Monday, February 28, 2005

you know it ain’t easy, you know how hard it can be

I didn't watch the Academy Awards last night, so this will be one of probably very few (near) daily blogs that won't mention them in excruciating detail (or offer a simul-blog). I could come up with absolutely no reason that would make them worth watching, so instead I took notes on two more movies for the upcoming World's Largest Media Trivia Contest. I also watched an episode of SVU that I had previously missed. All in all a good night.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride

So, nothing really exciting to report for the weekend. Some snow today, but otherwise boring up here in the frozen wasteland. I improved my 10K and 5 mile times to 53:11 and 41:07 respectively. I also watched The Italian Job (the original version) and The Great Escape. Yup, it was old movie weekend here.

I do have to say that the original version of The Italian Job is really good, and in its own way, better than the 2003 remake. The ending is literally a cliffhanger, and the humor is a bit drier. There are elements that clearly "date" the movie, but the Mini Cooper still plays a key role, and the chase sequences are entertaining.

Friday, February 25, 2005

No wonder you can't do it, you acquiesce to defeat before you even begin.

All I have to say is DAMN...this is gonna be amazing.
Expect plenty of pulp fiction for the season finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation: Quentin Tarantino will direct the fifth-season clincher of the hit series, CBS confirmed Thursday.

The Kill Bill mastermind has also dreamed up the storyline for the episode, which will air during May sweeps.

and our friends are all aboard, many more of them live next door

From Slate magazine...more signs our country is on the downward spiral (clockwise, if you're in the northern hemisphere).

This week, the Montana legislature killed a bill that would have added crimes motivated by the victim's sexual orientation to the state's existing hate-crimes law. Opponents worried that such a provision would be used to target religious leaders preaching against homosexuality from their pulpits. Last week, a state lawmaker in Pennsylvania introduced legislation to remove language about sexual orientation from the state's hate-crime law—language first inserted only in 2002. His bill was inspired by the arrests of 11 evangelical protesters at a gay-pride festival last fall. All charges were dismissed last week, but some of the defendants are now suing the prosecutors for bringing charges under Pennsylvania's hate-crimes or "ethnic intimidation" statute.
In the new push-me-pull-you of hate-crime legislation, gay-rights groups are winning victories by having crimes motivated by sexual orientation added to state laws, and conservative groups are just as quickly stripping it out based on constitutional claims of free speech and religion. There is a strange counterintuitive argument heating up across the land, based on the strange theory that it's not OK to hate based on race or religion, but that hating gays is somehow materially different. [emphasis added - Ed.]
These new arguments for stripping sexual orientation from hate-crimes laws are conflations of all that is most wrong in the two classes of arguments above: They assume that non-criminal religious free speech would suddenly be swept up into the hate-crime net and that no religious person preaching that homosexuality is wrong would be safe. But unless there is an underlying criminal offense of "preaching" in this country, both claims are simply inaccurate. The free-speech laws regarding hateful speech are quite clear: Unless you are inciting your listeners to do imminent violence, your speech is protected. The Orwellian notion that you can be jailed for your moral statements alone does not reflect the truth of the hate-crimes laws.

If we are going to debate whether gender, disability, or sexual preference should be added to state and federal hate-crimes legislation, let's have the rational, well-informed version of it. There are valid arguments on both sides. Slippery-slope arguments about wholesale jailings of the nation's clergy is mere fear-mongering, and debates over who's the biggest victim rarely result in fruitful policy.[emphasis added - Ed.]

Thursday, February 24, 2005

you keep all your money in a big brown bag inside a zoo

Slate Magazine has a very interesting column about my favorite small-town killing retailer, Wal*Mart. Some quotes from "The Wal-Mart Manifesto" for your reading pleasure:
H. Lee Scott Jr., the chief executive officer of Wal-Mart, argued in a speech yesterday in Los Angeles that Wal-Mart is a force for good in the economy.

What's fairly new in Scott's speech (a related ad campaign was launched last month) is Wal-Mart's rising on its hind legs to tell the world that it is good to its employees. I'd thought it was a settled matter that Wal-Mart had achieved its miraculously low prices by squeezing its employees. Not so, said Scott:

Wal-Mart's average wage is around $10 an hour, nearly double the federal minimum wage. The truth is that our wages are competitive with comparable retailers in each of the more than 3,500 communities we serve, with one exception—a handful of urban markets with unionized grocery workers. … Few people realize that about 74 percent of Wal-Mart hourly store associates work full-time, compared to 20 to 40 percent at comparable retailers. This means Wal-Mart spends more broadly on health benefits than do most big retailers, whose part-timers are not offered health insurance. You may not be aware that we are one of the few retail firms that offer health benefits to part-timers. Premiums begin at less than $40 a month for an individual and less than $155 per month for a family.
In the Dec. 16 New York Review of Books, Simon Head, director of the Project on Technology and the Workplace at the Century Foundation, stated, "the average pay of a sales clerk [italics mine] at Wal-Mart was $8.50 an hour, or about $14,000 a year, $1,000 below the government's definition of the poverty level for a family of three." That the current minimum wage of $5.15 per hour leaves families even farther below the poverty line is a depressing topic for another day.
Wal-Marts have traditionally targeted rural areas where unions are weak, so of course the pay would be lousy at comparable retailers nearby. What Scott doesn't mention is that Wal-Mart is now so large—its workforce, Head points out, is "larger than that of GM, Ford, GE, and IBM combined"—that it drives down wages at other retailers, too. As Geoghegan observed to me,
Wal-Mart is the behemoth that forces everyone else's wages down and then says, "Hey, we're no worse than anyone else." They turn everyone else into Wal-Mart and then say, "Are we any worse than the other Wal-Mart wannabees?" Now that everyone has to play their game, they like to come across as the industry's statesman. It's disgusting.
The disparaging reference to "urban markets with unionized grocery workers" is a reminder that Wal-Mart has successfully resisted virtually all efforts to unionize its stores, even in labor-friendly blue states.
Yes, but what exactly is a "full-time worker"? Typically, full-time is defined as 40 hours a week or more. At Wal-Mart, it's defined as 34 hours a week. So of course Wal-Mart has more "full-time" workers. Fewer hours worked, I need hardly point out, means that Wal-Mart's "full-time" employees are less likely than employees elsewhere to be able to afford premiums for any health insurance they're offered. According to Head, fewer than half of Wal-Mart's employees can afford even the company's least-expensive health plan.

they're movin' on the east side coast

Turns out my blogging buddy LQ (who already credited me with this post, so I suppose I'd better post it) along with her husband and 2 children are going to switch coasts this summer, and she's asking for the following help:
We're moving to DC!

Least I think we are...

Any good ideas on which school I should "visit" next year? Please direct any knowledgeable friends, relatives, or random strangers this way!


Update: If anyone has any good info to share on where to live and where the good elementary/middle schools are, I would really appreciate it! Restaurant recommendations are also always appreciated - and that goes for anytime , not just when I'm moving.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like

Another excellent idea from the EU, proving once again that they are years ahead of the US in progressive (not regressive) thinking. Make drivers AUTOMATICALLY liable for accidents with cyclists and pedestrians.
Wow...what a radical I just wonder if individual states (like Wisconsin) could pass such a liability law. It might just make the roads safer, slow people down, and even, dear god, force people to be responsible for their actions again.

From (via J.Bro)
FEBRUARY 21, 2005 -- BRUSSELS, Belgium (BRAIN)--The European Union, now 25 nations strong, may be on the verge of shaking motorists out of the unconscious fog some seem to be in when driving into cyclists and pedestrians. The method: slap 'em in their pocketbooks, where it may actually hurt.

The European Two-Wheel Retailers' Association (ETRA), reports that a bill making motorists automatically liable in an accident with cyclists and pedestrians has passed the European Parliament and will soon be before the European Council, the union's main decision-making body. If the council adopts it, all member nations will within the next two years have to pass similar laws guarantee cyclists compensation if they are involved in a crash with a motorized vehicle.

"In ETRA's view, assuring non-motorized road users of damages is making a clear signal to motorized users. Many accidents happen because of the dominant attitude of motorized users, as a result of which they seriously lack attention for non-motorized users. This attitude needs to change in order to get priorities right," said Annick Roetynck, the association's secretary general.

Holland, Belgium and several other countries already have similar legislation in place, and, ETRA observed, it "proves to considerably improve the relation between cyclists and motorists." Those countries' legislation has not sent insurance rates skyrocketing or resulted in outlandish claims, Roetynck said.

ETRA and many of its 6,000 retail store members lobbied for the legislation, arguing that cyclists and pedestrians are more exposed to injury and suffer fatality rates five to six times higher than motorists'

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

you tell me it's the institution, well you know, you better free your mind instead

There's an excellent editorial from Ed Garvey in today's Capital Times (Madison, WI) about Howard Dean as the newly elected chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Because Howard Dean is a former presidential candidate who was right on the Bush invasion of Iraq and had the guts to say so, he has the stature to make people listen. He is, as Paul Krugman described, a "fighting moderate."

What is that? A moderate Democrat who is willing to take stands on issues affecting real people. The people who are unwelcome in the lobbyists' Legislature, who fight Wal-Mart sprawl, slaughterhouses in their downtown, ethanol factories near where people live, and factory farms. People who think the Public Service Commission ought to fight for the ratepayers instead of the utilities. Former Democrats who tired of watching incumbent Democrats act just like Republicans because they need the campaign contributions so they can enact social policy while going along with corporate economic policy. Those who watch Jim Doyle in sadness play the old game of "forget the progressives, they won't have a choice in 2006."
Why does Howard Dean hold out so much promise? A headline in The Washington Post sums it up: "Democrats' grass roots shift the power:Activists energized fund raising but some worry theycould push the party to the left."

Translated, this means that a Democratic Party led by Dean, relying on little folks for money instead of the utilities, insurance companies and Wall Street funders, will start talking, acting and even voting like Democrats.

They might even recognize what Bill Moyers warned about - "The wealthy have declared class warfare, and they have won." They won without a fight while Terry McAuliffe donned his tuxedo for thousand-dollar-a-plate dinners in Washington with the victorious class warriors. One table for the funders equals a year of work for the person on minimum wage. Does that make sense?

There is an old union song, "Which side are you on?" For too long the DLC Democrats have said, "Well, I'm with you on concealed weapons but not on pocketbook issues."

The result? Eight years of George W. Bush. Time to push the fund-raisers out and bring back the hell-raisers.

Welcome, Howard Dean.

Monday, February 21, 2005

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro

Yahoo! News: 'Gonzo' Godfather Hunter S. Thompson Kills Himself

Hunter S. Thompson, a renegade journalist whose "gonzo" style threw out any pretense at objectivity and established the hard-living writer as a counter-culture icon, fatally shot himself at his Colorado home on Sunday night, police said. He was 67.
Thompson, famed for such adrenaline-packed narratives as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," turned his drug and alcohol-fueled clashes with authority into a central theme of his work, challenging the quieter norms of established journalism in the process.

He also cultivated an aura of recklessness, starting with the blurb on his book "Hell's Angels," in which he called himself "an avid reader, a relentless drinker and a fine hand with a .44 Magnum."

Saturday, February 19, 2005

where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies

Well...another day, another personal best (5 miles in 43:46) and I celebrated by purchasing a pint of the new Ben & Jerry's flavor Marsha Marsha Marshmallow, which I highly recommend. It is very chocolatey, very marshmallowy, and just delicious.

Also, the National Weather Service has the following statement for the frozen wasteland:
1000 PM CST SAT FEB 19 2005



Additionally, local tv is saying that "you should rethink travel by automobile between midnight tonight and 6 pm Sunday."

At least I believe we're only in the snow advisory, and will be north of the severe line described above.

Friday, February 18, 2005

living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see

Ben & Jerry's has announced their new flavors for 2005 (look for them in a grocery or convenience store near you - especially when you need stress relief!!!)
* Chocolate Therapy™ - Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Cookies & Swirls of Chocolate Pudding Ice Cream
* Dave Matthews Band® Magic Brownies™ - Vanilla Ice Cream with Swirls of Raspberry & Brownies
* Fossil Fuel™ - Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Chocolate Cookie Pieces, Fudge Dinosaurs and a Fudge Swirl
* Marsha Marsha Marshmallow™ - Chocolate Ice Cream with Fudge Chunks & Toasted Marshmallow & Graham Cracker Swirls
* Strawberry Cheesecake - Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream with Strawberries & a Thick Graham Cracker Swirl
* The Gobfather™ - Chocolate Ice Cream with Fudge Covered Almonds & a Nougat Swirl
* Cherry Garcia® Body & Soul™ - Cherry Ice Cream with Cherries & Fudge Flakes
* Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Body & Soul™ - Vanilla Ice Cream with Gobs of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
* Chocolate Fudge Brownie Body & Soul™ - Chocolate Ice Cream with Fudge Brownies
* Half Baked® Body & Soul™ - Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Creams with Fudge Brownies & Gobs of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

* Half Baked® - Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Creams with Fudge Brownies & Gobs of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
* Vanilla Almond - Vanilla Ice Cream on a Blonde Brownie with a Thick Drizzle of Milk Chocolate Coating Sprinkled with Almonds

At your local Scoop Shop
* Appley Ever After - Brown Sugar Ice Cream with a Ginger-Caramel Swirl and Apples
* Chocolate Therapy™ - Chocolate Ice Cream with Chocolate Cookies & Swirls of Chocolate Pudding Ice Cream
* Fossil Fuel™ - Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Chocolate Cookie Pieces, Fudge Dinosaurs and a Fudge Swirl
* In A Crunch™ - Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Fudge Covered Peanuts & a Crispy Fudge Swirl
* Strawberry Cheesecake - Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream with Strawberries & a Thick Graham Cracker Swirl
* The Gobfather™ - Chocolate Ice Cream with Fudge Covered Almonds & a Nougat Swirl
* The Last Straw - Strawberry Ice Cream with a Fudge Truffle Swirl and Strawberry-Fudge Chunks

Thursday, February 17, 2005

fifty acorns tied in a sack

Alrighty, so there's really nothing to report on today, other than the premiere of Survivor: Palau is tonight, along with a rather bizarre looking episode of CSI (featuring baby fetishists, apparently) which will likely rank up there with the now infamous episode titled "Fur and Loathing".

Beyond what I will use to waste time tonight, I did run 5 miles in 44:30 (a personal best) yesterday. Hopefully I'll be able to cut that time a bit more by March 5th. What was great was that I felt good afterwards, and had biked about 8 miles (30 minutes) prior to running.

Well, that's about it...I'm out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

when I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide

Sports news today...and depending on your point of view, both pieces of news could be good, could be bad, or could be a mixed bag. I've put them in the order of importance I think they warrant.

Item #1: Lance Rides Again
Thankfully, the pullout of the Postal Service has not doomed the dynastic cycling team of which Lance Armstrong is the gravitational center. Lance has announced, officially, that he will compete for his 7th consecutive victory in the Tour de France.
Lance Armstrong will be back in the saddle at this year's Tour de France, chasing title No. 7. The Tour's only six-time winner finally put an end to questions about his plans for 2005, announcing Wednesday on his Discovery Channel team's Web site that he'll try to extend his record streak of consecutive victories in cycling's most prestigious event.

"I am grateful for the opportunity that Discovery Communications has given the team and look forward to achieving my goal of a seventh Tour de France," Armstrong said, according to the team's site.

Until Wednesday, the Texan had left open the possibility that he wouldn't compete in this year's Tour. As recently as last month, Armstrong said: "I'll definitely be in France this summer. It just might not be on the bike."
Only time will tell whether Armstrong can get as fired up about winning a seventh Tour as he did to clinch record No. 6. But he already has said that if he did come back, he would aim for nothing but victory. He says he loves the classic race too much to treat it with anything less than the respect it deserves.

Item #2: NHL Cancel Entire Season
Well, this really was a forgone conclusion. After all, over 2/3 of the games have already been cancelled, and the entire all-star celebration as well. There was a brief discussion of an 18-game season followed by playoffs, simply so the Stanley Cup could be awarded. (As a brief aside, the last time the Stanley Cup was not awarded was 1919 due to a flu epidemic...this time it's due to a greed epidemic).
A lockout over a salary cap shut down the game before it ever got a chance to start in October. Now the NHL, already low on the popularity scale in the United States, becomes the first major pro sports league in North America to lose an entire season to a labor dispute.

"As I stand before you today, it is my sad duty to announce ... it no longer is practical to conduct even an abbreviated season," commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Accordingly, I have no choice but to announce the formal cancellation of play for 2004-05."

"This is a sad, regrettable day that all of us wish could have been avoided," he said.

Bettman said the sides would continue working to get an agreement.

"We're planning to have hockey next season," he said.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

be thankful I don’t take it all

Okay...this scares the shit out of me. First, we have right-wing nut-jobs bitching and moaning that education is so far left that every kid is turning in into a brainwashed communist, then a poll like this is published. Hmmm....I wonder, once again, who's full of shit, and who's not. Also, this is a direct result of their parents personal beliefs and politics...maybe the right-wing spin machine really DOES have the ability to brainwash the huddled masses.
A third of the high school students surveyed by the John S and James L Knight Foundation say that the First Amendment goes “‘too far’ in the rights it guarantees.”
The survey found that: “Only half of the students said that newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of stories.” And “when asked whether people should be allowed to express unpopular views, 97 percent of teachers and 99 percent of school principals said yes. Only 83 percent of students did.”

Let's end with a rather appropriate quote...
"Turn on, tune in and drop out."
-Timothy Leary

Monday, February 14, 2005

got a good reason for taking the easy way out

Well, I realize that I've been quite remiss in posting lately, but I've been busy. The past few days were spent in the Twin Cities playing in a marathon trivia contest. For the better part of 50 straight hours I (along with about a dozen teammates) answered questions on a multitude of diverse subjects ranging from the postal code for the State of Ohio to the four activities listed underneath the high school yearbook photo for Barney Fife. This year's contest theme was based off of CSI, and needless to say, there were many CSI questions (thank god for transcript websites), and in the end we finished 13th (5 points behind 12th), and got the 500 point question this year.

Now, after a wonderful 4 day weekend, I have to head back to work in less than 10 hours...not really what I want to do, but oh well. I'll be paying more attention to current events, odd news, etc (and of course commenting) starting tomorrow. For now, its vegging out to CSI: Miami, doing laundry, and probably a bit of ironing.

Anyway, I'm out.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

who needs sleep? (well you're never gonna get it)

Well...we're currently 37 hours into the 50 hour KVSC trivia contest, and holding firmly onto 16th place for now. I've gotten about 5 hours of sleep in the past 2 days, and I'm feeling pretty good, but that may just be the caffeine talking.

Back later...maybe well rested, maybe worse off.

Friday, February 11, 2005

cause I can play the part so well

Well...I'm in day 1 of a 4 day weekend...spent an hour at the 'Y' this morning, ran 5.5 miles in 50 minutes. Like I said before, not fast, but getting better. Anyway, I'm off to the Twin Cities for the weekend (for a 50 hour trivia contest), so blogging may be light, but a computer will be around, so there may be a few posts, or there may be many. I just don't know what the weekend holds at this point.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

pc thirty-one said we caught a dirty one

Why does none of this surprise me? Am I really that cynical?

The Gannon revelations come on the heels of the discovery that Bush administration officials signed lucrative contracts for several conservative pundits who hyped White House initiatives and did not disclose the government's payments. The Talon News fiasco raises serious questions about who the White House is allowing into its daily press briefings: How can a reporter using a fake name and working for a fake news organization get press credentials from the White House, let alone curry enough favor with the notoriously disciplined Bush administration to get picked by the president in order to ask fake questions? The White House did not return Salon's calls seeking answers to those questions.

The situation "begs further investigation," says James Pinkerton, a media critic for Fox News who has worked for two Republican White Houses. "In the six years I worked for Reagan and Bush I, I remember the White House being strict about who got in. It's inconceivable to me that the White House, especially after 9/11, gives credentials to people without doing a background check."
And the association never would have backed a reporter using an alias. Says Pinkerton: "If [Gannon] was walking around the White House with a pass that had a different name on it than his real name, that's pretty remarkable." Smith, who covers the White House for Associated Press radio, says he "could have sworn" that he saw credentials around Gannon's neck with the name "Jeff Gannon" on them.
As a would-be reporter, Gannon often copied entire sections from White House press releases and pasted them into his stories, according to an analysis done by Media Matters. This despite the fact he once ridiculed legitimate journalists for "working off the talking points provided by the Democrats."
What likely forced Gannon to quit Talon News Tuesday were the revelations uncovered by bloggers such as World O' Crap, AmericaBlog, Mediacitizen, Daily Kos and Eschaton, along with their readers, about Gannon's past. For instance, bloggers uncovered evidence suggesting that the person and company that own the Web site also registered the gay-themed sites, and And according to this online research, that company, Bedrock Corp., is owned by a man named Jim Guckert, leading to speculation that Guckert and Gannon are one and the same. Bedrock is based in Wilmington, Del., where Gannon apparently is from.
It's likely Talon and Gannon would have remained obscure had the swaggering reporter not popped his now famous question to Bush. The details surrounding the Jan. 26 press room incident are telling, as they highlight the elasticity Gannon and other partisan advocates often use in their "reporting." Gannon asked Bush, "Senate Democratic leaders have painted a very bleak picture of the U.S. economy." He continued, "[Minority Leader] Harry Reid was talking about soup lines, and Hillary Clinton was talking about the economy being on the verge of collapse. Yet, in the same breath, they say that Social Security is rock solid and there's no crisis there. How are you going to work -- you said you're going to reach out to these people -- how are you going to work with people who seem to have divorced themselves from reality?"

Reid never made any such comment about soup lines.
All of which begs the question, "Who are they issuing credentials to?" asks Hudson at the Niagara Falls Reporter. "Could a guy from [Comedy Central's] 'The Daily Show' get press credentials from this White House?"

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

my independence seems to vanish in the haze

It is always so nice to read that our president is so completely and totally disconnected from the world around him...this is especially true when real people manage to talk to him off the script.

From (of all places) the Drudge Report:
Tues Feb 8 2005 9:27:01 ET

Last Friday when promoting social security reform with 'regular' citizens in Omaha, Nebraska, President Bush walked into an awkward unscripted moment in which he stated that carrying three jobs at a time is 'uniquely American.'

While talking with audience participants, the president met Mary Mornin, a woman in her late fifties who told the president she was a divorced mother of three, including a 'mentally challenged' son.

The President comforted Mornin on the security of social security stating that 'the promises made will be kept by the government.'

But without prompting Mornin began to elaborate on her life circumstances.

Begin transcript:

MS. MORNIN: That's good, because I work three jobs and I feel like I contribute.

THE PRESIDENT: You work three jobs?

MS. MORNIN: Three jobs, yes.

THE PRESIDENT: Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that. (Applause.) Get any sleep? (Laughter.)

I'm just amazed at how clueless he really is. No reasonable society should force someone to work 3 jobs just to make ends meet...hmm...maybe minimum wage really isn't a living wage?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

When Will Jesus Bring the Porkchops?

Or...better yet...when will Carlin be funny?

Over all, this book was tough to read. Carlin is funny in person, on CD, on video, on HBO specials, etc. The reason? His humor is not just what he says, but more importantly how he says it. Therefore, I can't recommend reading this book, but I can't say it's not worth reading either. You just have to keep Carlin's presentation in mind while doing so. I don't have anything else to say about it, so I'll present what I liked the best:
A Sore Point (p. 88)
Regarding the criticism of Al Gore's actions upon being elected president in 2000 and realizing that the Bush family would do everything in its power to reverse the results illegally: I recall at the time hearing some of the usual morons in this country refer to President-elect Gore as a sore loser because he sought legal redress in the courts.
Sore loser? You bet your fuckin' ass! What on earth is wrong with being a sore loser? It shows you cared about whate3ver the contest was in the first place. Fuck losing graciously - that's for chumps. And losers, by the way.
Americans have just flat-out lost their spirit; you see it everywhere. Have you ever watched these hockey assholes? When the game is over, they're forced to line up and shake hands with one another after speding three hours smashing each other in the mouth with sticks. Biggest load of shit I ever witnessed. Whatever happened to "In victory, magnanimity; in defeat, defiance." So said Frederick the Great.

(p. 158)
If you vote once, you're considered a good citizen. If you vote twice, you face four years in jail.
In this country, alcohol is hardly ever seen as a drug problem. Instead, we think of it as more of a driving problem.

Cowards (p. 179-80)
Bush calls the al Qaeda people cowards, and says, "They like to hide." Well, isn't that what the American Continental Army did during the American Revolution? Our beloved patriots? They hid. They hid behind trees. Then they came out, killed some British soldiers, and ran away. Just like al Qaeda. That's what you do when you're outnumbered and have less firepower than the emeny. It's called "trying to win." It's not cowardly.
Bill Maher may have stretched the point a bit when he said that air force pilots who release their bombs from hundreds of miles away are cowards; flying combat jets doesn't attract many cowards. But it's not nearly as courageous an act as deliberately strapping a bomb to your chest and heading for the disco with no intention of dancing.
I will say this. Getting out of the Vietnam war through Daddy's connections and then not living up to your end of the bargain is probably a form of cowardice.

Making a Difference (p. 184)
Another sports-announcer crime is the use of the word differential when they mean difference. "There was a twelve-point differential at halftime." No. Sorry. There was a twelve-point difference. Differential is a mechanical or mathematical term. And by mathematical I don't mean Knicks 55, Pacers 43. Difference and differential are different. Go Knicks!

if nautical nonsense be something you wish

I realize that I've already mentioned SpongeBob here, but today's Non Sequitur strip is a must read nonetheless.

Monday, February 07, 2005

sitting on a corn flake, waiting for the van to come since I will admit to growing up with some of the original home video game systems (Atari 2600, Commodore 64, etc), I have to say this is too damn cool:
Five years ago, Ben Heckendorn of Verona opened up an Atari 2600 and started snipping. The result was a fully functioning game system about one-third the size of the original and twice the size of Nintendo's Game Boy.

The Atari portable was the first of its kind and started a new hobby for video game enthusiasts. Heckendorn, 29, turns vintage Atari, Nintendo and Sega game systems into portables that sell for $300 to $500 each - putting him in the enviable position of having a hobby that makes money.
He has been interviewed by a handful of magazines including Wired and Popular Science, and appeared on TechTV (now G4techTV) twice. The television appearance led to a book deal and with the release of "Hacking Video Game Consoles: Turn your old video game systems into awesome new portables" in mid-February, Heckendorn is making his hobby available to even the most technophobic individual.

You can also check out Heckendorn's website.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

yellow matter custard

Paul McCartney's performance was stellar...and I have to say, far superior than any of the shit put together for the past few years under the guise of current popular music. Stick with a single, excellent performer that most anyone can appreciate.

Songs performed:
- Drive My Car
- Get Back
- Live and Let Die
- Hey Jude

My one and only complaint is that the announcers stated that Paul would be performing his hit songs, when he actually performed 3 Beatles hit songs (all of which he wrote or co-wrote), and only one of which was a Wings hit. My problem is merely with the phrasing of the announcer's statement, which for a production of this magnitude could have been much more clear.


Sprecher Hefe Weiss is an excellent beer. I highly recommend it (if you can find it). Otherwise, any beer they make is tasty as well. Partake whenever possible.

That is all. I'm out.

Friday, February 04, 2005


If I hadn't spent 4 years listening to the swill pouring out of this administration already, I might feel relieved at this bit of news:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Friday a U.S. attack on Iran "is simply not on the agenda at this point," despite the United States' continued criticism of Iran's human rights record and suspected nuclear weapons ambitions.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has expressly said that regime change in Iran is not the U.S. goal. But Rice would not say whether the United States supports a change of government.

Please note the use of the qualifier "at this point".
[Emphasis added]

Related to the above post, and very much worth reading:

Politics and the English Language - George Orwell (1946)

Sports Mecca?

As if I needed to find any other proof that Wisconsin is a great place for sports, or watching sports for that matter, Sports Illustrated (reg req'd) makes the case for me when they declare that 2 of the top 25 sports bars in America are here:
4. Major Goolsby's
A city institution since 1970 and once tabbed "Milwaukee's mother of all sports bars" by the hometown Journal Sentinel, Goolsby's is a major hangout for Bucks and Marquette hoop fans, thanks to its location a block away from the Bradley Center. Ticket holders crowd the place after games for the two-drafts-for-the-price-of-one deal. Like any place where athletes and booze mix, Major Goolsby's has had its memorable encounters, most notably in 1986, when Reggie Jackson, then with the Angels, scuffled with an autograph hound. (A disorderly conduct charge against Jackson was later dismissed.)

13. State Street Brats
Madison, Wis.
Simply the best sports bar in the nation's best college sports town. This is where the Grateful Red and alums have been gathering since 1953 to do what Wisconsinites do so well: drink and root. They eat grilled red brats (sausages to you) and beer-boiled white brats, chow on cheese curds (if you're not from Wisconsin, don't ask) and toss back pints of Spotted Cow or Leinenkugel's amid the Badgerphernalia. State Street also boasts the best drink special in the land: Flip Night on Tuesdays. On every drink poured, the bartender flips a coin; if you win, the drink is 75% off; if you don't win, it's full price. You can't lose.

I'm looking forward to starting the next 3 years in Madison once August rolls around.

[Emphasis added]

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Bleh work sucks, but tomorrow is payday, so I guess that makes up for it, for now. As the counter on the sidebar indicates, work will be coming to an end, but I will be taking a much needed vacation for the month of August.

Anyway, as should be obvious, I have nothing to report, other than there is an empty apartment next to mine right now...neighbors moved out yesterday.

In other news, the frozen wasteland has been in the 40s for the past few days, so now I guess its a melting wasteland.

I'm out.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

State of the Oligarchy Union

As with any event, even the State of the Union address tonight has it's own drinking game. Wonkette, of course, has their own take on (and improvements to) the drinking game:
State of the Union Address Drinking Game
We love drinking games. They are a truly American past-time, combining both the competitive spirit and a gleeful descent into sloppy self-absorption. We also like not working, so we salute the creators of the State of the Union Drinking Game, who have done as little as possible to make the game current to this year. Way to go, guys! (More time for drinking, are we right?) Still, we’re a tad doubtful that simply adding some reference to Mars will get you sufficiently sloshed to appreciate W.’s fine oratory. So, some edits and additions. For instance, rather than

IF: They show a former member of the Bush Administration (i.e. Paul O’Neill, etc.)
THEN: Take three drinks

We think it should go:

IF: They show Paul O’Neill
THEN: Take three drinks

IF: Paul O’Neill’s head is still attached to his body
THEN: Finish the bottle

IF: Bush mentions "changing the tone in Washington"
THEN: Take one drink

IF: Bush mentions "changing to tone in Washington" and the camera pans to Mitch McConnell giving Russ Feingold a noogie
THEN: Take two drinks

IF: Bush rides a Segway onto the house floor
THEN: Take three drinks

IF: Bush successfully rides a segway onto the house floor
THEN: Do a shot

IF: Bush asserts the existence of a democratic, free-market Iraq,
THEN: Invest more in Halliburton

IF: Bush vows to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage
THEN: Tell your fraternity pledges that they can take the butt plugs out of their asses now

UPDATE: More drinking game rules for the SOTU from Wonkette:
As always, if you haven't started drinking already, you're never gonna win. Also, please join us in drinking the Purple Finger, which is 1 part cassis, 1 part grenadine, and 1 part vodka. Freedom never tasted so sickly sweet—but you're warned, the hangover is a bitch.

· Every time "Iraqi vote" referenced: 1 tiny sip. (Pace yourself on that one, seriously.)
· "Mandate": touch yourself to gay porn mag Mandate.
· John McCain spits on floor: chug-a-lug!
· Mentions "WMD": smash bottle in face.
· Says "Plowing through": titter like a girl.
· Tricky one: "On Monday, we will reveal details..": 2 drinks.
· Annual fave, "status quo": 1 smack on the head.
· Whenever Cheney sneers like Mephistopholes: 1 drink.
· Social Security reverse psychology: Bush says "insecurity": 3 drinks down the wrong tube, resulting in choking among the uninsured.
· "Spreading freedom": slather on some freedom.
· Names "Barbara Boxer": fall off couch in shock.
· Mention of twins: hump couch.
· Every time Condi is pictured while clearly doing Kegels: 1 shot of chai tea.
· Bush unable to prevent himself from breaking into hysterical laughter: drain all nearest bottles.
· Hillary faints, again: 1 oyster shooter.
· Mentions "Iran": stop drinking and start fucking packing.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Pieces falling into place

Well...despite what my conservative friend M thinks (and snidely wrote as a comment to this post), Howard Dean's candidacy for the DNC chair is going strong. Daily Kos notes that the AFL-CIO has decided not to endorse anyone in this race (from
AFL-CIO leaders decided Tuesday not to make an endorsement in the race for Democratic National Committee chairman, a move that could make it harder for any of Howard Dean's rivals to stop his push for the party leadership.

Kos has a lot more on the subject, but if you want a nice explanation of the process (from a former insider), I'd recommend checking out this post at LC's Daily R&R.