're lucky, that might just be enough.

07 November 2006

Finally! Some balance! Crazy Jews!

I mock the xtians and Muslims too much...it's about time I had something really juicy on my peeps. Here we go...

Jews and Muslims in Jerusalem have found common ground in their fierce opposition to a gay rights rally due to be held in the city this week.

Leaders from both faiths have united to denounce the parade, which has prompted nights of street protest by ultra-orthodox Jews - who regard homosexuality as an "abomination" - and death threats against those taking part.

After Israeli police found and defused a bomb carrying the message "sodomites out", orders were given for 12,000 officers to deploy across Jerusalem during the march, planned for Friday.

Yeah. That's how you can tell you're on the side of the angels. Uniting with Muslims and planting bombs.

Die, die, die, you motherfuckers, die.

If only I were an orthodox Jew. Then maybe I could place a pulsa danura on all the religious freaks in the world. Oh, wait. Then I'd be a religious freak, too. Like these fine folk of the Rabbinical Court.

Die, die, die, you motherfuckers, die.

Intolerant? Sure. I'm intolerant. I'd like all the backwards, retrograde, ugly bastards - of all stripes - in the world to march into the nearest ocean, desert, or abyss and end their lives. I'd like to live in a world where people mind their own goddamn business and their own goddamn bodies. Where what I do with my cock is no one's business but mine and my partners'. I'm intolerant like that. Sue me.

Palm oil is shit, anyway

And I certainly don't want to see orangutans hurt because of it. It's not a decent food crop, it's not a good oil, and we shouldn't have to see our cousins' lives endangered or ended for its production.

So choose healthy and sane oils for your frying needs - olive, peanut, and canola. All high-flashpoint oils from actual food crops.

06 November 2006

Guide to Voting

Here's a handy cheatsheet for tomorrow's election.

Given the extremely hypothetical choice between
Charisma Carpenter (R), platform of lap dances and bjs for everyone who votes for her
and
Alex Rodriguez (D), platform of perpetually bobbling easy grounders and going 0-fer in the playoffs for your team
vote for A-Fraud.

Any other year, this might not be the case, but don't think of these as local elections; this is about the future of America. If the best we can accomplish for the final two years of the Bush Disaster is gridlock, I'll take it.

04 November 2006

I want to keep my mind a little hazy; I don't care if all my friends think I'm crazy

Obviously, I could say a lot about the Ted Haggard news. But I won't. I just feel bad for that poor guy. He really needs to get himself tested. I mean, can you imagine the sorts of diseases you could catch from an evangelical pastor?!?!?

If Rev. Haggard didn't smoke the meth, "a drug used in some gay circles to heighten sexual sensation", it's only because he was so turned on by Mike Jones' "bodybuilder physique" that he didn't need drugs or chemicals to ride his ass all the way to Jerusalem.

03 November 2006

Cut and Run! No, wait. Hit and Run!

Will the two sides never see eye to eye?

We’re sending our kids to fight an endless war in Boston, when it’s Detroit that attacked us. After we swept the Red Sox in August, you hung out your Mission Accomplished banner, but nothing has been accomplished.

02 November 2006

Cruel Anniversary

Cold at Baikonur
Endless thunder and pressure
In the dark, she dies

Too much free time



More than meets the eye, indeed.

01 November 2006

The Terror of Colorado Boulevard

The latest tempest in a teapot over John Kerry's remarks at Pasadena City College remind me of his (in)famous "voted for it before [he] voted against it" blunder. Why is it much ado about nothing? To stay with Shakespeare...because it's a tale told by an idiot.

John Kerry most reminds me of Cruiser (played by the underrated character actor John Diehl) from Stripes. A well-meaning - but ultimately limited - buffoon; in over his head when standing in a puddle.

Cruiser
I joined the army 'cause my father and my brother were in the army. I figured I better join before I got drafted.

Sgt. Hulka
Son, there ain't no draft no more.

Cruiser
There was one?

Or was Kerry referring to something else when he told the PCC students to do well in school or else?

7.7 Gallons of Red Wine a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!


There was a piece in Wednesday's Times about current longevity research. It didn't break a lot of new ground, as the results of the longitudinal restricted calorie diets have been reported for years, but there were some interesting comments on the antioxidant resveratrol and its possible salubrious effects. Then there was today's BBC piece with this short-sighted comment from Peter Rabinovitch of U-Dub: "For now, we counsel patience. Just sit back and relax with a glass of red wine - which alas, has only 0.3% of the relative resveratrol dose given to the gluttonous mice."

Bah! All I need is 330 glasses of red wine a day and I'm right on target!

31 October 2006

No Soup For You!*

Drew Brees' momma isn't feeling much love: "I think the major point here is that my mother is using me in a campaign, and I've made it known many times I don't want to be involved." That's harsh, dude. Harsh.


* 'Cause, like, no Chunky Soup ads.

28 October 2006

Absolute Sandman


Oh, my God. I haven't picked up Sandman in years, probably since first publication, actually. I'm a big fan of Neil Gaiman, but have had a sort of odd relationship with his writing. Let's put it this way...I own Black Orchid, but I didn't remember/realize it was a Gaiman until a couple of years ago(1). I read Sandman back in the day, as I said, but owing to my disenchantment with comics during most of the '90s, it didn't completely register that the author of American Gods and Neverwhere and Anansi Boys was that comic book writer(2).

So, I've been reading Gaiman since the dark ages. I've read him in a wide variety of formats and media - comics, short stories, novels. And now it's time to go back.

Like I said, I owned BO, but I didn't own any Sandman. My gf from college had the big double crush on Dream and his big sister Death, so she owned those. I just read her copies...liked them well enough, but wasn't completely hooked. Now, this is practically blasphemy. One reads Sandman and falls in love immediately. That's the way it's supposed to work for all geeks. Worked that way for Wesley Crusher, should have worked that way for me. But it didn't.

Instead, over the last ten years or so, Neil Gaiman the fantasist has been worming his way into my brain. Each book, better than the last. I now read his blog religiously (unlike reading religion bloggously) and have been patiently waiting all year for Absolute Sandman. It's strange. Something I liked a bit in the '80s, by an author I grew to love in the '00s(3), that I've been aching to reread for the better part of a year. Every time I'd go to Nerd-a-rama, I'd spot the various Sandman TPs and contemplate buying them...but I wanted the recolored pages! I wanted the HUGE format! I wanted the leather binding and the character sketches and the script pages and the...artifact(4) I'm not patient. I'm shocked I made it.

What's worse? I didn't pre-order and get it the day it was available. I'm not completely sure how I managed to keep my Veruca Salt-y self contained.

It came on Friday. Friday was a crappy day. I left work early (that's not what made it crappy, obviously) with a sore knee. It hurt like a mofo. That meant no tennis Friday night, no tennis Saturday, and who knew beyond that. I had some GI distress in the afternoon - I guess my gut didn't really want the Double-Double I picked up at In-N-Out on my way home. So when UPS came knocking, I just didn't care.

Better a few hours later, it was time to hang with the wife. Then it was time for BSG. Finally, I cracked open the book. And kept reading. And kept reading.

Did I really only sort-of like this back in college? Was I insane? It's all here - everything that makes Gaiman, Gaiman. The man can create mythology from whole cloth. While the crossover stories with the DCU are a little labored - less so with the Constantine than the Dr. Destiny/Arkham story - his storytelling is otherwise pitch perfect. Issues where Dream is central but nearly unseen still flow with the power of Morpheus. When Death appears, well, yah I've got a crush on her.

If you don't appreciate comics, it's either this or Watchmen as entree. If neither does it, then comics are a closed book (pun, as bad as it is, intended) for you. This is as literate as it gets; this is as profound as it gets. If you do appreciate the graphic form, and have never read Sandman or haven't read it in some time, do yourself a favor and read it. It holds up, well enough that I love it as an adult where I liked it as a boy.


1 Of course I knew it was a Gaiman at the time, and probably remembered so in some recess of my mind, but associating the comics guy with the literary fantasist took some effort.

2 What's with all the Amazon links?!? Well, I figure if I'm going to mention the books (all of which I own and love) I might as well provide links to them. And if I'm going to that effort, as well as trying to get my three or four regular readers excited/intrigued enough to read these books, I should try to make money off their susceptibility to peer pressure.

3 I'm amenable to calling this decade either the "aughts" or the "naughts". While the former has its merits, I prefer the parodic attributes of the latter. This is truly the decade in which we've accomplished naught as a race. And, it looks like "naughty", so it's got that going for it.

4 I'm no longer a collector, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten what that feels like (or sold any of my Ellison first editions.) For me, there's something very mystical about putting your signed, numbered, limited edition book back into its slipcase...the book you won't ever read because you might rub the dustjacket or smudge a page. It's honestly not healthy. Absolute Sandman isn't that rare, but it still has the feel of a limited edition.

27 October 2006

Welcome to my library, Clarice

I tend to read much more fiction than non. Hmm. How then to explain me? Ah, wait. Sociopaths can still exhibit empathy...it's sympathy we lack!

(I understand your pain, I just don't care.)

What's up in Sex Science these days?

"Great" piece in Forbes(?!?) touting the myriad(1) benefits of sex. Here, just look at the list of paragraph heads:

  • Improved sense of smell
  • Reduced risk of heart disease
  • Weight loss, overall fitness
  • Reduced depression
  • Pain-relief
  • Less-frequent colds and flu
  • Better bladder control
  • Better teeth(2)
  • A happier prostate?
Reduced risk of heart disease: In a 2001 follow-on to the Queens University study mentioned above, researchers focused on cardiovascular health. Their finding? That by having sex three or more times a week, men reduced their risk of heart attack or stroke by half. In reporting these results, the co-author of the study, Shah Ebrahim, Ph.D., displayed the well-loved British gift for understatement: "The relationship found between frequency of sexual intercourse and mortality is of considerable public interest."

I've specifically called out his paragraph because of the bad science(3). While Dr. Ebrahim didn't specifically state that there was causality, I believe it is implied. As is so often the case, there is causality, but it is inverted.

Fatties don't fuck frequently. They're not fat because they don't fuck; they don't fuck because they're fat. Seeing a positive correlation between frequency of sexual activity and cardiovascular health is really seeing a correlation between overall fitness and CV health. Duh.

I thought the article was awfully damn funny. Funny for its content, funny for its attempt to serve as a compendium of the top research efforts in the sex sciences, and funny for being in Forbes. Did I mention that this was in Forbes?


1 Well, fewer than 10K, but still a lot of reasons.
2 You think I have something smarmy to say here, don't you? Well, I couldn't surpass Alan Farnham, who apparently thinks he's writing for Maxim: "Seminal plasma contains zinc, calcium and other minerals shown to retard tooth decay. Since this is a family Web site, we will omit discussion of the mineral delivery system."
3 Noting bad science in a cheeky article about sex in the popular press is a bit like reviewing the acting in porn, but by gum, someone's gotta do it.

26 October 2006

Baby, I likes the way you shakes your tenderloins

Oh yeah, t'ain't nothin' hotter than uncovered meat.

Australia's most senior Muslim cleric has prompted an uproar by saying that some women are attracting sexual assault by the way they dress.

Sheikh Taj el-Din al-Hilali said women who did not wear a hijab (head dress) were like "uncovered meat".

Really, does anyone find this sentiment shocking? This is the religion that spawned shari'ah.
A pregnancy as a result of rape first of all counts as evidence of adultery committed by the woman. The rape victim then has to prove that she really was raped. In case the man - which is very likely - denies that he has raped the woman, the woman has to name four male witnesses to prove the rape. In case the woman does not find these four male witnesses - which again is very likely - she will be charged with slander.

For the crime of slander, shari'ah prescribes a punishment of 80 lashes. On top of that, the woman will be charged with adultery, and is thus threatened with the death penalty, if she is married. In case, she is unmarried, the "adultery" counts as immoral behaviour and is punished with 100 lashes. This is at least what the criminal code of January 2000 of the Nigerian state Zamfara says.

25 October 2006

The Secret of My Science

Alex P. Keaton, Democrat.

Fox's adverts have attracted criticism, with conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh claiming he was either "off his medication or acting" in the 30-second clip.

Well, Rush certainly knows what it's like to be "off his medication". Though in his case, I believe it means sending out the maid to hook him up with a dealer.

I don't believe stem cells are the panacea some think they are, but are certainly an exciting and promising avenue for research. What's clear is that we'll never know whether they're a dead-end or a great source of treatments until we do the science. That means opening up new cell lines, funding research, and publishing the results. It does not mean saying Jebus told us not to.

22 October 2006

Who is our Generation's LBJ?

I'm a big fan of the old Texas Bully. He comes right after FDR in my book.

When stupid people start gnashing their teeth over the death of JFK, I usually tell them to shut their pieholes and point out just how shitty a President he was. I tell them to shove their "he would have gotten us out of Vietnam" crap back up their asses and remind them that he continued to send men and materiel to SE Asia until he was gunned down. Also, I'd like to think that these words, from a Sept. 2, 1963 interview with Walter Cronkite, would disabuse people of that notion: "I don't agree with those who say we should withdraw. That would be a mistake. That would be a great mistake."

Kennedy was a charismatic Harvard grad with a great pedigree. As a junior Senator he was unremarkable. He was his day's Sen. Barack Obama.

So now that Mr. Charisma 2.0 announces that he's considering the possibility of running in 2008 (coy language intentional,) where o where is my LBJ? Where is the Democrat who can get things done? Where is the Democrat who can step up and do the work that Barack clearly won't or can't. Where is the Democrat who can fill the void on the ticket (the void being Barack himself?) Where is the Democrat who can give us a modern-day Great Society when Barack falters?

I wish I could answer, but there is no heir to Johnson, either in the Senate or the House. Our Democrats are spineless creatures who've forgotten how to politic. We may win this mid-term (though not by much, I'd wager) and we may win in '08; however, with no long-term leaders in the party, I fear for its future.

21 October 2006

Sara Evans Part 2: Electric Bugaloo

Very small hubbub about last week's hypocrisy alert on Sara Evans and Tom DeLay. My buddy Brian argued that it was wrong for me to find fault with Sara for her husband's flaws. I disagreed, for reasons I stated in comments. Still, I was standing on pretty shaky ground, picking on poor, sweet, innocent Sara.

Poor, sweet, innocent, Sara who allegedly "filed for divorce the day after [her husband] discovered she was having an affair." That's not all Craig Schelske alleges in his answer to Sara's petition for divorce.

Schelske, 43, also says his wife's interest in her "marital roles and responsibilities" declined and she "neglected" their three children after she began appearing on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."

Now, I have no way of knowing if Sara's a skank, Craig's a lying sack of shit, or if both are true statements (though I certainly have an opinion which should be obvious.) All I do know is I do love watching those Values Folk eat their own young.

20 October 2006

Kim Jong is Illin'

Poor little guy. Musta realized he can't bully anyone into friendship, and now he's sorry.

Mixed messages are emerging from North Korea about whether its leader, Kim Jong Il, intends to stage another nuclear test.

Confusion began Friday with a report from South Korea's Yonhap news agency. The report said Kim regrets staging a nuclear test on October 9 and that he is not planning another.

"His country had no plan to conduct an additional nuclear test" the story indicated, opening up the possibility of a more conciliatory stand by Pyongyang on the nuclear issue.

Yonhap attributed the information to an informed diplomatic source in Beijing, China. The news agency said Kim passed along the promise during a meeting with a Chinese envoy.

Cass would just sex her up



In this interview with Matt Fraction, the writer of Casanova, there's this unexpected little political exchange. From the oddest sources...

MP: I recently saw a political commentator saying that Americans love Jack Bauer on 24, and that's the best mandate for torture you could hope for. Casting a broad eye over the pop-culture landscape… what mandate do you think it is actually bestowing?

MF: Well, okay, first, that's Laura Ingraham you're talking about, and calling her a political commentator is like calling Shamu a performance artist. This is a woman so virulently homophobic in her college days that, because she made it a matter of her personal policy to out closeted students, she was terrified of eating in restaurants, because she was convinced that gay waiters would give her spoon AIDS and then she would get AIDS and die because the gay waiters all have AIDS and all conspired to kill her. And with a beginning that auspicious, everything else is suspect, yeah?

MP: First of all: let's not say anything about Shamu we can't take back, okay? And second: gay waiters and spoon AIDS?

MF: Swear to god. Google the cunt, you'll see I'm not making it up.

I mean-- follow her logic. We gave Silence of the Lambs like five Oscars-- was that a mandate for cannibalism? The top-grossing movie week-before-last was Jackass 2-- was that a mandate for horse-semen consumption and eyeball leeches? Also: Fox News political commentator refers to Fox Entertainment program? Collusion? Nooooo.

Fishheads, fishheads eat them up, yum!

Here's a nice summary from the Guardian of some recent research by Joseph Hibbeln at the NIH, and some other past studies, on the effect of dietary changes - specifically omega-3 fatty acid deficiencies - on violent and anti-social behavior.

Over the last century most western countries have undergone a dramatic shift in the composition of their diets in which the omega-3 fatty acids that are essential to the brain have been flooded out by competing omega-6 fatty acids, mainly from industrial oils such as soya, corn, and sunflower. In the US, for example, soya oil accounted for only 0.02% of all calories available in 1909, but by 2000 it accounted for 20%. Americans have gone from eating a fraction of an ounce of soya oil a year to downing 25lbs (11.3kg) per person per year in that period. In the UK, omega-6 fats from oils such as soya, corn, and sunflower accounted for 1% of energy supply in the early 1960s, but by 2000 they were nearly 5%. These omega-6 fatty acids come mainly from industrial frying for takeaways, ready meals and snack foods such as crisps, chips, biscuits, ice-creams and from margarine. Alcohol, meanwhile, depletes omega-3s from the brain.

19 October 2006

Dy-No-MITE!!!



Suns vs. Kings and hoo baby was it a...sleeper. There's really nothing to expect from these pre-season games, but a little excitement wouldn't totally suck. Tonight, all the thrills came from Shawn Marion (no surprise) and the flagrant throwdown of Brad Miller by Raja "The Clothesline" Bell. No brawls, though.

The highlights of the evening for me:

  • James Jones stepping over the baseline in-bounding the ball on the Suns first possession. JJ? How old were you when they taught you how to inbound the ball? Seven? Eight?
  • JJ again a few minutes later, 3 second defensive violation. JJ? How old were you when they taught you to count to three??? Oh wait. You went to Miami. You might not have gotten all the way to three.(1)
  • The Suns Dancers! Let me clarify. They suck, and only one of them is even a bit pretty. However, they're also stupid, so on this evening they wore their purple outfits. There are really only two shades of purple in the NBA: Forum "Blue" and the one everyone else uses. The Suns were in their regular home whites, so the Kings were in their road ______(2).
  • Bumped into my favorite waitress at the game. Yah, that's completely random and has nothing to do with the game, but I hadn't seen her in a few months. And there's absolutely nothing awkward about introducing your wife to your favorite waitress, I swear.
  • Celine was there! Well, not Celine, but this chick who looks like Celine Dion who gets way into the games. She and her hubby(3) used to sit across the aisle from us and are now a few rows behind, but like the turning of the leaves, seeing Celine stamp her feet is a sure sign of the season cycle.
  • Amare managed to get some vertical tonight, but a bit less than Louis Amundson.

The Kings still seem to be stuck without enough of an outside threat to spread the floor, so there was very little high post play. Sucks to watch Brad Miller have to move out of the high post where he's so effective. There were a few well executed back cuts, but those were mostly against Barbosa, and it's not like he's fully aware when he's on the court. I expect the Kings will improve a bit as they get used to Musselman and gel as a unit. I'd guess they'll finish between fourth and seventh in the west, barring serious injuries. On the high side if KMart plays well and Francisco Garcia looks as sharp as he did for stretches tonight.

As for the Suns, they look like anywhere from third to last, all depending on the durability of Nash.


1 Can y'all tell I don't like JJ? I'm not clear why the Suns didn't try to find another long, lanky gunner in the off-season. Although, it does make me wonder...in the lockerroom, do you think he now goes up to Raja and says "[y]ou come into our house, you should get your behind kicked. You don't come into the [US Airways Arena] playing that stuff. You're across the ocean over there. You're across the city." Just curious.
2 Purple.
3 He's got to be the worst dressed gay man I've ever seen. At least we're convinced she's his beard.

I'm sure he's just teasing me

Sen. John McCain (R/S-rA/SP-AZ)* won't do it. He just wants to get my hopes up.

McCain, on a visit to Iowa to campaign for Republican congressional candidates, was asked his reaction to a potential Democratic takeover of the Senate in the November 7 elections.

"I think I'd just commit suicide," McCain told reporters, to accompanying laughter from Republicans standing with him. "I don't want to face that eventuality because I don't think it's going to happen."


*Republican/Self-righteous Asshole/Sanctimonious Prick

When the world is running down, pick up a lute

Sting grows weary of your "rock music". "Rock music has come to a standstill, it's not going forward anymore, it only bores me."

Of course, Gordon taking up the lute should come as no surprise. As far back as '99 he'd recognized the not-too-subtle shift he'd undergone:

I know the idea of me being cool doesn't seem to make sense (it didn't to me at first, either), but just listen to those albums. Even Synchronicity isn't bad, and I didn't start really laming out until "(Don't Stand So) Close To Me '86." Go figure, I guess.*

*Uh, yah. I know it's the Onion. The best parody should be nearly indistinguishable from reality.

18 October 2006

"So that I can wear a scarf and pretend to be in a Bon Jovi video"

Either you appreciate Jim Osterberg or you don't. If you don't, I can't help you with this. The Smoking Gun - through cleverness, deception, intrigue, muckraking, and probably asking nicely - has obtained the rider for Stooges concerts. I'll let it speak for itself:

The next page contains the information you require.
Bear with me. Not a real bear, of course.
By the way, our guitar roadie, Chris, assures me that the panda is not of the genus "Bear", but is actually a part of the "Pig" family. Could this possibly be true? And if not, why would he risk telling me, so that I can tell the whole world his half-baked theory? Unbelievable.

17 October 2006

He's got hops like a young Divac!



Looks awesome, doesn't it? Well, one preseason jam over The Other White Walton does not a season make. Suns first home preseason game was tonight and, well, Amare didn't have hops like this. In fact, I'd wondered whether his new jersey number is supposed to reflect his new vertical leap. Like all the other members of the Microfracture Club For Men, he's looking at a minimum of two years to get back to 70%, so we can expect a great game from The Knee about every six or seven days with a smattering of DNPs throughout the season.

I was heartened on his first score, a little turnaround banker which was Duncanesque. I thought he might really be rounding out his game to counter the loss of raw athleticism. The party line is that Amare's been working his shot, working his shot, working his shot. Going 0-4 from the charity stripe - not close misses, mind you - isn't the best way to prove that point. He had a perfectly respectable preseason outing, but he looked nothing like the phenom of two seasons back. He reminded me then of a young CWebb; now, I just hope he learns to hit the elbow jumper with the same consistency.

Otherwise, the Suns looked decent, if rusty. Marcus Banks might just fit in at point behind Nash, letting Barbosa play as an undersized two guard. Since Barbosa's great speed isn't matched with great judgement, that would be a good thing. Far too often, he dribbles into trouble and leaves himself no outs. I'm hopeful that Banks will play with a little more poise and a little less bouncy-bouncy of the ball.

Diaw might have looked better tonight than he did last year. Maybe they'll get around to, you know, signing him. That would be swell. With Gymkata as the go-to bruiser at center, I'm always happy to see Boris doing well. It tends to keep Thomas' minutes down.

On the bright side for the league as a whole, Shaun Livingston looked fantastic tonight filling out the stat sheet. 7-9 from the field, 7-8 from the stripe, five boards, five assists, and a steal. He looks a bit bigger, a bit stronger, and a lot more confident out there than last year. He should be a blast to watch.

The Eleventh Commandment

The LORD does not want to raise the minimum wage in Colorado! Frankly, I think that's just because Moses(1) is feeding HIM misleading information, but what do I know.

Via Helen Langora.


1 And just how long before some enterprising bigot points out that Moses is one of my chosen-homeys? "Just like a Jew, trying to save a few bucks." I tell ya, we can't cut a break.

Fade into Bolivian, already!

So Mike Tyson wants to fight women. While this won't come as a surprise to Desiree Washington or Robin Givens, it might be a little unsettling for Maryland Republicans.

At the press conference, Tyson posed for photos with fans, signed autographs and campaigned for Maryland U.S. Senate candidate Michael Steele.

Tyson, wearing a white and blue Steele for U.S. Senate T-shirt, said he used to believe black Republicans were "sellouts." But Tyson said he changed his mind after researching the Maryland lieutenant governor.

I don't know anything about Steele or the Maryland race, but is Mike Tyson really the sort of public supporter he wants? Oh, wait. That's exactly the sort of backer Steele wants. Ladies and gentlemen! I give you...Don King!
"Yeah, Michael Steele, y'all, the next United States senator of the great state of Maryland," King bellowed as he descended the stairs of the Republican nominee's big blue campaign bus and set foot on Pennsylvania Avenue. "He cares about Jesus."

16 October 2006

More Porn, Not Less!

I'm a nasty, evil man. Here's an idiotic report from Glenn Beck at CNN about one man and his addiction to porn. Replete with maudlin music and overzealous narration, of course. Plus, there's the requisite talking head, Rob Weiss of the Sexual Recovery Institute, telling us that

Internet pornography is the crack cocaine of sex addiction. And what we've been able to tell in the last few years, on MRIs, when you see a sex addict's brain light up around sexual stimulation it looks like a cocaine addict.

Well, I hope for the survival of the species we're addicted to sex and sexual stimulation. Then again, hearing from his frigid wife Amy, I'd imagine Lance needs a lot of online stimulation to keep from slitting his wrists. Lance has "been sober for three years." Poor guy.

Rob also tells us that some men will get up in the middle of the night to view porn when they're sure their wives are asleep. When I hear that, I just feel sorry for those poor men with uptight wives.

13 October 2006

Tom DeLay's Golden Touch


Let's all recall that our good buddy Tom DeLay pressed his supporters to vote for Sara Evans on "Dancing with the Stars". "Sara Evans has been a strong supporter of the Republican Party and represents good American values in the media."

Yep. These are Tom DeLay's idea of "good American values": corruption, hypocrisy, and spousal abuse. Wait. That wasn't clear. Tom's corrupt. Sara and her husband represent the hypocrisy and spousal abuse portions of the values plank.

12 October 2006

Arizona Ballot Propositions

This is a long posting, of no use to anyone who doesn't live in Arizona. Well, I guess one could use it to determine my politics (as if those weren't clear enough) should anyone care to do so. If I could get split postings to work in the beta, I'd break this off and save the space. Since I can't, just skip if it's of no interest to you.

Proposition 100: PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING ARTICLE II, SECTION 22, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; RELATING TO BAILABLE OFFENSES.
No. Call me silly, but I still believe one is innocent until proven guilty, has the right to confront one's accusers, and unless W declares you an enemy combatant, habaeus corpus still applies. If the crime's severe, remand without bail. If it's petty, let's not eat up space and taxpayers' money when bail is a reasonable option.

Proposition 101: PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING ARTICLE IX, SECTION 19, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; RELATING TO LOCAL PROPERTY TAX LEVIES.
Yes. Unlike California's catastrophic Prop 13, this doesn't make revenue enhancement impossible to achieve. I think the 2% maximum annual increase is reasonable.

Propostion 102: PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING ARTICLE II, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA, BY ADDING SECTION 35; RELATING TO STANDING IN CIVIL ACTIONS.
No. Should they want to change the constitution, with a modification to the proposed section 35 as in italics below, I'd be in favor of it:
A PERSON WHO IS PRESENT IN THIS STATE IN VIOLATION OF FEDERAL IMMIGRATION LAW RELATED TO IMPROPER ENTRY BY AN ALIEN SHALL NOT BE AWARDED PUNITIVE DAMAGES IN ANY ACTION IN ANY COURT IN THIS STATE. INSTEAD, ANY ASSESSED PUNITIVE DAMAGES SHALL BE APPLIED TO THE ARIZONA GENERAL FUND.

The point of punitive damages is to punish the grossly negligent in order to set an example and teach a lesson. I can understand the desire to prevent "illegals" from cashing in; however, this is just a back-door maneuver toward so-called tort reform.

Propostion 103: PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; REPEALING ARTICLE XXVIII, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA BY ADDING A NEW ARTICLE XXVIII; RELATING TO ENGLISH AS THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE.
No. Jaysus. If Shakespeare's language can't survive on its own, we might as well give up the ghost. Or worse, become like the French and outlaw the adoption of foreign phrases. If you can't speak English, your economic opportunities are limited. If that's not incentive enough to learn, a constitutional amendment isn't going to do it.

Proposition 104: PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING ARTICLE IX, SECTION 8, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; RELATING TO MUNICIPAL DEBT.
No. This one's really popular, apparently. The SoS doesn't have any arguments against this prop. And yet...I grew up back east and I remember what happened to New York. You don't want to bond yourself into municipal bankruptcy.

Proposition 105: PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING ARTICLE X, SECTIONS 3 AND 4, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING ARTICLE X, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA, BY ADDING SECTIONS 4.1, 4.2 AND 4.3; RELATING TO STATE TRUST LANDS; PROVIDING FOR CONDITIONAL REPEAL AND CONDITIONAL ENACTMENT.
No. I'm not sure that grazing interests are our best interests. Maybe if this were New Zealand...

Proposition 106: PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING ARTICLE X, SECTIONS 1, 3, AND 4, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING ARTICLE X, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA, BY ADDING SECTIONS 1.1, 1.2, 7.1 AND 12; RELATING TO STATE LANDS.
No. This is the conservationist version of the the landtrust amendments and still I'll vote no. I have a real problem with any Constitution having such specificity. This one includes maps.

Proposition 107: PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA; BY ADDING ARTICLE XXX; RELATING TO THE PROTECTION OF MARRIAGE.
FUCK NO!!! If they want to protect us, they should outlaw marriage entirely! If I have to suffer, my gay brothers and sisters should have to suffer as well.

Proposition 200: Arizona Voter Reward Act
Fuck No! The last thing I want to see is even more ill-informed people going to the polls, just hoping they is a-gonna win some moolah.

Proposition 201: Smoke-Free Arizona Act
YES!!! This is the big one for me. Ban smoking in bars and restaurants. It's good for the patrons, it's good for business, and it's especially good for the employees.

Proposition 202: Raise the Minimum Wage for Working Arizonans Act
Yes. Well, duh. You'll still be below the poverty line, but at least you'll have a fighting chance.

Proposition 203: Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Initiative
Yes. A state-wide "Head Start"-like program, funded by increased tobacco taxes. I'm a lefty. Of course I like this one.

Proposition 204: Humane Treatment of Farm Animals Act
Yes. If for no other reason than to stick it to Alfred Levinson of Tucson, who manages to invoke Godwin's Law in his argument against:
They are trying to have the Kosher slaughter of cows banned in the United States. It is banned in Germany, Norway, Switzerland, and New Zealand. One of the first actions Nazi Germany took against the Jews was to ban the Kosher slaughter of animals.

Yes Alfred. This law, dictating that pigs and calves should have room to move, is the first step down the road to Krystalnacht. Personally, I like my animals to be free-range and not factory farmed at all, but I'm not a big fan of Spam. Hormel, our only big factory farmer here in AZ, makes that nasty-ass crap. They also really don't like this prop.

Proposition 205: Your Right to Vote by Mail Act
No. I'm pretty old-fashioned, and vote by mail infrequently. I like to show up first thing in the morning at my local polling station. I like to greet the befuddled retirees who man the polls. I like to wear the stupid "I Voted Today" sticker all day. And damn it...it should take some time, thought, and effort. For those who want to vote by mail, the option still remains; this is an idiotic measure.

Proposition 206: Arizona Non-Smoker Protection Act
NO!!! NO FUCKING WAY!!! This deceptively named piece of shit neither protects non-smokers, nor protects voters. It overturns local laws enacted to protect citizens by enforcing a state-wide smoke-em-if-ya-got-em law. Not only should this be voted down, but the fuckers should be sued for false advertising claims.

Proposition 207: Private Property Rights Protection Act
No. Ugh. I'm seriously torn on this one. Had our (corporate)-friendly morons on the Supreme Court not fucked up eminent domain in Kelo v. City of New London, this wouldn't even be an issue. I'm a bit concerned that there's a little too much special-interest language in the changes, though.

Propostion 300: ENACTING AND ORDERING THE SUBMISSION TO THE PEOPLE OF A MEASURE RELATING TO PUBLIC PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY.
No. I never, never, never oppose education for anyone. I don't care if they are "illegals".

Proposition 301: ENACTING AND ORDERING THE SUBMISSION TO THE PEOPLE OF A MEASURE RELATING TO PROBATION FOR METHAMPHETAMINE OFFENSES.
No. Treatment is far more effective in the longrun than punitive jailtime.

Proposition 302: Pay raises for State Legislators
Yes. While it's a large percentage raise, it's still a crappy salary.

10 October 2006

Cut Out the Jibber Jabber

I Pity the Fool premieres on TV Land, Wednesday night. I'm torn. On the one hand, I want to Tivo and hope the comedy quotient is high. The other hand just wants to slap the shit out of me for listening to the first hand. Without Murdoch, I just don't think I want to see T.

How to piss off a power baseliner

I was playing doubles last night and having a lot of trouble serving to this one guy. He fed off pace and had limited north-south speed, so I was fine using a lot of spin and off-pace junk (ie: really slow, no power, the way I always hit,) but I couldn't take enough pace off my serve.

He was a righty playing the deuce court, so when I kicked him wide, he'd rip a forehand cross. To get a serve into his much weaker backhand, I had to hit the T which required me to stand at mid-court. That worked alright when I was accurate, but if I was just a bit off target, I'd left half the court wide open. Finally, I figured how to manage him - and piss him off as a bonus. I spoon served him. Ace.

He was flabbergasted. "Was that a serve?"

"Yep. Just like Michael Chang at the French. I'm not above trickery."

I only pulled it once, late in the match, but if I ever play him again I'll be sure to keep him off-balance with that early, late, whenever I think it'll piss him off most.

The seven saddest words in the English language...


...at least when uttered by ScarlettJo

Contrary to popular belief, I'm not promiscuous.

09 October 2006

FI-RE JE-TER!

You know that guy at work? The deadwood nobody likes, who - when he bothers to do anything - causes more work for everyone else, anyway? The weasely guy they just won't fire? Odds are you know this guy. (Hopefully, you aren't this guy.)

He's probably been to a shrink a few times and been diagnosed with some sort of disorder that protects him from being canned. Or he's got dirt on the boss. Or maybe he was just so highly praised when he was hired that no one can fire him now or risk losing face.

In New York, they call this guy "Alex Rodriguez".

And, just like at your job, eventually the best employee(1) gives up and walks. Or ends up getting fired for not helping the overpaid, underperforming star live up to his potential. Makes me sick, personally. It gets wearying carrying the load for the lazy, ignorant, or congenitally retarded. I guess it's just my fault for not being nurturing and caring enough.

The new excuse is that Cap should have stepped up and massaged A-Rod's ego, taken a few media bullets for him, and generally made life easier for him. What's missed in this discussion is all the effort spent in the clubhouse getting everyone else to step up and carry the load for the deadwood. That takes a lot of time.


1 I'm not looking for a statwar defending or impugning Derek Jeter. One may rightfully argue that he is not the best player in pinstripes. One may argue that A-Rod was a far superior fielding SS (though I'd be surprised if someone defended him at 3B.) What Jeter is, is a clutch player who doesn't whine, bitch, cry, or fold under pressure. Alex Rodriguez creates drama, yet somehow manages to underperform at every opportunity.