Monday, January 31, 2005

Focus on the Idiotic?

Dr. James Dobson (who I have the extreme joy of being able to see every day on my local morning news...any wonder why I don't watch?) seems to keep missing the point. First, he attacks SpongeBob SquarePants, which is a CARTOON, without apparently ever even watching an episode. Typical.

There is no hidden agenda, nor is SpongeBob gay (or any other Bikini Bottom creatures for that matter). From E! Online:
He's square, he lives in a pineapple under the sea, his best friend's a starfish. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Stephen Hillenburg, the 43-year-old creator of Nickelodeon's hit cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants, is setting the record straight regarding the sexuality of his highly absorbent 'toon, days after conservative Christian activists accused SpongeBob of advocating a homosexual agenda by appearing in a video holding hands with pal Patrick the Star Fish.

SpongeBob, says Hillenburg, is not gay. He's just an animated sea creature.

"[Sexuality] doesn't have anything to do with what we're trying to do," Hillenberg told Reuters on Friday[...]"We never intended them to be gay. I consider them to be almost asexual. We're just trying to be funny, and this has got nothing to do with the show."

So now, after being pummelled from every side in the MSM, Dr. Dobson's group has decided to attack the media for attacking spamming Keith Olbermann...WOW...these guys are out. From Daily Kos:
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is one of the few "real media" journalists to have a blog consistently worth going to. From Olbermann, we learn that for the last week, Focus on the Family has been locked in mortal combat with themselves, and they're losing badly.

Or more specifically, FOTF targeted K.O. for an impromptu spam campaign, as a result of Countdown's reporting on James Dobson's "SpongeBob" comments. Dobson backpedaled like a man possessed once media attention on his remarks started coming out, in the process citing Olbermann as "one of the most hostile of the commentators" against him and setting up an email generator by which FOTF groupies could spam Olbermann on the subject.

Olbermann himself blogs:
The spam e-mails began coming in Tuesday night. They were pretty routine, damning me to eternal fires and reminding me what they "did" to Dan Rather and how I'd be next. But they were generated from Dobson's own website, which of course negates their impact, and as a result a lot of them were downright hilarious.
Something approaching 20 percent of them were simply blank. Others began with, or consisted entirely of, the preamble "(Please delete these words and type your own message here.)" Others referred to Dr. Dobson as Dr. Dobsin, Dr. Dobsen, or Mr. Dobbins. Many were cut-and-paste repetitions of one another, and about 20 percent were from false e-mail addresses.

One particularly useful one included the actual instructions on the Website as to how to conduct the campaign...

Makes me think back to the greatest attack on a fictional character I can remember...Dan Quayle vs. Murphy Brown. Since this incident in 1992, you'd think people would realize that such battles are not worth starting...and in fact usually get you painted as a loony, and your credibility (assuming you had any to start with) is gone, never to be seen again.

A right to die?

Ambivalent Imbroglio has an excellent post up regarding the odd twists and turns that the death penalty discussion takes, especially as it focuses on a particular case in Connecticut. Michael Ross, a convicted serial killer, faces the death penalty tonight, but he wants to die.
The Ross case is a complicated one b/c, as I understand it, Ross claims he wants to die, but his defense attorneys have been arguing against those wishes, saying his expressed desire to die is a clear sign of incompetence. It would also be the first execution in Connecticut in 44 years.

Will Ross’s execution basically become a state-assisted suicide? And if so, will that become another argument against the death penalty? Ross says one of the reasons he wants to die is that he can’t stand the thought of spending the rest of his life in prison; therefore, the death penalty is actually a lesser punishment for Ross than life in prison would be. This gives the lie to death penalty proponents who claim it is the “ultimate” punishment (as in the most punishment society can give), and thus becomes potentially another argument against the death penalty.

Some other death penalty resources:
Death Penalty Information Center
Amnesty International
National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

UPDATE: Execution halted, Connecticut Supreme Court issues a stay to examine Ross's competency.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

John Grisham's "The Broker"

For those of you who are paying too close attention, you may notice that "The Broker" skipped over the Current Read category in the sidebar completely...well, that's because I got bored with George Carlin's book, and took a three-day break from it. In that time, I read John Grisham's "The Broker", which was yet another book NOT in the lawyer formulaic he did so well with through the first 4 or 5 books. It was an interesting read, but I think Grisham spent too much time discussing the settings in Italy, giving the reader Italian language lessons, and forgot to write the plot. That said, I think this could work as a fact, it really feels like the basis for one (if a rewrite were involved).

Too little time is spent in developing (or utilizing) some of the more interesting secondary characters (like the law professor), and the most interesting part of the story, which the plot painfully winds its way toward, falls rather flat. In all, the most climactic moment was also the anticlimax. It feels like this story was really two separate ideas that never really seemed to interweave.

I'm not saying that I want my 8 hours back, but I just hope that Mr. Grisham starts building better plots again soon.

Friday, January 28, 2005

The big tent needs to reopen for business...

From Daily Kos (reposted in its entirety because I felt like it, and I tend to agree with him):
What's the problem with Hillary?
by kos
Thu Jan 27th, 2005 at 14:41:36 PST

Feeling uncreative and tapped out, I took advantage of the day to run some errands and have lunch in The City. I let my thoughts lead where they may, and they culiminated with this simple question:
What the fuck is up with all the Hillary bashing around these parts?

To be clear, she's not my favorite potential presidential candidate for '08, but she's also not my least favorite choice.

Yet the more I thought about the personal attacks she endures from people on her own side, the angrier I got.

Look, there isn't a single person that has suffered worse at the hands of the Right Wing Noise Machine and the Corporate Media. She has borne the brunt of attacks that would've shriveled up lesser humans. She has had to deal with personal problems in a public way that would've driven most of us underground.

Yet not only has she parried aside those savage attacks, but she has grown and thrived. That is worthy of respect. She is on the front lines against our enemies and doesn't deserve to be ravaged by her own side. She doesn't go on Fox News to attack fellow Democrats, like some of the others do.

You disagree with her vote on Pet Issue X? Fine. Every elected official will vote against one of your pet issues. Expect 100% agreement with anyone and you WILL be disappointed. Heck, there are fools wailing about Obama this and Obama that already, as though any senator or congressman or governor or anyone will ever heed your every wish.

So disagree with actions X, Y, or Z if you must. But the vitriol sent her way here rivals that dished out by the Freepers. She doesn't deserve it, and I wish those people would chill. She's not the enemy.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

I wonder if anyone actually falls for this one...

From IRS 2004 Publication 525: Taxable and Nontaxable Income:
Stolen property. If you steal property, you must report its fair market value in your income in the year you steal it unless in the same year, you return it to its rightful owner.

Clearly NOT the happiest place on earth...

Why oh why does my dear sweet frozen wasteland of Wisconsin only make the national news when twisted shit happens? Really...why? Can someone please explain it to me?

The Wisconsin State Journal is reporting that a 15 year old boy is being charged with attempted murder for allegedly giving his family mouse poison over the past 5 weeks "because he was mad at them."

But, and here's where the future lawyer (and former debater) in me comes out...was he really trying to kill them?

According to the complaint "he did not want to kill his family, just make them sick because he was mad at them."

Is this just an excuse, what anyone accused of attempted murder would likely say? Well, the science says he's likely telling the truth (although I doubt he actually knew this was the case). You'd have to eat in excess of 3 pounds of d-Con over 2 days to get a fatal dose...and I don't think you could easily hide that in someone's food.

A 15-year-old Wisconsin boy has been charged with attempted murder for slipping mouse poison into his family's food over a five-week period. His mother, stepfather, and 3-year-old half-sister suffered a variety of nonlethal symptoms, including stomach pains and vomiting. The alleged perpetrator has told police that he didn't intend to kill his family, just to make them ill. How much mouse poison can a human ingest without dying?

Quite a bit, if it's the kind this troubled Wisconsin teen allegedly employed and if medical care is administered in a timely fashion. The mouse poison in question was reportedly the d-Con brand; d-Con's active ingredient is brodifacoum. This substance is classified as a superwarfarin, a family of potent, long-acting anticoagulants, or blood thinners. It is a relative of warfarin, an anticoagulant discovered in the 1940s by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; the foundation's scientists found the chemical in spoiled sweet-clover hay, which was causing fatal hemorrhaging in some cattle. Warfarin is still used today to prevent blood clots.
There is no consensus on how much brodifacoum constitutes a lethal dose for humans; there simply haven't been enough cases of brodifacoum poisoning for medical researchers to study. Toxicity depends not only on how much has been ingested but on the ingester's weight, health, and various other factors. According to a monograph from the International Programme on Chemical Safety, however, there have been a few isolated cases of people surviving extremely large doses. In 1984, for example, a disturbed pregnant woman was admitted to a hospital after ingesting 75 milligrams of brodifacoum over two days. That's equivalent to a whopping 50 ounces of d-Con mouse poison. She survived, although she suffered severe hemorrhaging throughout her body and lost her baby.

A much smaller dose of just a few milligrams could theoretically be fatal, but only if no medical attention was given. Fortunately, the antidote to brodifacoum is the readily available vitamin K1. Ten milligrams to 20 milligrams of vitamin K1 usually does the trick, followed by regular 5 milligram doses for the next month if necessary. In worst-case scenarios, a blood transfusion may also be necessary. (Information on the Wisconsin family's treatment has not been released to the public.)


Yeah, I realize this article is like 8 months old already, but with the Gonzales confirmation currently on-going, i felt like reminding everyone that Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot (he's also a drug-addled junkie who should be serving time too, but that's beside the point for now). The following article is completely stolen from
Limbaugh: Abu Ghraib was just a big frat party!

While President Bush saw fit today to apologize for the appalling acts of torture committed by U.S. military personnel in Iraq, right-wing radio star Rush Limbaugh had already graced America's airwaves with his own special kind of forgiveness for the offenses committed. On Limbaugh's Tuesday radio show, titled "It's Not About Us; This Is War!", one caller likened the stacking up of naked Iraqi prisoners to a college fraternity prank -- Limbaugh was eager to go along, calling the behavior nothing more than "a good time" and healthy "emotional release":

"Exactly. Exactly my point! This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You [ever] heard of need to blow some steam off?"

(Was it just a coincidence that he pointed to George W. Bush's former Yale fraternal order as his rationale?) The day before, on his May 3 show, Limbaugh had decided to focus on the connection he saw between the U.S. abuses and American pop culture:

"And these American prisoners of war -- have you people noticed who the torturers are? Women! The babes! The babes are meting out the torture ... You know, if you look at -- if you, really, if you look at these pictures, I mean, I don't know if it's just me, but it looks just like anything you'd see Madonna, or Britney Spears do on stage. Maybe I'm -- yeah. And get an NEA grant for something like this. I mean, this is something that you can see on stage at Lincoln Center from an NEA grant, maybe on Sex in the City -- the movie. I mean, I don't -- it's just me."

Obnoxious as they are, Limbaugh's off-kilter rantings (available via audio clip on Media are less troubling than his take on the veracity of the explosive torture scandal. He has the ear of many, many Americans -- and even with the presidential apology that's now been issued -- he was still essentially dismissive of the whole thing today:

"This is a pure, media-generated story. I'm not saying it didn't happen or that the pictures aren't there, but this is being given more life than the Waco investigation got. It's almost become an Oklahoma City-type thing."

American democracy endows its citizens with the privilege of free speech, but in the crucial battle for hearts and minds during this troubling time of war, you have to wonder if a guy like Limbaugh should be on the front lines, even here at home.

-- Mark Follman

[13:24 PDT, May 6, 2004]

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Planning, excellent...execution, not so good

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Your Ad Here

Apparently Buffalo Wings & Vodka is auctioning off the wrong item for sponsorship.

This man clearly wasn't using his head for anything, or maybe he was...but just though he had some extra space available for rent.
Andrew Fischer, 20, of Omaha, who put his forehead for sale on eBay as advertising space, received $37,375 on Friday to advertise the snoring remedy, SnoreStop.

Fischer will display the SnoreStop logo on his forehead for one month.

People will always comment on something out of the ordinary," Fischer said in his sales pitch. "People like weird."

Monday, January 24, 2005

Ahhhh satire...

Today's Non Sequitur comic strip is most excellent:

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Da Vinci Code: The Movie

While I was looking forward to The Da Vinci Code as a movie anyway, after the two major announcements this week, I am even more enthused with the prospects of this film.

For those that missed the announcements, an agreement in principle has been reached to allow filming inside the Louvre:
French officials are close to giving Oscar-winning filmmaker Ron Howard the final go-ahead to shoot scenes of his big-screen adaptation of author Dan Brown's best-selling thriller The Da Vinci Code in the famed museum, according to published reports.

"There is really a very strong desire to see the movie for this book, which has world renown, shot in the Louvre," the Louvre's director, Henri Loyrette was quoted as telling France-Inter radio. "It is a yes in principle from our side."

And equally exciting, in my opinion, is that Ron Howard has selected Audrey Tautou to star as Sophie Neveu opposite Tom Hanks' Robert Langdon:
Winsome French actress Audrey Tautou of "Amelie" fame has been chosen to play Tom Hanks' partner in cracking "The Da Vinci Code" in the film adaptation of the best-selling novel, the newspaper Le Parisien reported Saturday.

According to the daily, Tautou is to play the role of Sophie Neveu, the investigator who helps Robert Langdon (Hanks), a symbologist, solve the murder of an elderly member of an ancient society that has protected dark secrets since the early years of Christianity.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Walking Eagle Strut

Now, I realize that it's most likely not true, but's still funny...

Message passing around the Internet

Subject: Walking Eagle Strut

During a recent campaign tour of the Apache Nation in the state of New Mexico, President George W. Bush said that he planned to increase every Native American's income by $40,000 a year. The President refused repeated requests for details of his plan. However, he also told the Apaches that during his career as Governor of Texas, he signed YES 9,637 times on Indian issues that reached his desk for approval.

Before his departure, the Apache Tribe presented the President with a plaque inscribed with his new Indian name, Walking Eagle. After the President boarded Air Force One, tribal officials explained to the news media that Walking Eagle is the name given a bird so full of shit that it can't fly.

Maybe it's not a "Texas swagger" but a Walking Eagle strut we see in W's gait.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Holy bad taste, Batman!

FEMA has once again shown they have no idea how to properly use taxpayer dollars and created this tasteless, pointless, tactless, and just plain stupid flash game for kids.
A tsunami has just hit FEMA Beach and has rearranged a few things. Please put the 9 objects back where they belong to see the cyber-prize!

Apparently no humans were on FEMA beach at the time, or they were all just washed out to sea...because no floating dead corpses are part of the 9 objects that need to be replaced.

Glad to see our tax dollars are being wisely spent by this administration...

[Hat tip to Daily Kos for pointing out this insanity.]

UPDATE: The aforementioned "cyber-prize" consists of a cartoon frog either dancing or having a seizure.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

What you didn't see in the wall-to-wall coverage today

The Ambivalent Imbroglio risked life and limb (and potential arrest) in the police state that our nation's capitol has become over the past week to document the other side of the $40 million coronation orgy inauguration ceremony that occurred earlier today.

The pictures are excellent and it's just too bad that the handlers/media/police/etc shield the administration from realizing that SO MANY people disagree with their policies, and are willing to show up and voice their frustration. I suppose it is typical of corporate culture to surround yourself with "yes-men" at all times, never to hear a contradictory opinion muttered in your presence...but this country is not, and God-willing, will never become a corporation. So maybe, just maybe, the opinions of ALL the people will be listened to some day soon.

right wing nutjob...

JibJab has once again provided us with rather bi-partisan political entertainment, thankfully this time just in time for the coronation inauguration, as they present "Second Term" which is done in the same style as the now-classics "This Land" and "It's Good to Be in D.C."

Guess I really don't act my age...

No wonder the people I work with are so boring...

You Are 24 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

The King is Dead, Long Live the King

Wonkette live-blogged the coronation inauguration today. Some of the better comments:
11:27AM: Look at Frist's lavender tie! Totally Sponge Bob.
11:35AM: Bad hat day. Specter in modified cowboy hat. Harken in fedora.
11:36AM: Massive earhair shot of Bush. A good deal of earhair. Should the leader of the free world have so much ear hair?
11:40AM: Trent Lott reminds us that Americans have been gathering for over 200 years to welcome their new presidents a "peaceful and dignified ceremonies." And then, he said, "there's this year, which is a $40 million obscenity of corporate whoredom."
11:46AM: Is this church or something? What's with the hymn? Are they going to ask for money next? Oh, right. . . they already did. Thank you, Beer Wholesale Distributors, for this lovely celebration of democracy.
11:49AM: Cheney getting sworn in. Fuck, this is really happening, isn't it? Wait, did you hear that? He swore to protect us from "all enemies foreign domestic and made up. . ." They're warning us this time!
11:50AM: Hastert totally had leftover Christmas turkey under coat. Snacking on it between lines
11:51AM: Cheney to Bush: "Thank you Mr. President, now let's go back to blowing shit up."
11:58AM: Four more years, minus about a minute. Just keep the bourbon coming.
12:02PM: "No one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave." Except for the gays. We hear they're into that.
12:04PM: "Some have unwisely chosen to test America's resolve, and have found it firm." Huh-huh. We're not a mattress.
12:14PM: Uh-oh. Racism is bad. "We cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time." But Prada has this totally cute baggage of bigotry!
12:18PM: "America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength - tested, but not weary - we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom." DUDE! Except when we take yours away. Sorry.

[Emphasis added.]

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

ummm...yeah...and you thought you could get away with it how?

Lets see here...most popular reality show ever...first season...openly gay walking around naked...winner of $1 million prize...invited back to be on All-Star Edition of same show...nope...don't see how THAT would attract any attention.

Here's to Richard Hatch for his attempt to HIDE his $1.01 million from Survivor (plus an additional $321,000 from talk radio) from the IRS. Richard (to borrow a phrase from LQ) "you must be some special kind of stupid."

Hatch to Plead Guilty to Tax Evasion

Monday, January 17, 2005


Okay...I'm officially allowed to complain about the temperature. The only people who can tell me that it's not that cold out are the folks braving it out in Northern Minnesota (like Embarrass, MN...low of -53). Anyway, the weather report for tomorrow is to stay inside...-20 to -25 overnight and then wind to the point where frostbite can occur within 20 minutes. That's I don't want to hear about your, oh poor me, it just dropped to 30...that's frickin balmy compared to here.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Obvious results

Well...I did watch the Vikings get pummeled by the Eagles, and I also watched the Patriots prove once again that offense doesn't win championships when they destroyed the Colts.

Regardless, this weekend also proved that dome teams don't win championships in the NFL. Football was meant to be played outdoors, in cold weather, preferably with snow...just like the Patriots/Colts game today. The elements are supposed to be part of the challenge of the game...throwing 49 touchdown passes inside where you don't have to fight the wind, rain, cold doesn't prove a whole lot...especially when you go outside and manage a single field Pathetic really.

The entire Patriots team were the stars of the day, as they were for nearly the entire season (which helped me to win my Fantasy Football league...regular and post season).

I guess the whole point to this is that stadiums should have natural grass and no lids. Play the game the way it was intended...

Saturday, January 15, 2005

You know, I couldn't believe it. You got him to make you a sword. It was easy, I just dropped your name...

So, not a whole lot going on in the frozen wasteland this weekend. Slept in, shipped off yet another old textbook (god bless, and ran my fastest 5 mile yet. About 6 weeks ago I ran 5 miles for the first time (in a road race no less), and finished in 49:07. I realize that's not very fast, but I was happy to finish. Today I ran 5 miles on the treadmill in 44:33...again, not horribly fast, but I was amazed to shave 4:34 off my time in a mere 6 weeks.

Other than that, I watched Kill Bill Vol. 2 for the 3rd time. It is an amazing piece of work. Vol. 1 is mostly violence, but Vol. 2 really gets to the heart of the matter, and tells the story of The Bride and Bill.

Now, I'm half-watching NFL divisional playoffs (cheering for the Falcons...mostly because I despise Mike Martz) while cleaning and organizing my mess of an apartment. I'm mulling over the idea for a rather long post, but I'm not sure exactly what angle to take with it yet, or whether it should possibly be multiple posts. I guess time will tell, maybe I'll even write it tomorrow while doing laundry and watching the Eagles pummel the Vikings.

I'm out.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Homeland Insecurity? (or, How Hard Is It To Find Someone to Work in D.C. That Didn't Pay An Illegal Immigrant Nanny Off The Books?)

Dave Letterman's Top Ten List from a few nights ago (Wednesday, I think...)

Top Ten Questions George W. Bush Asked His Homeland Security Nominee

10. "Do you have previous experience securing homelands"?

9. "How will you make the terror alert system more cumbersome and ineffective?"

8. "Do you generally get along well with people named Condoleezza?"

7. "Tell me again--who the hell are you"?

6. "If I have a beer during our Cabinet meetings, will you tell Laura?"

5. "Be honest-would you really spend any time keeping Delaware safe?"

4. "You're not a member of Al-Qaeda, are you?"

3. "May I refer to you as my 'Secretary Homey'?"

2. "Are you comfortable coordinating information among the CIA the FBI, and KFC?"

1. "Is there any chance of you going 'McGreevey' on us?"

[For those of you keeping track of such things (and I think a few might), Delaware was singled out in #5.]

Portions of today's programming are reproduced by means of electrical transcriptions or tape recordings

In what was clearly the most important piece of news to come out of CBS this week, the cast members of "Survivor: Palau" have been announced. This go-round, we're going to be treated to not the old standby of 16 even the newer standard of 18 fact we're going to be forced to endure 20, that's right, TWENTY cast members. Thankfully Mark Burnett promises that he's cutting them down fast and furious in the first episode.

Instead of the usual 16 castaways, Survivor: Palau will pit 20 would-be millionaires against one another. However, by the end of episode one, only 17 will remain.
"They're given very little instruction about what to do, and some of them are genuinely lost," Burnett told Variety. "Two people don't make it to the first challenge. That's how tough it is. It's very emotional."

It's also being reported that the average age of the castaways has dropped, with 11 under the age of 30. Of course, that is due to the necessity of eye candy on the beach.
There's also token eye-candy for all. Graduate student Kimberly Mullen, 25, represented Ohio in the 2002 Miss USA Pageant and has worked as a model. Waiter Bobby Jon Drinkard, 27, was voted Alabama's Most Eligible Bachelor in 2003 by Cosmopolitan magazine and is currently pursuing a modeling career. (Bring on the swimsuit shots.)

Finally, the quick rundown of all the new wanna-be millionaires:
- Coby Archa, 32, hairstylist from Athens, Texas
- Ashlee Ashbee, 22, student from Easley, South Carolina
- Gregg Carey, 28, business consultant from Chicago
- Bobby John Drinkard, 27, waiter from Santa Monica
- Katie Gallagher, 29, advertising exec from Merced, California
- Caryn Groedel, 46, civil rights attorney from Solon, Ohio
- Angie Jakusz, 24, bartender from New Orleans
- Jolanda Jones, 39, lawyer from Houston
- Stephenie LaGrossa, 25, pharmaceutical sales rep from Philadelphia
- Jonathan Libby, 23,works in sales and marketing in Dallas
- Jennifer Lyon, 32, nanny from Encino, California
- James Miller, 32, steel worker from Mobile, Alabama
- Kimberly Mullen, 25, grad student from Huber Heights, Ohio
- Ibreheim Rahman, 27, waiter from Birmingham, Alabama
- Ian Rosenberger, 23, dolphin trainer from Key Largo, Florida
- Wanda Shirk, 55, English teacher from Ulysses, Pennsylvania
- Willard Smith, 57, lawyer from Bellevue, Washington
- Janu Tornell, 39, Las Vegas showgirl
- Tom Westman, 41, firefighter from Sayville, New York
- Jeff Wilson, 21, personal trainer from Ventura, California

[I've taken the liberty of putting interesting professions in bold. Three lawyers, a showgirl and a dolphin trainer...seems like there should be a joke in there somewhere.]

All quotations from "Survivor: Palau" Cast Revealed

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Well, I was going to write a lengthy, insightful post today, but I spent 12 hours chained to my computer at work today, so this is all you're gonna get out of me. Since tomorrow is Friday (where the hell did the week go?), I'm gonna hopefully bail the office early (like 3pm or so) and maybe, just maybe, then I'll find the time to write something worth your time to read.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Why I Hate New Years Resolutions

Okay...full disclosure: I don't make New Years Resolutions...I think they are stupid.

If you need something random and arbitrary (like the turn of the calendar to another year) to motivate you, my condolences. Why not use your birthday, the Fourth of July, or Arbor Day for that matter? None of them are any less important (or arbitrary), and really, some are probably much more important an occasion.

So, you're probably wondering what brought about this rant? Well, it's simple...I am a member of the local YMCA. I have been a member for several months, and have gotten into a great routine which has lately been placed into shambles thanks to the "New Years Resolutionists." I find it funny that year after year people go through the same routine with their resolutions. To lose weight, get in shape, blah blah blah...but they never follow through. I've read that it takes a minimum of 6 weeks to form a new habit (like going to the Y for a workout, changing your diet, etc) for almost all of these Resolutionists, they will never get their habits changed.

The temptations are just too great, especially here in the frozen wasteland. The weather is a great excuse "I'll go tomorrow, it's (snowing/raining/icy/-50 windchill) out, so I really should stay home." Well, staying at home leads itself to the creature comforts of TV and snacks, and zap, people are quickly sucked back into their old routines, never to see the inside of the YMCA again...until next January.

The local YMCA even discussed this issue in a newspaper article where they said that most of these new members will likely stop attending by early to mid February...but until then, I, like many other regulars, are forced to suffer/adjust our schedules around people using the treadmills for their 30 minute walks (when there is a perfectly good walking track available).

God I love New Years Resolutions...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Not really a least not to me

Even back in late September people were wondering exactly what Howard Dean was planning on doing next, after the November elections were over. Was he angling for a cabinet level position in a Kerry administration, was he setting himself up to run again in 2008 if Kerry didn't win, or was he going to run for Chairman of the DNC?

Well, it's been 4 months since the rumors started circulating, and while it has been rather apparent for the past month, today Howard Dean announced his candidacy.
I'm Running
As I have traveled across our country, I have talked to thousands of people who are working for change in their own communities about the power of politics to make a difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. Every group I have spoken to, I encouraged them to stand up for what they believe and to get involved in the electoral process—because the only sure way to make difference is to step up and run for office yourself.

Today, I'm announcing my candidacy for the Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.

The Democratic Party needs a vibrant, forward-thinking, long-term presence in every single state and we must be willing to contest every race at every level. We will only win when we show up and fight for the issues important to all of us.

I'm not quite sure exactly what I think about this right now. I supported Dean from early on in the presidential race, and loathed the media for the hatchet job they did on him post-Iowa. I also think the current national Democratic Party leadership needs to pull their heads out of the sand and realize what's going on, and that this Anybody But Dean bullshit they keep trying only pisses off the millions who supported Dean for America, and continue to work through Democracy for America.

He's scary to the powers that be simply because he's an outsider, not beholden to the "way things are run inside the Beltway".
But most of all, together, we have to rebuild the American community. We will never succeed by treating our nation as a collection of separate regions or separate groups. There are no red states or blues states, only American states. And we must talk to the people in all of these states as members of one community.

That word—'values'—has lately become a codeword for appeasement of the right-wing fringe. But when political calculations make us soften our opposition to bigotry, or sign on to policies that add to the burden of ordinary Americans, we have abandoned our true values.

After what I have read about the other leading candidates, I think that Dean would be the breath of fresh air the party needs to keep going. He's shown the ability to work with the grassroots, inspired dozens of people to run for office themselves, and supported them along the way.
With your help, this past election season, Democracy for America, already started creating the kind of organization the Democratic Party can be. This past election cycle, we endorsed over 100 candidates at all levels of government—from school board to U.S. Senate. We contributed almost a million dollars to nearly 750 candidates around the country and raised millions of dollars for many more candidates.

Together, we helped elect a Democratic governor in Montana, a Democratic mayor of Salt Lake County, Utah and an African American woman to the bench in Alabama. Fifteen of the candidates we endorsed had never run for office before—and won.

He's not the stiff or boring suit the Democratic Party keeps trotting out lately, as evidenced by the current chairman or the other candidates.

Hell with it...I think Howard Dean ought to be the next DNC chair.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Another Day, Another Book it's official...I'm a procrastinator (and a bit of a pathetic one at that). Instead of doing laundry, cleaning my kitchen, doing dishes, or anything else, I read an entire book. Yup...the whole damn thing, start to day. So, was the book good? Yeah...State of Fear by Michael Crichton is a great read. But I have to say that the current state of the world, just 2 weeks after the tsunami, made reading this book seem a little surreal.

The threat of environmental terrorism takes a deeper, darker turn in this book...the Environmental Liberation Front (ELF) is recruited by a seemingly innocuous environmental organization called NERF to carry out acts that should seem like freak weather brought about by abrupt climate change. These acts are being timed to occur in the days immediately prior to the start of a major conference on climate change and global warming.

George Morton, an eccentric billionaire who abruptly disappears, his attorney Peter Evans, his assistant Sarah and the enigmatic Dr. Kenner find themselves in a race to stop the ELF at all costs.

This book is definitely worth the time to read.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

A Salty Piece of Land

Well...another day, another book. I finished reading A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffett last night, and I thought that since I set the precedent of offering my thoughts on books I finished, I'd better comment on this one too.

Jimmy Buffett does not write "literature". Never has, never will. His music is escapist, and perfect for surviving long winters here in the frozen wasteland. This is also VERY true of his books. A Salty Piece of Land is no different. This book tells the story of Tully Mars, the restoration of a tropical lighthouse, and interweaves tales of the jungle, escapes from bounty hunters hired by an insane poodle rancher, a foam party, and boats (both the sailing and the flying kinds).

The story is told in first person by Tully, and is mostly a series of flashbacks of his life...which is perfect. If you've never read a book by Jimmy Buffett (but love his music), you really should...if you've read any of his previous books (Tales From Margaritaville, Where is Joe Merchant?, A Pirate Looks at Fifty) you already know he knows how to tell a story, and should read this one too). If you only read books that are LITERATURE (i.e. on some "high school or college reading list") I doubt you'll read this book...but then again, I doubt you're actually reading this post nevermind.

Shock and Awe

Well...okay, not awe, but just awful. For that matter, I guess I'm becoming completely desensitized to the current administration's tactics. I'm not surprised anymore by the tricks and tactics used for advancing controversial, dangerous, bad, or just plain stupid policies...and therefore I can only present the following news with the thought of "what's next?"

From the New York Times (via Althouse):
TV Host Says U.S. Paid Him to Back Policy

Armstrong Williams, a prominent conservative commentator who was a protégé of Senator Strom Thurmond and Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court, acknowledged yesterday that he was paid $240,000 by the Department of Education to promote its initiatives on his syndicated television program and to other African-Americans in the news media.

The disclosure of the payment set off a storm of criticism from Democrats over the Bush administration's spending to promote its policies to the public. According to a copy of the contract provided by the department yesterday, Mr. Williams, who also runs a small public relations firm and until yesterday wrote a syndicated newspaper column, was required to broadcast two one-minute advertisements in which Education Secretary Rod Paige extolled the merits of its national standards program, No Child Left Behind.

Make of it what you for me, I'm going to attempt to keep my dinner down.

Friday, January 07, 2005

What I Learned Over My Lunch Break...

while reading blogs and pretending to do I always do...during lunch that is.


Yes...its true...and the courts even decided this particular tidbit. (But apparently a cow on rollerskates would be a motor vehicle.)

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Hidden benefits...

I guess the best (unintended) benefit to my decision to attend law school is that I no longer need to hold on to textbooks from my previous schooling (current "career"). This textbook "disposal" process has involved liquidation via &, which are both excellent places to find good deals on used books (this ends my unpaid endorsement). Over the course of several months I have managed to make almost $250 in this effort (which is significantly more than I would have gotten selling them back to the bookstore at either of my alma maters).
I must just offer my extreme gratitude to the many unknown schools and professors out there who continue to use the same book for more than one semester.

The weather's been snowing here for the past 12 hours, finally starting to taper off...but the 4 inches of accumulation is really no big deal here, where we may likely have invented the process of clearing roads (and if not, at least damn near perfected it).
However, I got a phone call from a good friend out in the Pacific Northwest while driving in to work, and apparently they're about to get clobbered. From what he's been told (since he's a mere 4 month resident of those parts) snow is very infrequent (like once every 4 years or so) but when conditions are right (as they supposedly are now) they could expect as much as 2 feet. 2 feet of snow is a lot, even in my frozen wasteland...schools shut down, people ski and snowshoe to work, snowblower sales triple overnight, I think you get my point...and we know what the hell to do with it.
Based on my experience in grad school, places that don't regularly get snow tend to panic when it arrives...and cities shut down completely. I'm guessing that is what will happen if the snow shows up in his area. I wish him (and any readers in that area) the best of luck with Mother Nature.

I will now close my post with a few appropriate quotes.
First, Lewis Black:
"I don't know what's more or the weathermen. A few years ago here in New York City, we had a blizzard. 36 inches of snow. I guess you Midwesterners would call that a dusting. Well, our weatherman at the time, Al Roker, predicted we'd have 4 - 12 inches of snow. Well, giving him the benefit of the doubt, that stills leaves him 2 feet off. This was an emergency condition. Now if you were a roofer and you built a roof and it was 2 feet off, you'd still be serving time."

Second, from The Italian Job:
Skinny Pete: "If there's one thing I know, it's never to mess with mother nature, mother in-laws and, mother freaking Ukrainians."
[emphasis added]

What time is it?...4:30

"It's not late, naw, naw, it's just early, early, early." actually the alarm clock indicated it was 4:00 am when I awoke this morning. Now, I'm sure all 2 or 3 of you readers are wondering why in the name of god would I be up at a time (depending on your time zone) when you might just be going to bed. Well, I actually do have a good reason. After many months of agony, my mom finally was scheduled for a total replacement of her left shoulder. So, I accompanied her for this event. So, why so early? Well, 1) the hospital capable of performing aforementioned procedure is approximately 40 miles away from my frozen wasteland (in a different, yet still frozen wasteland); 2) the surgeon performing this procedure prefers to complete all surgeries before noon. So, she had to arrive there around 5:45am for check-in and pre-op prep, etc.
I have to commend the hospital for having an excellent waiting area, even equipped with reclining chairs & televisions...very comfortable...and a great place to plow through about 1/2 of A Salty Piece of Land, which is shaping up to be a great read (pure mind candy, but still worth the time). The surgery took about 1.5 hours and went perfectly, so all is well.

Needless to say, 4am is really freakin' early, and I'm just now at work to finally start my day! Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention that it's been snowing for the past 12 hours, but I think the weather will wait for another post.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Weird News...UPDATE

UPDATE to the UPDATE: Rogue kangaroo caught, front page/lead story news across the entire state (apparently people are sick of talking about the weather already).

Well, reports now indicate that the kangaroo terrorizing Iowa County has been located, but information regarding that is still sketchy. However, the Wisconsin State Journal has a rather pun-filled article regarding the kangaroo chase.
Iowa County Sheriff Steve Michek feels a bit like Crocodile Dundee.

It's not every day in Wisconsin that you have a kangaroo on the loose in your county.

"Well, at least we are treating it as being the real thing," Michek said Tuesday about several reports of a kangaroo along highways 18 and 151 south and east of Dodgeville late Monday night.

He said the calls to his department, which began about 7 p.m. Monday, came from "reliable" people. One was a former sheriff's deputy who said she saw the small, reddish colored marsupial hopping about.

Michek assured that none of the reports came from an establishment serving Fosters, although some of the spotters may have later imbibed.

(After what The Hot Librarian had to say about Croc. Dundee, that may not be a very complementary description to start an article off with, however.)

I Value My Health...You Should Too

This message is for 2 people in particular...if it isn't you, please disregard...

To my neighbor who was sneezing so LOUDLY this morning that I could hear you CLEARLY through several walls...sneezes don't need to be spoken as "AAA-CHOOO"...just sneeze, don't enunciate, please.

To my co-worker who has been violently hacking/coughing every minute on the minute for the past half hour. THAT IS NOT NORMAL. Go see a doctor before we ALL have to see a doctor. PLEASE.

That is all...please return to your normal day. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Weird News from Cheesehead Land

While I'd love to fill you in about people taking days off of work to go shovel out Lambeau Field (for $8/hr), Brenda over at Little Caesar's Daily R & R has done a more than adequate job with coverage on that, so I'll just offer the links she found. See the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel stories here and here.

As a result, I guess I'm just resigned to tell you all about this story instead.
Iowa County sheriffs deputies and Dodgeville police are trying to find a kangaroo that was spotted in the area Monday night.

Officials do not know where it came from.

They believe it is a 4-foot-tall red kangaroo. It was spotted just outside the city of Dodgeville by the Madison exit.

If you see the kangaroo, do not pet it, police said. They can be dangerous.

Bertie Botts

This post is primarily to the attention of my coworkers (but I doubt any of them read this blog -- which is a good thing, at least for me).


Therefore they are not a vegetable, and don't count as LUNCH (even if they make you fart like regular beans).

This rant is now concluded...please resume your day.

Thank you.

Slap a yellow ribbon...

Over that metal plate in your head. I wasn't going to comment on the magnetic ribbon phenomenon, but I've just reached a point where I'm fed up with them. Now, don't get me wrong, the initial sentiment behind them is great and all, but there are many other ways to show support for our troops. This (at best) displaced patriotism or (at worst) jingoism being spread through car magnets is pathetic. While I have never actually even looked at these ribbons in stores, I have no doubt that people are overpaying to display their feality patriotism. What ever happened to buying a quarter's worth of yellow ribbon and tying it to your car antenna? Have we all gotten so lazy (or "busy") as a society that we can't even be troubled to actually tie a piece of ribbon in a knot (oh the horror!)?
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun Times has done two articles about these ribbons, the first discussing the crop of these magnets sprouting up everywhere, and even the false patriotism being espoused by the sellers of these magnets.
The Web sites selling these ribbons are multiplying more rapidly than a child genius at a mathlete competition. Some of these sites promise that the proverbial "portion of the proceeds" will go to some military-related good cause. Others make no mention of doing anything but pocketing the profits, though they have no qualms about playing the patriotic card in the ad copy.

Some manufacturers, including companies called Magnet America and USA Magnets and More, make a point of telling you their products are actually made in this country. But there's no shortage of "Support Our Troops!" ribbons that come from such cradles of democracy as China.
His second article grew off of a question he posed at the very end of the first article.
But these ribbons are magnetic, which means they're removable, yes? So I wonder: has anyone been a victim of ribbon-stealing?
Well, wonder of wonders, yes, people have sunk so low as to even steal the ugly things.
When I wrote about the magnetic ribbon craze three weeks ago, I wondered if anyone had been the victim of a ribbon theft. Are there petty thieves out there who would sink so low as to swipe car ribbons pledging support for American troops or advocating a cure for breast cancer?

Well of course there are. I would have been shocked if I hadn't heard tales of ribbon thievery.

However, I didn't expect to hear from so many of you -- more than 100 and counting.
So, now that means that people are not only too lazy to actually tie a piece of ribbon on their car, it also means that some people are so cheap as to not even buy that magnetic ribbon (what does that say about a person?) I have other problems with these ribbons, but the main one that people seem to forget is that automotive paint fades over time (just like those ribbons), so eventually, you're going to have "a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling" in the shape of a ribbon on your car.
There's now even a company that will let you "make your own ribbon". Pomo Sideshow offers magnetic parody and protest ribbons, and will let you put whatever message on it you want. Richard Roeper writes:
You select your own slogan, design and size, and he'll create your own custom-cut ribbons. Among the suggested slogans:
"Where Is Your Ribbon?"
"God Bless Jingoist Ribbons"
"My Ribbon is Bigger Than Yours"
"I Hate Ribbons"
"I Temporarily Support the Troops"
And my personal favorite:
"God Bless the Magnetic Ribbon Industry"
Order one today for someone you love. In the meantime, I'm creating my own ribbon slogan:
"If You're Stealing This, Your Mother Raised a Moron."
If you really care to support the troops, don't buy a damn magnetic ribbon. Give the money directly to an organization that will do so. Don't know where to find these organizations? Try here. There are dozens and dozens of organizations that would happily accept your money or your time and put it to a much better use.

Monday, January 03, 2005

We heart you?

Russ Feingold, the "maverick" senator from Wisconsin (I love the term "maverick" basically just says he does what's right, not necessarily what is most politically that's a bad thing) not only has been selected as one of four deputy minority whips under Harry Reid (D-Nev), but now the rumor mill says that he might be looking for a higher office in 2008 (or at least testing the waters). US News & World Report (via Wonkette) reports:
Fresh face, new voice
Keep a lookout for Sen. Russ Feingold, the second half of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance duo, who just won a third term from Wisconsin voters. He's on a nationwide mission to test out his progressive message that's liberal on some issues, like universal healthcare, and conservative on others, like the deficit. Fans think he can bridge the blue-state-red-state divide, making him not just a voice for a changing Democratic Party but a possible '08 presidential candidate.

Madison's Capital Times editorializes on Feingold's selection to the Senate leadership:
Already, Feingold is suggesting that the decision of Senate Democrats to make him a whip was a tacit acknowledgment that they need to listen to more independent voices. "I think this is about my independent voice being heard in the leadership meetings," he says.That is the right attitude. Feingold is a maverick. But he is a winning maverick. He was re-elected this fall by a wide margin, easily outdistancing the showing of the party's presidential ticket in Wisconsin. And the Wisconsin senator did so without trimming his sails; he spoke bluntly about the war in Iraq, his opposition to corporate free-trade deals and, of course, his solo vote against the USA Patriot Act.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

New Feature

If you happen to glance over at the sidebar on the right, you'll notice "The view out my window", which is exactly what it is. Why, you might ask, do I provide such a meaningful service to the blog community? Well...I had a webcam, and it wasn't doing anything except collecting dust, so I figured I'd put it to some use.

So, this camera will take and upload a new image every 60 seconds...but, until I get around to coding it properly, you'll have to reload the blog page yourself to get the new image. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy "The view out my window."

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Possession of a condiment?

So, I've been coerced into making a pot of my soon-to-be famous Poblano Corn Chowder (recipe available upon request), and the recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of Mexican oregano. Every single time I make this soup, I automatically think of "A Few Good Men"...why you might ask? Is it because I'm planning on starting law school in but a few (hopefully short) months? Is it because I just remember more movie quotes than the average person? Well, those both might be true, but the quote that really comes to mind is from early on in the film:
I'm gonna charge him with possession and being under the
influence while on duty. Plead guilty and I'll recommend 30
days in the brig with loss of rank and pay.

It was oregano, Dave, it was ten dollars worth of oregano.

Yeah, well your client thought it was marijuana.

My client's a moron, that's not against the law.

I've got people to answer to just like you, I'm gonna charge

With what, possession of a condiment?

Happy New Year...

Now would someone please tell Mr. Trump that he has exceeded his 15 minutes, and then some...

The good folks up at Lake Superior State University (yes, even I am south of their location) have put together their 30th annual "List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness". Mr. Trump's catchphrase "You're Fired" has been awarded a coveted spot on the list, along with 21 other words or phrases, including "blog" and "wardrobe malfunction" to mention a few. Some of my favorites:

BLUE STATES/RED STATES – Who’s who, anyway? “I remember when I was a kid and Georgia was purple,” says Peter Pietrangelo, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. “A good map has more than two colors.”
FLIP FLOP/FLIP FLOPPER/FLIP FLOPPING – They belong at the beach, not in a political dialogue. “Republicans used it; Democrats used it back. Flip-flop back and forth it goes.” – Jeff Lewis, Ada, Mich.
BATTLEGROUND STATE – “During an election, every state is a battleground.” -- Austin White, West Hartford, Conn.“Did it mean Bush and Kerry would go toe-to-toe?” – Evan Cornell, Ligonier, Penn.
CARBS – low carbs, high carbs, no carbs, carb-friendly… Meant ‘carburetor’ in a previous life. Needs to be purged from our system.
“You’re not fat because you eat bread; you’re fat because you eat too much!” – Emily Price, Norfolk, Va.
“What’s the point of low-carb beer? A person that concerned about ‘carbs’ shouldn’t even be drinking beer.” Roger Briskey, Orlando, Fla.
YOU’RE FIRED! – “…and the little hand movement, too!” – Jason Ranville, State College, Penn.
One nominator suggested that to say it would soon constitute a trademark infringement.
BLOG – and its variations, including blogger, blogged, blogging, blogosphere. Many who nominated it were unsure of the meaning. Sounds like something your mother would slap you for saying.
“Sounds like a Viking’s drink that’s better than grog, or a technique to kill a frog.” Teri Vaughn, Anaheim, Calif.
“Maybe it’s something that would be stuck in my toilet.” – Adrian Whittaker, Dundalk, Ontario. “I think the words ‘journal’ and ‘diary’ need to come back.” – T. J. Allen, Shreveport, La.
SAFE AND EFFECTIVE – “Try the new, clinically proven, safe and effective wonder drug you never knew you needed…Safe and effective should not be a selling point, it should be an FDA requirement!” CW Estes, Roanoke Texas.