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


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.

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.

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.

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:

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.

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.

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.

No. I'm not sure that grazing interests are our best interests. Maybe if this were New Zealand...

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.

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.

No. I never, never, never oppose education for anyone. I don't care if they are "illegals".

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


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.

06 October 2006

Will the Real Starbuck Please Stand Up?

I once admired Kara Thrace
But now, I find, I long for Face
His mission clear, his manner strong
His feathered locks ne'er got too long

At first she'd fight and never cry
Went toe-to-toe with Colonel Tigh
But now she weeps and whines all day
(Though still, I'd roll her in the hay)

Dirk! Please save us! It's not too late
Rescue Kara from her sad fate
Stockholm Syndrome is bad enou'
The depths she's sunk we can't allow

Come fight and quip and never cry
Kill the Cylons with steady eye
Finish off her batshit captor
Free her from her evil toaster

* * *

Yah. Spoilers. Oh well. This was a fantastic two hours, though I felt bad for Ron Moore's tough bind. It's hard to tell this story of suicide bombers, detention, resistance, sectarian strife, and terrorists (with the great unspoken line wondering whether humans were expected to greet the Cylons with flowers) and not risk seeming an apologist for our foes. There were a few moments I felt came off a bit forced, but that's more a function of how close to home this hits.

I believe a people have a right to defend their homes, their families, and their lives, so I'm neither shocked nor particularly appalled by suicide bombers. While I detest their causes, I take no issue with their tactics. I know to some this makes me a moral relativist, but I support any and all means of defending my home, hearth, kith, and kin. If roles were reversed - America under Sharia - believe me, I'd be building bigger fucking bombs than the Iraqis and Palestinians.(1) Besides, my peeps aren't stuck with the whole "other cheek" schtick. We're strictly Old Testament.

This is the first time I've ever been 100% behind Tigh - though I think his fixation on Baltar is foolish and emotional - killing the Vichy cops is right on. Yes, "[j]ustice is like the hawk...sometimes it must go hooded", but masked bands of "police" disappearing people in dead of night are the enemies of freedom. Duck is a hero.

The first act, which I'd seen the other day, was pitch-perfect on every thread. But Christ have they fucked with Kara! I loved the way she killed Conoy and went back to her dinner. I loved that she knew it was only a temporary respite. Then she lost her way. Starbuck would have killed the child. Smothered it or drowned it. It's the hard thing to write and the hard thing to direct (and almost impossible for poor Katee Sackhoff to perform,) but it's the only way Starbuck would respond. She hates Cylons. She kills Cylons.

Beyond that I thought the evolution of the characters was spot on. Fat Apollo is great. I know it's just a body double and a fat suit, but it still cracks me up. Jamie Bamber should henceforth always be called "Fat Apollo". Ellen Tigh's betrayal of Saul is heartbreaking to watch. Finally, I believe that no matter what, she loves her bully of a husband. She loves him so much she'd sell out the human race and prostitute herself to save him. She'd always seemed a contrived plot device before; now she's the show's most tragic character.

Everyone else was likewise where they belong. Only Starbuck, ready to throw it all away for her zealous Cylon "husband" and bottle-grown toaster, needs a swift kick to the head.

1 It really helps being a Jew. We got way beyond algebra.

05 October 2006

BSG Premiers Friday

But if you've been watching the webisodes, you probably know that Act I of episode 301 is available online. I cannot wait to see the rest of the episode tomorrow. It doesn't appear to have lost even a half step.

If you avoid it because it's just silly sci-fi for the kids...try instead to think of it as magic realism or satire or a dystopian future. These are pretty traditional ways to reclassify SF so it can be elevated out of its ghetto and into the literary canon.

Have we learned nothing from Veronica Mars? Don't arm the janitor!

I guess not everyone from the upper midwest is grounded. In Wisconsin, State Rep. Frank Lasee, R-Bellevue "said Wednesday that arming teachers and school staff would discourage gunmen from entering schools." To clarify, he included janitors in that "school staff" grouping during an interview currently streaming on CNN.com.

Apparently, they grow 'em even crazier than Eddie Gein up in the tundra.

Of course, I like the subtle anti-semitism (maybe I'm reading between the lines) of this quote: "I think if the Israelis can do it safely, the sensible people in the Midwest can do it". Alright, maybe I'm just too sensitive. He probably didn't mean that Midwestern folk are more sensible than them cwaaaazy Jews. Plus, they all have required military service just like the Israelis, right?

Look! The good guys are the bad guys!

I picked up Garth Ennis' "The Boys" at issue one, having been intrigued enough by the cover art to flip through a few pages while I was at Nerd-a-rama. It's about a team of non-powered humans, employed by the US government to keep superheroes in check. Not exactly breaking new ground, but still a nice take. Supers are oblivious to the humans around them, engage in tectonic battles with no regard for innocent life, and need to be stopped. I really dug on the first two issues and was looking forward to #3 this week.

And it was fine...except, the writing (and this is no shock, this is a comic) is hamfisted: the supers are morally bankrupt and deserving of punishment, and our anti-heroes are dark but ultimately on the side of right. What's wrong with this? Well, there was no shock for me when I got to the full-page image of "The Homelander" (├╝bermensch archetype) demanding fellatio from a new recruit to "The Seven". No surprise, as I already knew what I'd be seeing when the final panel on the prior page had him saying (it's not handy, I'm quoting from memory) "You just have one more test to pass."

Well, duh. Of course he's going to drop spandex trou and present arms.

So now, I have to decide if I want to keep reading a book that's "cleverly" made the good guys the villains and the anti-heroes the heroes. Plus, I'm not enjoying Darick Robertson's inking: super thick, overpowering his coloring. Maybe one more issue and then done.

03 October 2006

Foleygate is Great for the GOP

Back in July and August, it looked like the Dems had a chance, albeit a small one, to take back at least the House, and maybe even the Senate. I wasn't overly optimistic, as I've learned that the buffoons who head my party can screw up any election; however, I had an iota of hope.

Somehow(1), we survived the propaganda of "The Path to 9/11". The premature arrests in the UK didn't provide much of a bump in the polls. Bush's best campaign efforts seemed all for naught.

Then, Foleygate broke. That was good for one seat for the good guys, maybe two if there was a coverup and it got some press. It appears that Rep. Dennis Hastert knew and should have responded much, much sooner. Great. Denny's a dick. But this story is taking EVERY available slice of the news cycle. That's very, very bad for the Dems.

How do the flyovers(2) react when a scandal like this breaks? Let's see...

  • Blame Democrats for "dirty politics" as usual

  • Be happy your representative is a good, God-fearing Republican who wants to stamp out hom'sexyals

  • When's "American Idol" coming back?!?!?

When you get your news from Rush, you don't form intelligent opinions. In fact, you don't form opinions at all: they are implanted in your head, like Athena in reverse. You spend no time reading the paper, no time paying attention to anything beyond what Brangelina is up to today. When you hear "pedophile", you think "liberal".

If the Democrats don't want to lose seats in this election, they and their allies on the left should back off this story a bit. It's got legs of its own, and if the spin machine starts to redirect the message they can always jump in and talk about "Republican Congressman, Rep. Mark Foley (R)" to drive home the association. Denny Hastert needs to be smacked about (and possibly censured) and that's great...wait until November 8th.

People who vote, mostly vote locally.(3) What a child molester in Florida allegedly did is of little immedidate consequence. But for the ill-informed and cosmically stupid, the best bet to fight child molestation is to vote for the xtian Republican candidate. Pounding this story too hard (at the exclusion of so many other "great" things this administration and its cronies in Congress have done) is going to backfire come election day.

1 (= Sunday and Monday night NFL games)
2 I'm not going to be PC about this. I see stupid people and I'm going to shout from the rooftops that they're stupid. I'm sick of being told to pretend that they are anything but mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, bible- and wife-beating subhumans. That's right. I have no fucking respect for the stupid. You want to teach your children about the evils of sec'lar hum'nism? You want to teach your children that GAWD created the world in six days? Move to fucking Afghanistan.
3 I'm actually not convinced that this is true for everyone. I suspect that conservatives vote locally and liberals vote nationally, but have no evidence to back this up.

01 October 2006

Monkey Business

I do loves me Netflix. As long as you keep the movies churning through the mail fast enough (we don't) the per-movie cost is so low that it's easy to rent something you might otherwise not have considered. Case in point: Curious George. Our expectations were pretty low. The movie hadn't done well at the BO, and unlike a lot of people, I think Will Ferrell's pretty hit-or-miss. Add in the fact that it's a straight-up kids movie and the odds were high the enjoyment would be low.

Well color me yellow. Ferrell kept his schtick under control, the ever bubbly Drew Barrymore did a great job as The Man in the Yellow Hat's romantic interest, and George was as cute and charming as Margret and H.A. Rey's original little imp. Alright, so I've got a soft spot for monkeys. Oh, and David Cross rocked it as the pictured Junior Bloomsberry.

I caught a grand total of one slightly risque joke for those who require their entendres be doubled. Mind you, it wasn't very blue, but it did give me a chuckle. Curious George lives in a world of sincerity and innocence, so he's certainly not for detatched hipsters. They may wear t-shirts bearing his visage for ironic effect, but they won't sit through 88 minutes of crisp, clean animation. Sad, really. George would certainly welcome them if they wanted to join.