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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Headlines. Over at the Yahoo! news page, here are the top stories:
First Lady Hails Bush Anti-Terror Record

Bush Recants, Says Terror War Will Be Won

Two Bus Blasts in Southern Israel Kill 16

U.S. Seeks to Throw Out Terror Convictions

Suicide Bomber Kills 10 at Moscow Subway

No matter how many times Bushco says that the world is safer, saying it just doesn't make it so.

What is this, "incredibly stoopid poll day"? CNN offers up their own stoopid poll. Go ahead, CNN, just admit that you handed your operation over to the RNC years ago.

New Poll! Alan hints that there might be something missing from this MSRNC online poll

I think he's right. In response, I've added a new poll to the right, "Do you support President Bush?" As always, no wagering, and please, one vote per person. Your vote might not be counted in November, but it will always be counted here.

Evolution. Here's the best supporting evidence yet, "Sexually Frustrated Chimp Takes Up Smoking":
BEIJING (Reuters) - Sexual frustration has turned a Chinese chimpanzee from a mild-mannered simian into a problem primate who smokes cigarettes and spits at visitors, the Xinhua news agency says.

Feili, a female chimp in the city of Zhengzhou in the central province of Henan, picked up her nasty habits by imitating visitors who behaved "improperly" around her, Xinhua quoted zoo director Liu Bing as saying on Sunday.

But, Liu said, the root cause of Feili's transformation from a "gentle girl" into a "shrew" lay with the inability to find her a satisfactory mate.

A male chimpanzee at the zoo has failed to live up to Feili's sexual demands, and she has snubbed other potential suitors.

Zoo officials said Feili was not addicted to nicotine, but the chimp has also demonstrated clever -- if not desperate -- behavior to score a smoke.

"The chimp is spitting at tourists and smoking," Xinhua quoted a boy visiting the zoo. "Just now a tourist threw a cigarette butt to just outside the cage, she tried to get the butt with a stick."

Oh man. If anyone knows of any video footage or pictures of this anywhere, please oh please let me know. That definitely would trump a monkey washing a cat.

Shrub now sez, "We will win" the war on terra. I'll bet Karl Rove crapped his pants yesterday when Shrub said that it was not winnable.

Every damn day the Dems need to bring up this one in every damn response to every damn question.

GOP shows support for veterans by mocking recipients of the Purple Heart:
A GOP delegate handed out bandages with purple hearts on them Monday night at the Republican National Convention in a swipe at Democratic nominee John Kerry (news - web sites)'s war record, but national GOP officials have asked him to stop.

The bandages were handed out by Morton Blackwell, a longtime GOP activist from Virginia, with the message: "It was just a self-inflicted scratch, but you see I got a Purple Heart for it."

File this one under bad ideas:

Clerks, the no-budget 1994 paean to slackerdom that launched Kevin Smith from no-name fanboy to Hollywood player, is getting the sequel treatment.

Smith's View Askew Productions has confirmed that the writer-director is cranking out a script for The Passion of the Clerks, picking up a decade later and again focusing on the non-adventures of trash-talking Quick Stop convenience store employees Dante and Randal, now forced to deal with life as thirtysomethings.

I just don't see how this could possibly have a good outcome.

Gross. If amazing tales of zits aren't your thing, then don't click here.

Seriously. Thanks to my friend Klint's fiance for sending along this hi-larious Bush in 30 seconds spot (may take a while if you're on dial-up).
And just so you know, Alison, I'm going to get Klint totally effed up at the reunion this weekend. When they play "Gin and Juice," he'll be waving his hands in the air like he just don't care. My pockets will be stuffed with airplane bottles of Absolut and Tanqueray. Because I've got class.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Who's a pessimist? According to Bushco, it's John Kerry, and all his crazy talk about creating jobs that don't pay $9K less than the ones lost, working to reduce the number of people without healthcare, construct a sustainable national energy policy, reduce the cost of college, and not piss off the rest of the world. But today, it was our dear leader who when asked if the war on terra can be won said, "I don't think you can win it."

Um, Kerry campaign? That one's served up nice and easy. If that doesn't find its way into a political ad, then you all really don't want to win.

What's that I hear? A flip-flop? What's that I smell? A waffle? From the Post article:
Last month in Pennsylvania, he said he had "a clear vision and a strategy to win the war on terror." In February, he said, "We're going to win the war on terror." During his now-famous speech aboard an aircraft carrier prematurely declaring the end of major combat operations in Iraq, Bush said: "The war on terror is not over, yet it is not endless."
George, you're so funny!

On a somewhat less sarcastic note, I actually agree with the Shrubster on this one. We can't win a "war on terra." You can't win a war against a tactic. The whole idea of a "war on terra" is a false premise. War on drugs, war on poverty, war on war on war. As long as that's the paradigm we're working with, we'll be perpetually screwed.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

"I brought my pencil!" Tomorrow is my first day back in school. My name is stitched into my underwear, my lunch is packed, I've got a fresh haircut, and my schoolbag has my home address and phone number pinned onto it. I don't have the latest fashions from Sears though.

Because my family had a home video camera in 1981, we have on tape the morning of my first day of kindergarten. My mom fixed french toast, and because I woke up at 7:00 to catch the bus at 7:25, I'm on tape stuffing a whole piece in my mouth. The tape then cuts to us walking down the hill to the bus stop with my older brother and older sister. Fashion disasters all of us with the striped knee socks pulled up, short shorts, and unruly heads of hair. I know what you're saying, "Everyone looked bad in the 80s." True. But we were one fucking motley looking bunch. I don't exactly remember anything from that day other than through the video tape.

I do, however, remember my first day of junior high. As if the occasion weren't stressful enough, I was given the wrong locker combination. For some reason, this wasn't rectified until the third or fourth day of school, and luckily my friend Mike let me share his locker with him until the locker wizard got things straightened out. But for that first day, I was stuck carrying around everything in my bag. And it only got worse from there.

After lunch, because I was fiddling with my locker, and because I didn't know where the hell I was going, I arrived to 4th period about five minutes late. Everyone had their Language Arts and English classes back to back, and according to my schedule, 4th period was to be Language Arts, and 5th period was to be English. I walk into class and sit in the first available seat that I see. The teacher had already handed out books, so she handed one to me and told me what the rest of the class was already reading (so much for first day orientation). Once I started to calm down, I looked around the class and didn't see any of the people I expected to be in class with. Thanks to the social hierarchy created by the tracking system, I knew that some of the other kids in the room weren't generally in the advanced classes. So I go up to the teacher's desk (I guess she hadn't even asked who I was), and I tell her I'm not sure if I'm in the right place. She looks at the roster and says, "Oh, they made a mistake on everyone's schedules, you're supposed to be in English right now in the room next door." Gee, thanks!

And it gets worse. I had been keeping my schedule in my pocket all day. And because we kids tended to wear our stonewashed Lee blue jeans a little tight back in 1988 (and b/c shorts were against the dress code), my schedule had torn from going in and out of my pocket all day. And it had torn just so that I couldn't read the classroom assignment for my social studies class. After wandering the halls for 5 or 10 minutes after the bell, I saw the principal (-pal because he's your pal!), and he told me where to go. The teacher, Mrs.Lang, was having everyone introduce themselves and then give a grade for how their day had gone. When it came to be my turn, I said, "Hi, I'm James, and oh my god has this day sucked so bad, it absolutely deserves a F+++! I fucking hate junior high, I hate that my locker doesn't work, I hate that you goddam idiots can't get the schedule corrected before the first day, I hate that there aren't enough seats in the cafeteria, I hate not knowing where I fit in, I hate that half my friends went and got tall over the summer but I didn't, I hate your stupid icebreaker activity, and I hate all of you!"

Okay, so I told the teacher that I gave it a "C", and upon being pressed to explain why, I really did almost break down in tears. But, I didn't. That's not to say that I didn't when I got home. Because I did.

But there will be no crying tomorrow. The only possible way that I would cry tomorrow is if I were to punch the wall after watching the craptacular coverage of the opening night of the RNC. And that's why I have decided that no matter how much I want to watch the coverage to see just what a false face they put out there for themselves, and how much they distort the GOP's record, and how much they play to people's most base fears and hatred, I'm not going to allow myself to watch. It's the healthy decision. Anyway, I've had "American Splendor" from Netflix for a month, and I would much rather watch that.

Elektronik Supersonik. Just watch. (link via Joel) Here's the accompanying background story. Alas, Molvania doesn't exist. But that doesn't mean the video isn't funny. Though not quite as funny as the Star Wars Kid (though the movements of the SWK more closely mimic The Matrix Reloaded...but who's quibbling?)

Friday, August 27, 2004

I Spy. Oh please, please, please let this be Richard Perle:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The FBI has evidence that a person who has been working at high levels in the Pentagon may be a spy for Israel, a senior official confirmed to CNN on Friday.

The suspect could have been in a position to influence Bush administration policy toward Iran and Iraq, the senior official said.

A senior Pentagon official confirmed to CNN that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld "had been made generally aware that the Justice Department had an investigation going on."
The network said the suspect has ties to two senior Pentagon officials: Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith.

MSNBC has former spook Larry Johnson on the television, and he's tying all this into the lies behind the Iraq war, the Plame outing, the Niger uranium forgeries, and the Office of Special Plans. Good times.

I just hope that this doesn't push the Kobe Bryant or Scott Peterson case out of the headlines.

No, really? I'm shocked. Shocked, I say.
"I got a young man named George W. Bush in the National Guard when I was Lt. Gov. of Texas"
That's Ben Barnes, former Speaker of the House in Texas, giving support to the allegation that strings were pulled to get Shrub to the front of the line for the TANG. But, who cares? John Kerry got a Purple Heart for a scratch when he volunteered for service in Vietnam, right? And Kerry might not have been in Cambodia on the exact date when he said he was. We know that George Bush was never anywhere near Cambodia. So who's more believable? George Bush, of course!

Now let's just watch and see if this story gets just a fraction of the traction that the Swiftboat liars have gotten. Damn that liberal media!

up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-B-A-start. Nintendo nostalga is unbeatable. NPR did a story on the Mini Bosses, a band that plays nothing but covers of Nintendo game theme songs.

One of the more mindlessly fun Nintendo games that I remember was "Arch Rivals," a two-on-two basketball game in which you could punch your opponent in order to steal the basketball. Against the computer, you could win 216-0. The fighting action wasn't quite as good as the fights in the hockey game "Blades of Steel," but boy was it satisfying.

"I missed the snake, I love him." No, that isn't Shrub talking about his time in Crawford away from Cheney. It's World Aquarium Director Leonard Sonnenschein talking about the return of We, a two-headed albino black rat snake stolen this week and later recovered.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Failure. 1.3 Million more people in poverty in 2003. 17.6% of all children (the highest rate of any advanced economy! We're #1! USA! USA!). Third year in a row that the overall poverty rate increased. 1.4 million more people without health insurance. That's what I call leadership! Thanks, George!

And when you consider where the poverty line is set (98K for individuals, $18K for a family of four with two kids), it's even more pathetic.

John Kerry and the democrats might not have all the answers, but Bushco has had their time, and you can see what they've done with it. Why should they be given another four years?

The RNC is next week, and they are expecting some big-time celebrities to show up: Bo Derek, Shannen Doherty, Steven Baldwin! Jessica Simpson!!! And now there is apparently talk about Britney Spears showing up at the convention---because it only makes perfect sense. She is the epitome of those Republican family-values, what with her 54 hour marriage, high-profile partying, made-for-tv kiss with Madonna (another Republican favorite), and those wholesome songs that she sings (did you know that "I'm a slave for you" is really about John Ashcroft? Yep, it's true).
And of course Ahnold will be talking in order to show the softer side of the Republican know, the side that isn't reflected in the party platform?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Swiftboat liar. John O'Neill, co-author of the fictional "Unfit for Command," is a liar. But you already knew that.

Coco and Mr.Tibbs

Because I'm too lazy to do a real post...

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

After two days of orientation, the generalized anxiety that characterized so much of my time in grad school the first time around has returned. I've got that sense that I should be doing something other than watching television, that there is something to be read, that there just won't be enough time in the day to get everything done that needs to be done, and that I'll be found out as the fraud that I am. And classes don't even start for another five days. Hooray!

Don't get me wrong--I'm thrilled to be back in school. I'm almost four weeks dress-pants-free. And at least this time I have a better handle on what I've gotten myself into. And if all goes well, I won't at any point have to count 138,000 insurance agents (though such an undertaking builds character), and I won't resort to selling my plasma for $20. Having your own legal counsel brings certain advantages. Managing to stay out of poverty is one of them.

As for the important questions, "like do they have an amusingly named intramural sports team, and do you get credit hours for discussing Marx and Weber at parties," I haven't figured that out yet. The only intramural team that I've heard mention of is volleyball, which is fine because I play open. If I'm not mistaken, the Juicetigers are probably now defunct at Arizona. Having lost their last game to undergrads who are "younger" and more "in shape," yelled at their last referee over an obviously wrong call, and blown out their last ACL, the Juice hung up their shoes. Perhaps I'll have to revive the name and bring the Juicetiger brand of sports justice to my new institution.
And if there are people talking about Marx and Weber at parties, I won't know about it because I'll be on the other side of the room hanging with the cool people.

(side note to anyone from U.ofAZ...y'all need to update your departmental tour...the pictures make it look like you'll let in any riff-raff off the street)

The Undecided Voter.

Monday, August 23, 2004

There wasn't any duck-duck-goose. And I was one of the last ones at the departmental happy hour. Some things never change.
Other than that, I'm just too tired to type anything more. My brain hurts.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Grad school orientation. That's where I'll be for the next 2-3 days. It should be interesting trying to turn back on my brain which has turned to mush over the last 15 months. So the blogging will have to be put on the back burner, or at least during the day time. Plenty of links to the right to help you steal time from your employer.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

"He doesn't like you...I don't like you either." USOC tells Bushco to knock it off.

Friday, August 20, 2004

John Kerry was right when he said that the Swiftboat Vets for Cheetos were sipmly a front for the Bush campaign. And here's the proof. BC04 has coordinated a rally w/ the Swiftboat group. Umm...that's against campaign finance law. Let's just watch and see where this one goes.

They're so goddamed sloppy, they really don't deserve all the accolades for being slick, and KKKarl Rove ain't no svengali. And he'll look so good in prison orange.

"Bring back Kermit riding a teddy bear!"

Ask and ye shall receive.

And now... a monkey washing a cat.
Avid YLH reader: What's up with the monkey washing the cat? I don't get it.

Me: There's nothing to it. It's just a monkey washing a cat.

Avid YLH Reader: I still don't get it.

Me: Exactly.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Ha ha. (to be said like Nelson from "The Simpsons") Poor Georgie boy. What will he say when he finds out that the Iraqi soccer players object to Bushco using the Iraqi Olympic team in campaign ads? I know...Shrub would probably say some condescending crap about how under Saddam, they wouldn't be able to express themselves so freely. But I think their point is that having the soccer stadium in Najaf turned into a battlezone doesn't quite fit with their idea of "liberation."

This, just days after Daniel Pearl's family told Cheney not to invoke Pearl's name. Sort of gives the impression that some people don't like these goons exploiting them.

I was moving mulch for a few hours this afternoon, so there's your explanation for why I haven't posted anymore today. One of the side-effects of not having a job is that you are easily enlisted in helping with yardwork. But really, what else was I going to do? Watch some more judo, blog about how much I can't stand Shrubya and fall asleep on the couch? I did that yesterday. (link via Des)

How many beers does it take to get a black bear drunk? Thirty-six, apparently (link via Mike). Much more creative than a picnic basket. The other animals of the forest said they can't stand it when the bear gets this drunk, "He just comes back in the forest and starts pissing all over everything," said an area squirrel. A local raccoon chimed in, "At first, it's kinda funny, because the bear is just like over and over, 'I love you guys, you're the best!' But then eventually, he just starts crying, and we have to reassure him of what a good bear he is." Said the squirrel, "It's really just annoying. And have you ever seen a bear piss after guzzling two cases of beer? Lemme tell ya, there's a reason they call it "Yellowstone Park."

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

So I'm sitting at a red light, on the way home from the vet with Mr.Tibbs (he had his annual distemper vaccination), and the person in the car beside me yells that I have a nail in my tire. So, I pull over, and sure enough, there's a big ol' screw stuck down in my right rear tire. And lucky for me, the good folks at the tire store told me that the screw was far enough to the outside that the tire couldn't be repaired. Yay! Two new tires! Good thing that tires aren't expensive.
Tire Salesperson: So what kind of tires would you like to have put on?

Me: Um...Do you have any tires that are--I don't want to say

Tire Salesperson: (paraphrasing here) We have these tires for this amount, and then we also have these goodyears for this higher amount, then we have these tires which are an even higher amount.

Me: How about those ones that you first showed me, the least expensive ones. They're not going to explode or anything like that, right?

But following from the Bush economic recovery plan, I just helped create jobs and growth. Jobs and growth, baby!!! Not bad for someone temporarily unemployed.

And another thing... the Swiftboat Vets for Cheetos smear campaign against Kerry has succeeded in inserting "four months" into discussion of Kerry's service, as in, Kerry was only in Vietnam for four months (in itself a distortion since he was on a ship in the region for a year before that). And Shrub was only AWOL for six months. But can you imagine that wingnut outrage if someone were to say that a veteran of the war in Iraq was only in Iraq for four months, and say it in such a way as to dismiss their service? They wouldn't have it.

And speaking of Judo (which I wasn't), I caught some of the judo Olympic competition. I thought Judo involved kicking and punching. Apparently not. Seemed more akin to wrestling with the participants wearing bathrobes instead of the singlets. But there weren't any dancers.

Since the Olympics are on a tape-delay for many of the events, it takes some effort to avoid seeing the results on the internet or other television stations before the events actually air. To enable the corporate-manufactured suspense of the broadcast, during the day I avoid the Post which means that I just now saw this nonsense from Shrub:
RIDLEY PARK, Pa., Aug. 17 -- President Bush reaffirmed his administration's commitment to building an antimissile system, accusing opponents of the program of "living in the past."
Living in the past??? You fool, it's that sort of thinking that led your crew to ignore al Qaida and Osama bin Forgotten until it was too late. It's that sort of thinking that led Wolfowitz to question whether or not al Qaida was a legit threat. It's that sort of thinking that allowed Shrub to keep clearing brush down on the ranch and Condi to keep doing whatever it is she does (what does she do?) even after receiving a PDB titled "bin Laden determined to attack inside the U.S."
Although Bush did not mention his Democratic rival by name on Tuesday, his speech here at a Boeing Co. plant included a thinly veiled attack on John F. Kerry's stance on missile defense. "I think those who oppose this ballistic missile system don't understand the threats of the 21st century," he told 1,400 cheering Boeing employees and supporters. Kerry has said he would cut back spending on missile defense.
The president noted that last month Boeing engineers loaded the first missile interceptor into a silo in Alaska -- describing that as the beginning of a national shield "envisioned by Ronald Reagan."
Who's "living in the past?" He really doesn't listen to himself, does he?
Standing on a platform flanked by two Chinooks, Bush said foes of the missile system are "living in the past. We're living in the future. We're going to do what's necessary to protect this country. We say to those tyrants who believe they can blackmail America and the free world: You fire; we're going to shoot it down."
What kind of dumbass rhetoric is THAT?!?!?!?!?!? Is that the nuclear armageddon version of "Bring 'em on"? Not to mention that every single test of any anti-ballistic system has shown it to be hardly effective or fail-safe.

I really shouldn't read the news. I honestly don't know what I'll do if Bushco pulls a win out of the bag this November. Granted, four more years of Bush would be quite interesting. I always wanted to experience a crumbling empire firsthand. And maybe after four more years, enough Murkans would wake up to realize that the GOP really isn't looking out for anyone other than the corporate class. But I have a lingering fear that the Murkans would lap up another four years and another couple of wars (Syria? Iran? Micronesia? I'm looking at you). So hopefully it won't be an issue.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

For the first time ever, I had a pleasant experience at a motor vehicle administration office. My visit today (to turn in tags) went so easily that I almost thought to call the tip line to report some suspicious activity. I only had to wait in line for a minute or two, the workers were friendly, and I was only my way in no time at all with a receipt for the registration fee refund that will be sent in the mail. Of course, turning in license tags is one of the easier tasks to complete at the MVA, but the fact that they can do anything efficiently is amazing enough. Hoo-ray.

No Politics Tuesday makes its triumphant return this week. Huzzah.

The Polish blog looks like it is back from the dead, and Daniel has the details (or at least a link) on a 62-mile mega-colony of ants in Australia.

In 8th grade science class, we had to do a big science experiment project (a.k.a. "A Lesson in Falsifying Data") to demonstrate that we had learned and could implement the scientific process, and assemble a foamboard display to present the project. I loathed this like only a 14-yr-old with a mullet could. My project title was "What type of sugar do ants prefer?" Seriously. I don't know what part of the public education system failed on that one, but someone should've stopped me.

For my project, I ordered a box of black ants from a science catalogue. The plan was to then place them in some other container that also had three separate piles of sugar--brown, powder, and your traditional crystal sugar. Then just wait for the ants to choose a pile to munch on, and voila, science project.

Now, as rock-solid brilliant as this sounds, I encountered a major stumbling block after the ants arrived in the mail. Rather than immediately implement the experiment with a box full of lively ants ready to do their part for the advancement of our scientific understanding, I did what I do best...I procrastinated. And by the time I got around to conducting the experiment, the majority of the ants had died, and the remaining ants weren't in the best condition. And the funny thing is, when you put an ant in a container with three kinds of sugar, they're more concerned with finding a way out of the container than they are with climbing on a mound of sugar.

As you can probably guess, I didn't win any awards for my project. But I can tell you that I certainly didn't have the worst project in junior high. The next year, someone else did their project on "which paper towel works best?" (Thinking about it, about half the projects were probably consumer tests, not exactly science projects). For her display, she stapled three blocks of paper towel onto a piece of foamboard. Above the one which performed best, she wrote "First place." Above the next best, she wrote "Second place." And above the least absorbant paper towel, Scott brand, she simply wrote, "Scott sucks." That rocked.

In 9th grade, I dyed different types of fabric, in 10th I grew radish plants and tested fertilizers, and then in 11th, I burned blocks of wood. Don't ask me to explain that one.

Still to come: Motor Vehicle Administration, take two. And more on the Olympics.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Another Bush flip-flop. Oh, George, you're so funny:
In one telling of his riff about the majesty of the Oval Office, [Shrub] notes that it leaves any visitor speechless -- except for "my mother, who walked in and continued to tell me what to do."

That line was in Las Vegas. In Florida, however, he made the same point but said that the Oval Office is so powerful "it's the kind of place where my mother walks in and feels so overwhelmed, she won't tell me what to do."

Which is it, George?

I'm still annoyed by this. After Dick Cheney's sexual directive to Sen.Pat Leahy on the Senate floor in June, it was clear that he is not familiar with the term "sensitive." It is no surprise then that Dick criticized John Kerry's statement that he would "fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror" than the Bush administration has. It is also no surprise that Dick has taken Kerry's statement out of context and distorted it by saying, "America has been in too many wars for any of our wishes, but not a one of them was won by being sensitive."
On the contrary, we have won wars by being "aware" of the situation on the ground, by being "responsive" to changing conditions, and "conscious" of the enemies being fought (all synonyms of the word "sensitive"). Is Dick suggesting that we wage an unaware, unresponsive, unconscious, and thus, insensitive war on terror? Or maybe this is why the situation in Iraq has gotten worse since Bush declared "mission accomplished", and why the "war on terra" is such a blunder?
Perhaps Dick should listen to Shrub who on August 6th told the Unity Conference, "Now, in terms of the balance between running down intelligence and bringing people to justice obviously is -- we need to be very sensitive on that."
Why is it that The Daily Show can point this out, but the Post can't.

Ain't nobody at the Olympics. The stands are very sparsely populated except for some of the bigger events. I thought that back in 2000 and 1996, every event was nearly sold-out. Even the preliminary rounds of table tennis. What gives? Bob Costas sez that people in Greece are on vacation. So what? It's not like it's difficult for other Europeans to get there.
I'm guessing that all the talk of Greece not being ready in time led people to decide not to travel there. The terra talk might not have helped too much either. So we're only a stone's throw from blaming Bush. And really, isn't that the point?

Off I go to the Maryland MVA for what is sure to be a lesson in organizational efficiency and total quality management.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Sensitive. Who knew Cheney was such as sensitive guy? Oh, the hilarity!

Muy muy Olympioso. Watched the opening ceremonies last night at a mini bloggers convention. The ceremony itself was tasteful and not as cheesy as I had expected. However, the craptacular commentating from Bob Costas and Katie Couric provided much fodder for snarky banter among the group. During the procession of the delegations, Bob and Katie had a knack for the negative, pointing out the bad things about the countries, "Here we have the delegation from Micronesia...they haven't won a medal since 1932," "Croatia, of course, a country that has dealt with the darkness of war in recent years," or "Did you know, Katie, that half of the athletes on the team from the Netherlands have an STD?" Someone pointed out that the use of the soundtrack from "Platoon" was also a bit strange. The best though was when the Iraqi delegation entered the stadium, and Botox Katie said, "Iraq, a country with a tortured past...literally." Why? Why?!?!

The high point was the lighting of the Olympic cauldron which could only be described as the biggest joint in history.

"The most annoying man in show business." Talkin' bout Billy Bush. Meritocracy, shmerictocracy. Who needs talent when you're a Bush?

Friday, August 13, 2004

Item! America (The Book). Order your own copy now. And order one for me while you're at it.

Item! A couple of weeks ago, I noticed a signficant increase in my use of the F-bomb within posts. In July, I used the word or one of its variations ten times. Five times in June, and only five other times between January and May. This month, the count is at three.

Item! More cleaning to be done at the old apartment. So that'll do it for a while.

From the Department of Things I Could Have Told You Yesterday:
Since 2001, President Bush's tax cuts have shifted federal tax payments from the richest Americans to a wide swath of middle-class families, the Congressional Budget Office has found, a conclusion likely to roil the presidential election campaign.

The CBO study, due to be released today, found that the wealthiest 20 percent, whose incomes averaged $182,700 in 2001, saw their share of federal taxes drop from 64.4 percent of total tax payments in 2001 to 63.5 percent this year. The top 1 percent, earning $1.1 million, saw their share fall to 20.1 percent of the total, from 22.2 percent....

For the bottom 20 percent of households, the combined Bush tax cuts averaged $250 each. The middle 20 percent received $1,090, while the top 1 percent garnered $78,460, said Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee who analyzed the report.

The tax cuts this year will boost the income of millionaires by 10.1 percent, while middle-income families see a boost of 2.3 percent, the Democrats said.

But...but...but Shrub said, "By far the vast majority of my tax cuts go to the bottom end of the spectrum." And don't even get me started on the elimination of the estate tax. Agh. Leave no billionaire behind.

By the way, Shrub's tax cut saved him $31,000, and it saved the Cheneys $88,000. Wow, they're just like you and me! Certainly not elite.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

"Sensitive." Somebody tell Dick Cheney to STFU. I hope that history will treat Cheney as one of the most dishonest and corrupt political figures in the country's history. He truly is deserving. I cannot wait to see John Edwards dismantle him in their debate.

Here's Coco curled up in the sink. She's weird.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Cheney the Flip-Flopper. Here's a sampling of Cheney flip-flops.

Dana Carvey is not funny. He just isn't.

If you live in or near a major metropolis, you should be able to get cell phone service wherever you go. I can barely get service in the new digs. Excellenct since I have another year on the contract. Sprint PCS, I hate you. I'd like to beat the smug guy in the trenchcoat who is in their commercials because that's the only thing my phone would be good for around here.

It's late, and I'm tired, so I don't know if Catster is funny or just stupid. Judge for yourself. Though Stu, the 3-legged Siamese mix is kinda funny.

We're back online now. But there's much work to be done around the new place. Boxes everywhere, though the cats are enjoying exploring. Funniest thing so far was finding Coco curled up in the bathroom sink (I'll link to photos tomorrow).

In case you hadn't heard, Shrub was laughed at the other day (link courtesy Daver).

And Porter Goss, Shrub's nominee to head the CIA, said earlier this year that he is unqualified to work at the CIA. Fantastic.

And what strikes me about all this talk about the Swiftboat Vets smear campaign against Kerry is that these same people are supporting Shrub who was AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard, a coke-head during the 70s, a failed businessman in the 80s, a one-term governor in a state with a weak executive, and the worst president ever. And they're saying that Kerry is unfit for command?

So that's my Wednesday blog. More tomorrow.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Moving. I'm busy moving today, and later I'll be unplugging this computer and taking it to the new apartment. Tomorrow is furniture moving day, so this will be my last post for today, and I won't be posting tomorrow. I'll be back on Wednesday.
In order to make the move easier, and to keep me busy during my unemployed stint, I/we've been moving anything and everything that can fit into our car. Yesterday, we loaded up two shopping carts full of boxes 'n stuff to take down to the car. As tends to be the case, two of the four elevators were broken down. Being on the 16th floor, this tends to be a pain in the ass. After waiting a few minutes, we push the carts onto the elevator, and head down to the garage. We stop at the 10th floor, and this lunkhead steps into the elevator and says, "Oh, so this is the reason."
How rude. So I say, "No, you dumb fucking meathead, we're not the reason; the other elevator is broken down."
He says, "Huh, I figured it was people moving in or out."
Me, "Nope, the door on the other elevator won't close, you rude, stupid fucking moron."
I might not have called him those names. But there was absolutely no reason for him to imply that we were slowing everything down. And for him to actually say as much to us was just unbelievable. So we followed him to his car and beat him with a baseball bat. Okay, we didn't do that either. But for the rest of the afternoon, we took turns saying in our best meathead/caveman voice, "Oh, so this is the reason."

So anyway. I've got more stuff to move, and more elevators to delay. Be back on Wednesday.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Cha-Cha-Chalabi. Arrest warrants have been issued for Ahmad and Salem Chalabi. When he's not heading the tribunal in charge of trying Saddam Hussein, Salem is apparently out murdering people. And when Ahmad Chalabi isn't providing bogus intelligence to the Pentagon, he's apparently counterfeiting Iraqi money. This is entirely shocking since Ahmad was convicted in absentia in Jordan for bank fraud.

Wait a this the same Ahmad Chalabi who was a special guest at the State of the Union? Shocking.

I'm actually a little surprised that the Bushies haven't scrubbed that picture from the White House website. Maybe they've got better things to do, like explaining why they outed an al Qaida mole.

Friday, August 06, 2004

New and Improved. As you can see, I've changed the template. Why? Because I wanted to be able to link to specific posts, and I was too lazy to try and figure out how to do so with the old template. I liked the old-school look of the previous template, but change is good. Of course, now I have to get all the links and the comments back up and running. How exciting, huh?

More on the swiftboat smear campaign. Media Matters has the lowdown on the co-author (via Atrios)

Bush hates America. And here's the video to prove it.

Odd thing about me...I frequently have dreams where I am yelling at people about how bad Bushco is for the country, and the many ways in which they have been incompetent in their conduct on domestic and foreign affairs. In these dreams, I have yelled at Shrub, Rumsfeld, Laura Bush, and most recently, Dick Cheney. And then last night I was screaming at some random person about Bushco requiring loyalty oaths at one of their rallies, Bushco asking a newspaper for a photographer's race, and other thug tactics of theirs. I'm sure that soon I'll have a dream where I'm yelling at one of the liars from the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth.

I much prefer the dreams where I can dunk a basketball or where I'm playing drums for Led Zeppelin (before realizing that I don't know how to play the drums).

Maybe this is what I should put for my "Fun/Interesting Fact" on my class reunion biography sheet, "Dream about cussing out members of the Bush administration."

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Harvey the Sales Clown. This is from a faux commercial that some friends and I made the summer before heading off to college. The premise was that the Crazy Cooter Brothers were having a going-out-of-business sale, and everything that we had used as props in other videos had to be sold. To help sales, the Cooter Brothers brought in Harvey the Sales Clown. All picture captions are transcribed from the video.

Is our children learning? Shrub sez:
Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we," Bush said. "They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.
For once, I believe him.

Calling the tip line. In order to try and find out what is meant by "suspicious activity," I called up 1-800-492-TIPS. I placed the call from a pay phone in the shopping center across the street. Here is a transcript of the short conversation:

Operator: (deep male voice) Maryland tip line.

Me: Hi, yeah, I saw the billboards on the Beltway asking people to call in to report suspicious activity, and I wasn't sure what you mean by suspicious activity.

Operator: Just anything out of the ordinary.

Me: Okay, because I see my neighbor wandering around drunk in his backyard all the time, but I didn't figure that's the sort of thing you want called in.

Operator: No, nothing like that.

Me: So is there any sort of type of person I should be watching for?

Operator:, just anything out of the ordinary.

Me: Okay, thanks, bye.

"Anything out of the ordinary"??? Can they be any less specific? That's even less specific than "suspicious activity." So I should call in if I see anything that doesn't conform to my mental construct of what I consider to be ordinary? If nobody talks during a movie, should I call that in? That's certainly "out of the ordinary."

I could tell that the guy paused and had to think for a second before answering if there's any type of person I should be looking for. I should call again and specifically ask if I should be on the watch for "A-rabs," and see what I'm told. Because you know that's what they mean. Even though there are all sorts of crazy white people running around this country. Abortion clinic bombings? Oklahoma City? Church bombings? Anthrax letters (okay, they never caught anyone for that, but you know it was a crazy white dude)? That old guy in the tractor on the Mall last year?

It's just another reason why I hate this administration and what they've done to our country, encouraging the unwashed masses to spy on their neighbors and act as junior homeland security deputies.

If you want to call up the tip line and pursue your own line of questioning, perhaps trying to find out what qualifies as "out of the ordinary", then please leave a comment and let us know what you found out. My guess is that they're trained to stick to a standard, vague non-reply.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

My 10-year high school reunion is slated for Labor Day weekend. I got the invite in the mail yesterday. The schedule calls for an early afternoon picnic with all-you-can eat BBQ sammiches, baked beans, macaroni, and a dessert. All I can eat is all you can eat, too. And then there will be a five hour break before dinner, giving me time to wonder why the hell I passed up a weekend at the beach for a weekend in Roanoke.

"The Big Event," as it is being billed, starts at 6:00 with a cocktail hour. As it is a cash bar, I will have to sneak in a couple of those tiny bottles of liquor that you can find at the checkout register at the liquor store. Following happy hour will be dinner at 7:00 accompanied by a video. I can only imagine what they will show. Most likely, highlights of a high school life that I did not live. So maybe I should send in some of the home videos that my friends and I made, in particular the video where I played "Harvey the Sales Clown."

From 8:00 on, there will be dancing, speakers, and awards. The committee has asked for volunteers to speak, "share high school memory, advice, inspirational, motivational, most valuable thing you've learned, thing that's been most different from what you expected, story from the past 10 years, etc." I'm all over this one. High school memory? The time I almost got my ass kicked in gym class for cussing out a starter on the wrestling team who was fouling way too much in basketball. Advice? Don't listen to me. Most valuable thing I've learned? The proper way to roll silverware at the Ground Round. Story from past 10 years? See above. Thing most different than expected? I still can't grow a beard.

And what are these awards going to be? "Most changed"? Can that really be ascertained in the matter of an afternoon? "Least changed"? Is that one you really want to win? "Biggest underachiever"? Quit looking at me. I'm sure that I'll be good and loaded by this time of the evening, so I'll be able to fully appreciate any awkward moments that might arise.

There is also a "graduate biography" form to fill out and send back. A "Where Are They Now" booklet will be created from these. Information requested includes occupation, education, marital status, significant achievement, and fun/interesting fact. My legal counsel has advised me that I will not be entering "Bee Keeper" for my occupation. I agree. "Hustler" is much better anyway. For the significant achievement, I'd like to enter, "collecting unemployment checks at age 27." It's either that or "getting a masters in sociology", but really, which takes more dedication?

I'm sure that at the very least, the reunion will provide for a good blog post. It's gonna be a freakshow, y'all.

Halliburton hijinks. How can you not love this company? Halliburton rocks.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Ain't nuthin wrong with a little bump 'n grind. Unless it's a priest and a nun. Given the Church's other problem with priests and sex, they should consider this a step forward.

Moving. In the middle of the process of moving to my 11th mailing address since 1998. So I really don't have much to say this morning. And I don't know which is creepier-- the real Michael Jackson, or the pretend Michael Jackson.

Suspicious activity to report. It involves Bushco, terra alerts, and an odd knack for the threat level being raised just when there's some bad news for the Bushies. From the WaPo:
Most of the al Qaeda surveillance of five financial institutions that led to a new terrorism alert Sunday was conducted before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and authorities are not sure whether the casing of the buildings has continued since then, numerous intelligence and law enforcement officials said yesterday.

More than half a dozen government officials interviewed yesterday, who declined to be identified because classified information is involved, said that most, if not all, of the information about the buildings seized by authorities in a raid in Pakistan last week was about three years old, and possibly older.

"There is nothing right now that we're hearing that is new," said one senior law enforcement official who was briefed on the alert. "Why did we go to this level? . . . I still don't know that."

Look! A bunny rabbit!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Strategery. Will Ferrell is back.

I hate Diane Sawyer. Here's another reason why:
NEW YORK, Jul 30, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Diane Sawyer, fearing ABC may violate U.S. pre-election media rules, made actress Natalie Portman hold flowers in front of her John Kerry T-shirt while on TV.

Portman appeared on "Good Morning America" Thursday to promote her new film, "Garden State," but the actress' shirt, bearing a picture of the Democratic presidential nominee, caused concern among TV executives who feared ABC would get in trouble for not giving Republicans equal time, World Entertainment News Network reported Friday.

Midway through the TV interview, Sawyer told Portman, "Now if I'm gonna talk to you, you're gonna have to hold flowers here in front of the John Kerry (T-shirt). We can't just have John Kerry the whole time. Who do we bring in for equal time?"

Portman, laughing, said "Come on, you've got (Bill O'Reilly's) 'The O'Reilly Factor.' That's on television; that evens it out!"

What a stupid, stupid, stupid person Diane Sawyer is. She truly deserved the "I'll Get You, My Pretty, and Your Little Dog, too!” award that she earned when she asked the Dixie Chicks, "Ashamed? Ashamed? Do you feel awful about using that word about the president of the United States?" One of the Dixie Chicks promptly told Sawyer to go fuck herself (actually, they replied by quoting Teddy Roosevelt, "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President or that we are to stand by the President right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile but is morally treasonable to the American public.")

Just read through the transcript of the Dixie Chicks/Diane Sawyer interview. I'd say that Diane Sawyer is a whore, but that would be disrespectful to prostitutes.

Orange you happy to be on alert? Again, the terra level has been raised. How do we know? Because Tommy Ridge sez so. From our source outside the World Bank building in D.C., "There have been TV vans parked outside all day with reporters giving continuous coverage...despite the lack of any developments in the news. Well I guess I can reassure myself that the layer of journalists outside can serve as a sort of human shield that will protect me should anything go down." This again demostrates how stoopid our media are. "There's a bomb threat at building X. What should we do? I know, let's go there!" It's not like it's a sports riot after the hometown team wins the championship. If something does happen, and I don't believe that anything will, then do you really want to be *right there*?

We also know that we're on a heightened alert because the electronic billboards on I-270 and the Capital Beltway are running the message, "Report Suspicious Activity 1-800-492-TIPS." Two questions come to mind whenever I see this. First, how much did it cost to put those electronic billboards up? And second, what exactly constitutes "suspicious activity"? Being the inquisitive person that I am, when I get home, I dial up 800-492-TIPS on my cellphone. I now provide for you the transcript of my phone call:
Operator: (garbled) Maryland tip line.

Me: Hello?

Operator: Hello, Maryland tip line.

Me: Oh, you know what? I think I might've dialed the wrong number. What number is this?

Operator: It's the Maryland tip line.

Me: Yeah, I definitely dialed the wrong number. Thanks.

As you can see, in the time that I waited for the call to connect and be answered, I realized that the call could very possible be taped, and my phone number would be entered into a database, and I really don't want to be red-flagged for making harassing calls to the tip line, and so I'd best just pretend that I dialed the wrong number.

This doesn't mean that I've given up on finding out how "suspicious activity" is operationalized. All this means is that I will call the tip line again from a public telephone.

28. Unemployed. No health insurance. Once again, I am living out my dreams. If I could have only engineered a way to collect unemployment checks for the next couple of weeks, then I would be sitting pretty. But, at least I got to reach the top of that mountain last summer. It's a grand thing.

In preparation for starting grad school at the end of the month, I went over to the department to turn in some paperwork. Turns out that this week is first-year orientation for undergrads, and my oh my, do they look young. Remember when you were a big senior in undergrad (first, or second senior year), and you thought the first years looked young? Well, they really are young this time. Most were born in 1985 or 1986. And I'm sure that you'll soon get the forwarded email listing all of the various fads and events from 1986. Like Bill Buckner, "Top Gun," the Challenger explosion, Iran-Contra, Maradona's "Hand of God" goal, and Dionne Warwick & Friends "That's What Friends are For."

When I entered grad school for the first go-round six years ago, I was frequently mistaken as being a freshman. At the time, I found this slightly annoying. But should that ever happen this time, I will smile and gladly thank the person for being so kind before saying, "No, I'm a sophomore." But, I doubt that it will happen. Too many gray hairs, or "natural blond highlights" as I like to call them.

And the winner is.... Actually, the vote for Biggest Meathead ended up in a tie between Ashton Kutcher and Fred Durst. However, there can be no ties. There can only be winners and losers. I have therefore declared myself to be the Supreme Court, and as such, I have decided that FRED DURST is the Biggest Meathead. Congratulations, Fred, for all that you've done to convince upper-middle class white boys that they have something to be angry about, for inflaming an already volatile atmosphere at Woodstock '99 and turning a mess into an even uglier mess, and for your consistency in creating truly horrible albums that reflect your utter lack of talent. We salute you.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

How in the world did it get to be August already? It seems like just yesterday that it was July.

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