" /> A Small Victory: December 2002 Archives

« November 2002 | Main | January 2003 »

December 31, 2002

i resolve to make every day bitchslap ted rall day

You all remember bitchslap Ted Rall day, don't you? That was a mighty fine time we had there. We need to do that more often.

Voting has slowed down as everyone strolls off to their debauchery and revelry.

Me, I'll be making the trek across the street to my parents house to ring in the new year with my family. This doesn't mean I don't drink; it means I drink twice as hard. You would, too if you had to spend the night listening to my father's jokes and my brother-in-law making blow job innuendos.

I've made some new year's resolutions. It's been my practice to make only resolutions I know I'll be able to keep. Therefore I resolve to:

Call Ted Rall a seething, rippling meatball of hatred and jealousy, among other things, at least once a day.

Make a new enemy every week.

Piss someone off, intentionally or not, every day of 2003.

Never listen to Creed on purpose.

Continue my shredding of the fine folks at Indymedia.

Question the existence of France on a daily basis.

Spend most of my hard earned money on comic books and action figures.

Bitch and moan about things I have no control over.

Fill my posts with gratuitous sex and violence.

Continue to have gratuitous sex tinged with violence.

Eat lots of dead animals and drive my SUV like I own the road.

Pretend to be in the process of quitting smoking.

Stalk Jim Treacher, Kevin Parrot and COOP.

Finish up the screenplay for Night of the Loving Dead and the as yet unamed graphic novel collaboration with my husband.

That's just for starters.

I'll start early tomorrow morning by purchasing an after-Christmas present for my husband, to go in tandem with this book. In the words on Coop's site: "If Coop shat a brick, this would be what came out!"

Maybe if I stalk him enough I could get him to sign it without shelling out the 200 bucks for the signed copy. Which leads me to my next resolution: more boob shots!

Wait, that was your resolution for me, wasn't it?

Anyhow, have a safe night. Take a lesson from Juan Gato and stay home in the dark instead of venturing out on the roads. And watch out for people groping your crotch and stealing your wallet while you wait in the freezing cold for a midnight terrorist attack.

Keep voting.

let's go to the polls

update 3 Ok. I've disabled the ability to vote numerous times in a row. I wanted it to be fun, not disturbing. Charles, have you ever considered using your power over people in other ways? Not evil, but not....good. Drop me a line, maybe you can join me on the dark side.

Trust your feelings.

Yes, it's here!

The Most Intriguing Bloggers of 2002 Poll: The final ten roundup.

Everyone single blog that was nominated is entirely worthy. However, it has been narrowed down the the ten most often nominated blogs. Head over here, cast your vote and let the democratic voting process* begin.

Please note: If you are going to link to the poll, please link to this page. Your readers will be directed there from here. Thank you.

*no recounts, no lawsuits, no pregnant chads, but you can vote as many times as you want. Electioneering is encouraged. Payoffs are accepted. Bribes are par for the course. Cheerleading is also encouraged. I never said this would be pretty.*

speaking of ted...

Tim Blair's predictions for 2003:

January 5th: Another American drone is shot down over Iraq. It is Ted Rall, on his way to Baghdad to act as a human shield.

June 19th: The music video for Christina Aguilera's latest release is banned after parents' groups complain about its "inappropriate language" and "vulgar images". Despite the ban, Cum Drunk Fuck Slut is the year's best-selling single.

You know the drill; read the rest.

ted rall: rippling meatball of hatred

For those of you who hold up Ted Rall as a spokesperson for the left, please run through some of these threads at TCJ to confirm my stance that Rall is nothing but a (to quote the delightful COOP) "seething, rippling meatball of hatred and jealousy, marbled with rich veins of inadequacy." Not to mention juvenile, unfunny and void of original thought. I mean, how is it that a guy who thinks calling someone a retard is a defense gets a syndicated column? His popularity mystifies me. Who the hell is his audience, anyhow? Are there that many 10 year old liberals?

thank you to Kevin for once again making me read another TCJ thread that left me minus five IQ points.

so sue me, i slept in

Yes, the much awaited poll is forthcoming. It's too early to count higher than ten, so you'll have to wait until at least a pot of coffee has made its way to my brain.

Today is my dad's birthday (everyone - happy birthday, dad!). I forgot to say happy birthday to my mom on Christmas Eve so (everyone) happy birthday, mom! Thanks.

I had a dream last night that as the ball dropped in Times Square at midnight, it cracked open when it reached the bottom and a group of gun-toting, explosive-wearing terrorists jumped out of the rubble and started screaming "jihad! jihad!" Unfortunately, the neighbor's dog woke me up at that point so I have no idea what happened after that.

I've lived in New York my entire life and never once have I gone into the city for the New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square. Why anyone would want to stand out in the freezing cold with half a million people, most of them trying to feel you up or steal your wallet as they brush up against you, is beyond me.

I can have just as much fun getting drunk at home and letting my husband feel me up. And he won't try to steal my wallet.

Yea, poll coming.

December 30, 2002

say good night, babs

I have to go to bed before I turn into a pumpkin. But I shall leave you with two three things:

This, which I made for Rachel Lucas in response to her posting Bab's annual holiday ornament

And a gentle reminder to get your nominations in before I get up tomorrow. Which is about 5am EST.

3. How to Rant: Learn by example.

best of 2002: the web

Expect lots of updates tonight while I ignore my kids who are probably going to fight to the death at some point this evening. I'll videotape if you want to.

I'll especially be updating this post tonight, which is meant to bring you my favorite new websites (non-blogs) of 2002. If you have any to mention, feel free.

I think I'm giving you guys way too much freedom with my blog. I'm sure I'll pay in the end.


Best new website of 2002: Gawker

It is a live review of city news, and by news we mean, among other things, urban dating rituals, no-ropes social climbing, Condé Nastiness, downwardly-mobile i-bankers, real estate porn -- the serious stuff.

It reminds me of all the things I take for granted living so close to NYC. I need to get on the LIRR more often.

But what exactly is real estate porn?

poll update

Acidman is gunning for Most Intriguing Blogger. He called out his big guns. Meanwhile, Laurence is begging people not to vote for him. I think he just doesn't want to be on the cover of the special issue of Blogger People magazine.

As it stands now, Laurence is in the lead with a pack of wild blogs trailing him.

I am discounting all the votes for myself. Although I appreciate them, I don't think it's fair that I be in my own poll. Y'all are just trying to butter me up, anyhow.

If you haven't put in your nominations yet, now is the time. Tomorrow I will cull from the list the top nominees and put up a poll to determine the final standings.
Of course, there is no prize except for bragging rights. And that cover page.

update: Watch out, Acidman - Denbeste is making a run for your spot.

more required reading

Another required reading of 2002 that I found just in time, thanks to Meryl.

An Israeli blogger responds to a detractor:

I truly believed we could live side by side in peace and equality, sharing and growing together. I still hope (more than anything) that the Palestinians will put down their arms and cease their violence, and then we can once again renew our difficult but not impossible historical attempt at working out our differences peacefully.

Until that time, we are at war.

musical moments of 2002: in a word -bleh

2002 was the year I almost stopped caring about new music. It was the year I dragged out every cd I already owned and vowed to stop buying music until everyone agreed that The White Stripes would not save rock and roll and New Found Glory's minimal success was not a new punk uprising.

I used to live at Mr. Cheapo's record store. Everyone knew my name. I would walk in on a Tuesday and there would be a stack of new cds for me to browse through, with some put aside because Mr. Cheapo knew what I liked. Tuesdays were a thrill.

I'm just not feeling it anymore.

I bought very few cds this year, opting instead to drag out the music I had neglected for a while. I rediscovered some old (or relatively old) favorite - Drain STH, Type O Negative, Skinlab, Sepultura and a whole bunch of 80's new wave.

As for the music I did plunk down money for, here are my favorites from the bunch:

Meshuggah - Nothing
Queens of the Stone Age - Songs For the Deaf
And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead - Source Tags & Codes
Nappy Roots - Watermelon, Chicken and Gritz
Beck - Sea Change
The Soundtrack of our Lives - Behind the Music
Neko Case – Blacklisted
Taproot - Welcome

Song I didn't want to like but I sang it anyhow: Nelly - It's Getting Hot in Here

Most annoying music related things in 2002

American Idol
Any Whitestripeshivesvinesyeahyeahs sounding music
Pop Punk
Andrew W.K.

Best music moment of 2002:

Nick Cave is a god among men. I have been to over 300 concerts in my lifetime, from crappy local bands in venues that looked like a barn to huge extravaganzas of U2 proportions, and this show was far and away the best I have ever seen.

Cave seizured his way around the stage, bumping and grinding and looking at times like a man in the throes of an convulsive nightmare. Every song was a story, every note a masterpiece, every word full of passion. He went through a great mix of slow and fast, ballads and crazed stories woven together in an incredible tapestry of talent. The words "stage presence" do not do justice to the ego this man brings onto the stage with him. He commands your attention and mesmerizes you into believing you are living the song with him. If you ever have the opportunity to see Nick Cave live, do not hesitate. Go.

Remember, you have until midnight tonight (actually til early tomorrow morning, being that I'm rarely still awake at midnight) to get your votes in for
Most Intriguing Blogger.

once again, a notice

The next person that leaves a ten mile long URL in my comments gets their ass kicked and their IP blocked.

If you do not know how to leave a URL using html, then don't. Email me instead.

I've only repeated this about a bazillion times.

I am not kidding. Do not incur my wrath today.

required reading 2002, my choices

Another installment in my required reading of 2002:

This piece from Rossi (everyone should be reading Rossi) on being a Jew

Now Passover has a sibling; “The Sabbath Massacre.”

So I say to these villains in the name of holy-ness.

What exactly can you find in these acts that is holy?

How can you call yourself victims?

How can you call yourselves martyrs?

How can you call any of these acts heroic?

I'm pretty sure if you look up "heroic" in the dictionary it will not say, "One who attacks innocent people while they are returning from prayer.

Read the rest.

new toy

Blame Fred for these new html toys:

don't forget to send your COV entries to Solonor

yea, i'm bored. why do you ask?





santa and snoop, together at last

Ladies and gentlemen, Santa has left the building.

By the way, nominations for Ten Most Intriguing Bloggers of 2002 will be accepted through midnight tonight.

Submissions for Required Reading 2002 will be accepted through Thursday. Please note that this particular year end review is by no means a poll or a contest. Every blog link or article sent will be posted in the roundup, regardless of content, lack of taste, ideology or questionable research.

Thanks for playing. Drive through.

Loving you is like loving the undead

Justin (my husband) and I have been collaborating on a graphic novel type story. He is illustrating, I am writing. He is a gifted artist, as you will see when the domain I bought him for Christmas (to exhibit his artwork) is up and running.

So last night, during our wee hours brainstorming session, he had an idea for a movie.

Night of the Loving Dead.

Goth kids v. Emo kids in a zombie free-for-all.

Think of the soundtrack. Julianna Theory v. Sisters of Mercy. The possibilities are endless. The cross-over factor will ensure a huge audience.

Well, it was a good idea when we thought of it at 3am.

think of the children

Rangel calls for mandatory military service

Hmm..Does Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York) think we need to shore up our defense to prepare for future wars?


Does he think mandatory military service will instill some sense of patriotism, pride and duty in the youth of America?


Is he worried about declining enlistment in the armed forces?


So why does Rep. Rangel want to institute mandatory service? Because, Rangel states:

such legislation could make members of Congress more reluctant to authorize military action.

I see. Let's make everyone over the age of 18 serve some time in the armed forces in order to make Congress say no to military action. Let's put our sons and daughters out there in the hopes that some congressmen will say "not with my child" and vote against any future invasions/wars.

Pardon me for use of hyperbole, but I think that's tantamount to using a child as a shield in a gunfight.

What does Rep. Rangel intend to say if his idea is instituted, a draft is enacted, a vote to go to war comes to the floor and Congress votes to fight? Will he say "oops, bad idea" and go back to the drawing board?

I'm not going to get into the issue here of whether or not a draft is needed or if it is a good/bad idea. The issue is that Rangel has obviously failed to think his flight of fancy through.

"When you talk about a war, you're talking about ground troops, you're talking about enlisted people, and they don't come from the kids and members of Congress," he said.

"I think, if we went home and found out that there were families concerned about their kids going off to war, there would be more cautiousness and a more willingness to work with the international community than to say, 'Our way or the highway.' "

Basically what he is saying is that his fellow congressmen and women care only about their families and not about the families of their constituents. I think every member of Congress should be outraged by Rangel's assertions.

Rangel did not provide specifics of his proposal.

Well, he did in a way. The specifics would be to for Rangel to use the military-age children of the members of Congress as hostages in his kidnapping of the attempt to oust Saddam from power.

The outcome of this would be rather interesting. I can't imagine that any member of Congress who voted in favor of military use of power would suddenly change their minds if a draft was enacted. And if they did it would certainly say a lot about their convictions.

As for Rangel, I think he is way off base and out of line with this idea. The motive and intentions are all wrong.

an extremist by any other name

A suspected Islamic extremist shot dead three U.S. humanitarian workers and wounded a fourth at a missionary hospital in southern Yemen, according to a hospital spokeswoman

Well, at least it's good to know that CNN doesn't hedge on using the word terrorist only when writing about Israelis being killed.

"One of the eyewitnesses there said that he came in the office as if he had a child beneath his jacket [but] it turned out to be ... a semi-automatic rifle that he used against them," [Walid Al-Saqqaf, editor-in-chief of the Yemen Times] said.

Al-Saqqaf reported that the gunman tracked down one of the victims in a separate room and shot him. "It seemed somewhat a pre-planned attack," he said.

Somewhat? A guy hides a weapon under his jacket so it appears to be a child, hunts down his victim and shoots him and several other people - all Americans - well, it doesn't take an investigative reporter to figure out it was pre-planned.

Yemen, the ancestral homeland of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, is a hotbed for extremist Islamic militant groups, finding refuge in the country's mountainous, tribal strongholds.

Extremist Islamic militant groups is such an cumbersome phrase. Let's try, for editorial reasons, to cut it down to one word. Say....terrorists. Yea, that's the ticket.

December 29, 2002

my own MVP (most valuable post) of 2002

I was talking to Juan Gato (well, emailing) and for some reason, I started thinking about my childhood. Which leads me to my own post of the year.

The post was written in February, 2002 and it led to a gradual emotional breakdown that culiminated in my finally getting on some anxiety medication in March.

In many ways, the post that made me face my past and all its scars made me face the future. It healed me. Don't let anyone every tell you that having a blog is a silly hobby. This space has been worth a million therapy sessions for me.

Once I wrote those words and found the nerve to post them, I went into a tailspin. Of course, it is always darkest before the dawn and I came out of that tailspin with a dark part of myself purged and thrown away. That is why the following post - one of very personal, very intense memories - was my favorite, most important piece of writing I had to offer in 2002.

I was walking across the street from my mother's house last night when I saw him. He was standing in front of his father's house, diagonally across from where I was, taking something out of his trunk. It had been several years since I saw him last, and many more since I looked him in the eye. I would not look at him this time, either. I put my head down and picked up my pace, trying to get out of his line of sight before he picked his head up and saw me. He would want to say hello, like the last time. He would want to make small talk about kids and school and old friends, as if nothing bad ever happened. As if all that went on didn't matter anymore.

He's not the only one I see. A few of them stayed in the neighborhood, got married, had kids, got divorced. I see them up at the school sometimes, picking up their kids. I see them in the grocery store or at Little League games and it's always the same. They talk. I nod. I avoid their eyes. I go home and cry.

I can't let those years go. I was small when it started, probably in kindergarten. If anyone ever tells you that little rhyme "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me," well tell them they are full of shit. Obviously they never had words thrown at them like weapons.

If it wasn't the words, it was the objects. Literally sticks and stones. Back in those days kids walked home from school by themselves. Even at 5. They weren't yet teaching about stranger danger. And they certainly weren't teaching about classmates being evil little bastards. The offenders would hide in the bushes, behind fences, wherever they could crouch unseen. When I walked past, they would jump out, not to scare me, but to throw things at me. And then the names would start.

This went on for many years. I learned how to spot them. I learned how to walk on the other side of the street. I learned how to convince my mother to pick me up from school. But I never learned how to use my voice. How to tell them to stop. It wasn't just the walk home from school. It was walking to to the store. Being in front of my own house. Trying to play outside. They harassed me daily, at first just two of them and then a whole crowd.

It crossed over into school eventually, and I became one of those kids. The kind with no friends and no social life except for what her mother arranged for her. Even then, those play dates were awkward and distressing. Frankly, I didn't want friends. I didn't need friends. I was happy to just go home and sit in my room and read. All I ever needed was a book. At least that's what I told myself.

As we got older, past the point where you could chalk off the behavior to kids being kids, the teasing and name calling persisted. But I was partly to blame at this point. I let it happen. I took it. I actually hung out with them after school and stood there while the belittled me and I convinced myself that I was part of the gang and this is how they all treated each other.

Sometimes, out of desparation to be included or to be liked or to feel wanted, you do things that you probably shouldn't. And those things are taken advantage of. You try to prove your worth, to prove you belong, and you do it in ways that only serve to cheapen yourself. But you don't realize it at the time.

These things went on for years, until I finally left the school system and moved on to private school and turned my back on those people and that life.

And now, all these years later, I wonder. I see these people around town and I wonder. Do they remember all of this? Do they know what they did to me? Do they have any idea of the effect that their words and actions had on me then and how they would effect me for the rest of my life?

I mean, here it is, almost 25 years from the last time I hung out with them, and I still can't get over it. I still can't look at them. What do they see when they look at me and try to make that small talk? Do they see the same person they heaped abuse on when we were little? Do they think at all about those days? I doubt it. I doubt that if I ever brought it up with any one of them that they gave it any thought in the past 25 years. Because it didn't effect them. They went on with their lives and they forgot about me and those days and the rocks and the names and the things that went on in Jimmy's backyard.

I want to tell them. I want them to know that even today, their words are with me. That everything they did back then is still with me, in my fears and my self-esteem issues and the way I view men, and myself on a whole. I bet they don't know that. Because they think they were just being kids. They didn't know they were setting the course for my entire life.

I'll continue to see them around town and I'll continue to avoid them in my day to day life, even though they continue to be part of my nightmares and part of my psyche. There's really no escaping your past. I'd like to say I'm over the things that happened so long ago. But I'm not and I never will be and I don't know if it would make me feel any better to know that they have some guilt over what they did or that they do think about it and feel badly about it and that it stayed with them as much as it stayed with me. It probably would only make me feel worse.

So this is me trying to purge myself of all of this. It's the first time I've written about it, even if the words are very vague and scattered. I'm trying to let it go. Maybe this is the beginning of doing that.

February 20, 2002 06:30 AM


Please remember what I said about nominating bloggers for the Most Intriguing Blogger Awards.

So the most intrgiuing bloggers would not be the ones who are the most popular, or the most prolific or the most recognizable. They would be the bloggers who are, obviously, disturblingly provacative, arouse your interest or curiosity or, in general bring you back to their site again and again because you are always wondering what they will say or do next. They make you think and make you want to leave comments or email them. They present issues that interest you or at least make you have an interest in something you previously did not. They make you want to know more about them, what makes them tick, what lies behind the words and the keyboard, even if you don't agree with them, even if you hate them.

I'd like to see someone step up and nominate someone they can't stand or don't agree with, yet read their site daily. For instance, one of my nominees would be Oliver Willis, although we disagree on everything from politics to football. I'm not saying you have to love your enemies, just admit they intrigue you.

Also, when leaving links in comments, please use html or just email me the link if you don't know how to use html. Mess up my sidebar again and you will get a 2x4 upside your head. Thank you.

shall we play a game?

I've been watching the Packers get crushed by the Jets and now I need to be amused. First person to make a snarky comment about the game and/or The Packers in general gets their IP banned. I am dictator here. Thank you.

We are playing What Would Homer Do? Want to play? Here's the first card.


Oh the hell with this. I'm going to take my frustrations out the only way I know how. I'll be back after I troll the news sites looking for something that makes me mad enough to say a whole bunch of curses.

Ten Most Intriguing Bloggers of 2002

In the comments on my post about People's most intriguing people of 2002, Sunidesus suggested having a 25 most intriguing bloggers poll. How...intriguing.

25 is probably too many, so let's go with ten.

Now, let's remember - unlike People Magazine - the meaning of intriguing:


adj 1: disturbingly provocative; "an intriguing smile" [syn: challenging] 2: capable of arousing interest or curiosity

So the most intrgiuing bloggers would not be the ones who are the most popular, or the most prolific or the most recognizable. They would be the bloggers who are, obviously, disturblingly provacative, arouse your interest or curiosity or, in general bring you back to their site again and again because you are always wondering what they will say or do next. They make you think and make you want to leave comments or email them. They present issues that interest you or at least make you have an interest in something you previously did not. They make you want to know more about them, what makes them tick, what lies behind the words and the keyboard, even if you don't agree with them, even if you hate them.

Yes, they are intriguing right down to the specific definition of the word.

Nominate as many as you want and in a day or so, I'll gather up those with the most nominations and install a poll to come up with The Ten Most Intriguing Bloggers of 2002.

Make this worth my while or it won't go. I need several nominations by tonight or I'm going to blow the idea off, as I'm still working on the Required Reading 2002 list and that's been a bit of work.

Oh, try to give a reason with your nomination. I don't want twenty comments with people leaving links to their best friend's blogs, just because.

lies, damn lies and conspiracy theories

It's been a while since I trolled my bloglist of lefty conspiracy sites, so I took a stroll over to VOXnyc today.

Since we last visited Mr. Voxfux, it seems that some evil government type people swooped in on his headquarters, raided his house and stole all his computers and files.

Mr. V. lives on Long Island and I thought this odd that I never heard anything about on the local news, so I called up a friend who "knows about these things" to find out a bit more. My friend in the know had heard nothing about this startling news. I'm so surprised.

Anyhow, that's not my issue with Mr. V. today. The latest claptrap from his keyboard is his waging all out war on the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy:

This thread is for voxnyc's warriors to share your strategies and tactics and victories on how to disrupt, divert, and cause dissent among their ranks. Think big. Go after the largest mediums possible - CNN, Fox, New York Times, but don't forget about two-bit crackpots like Rush Limbaugh and the other talk radio nutcases. And of course don't forget to attack some of the big conservative Internet forums that hide under the cover of names that they've hijacked and perverted - names like patriot, liberty, heritage, family. Of which these scoundrels have nothing to do with. You know the ones. The bigger the better. Infiltrate, pose as one of them and attack. I financed the disruption of Roudolph Guiliani’s weekly radio program for years - the screeners there kept trying to filter out my associate but he would expertly disguise his voice, acting like a suitable sycophantic fan of Guiliani, and get right past the screener only to blast the lying fraud Guiliani every week.

Lets make it a democratic tradition to take these bastards to task, have fun and excitement - but make it smart and clever - remember, the goal is to expose this lying filth for what they are and awaken the sleeping masses to what’s really going on. So don't alienate your intended audience - the American people. NO ANTI AMERICANISM - JUST ANTI LYING FILTH.

Now, here's my favorite part: Be intelligent so that you emerge as a hero and not the enemy. Do it with style. Remember, crashing some blowhard like Rush Limbaugh's radio program and pegging him for the blowhard that he is, is 100% legal.

News flash, Voxie: People who call radio shows just to clash with the host of the show or call him names are generally not seen as intelligent, nor do they come off as heroes unless, of course, your kind of hero is the type of person who thinks he wins points by name calling.

These New World Order retards are histories' single biggest group of fuck up's ever.

Oh, retards! I love your fifth grade vocabulary, Vox. And by the way, it would be fuck ups, not fuck up's. Intelligence, dear Voxie. Try it. Also, if the Republicans the Right are the single biggest group of fuck ups ever, what does the November elections say about the far left and the Democrats they wanted to elect? What do you call someone who falls below fuck up?

(Remember the old man Bush Sr. - He's so pumped full of psychoactive pharmacuedicals - Has been since his days as VP - that all he can do is screw up. I suspect the son is a big pharmaceudical user as well. (Although I cannot be sure))

That's pharmacueticals. Also, I hate double parentheses. Next time try using brackets for parenthetical material inside of other parenthetical material. Or maybe next time, try not to make statements you can't back up with nothing more than "I cannot be sure."

Now for the comments on Vox's call to arms:

how do you think most americans will do this though? The best most can do is watch donahue, a left-leaning program

Ha. Hahahha. Excuse me while I choke on my coffee. Do people still watch Donahue? Hasn't he been cancelled?

If you suggest for example that Sept 11th was carried out by the Government you are usually viewed as a conspiracy nut but hold fast to your beliefs and give it to the dumb fucks anyway you can.Most of the UK media channels have forums where you can spread the word of what really happened on Sept11th and the true direction that the NWO is leading us.

Pray tell, what really happened on September 11? Are there people who really believe this crap? Even I, who was still a (small l)iberal at that point, dismissed any theories that 9/11 was carried out by our own government.

Maybe you could contact the NATION OF ISLAM and ask them to post some of your articles on their website www.finalcall.com.I'm not a member of the Nation I'm a big supporter and a big fan of Minister Lewis Farrakhan.

No comment necessary.

I stopped reading the comments at that point because most of them were incomprehensible. As I looked at the post below the one linked above, my eyes gazed upon a picture of New York City backed by a mushroom cloud. Intrigued, I decided to -against my better judgment - read the article.

Secret US Based Forces plan to ignite Nuclear Bomb in New York
as pretext for global power grab
by voxfux

The analysis is clear - The sheer volume of the psychological info-warfare now being released into the media and principally targeted at the American people contains within it key indicators that point to an eminent inside attack.

After a large section of New York has been destroyed and contaminated, Americans in the midwest and south will rally in outpourings of emotion and support for the mass exodus of New Yorkers to different parts of the country. Americans will be glued to CNN as it delivers the gripping images of a valient George Bush fearlessly entering the radiation perimeter in full radiation gear, (the best available) live. Then after a commercial break (And terror warnings for Homeland "Security" and the TIPS "snitch on your neighbor program") we will focus on the compassionate George Bush visiting a hospital where a young girl, suffering from radiation sickness, is being treated. We can see the American people in a rage of anger. Fraudulent polls will show 97% of Americans want to use nuclear weapons on some country - any country. And we can see the rousing images of Bush and his running mate, probably Rudolf Guilianni, during the next election as they sweep across the South and Midwest locking up state after state sailing to an easy victory.

This is almost certainly how it’s going to play out.

Then it goes on and on and on, and endless litany of things that even most democrats I know would shake their heads at.

George Bush, Sr. planned the assasination attempt on Ronald Reagan.

All the news is fake, handed to reporters directly from the CIA.

If Bush's popularity goes down, he will have his operatives plant a "dirty bomb" in the U.S. in order to get his approval rating up again.

Bush will have dirty bombs planted in the Northeast in order to get people to migrate south into Texas, thus making the local Texas economy boom.

When the article started using words like "gatekeeper" and "doppleganger," I gave up.

My question is this: What kind of people follow someone like Vox? I view him as a cultish figure; mysterious, benevolent to those who follow him, yet ruthless to those who don't. He has given no definitve proof for any of his beliefs and most of his rantings are nothing more than far left propaganda. So why would anyone take his word at truth? Is the distrust in American government so ingrained in the readers of that site that they would believe anything Vox put out before them?

Do you believe any of it?

bring out your dead

I've been perusing the entries for Laurence's ATS Dead Pool contest. I have to say, I'm amused by some of the choices.

When it comes to contests and competition, I do not fool around. Just ask Bill Quick. My choices, made after careful research and using a mathematical formula, are all people who have a seriously good chance of kicking the bucket in 2003. For the record, those people are:

Ali, Muhammed; Auerbach, Red; Berra, Yogi; John Paul II; Koop, C. Everett; Mandela, Nelson; Reagan, Ronald; Salinger, J.D.; Strawberry, Daryl

Had I, like other people, gone with wishful thinking, the list would have been quite different. And had there not been that caveat to the rule that you couldn't actually kill one of your choices yourself, Ted Rall might have been on my list. But Jane Finch did pick Mr. Rall and I don't think there is anything in the rules that says I can't help her out.

(all links to players and their picks can be found on the ATSDP page)

Chuck Simmons made a wise choice with Courtney Love. The path to self-destruction is a swift one. Courtney's time is nigh. The days are also numbered for Whitney Houston in that respect, and a few people made the wise decision to include her.

Seven people chose Eminem. I have news for those seven - people like that do not die. They stick around to annoy you on purpose.

Nine people chose Keith Richards and I think that pick should be disqualified because the walking dead shouldn't count.

Jimbo had some odd choices with Cokie Roberts and Shakira. Do I sense a bit of disdain there? Cokie Roberts, that wouldn't shake my world. But Shakira - as a woman who appreciates the female form in all it's beauty, I would be saddened to not have Shakira's shaking ass to look at anymore.

Alex Knapp chose another, yet skankier, ass-shaker, Christina Aguilera. Good pick, she will obviously die from pnuemonia if she doesn't put some clothes on. Alex also picked Ben Affleck. He may be on to something. I think Ben is suffering from some kind of disease that makes his forehead grow lareger every day. It's the size of a small country now.

Stacy all chose Ben Affleck for her list. She had some rather interesting picks to go along with Ben, including Anna Nicole Smith who, once she gets off whatever medication she's on might die of embarassment when she sobers up and realizes what she has become, and Liam Gallagher, who very well might be killed by his own brother some day. That should be worth double points.

Kim Du Toit, not suprisingly, chose Sarah Brady and I won't even get into the ironic way in which I am assuming Kim envisions Mrs. Brady's demise. He also picked Helen Thomas. Some day I will be watching C-Span and Helen will keel over right there on tv and a few reporters, also in dead pools, will stand up and pump their fists in the air. And then Ari Fliescher will somehow be blamed for her death.

Jack, what's with Cedric the Entertainer? You have something up your sleeve?

Bret went with J.Lo, who just may die from exhaustion while running away from yet another marriage. Don Knotts is still alive?

Other strange picks included Montel Williams, Wynona Rider, Britney Spears, Perry Farrell (note to Mari, I think the drugs keep Perry in a constant state of limbo - he is neither dead nor alive), Macauley Culkin, Phil Donahue, Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, Maureen Dowd and Andrew Sullivan. I think the Sullivan pick was rather mean spirited and I will refrain from comment on that.

Note to Saren: Ann Coulter will not die. She sold her soul a long time ago and will thus live forever, tormenting liberals and conservatives alike with her special brand of vitriol.

disclaimer: For the more virtuous among us, I do not wish these people dead (for the most part) nor do I wish that horrible, deadly things will fall upon them. I do not condone the killing of celebrities/politicians for financial gain, nor do I condone assasinations of any sort in order to win a contest. However, I am all about having fun at the expense of others and laughing death in the face. Death is inevitable, folks, and with most of these people it will happen sooner rather than later. Personally, I think Daryl Strawberry should be a man and take one for the team. He was a selfish ballplayer his whole life. Now would be the time for him to prove that he can step up to the plate and win one for the Gipper. Me being the Gipper, of course.

You may commence with the hate mail/comments now.

i wonder what brad pitt had for dinner

People Magazine's 25 Most Intriguing People of 2002


adj 1: disturbingly provocative; "an intriguing smile" [syn: challenging] 2: capable of arousing interest or curiosity

What do Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, Julia Roberts and Sarah Jessica Parker all have in common?

Why yes, they are intriguing. According to People Magazine, at least.

Perhaps it is just me, but the above mentioned people arouse no curiosity or interest from me. Of all the people in the world, why would someone find Jennifer Aniston the most intriguing person of 2002? In order to be curious about someone, wouldn't there have to be some sort of mystery about them, something left to wonder about them?

When someone is on the cover of every magazine, the subject of every entertainment show at some point and has been covered in a plethora of "undercover" biographies, what is left to imagine? What is left to intrigue?

Perhaps it is because I am not a fan of Friends that I find the inclusion of Aniston silly at best. Maybe it's because I was never a big fan of Julia Robert's flashy smile or Sarah Jessica Parker (except in Square Pegs) and I despise Sex in the City, or that I know J.Lo is a serial fiance with a string of crappy movie choices behind her that I question the integrity of this list.

Are we, as a nation, so obsessed with Hollywood and its stars, so completely smitten with celebrity and beauty that we choose entertainment personalities over anyone else when looking back at the newsmakers and interesting personalities of the year?

And what is Britney Spears still doing on a list like this? Hasn't she been declared a has-been yet? Isn't she one crappy single away from porn stardom?

Rosie O'Donnell stopped being intriguing from the first words she spoke on her talk show.

Chelsea Clinton? Don't know what she's up to and don't care.

Jimmy Carter? The only thing that intrigues me about him is my visions of stuffing his mouth so full of peanuts he will never be able to speak in public again.

Saddam? Nothing intriguing about him because it's all out in the open. I don't spend my nights wondering what makes the man tick, because it's obvious what does: power. Now, if you were to include his viscious, blood-hungry son Uday on the list, I would be more inclined to agree with the choice. But this is People magazine, and we wouldn't want to scare the readers away with thoughts of torture.

Charles Moose? Most people stopped caring about him the minute CNN stopped scrolling constant sniper updates on the tv screen.

The Osbournes? Ozzy was intriguing to me when I was 13 and was fascinated by this bat-biting prince of darkness. Now, I just look at him and see my youth in the guise of an old man.

I find Dr. Phil intriguing if only for the fact that I can't figure out why people worship every word that he utters. He is a condescending show-man who has probably harmed more relationships than he cured. Why do people hang on his every word when I think he's just making the shit up as he goes along sometimes, often making his guest feel worse than they did to start out?

I suppose, as one who has never take to reading The Star or The Enquirer, that I am just failing to understand America's fascination with celebrities, at least not to the depth that anyone should care what Brad Pitt had for lunch or what style bra - if any - Drew Barrymore wore to the Oscars.

I just think there has to be more intriguing people than most of those that made the list.

December 28, 2002

best of is a subjective term

In reference to my collecting the best of the blogs and related stories for 2002, someone asked if I had my own personal favorite post from this year - something I wrote.

I don't know. I never thought about it and I didn't intend to put one of my own posts onto the list.

Do you have a favorite, something I wrote that made you think or laugh or want to drop an anvil on my head?

talk dirty to me

It's good to be on AIM again, especially talking to Melly.

Especially when, after not speaking to her in months on AIM, our conversations picks right back up where they left off:

melandthebean: the pickle goes in me bum
comixho: ohhhh pickled butt plugs!

Thanks, I'll be on AIM all night. Talk dirty to me.

destroy capitalism, but wait until you drop a few bucks at my bar

So, a guy walks into a bar.

Say, it's called The DNA Lounge in San Francisco.

Now, say this DNA Lounge has an ATM machine.

Guy walks up to the ATM machine so he can get some money to spend on drinks at this establishment. As he inserts his card, a message -one of several different messages - appears on the screen.

Suprise suprise:
The government lies

He takes his card out and tries again, wondering if he saw right. Another message flashes:

Destroy capitalism: Smash the state.

The guy looks around, waiting for a punchline. And then he realized, there is no punchline.

The owner of the DNA Lounge has programmed the ATM machine to cycle through four different messages. The top of the screen always reads: SUBMIT - CONFORM - OBEY-MARRY AND REPRODUCE-NEVER QUESTION. The receipt the machine gives you after your transaction has a header that reads: SHOPPING IS NOT CREATING YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU OWN.

Now, the owner's opinion is his own and, as he has a contract to rent the ATM machine and he owns the space in which the machine resides, he has a right to state that opinion in whatever way he wishes. Even if it means shoving it in the faces of ever person who uses the ATM.

So, one would surmise that the owner of the DNA Lounge, by virtue of his messages in the ATM, would wish to destroy capitalism and he believes that spending your money on shopping is, how shall we say...evil. Or something to that effect.

Interesting concept for a man who owns a business which depends on people spending money.

$25 to get in the door if you would like to see their sex show which is -my word! sponsored by people who sell things. Presumably these items are sold for cash. Capitalism at work.

And what's this? The DNA Lounge website has a merchandise page!

DNA Lounge t-shirts have been authorized for mass consumption. Scientific tests prove that wearing Official DNA Lounge Merchandise makes you stronger, healthier, and more desirable. These fine products are available at coat-check every night we're open, or you can order them online, below.

Oh, yes. Very tongue in cheek. Very wry humor. But merchandise nonetheless. $15 a pop for these t-shirts that must be the very hippest in attire for San Fran anti-capitalists.

(but don't worry if you're buying DNA Lounge wear or spending money on drinks at our state-of-the-art bar because we only mean destroy capitalism as long and shopping sucks when it doesn't apply to the DNA Lounge making a buck off of you and the state may lie but we are still nice little people who conform to all state code laws because when we mean smash the state we only mean for you to do it, making you conform to our way of thinking, even if we don't follow it ourselves, because, after all, we may come off as free-thinking, far left, peace, love and classless society lovers, but we really are just money-loving capitalist pigs ourselves. But hey, that won't bring in the Bay area liberals now, would it?)

Well, that's what it should say.

my year in comics, part one: Preacher

My all time favorite comic is the Preacher series. I've read it from the beginning, but starting after the first collected came out, I began to wait for the collected volumes - still collecting the single series - and read those instead. Waiting sometimes seemed like torture, but I prefer to read comics in chunks instead of single issues.

For some reason, I never bought the collected #8 or #9, the last two in the series, even though I bought the singles. So, for the longest time, the Preacher story was left hanging in my mind.

For Christmas, Justin bought me 8 and 9. Since Christmas night, I have been reading the entire collected series, from start to finish. Like a good book.

Actually, this has been better than most books I read this year. Great character development by Garth Ennis; good writing and a twisting, turning story line. Steve Dillon's artwork and Glenn Fabry's covers do the story justice, setting the mood for each story line and bringing the cast of characters to life in such detail that they seem real, not drawn.

Preacher is not for the faint of heart. It is violent, sexually graphic and deviant and contains healthy doses of religion, war and mysticism, often invoking a stark sense of the old west or great war movies. Oh, vampires and Bill Hicks, too. There are some characters in this series that would give even the most stoic person nightmares.

As with any decent story, I became attached to the characters. When one of them turned out to be something/someone I did not imagine him to be, I felt as if I had been stabbed in the back (even though he listened to The Clash). That's good writing.

Comic books and graphic novels are often looked upon as not "real" literature or books, but I dare anyone to glance through the Preacher series and tell me that it's not better than half the crap on the New York Times bestseller list.

I had heard rumors of a movie version of Preacher and, while I would like to see it get the recognition it deserves, I can only imagine that the story would be mangled beyond recognition in film. Selfishly, I hope it never gets made.

While Preacher was not exactly a 2002 creation, I finished it (barely) in 2002, so it goes on my list of top comic book moments of this year. And I've got a Texas-sized crush on Jesse Custer.


I finally got a Golden Chicken Award!!

My day is complete.

get your tin foil hats here!

Jack Cluth posted about a site that tells you how to prevent alien abductions.

Now, you may think that alien abduction is a funny subject, but not everyone does.

Just about a year ago, I wrote about my sleep problems, which include hypnagogic dreams and sleep paralysis as well as vivid, detailed dreams/nightmares which leave me exhausted upon waking.

Several people wrote to me to say that my problems weren't related to sleep, but that I was being abducted by aliens during the night and used for experimentation. They were even kind enough to include links to studies on the subject.

Of course, I thought it was pure bullshit. I had a conversation with my mother about it.

Me: So, people have been saying that I don't sleep well because aliens kidnap me at night.
Mom: Oh, they aren't kidnapping you. They are trying to return you to your real parents.

Thanks, mom.

Anyhow, of the 58 signs that you have been abducted by aliens, I can say yes to most of them, but with other explanations.

However, I've never had a missing fetus (#15), and "Have a fear that you must be very vigilant or you will be taken away by "someone.'"(#52) can be directly attributed to the Department of Homeland Security. As for #25 - Have had, at any time, blood or strangl stain on sheet or pillow, with no explanation of how it got there, if can say yes to that and #34 -Have awoken with soreness in your genitals which can not be explained - then my husband needs to stop watching porn before he goes to bed.

Perhaps I'll invest in one of Michael Menkin's Thought Screen Helmets just to play it safe. I mean, how can you argue with a testimonial like this:

“Since trying Michael Menkin’s Helmet, I have not been bothered by alien mind control. Now my thoughts are my own. I have achieved meaningful work and am contributing to society. My life is better than ever before. Thank you Michael for the work you are doing to save all humanity.”- Jon Locke, alien abductee

Well, John Locke, I think that by letting the aliens take you away to their super-secret planet and staying there would be a great contribution to society.

Shit, I'm out of tin foil.

(bonus mp3 and lyrics included in the MORE section!)

Radiohead "Subterranean Homesick Alien": listen

The breath of the morning
I keep forgetting
The smell of the warm summer air

I live in a town
Where you can't smell a thing
You watch your feet
For cracks in the pavement

Up above
Aliens hover
Making home movies
For the folks back home

Of all these weird creatures
Who lock up their spirits
Drill holes in themselves
And live for their secrets

They're all uptight
Uptight.. (x7)

I wish that they'd swoop down in a country lane
Late at night when I'm driving
Take me on board their beautiful ship
Show me the world as I'd love to see it

I'd tell all my friends
But they'd never believe
They'd think that I'd finally lost it completely

I'd show them the stars
And the meaning of life
They'd shut me away
But I'd be all right
All right..

I'm just uptight

they're always polite to their neighbors

Bronx Boy, 13, Shot Dead; killed in elevator after dispute

The first part of the story explains what happened - two young cousins ended up in an elevator with a man who thought the 13 year old was challenging him (which he was not) - the man shot the 13 year old in the head in front of his ten year old cousin, killing him.

The second half of the story reads like this:

Those who know [alleged murderer]James said the slaying doesn't make sense.

A friend of James who asked not to be identified asked why such a big man would "need a gun for a 13-year-old.”

"He's not that kind of person,” the friend continued, adding that James regularly helps tenants, especially older ones, with tasks such as carrying their grocery bags into the building. The friend recalled that James' Chevrolet Tahoe sport utility vehicle recently had been broken into and the radio was stolen. But instead of getting angry, James "was like, ‘What the hell, I'll save up and get another one,'” his friend said.

Norma Ferrer, 65, a retired hospital worker who lives in the building, also was puzzled.

"I can't say anything bad about Demetrius (James),” said Ferrer, who is friends with James' mother and says she has known him all his life. "He's always been nice to me. It's unbelievable.”

A woman who lived next door to Marcus' grandmother on the 12th floor clutched her chest, leaned against the wall and cried, "Oh, God,” when told James had been arrested in the boy's slaying.

"He was always rather respectful,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified.

When questioned by reporters, James' mother turned her head, her eyes welling with tears, and said, "I have no comment. Leave me alone.”

I sat here for a few moments after reading this, trying to figure out why it bothered me so much.

Ah, I know. It's the way that the media - print media inparticular - tend to write stories with glowing accolades of the (alleged) perpetrator of a crime.

Didn't anyone say what a nice boy the dead 13 year old was?

Didn't anyone clutch their chest and cry in agony when they found out Brandon Marcus was dead?

Didn't anyone else seem puzzled why a 13 year old was shot in the head in an elevator by a 26 year old man?

Let's ignore the victim and paint a nice profile of the thug instead. Next, the writers will be looking for the root causes as to why James had violent tendencies and such a short fuse.

No thanks. I'd rather know a little something about the victim than try, even for a second, to care that a cold blooded killer was polite to his neighbors.


Next person who leaves a freaking snowball in my comments gets their IP banned.

On the subject of comments, calling each other names is really so fifth grade. Can we try to engage in some discourse or debate instead? Thanks.

December 27, 2002

action figure theater

It's Friday night. The kids are at their dad's and Justin and I have some much needed alone time. So what are we doing? No, not that.

We are dressing our action figures up in Natalie's American Girl doll clothes.

click for supersize

The Cave Troll shows off his "get in the kitchen and make me some pie" ensemble while Rob Zombie models the latest in patriotic footwear

"You come back here right this minute with that ring or I'll give you such a beating!"

We really need better hobbies.

come again?

The Fat Guy pointed me to this post at Anil Dash's place (Anil also made a rather bah-humbug appearance here while Laurence was at the helm. I'm wondering if Anil has made it his mission to seek out every non-PC post in certain parts of the blogosphere and reply to them). The post was regarding the celebration of Christmas in mostly non-Christian countries.

Anyhow, it's not so much Anil's post I have the problem with, but a comment from one of his readers:

In a post 9/11 world celebrating Christmas is aligning yourself with the Western modernity.

A dollar to the first person who can fully explain the thinking behind that sentence. Thank you.

Bill Cimino and his express ticket to hell

Bill Cimino is going to hell. Again. Man, no one is going to burn in eternal flames like Bill.

Do not click if you are a)offended by the thought of the apostles giving each other handjobs or b) if you are drinking or eating. Swallow first. I'm sure Peter did.

i love it when you call me barney!

Children uncover pornographic photo in music book

BERGENFIELD, N.J. -- Two young children who wanted to sing along with Barney the Dinosaur instead uncovered a surprise when they opened their music book _ a photograph of a man and woman in a naked embrace...Along with the English-language "Wilder Sex," she said the page included other adult movie reviews _ written in German _ that were rated with pairs of lips instead of the more common stars.

Once, when Natalie was the tender age of four and Barney was all the rage, I thought about putting scary pictures into her Barney books and videos, thinking that maybe she would be so horrified and traumatized I would never have to see that purple dinosaur again.

I just thought about it. I didn't do it.

The picture these kids found was hardly pornographic. But if you think about it, children their age are very impressionable. Some day, when one of those tykes is older and in the clutches of his very first naked embrace, an image of Barney will pop into his head and he'll be in therapy the very next day.

Publications International Ltd., the book's Illinois-based publisher, has had similar problems in the past and claims the China-based company that produces books is to blame for the errors.

See, it's all part of the Chinese government's subversive attempts to get Americans to stop being so obsessed with sex. Get them while they are young, and today's future sex addicts are tomorrow's impotent shock-therapy patients. Who can get it up when "I love you, you love me" plays in their head everytime they get close to a naked person?

While Publications International officials were not immediately available for comment, they noted in a letter to the family that the picture was not especially shocking.

"The material is no more graphic than what's seen on magazines, billboards and TV every day," the letter said.

Well, yea. But Mr. Rogers or Big Bird isn't happily humming in the background of Abercrombie and Fitch ads.


some people think it's funny...

I don't know about you, but I hope that when I make the front page of CNN some day, it's not in a story that refers to a bout with violent vomiting and diarrhea. Even if I am mayor.

Who needed to know that? Is anyone else picturing Mayor Daley and his wife laying on their living room floor surrounded by runny shit?

No? Ok, it's just me, then.

today's (and 2002's) required reading

So this is what I'm going to do. Required Reading of 2002. Culled from the blogosphere and online news articles, and hopefully from a list sent in by all of you, I'll start posting the definitive list of required reading for the past year. No matter what your ideology, politic or point of view, if you felt something - a blog post, a news article - was especially important, profound or maybe just hysterically funny, please send it to me and I'll start compiling a year-end round up of what made us tick in 2002. You can either email me or leave a link here in the comments. I appreciate also if you leave a short note as to why this post/article was important to you or what it meant to you.

One of my favorite readers, Alistair McKay, sent me a list of articles that had an impact on him in the past year. So far, this one is my favorite and it is today's required reading, even if you read it already:

Goodbye, All That: How Left Idiocies Drove Me to Flee
by Ron Rosenbaum
(originally published 10/14/02 in the N.Y. Observer)

Goodbye to a culture of blindness that tolerates, as part of "peace marches," women wearing suicide-bomber belts as bikinis. (See the accompanying photo of the "peace" march in Madrid. "Peace" somehow doesn’t exclude blowing up Jewish children.)

Rosenabaum's personal farewell to the left certainly ranks among the best I've read this year; mostly because I came to have the same epiphany of sorts that he did.

If you have an article or blog post (yours or someone else's) that you feel should be among the year's required reading, please leave a link in the comments or email me.

(please note that html is allowed in comments. Do not leave long urls as it messes up the sidebar. If you don't know how to leave a URL in html, please email me instead)

at raising hell

"I know you wanted the $100 Nike sneakers, but I didn't want to support child labor and sweatshops. Payless shoes are made in America, kids! Wear them with pride!"

My helpful post-Christmas tips at Raising Hell.

Attack of the clones

CNN is reporting that an announcement from Clonaid regarding the birth of a human clone is forthcoming, while an Australian news site is reporting that the birth has already taken place.

A BABY has been born through cloning, French scientist and member of the Raelian sect Brigitte Boisselier has claimed.

The baby, a girl, was born on Thursday by caesarean section. The birth "went very well," said Boisselier, president of the human cloning society Clonaid, on the telephone.

First, I should state that I don't even believe the claims to be true.

The most telling facts about Clonaid come from this statement:

Clonaid, which calls itself the "first human cloning company," was founded by a religious group called the Raelians in 1997. Boisselier is a bishop in the Raelian movement, which professes that life on Earth was created through genetic engineering by extraterrestrials.

The Raelians believe their spiritual leader Rael is a direct descendant of these aliens. Rael told CNN in July 2001 that the long-term goal for human cloning is to live forever. Rael says cloning a baby is only the first step: Eventually the group wants to learn how to clone an adult, then "transfer the brain to the clone."

I don't mean to offend any of you extraterrestrials out there, but how the hell does this kind of technology get into the hands of a freak cult wihtout being regulated? Can any scientist with an agenda form a little club and start cloning babies to fit their needs?

Suppose a white power group hooks up with a fellow aryan nation lover who just happens to be a scientist with an extensive knowledge of cloning technology? This kind of power and science in the hands of the wrong people is an evil thing with the potential for disaster.

I don't know how much credence I put into the claims of a cult that believes they are aliens, but the thought is frightening.

Legally, there's very little to stop scientists from cloning. In January, the National Academy of Sciences recommended a ban on human cloning, but only four states -- California, Michigan, Louisiana and Rhode Island -- ban any type of cloning research.

The FDA claims it has jurisdiction over human cloning based on the Public Health Service and Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. It says it would regulate the cloning process like a drug.

The myriad of things that can go wrong with human cloning reads like a litany of sci-fi movie plot devices. No one knows what can happen to a perfectly normal-seeming baby clone once the infant starts to grow. Sheep, cows and mice - among other animals - have been cloned before and while they appeared normal at birth, developed problems later on.

Cloning humans while the technology is still new and unproven is akin to experimenting on babies. I am all for cloning research, as the benefits of cloning animals may lead to important scientific findings in the field of health and medicine, but as far as cloning humans, why create a life that may end up being one of sickness, deformities or even very short lived? Why take the risk with a human when you don't know what the consequences are yet?

Boisselier says the immediate purpose for cloning is to help infertile couples, but I can't imagine any couple so desperate to have a child that they would take all the risks that come with an unproven science to conceive a baby. And while Boisselier may try to pretend the motives of her group are altruistic, I repeat these words from above: Rael told CNN in July 2001 that the long-term goal for human cloning is to live forever. Rael says cloning a baby is only the first step: Eventually the group wants to learn how to clone an adult, then "transfer the brain to the clone.

Living forever in and of itself is one of the worst ideas known to man. The brain transfer theory seems like an attempt to create their own race or cult of like-minded, same-looking people. Put together, the possibilities are frightening.

The future is here, and I'm not liking it.

December 26, 2002

The 2002 SmallVictoriestm: awards you may not want to win

I'm just getting warmed up. I'll probably be doing posts like this intermittenly for the next week or so. Feel free to add your own two, three or five cents.

I'm also going to put up a poll for the Blogosphere story of the year. Basically, which news story was the most widely discussed on blogs, or most important to bringing blogging out of the dusty corners of the web and into the mainstream. If you have nominations for that, let me know.

Now, some movie awards:

Worst remake of the year:

Rollerball. If you blinked, you missed it in the movie theaters. If you are a sadist, you rented/bought the DVD. If you saw the original with James Caan in the movie theater in 1975, you - like myself - didn't even bother to see the 2002 version. Yet, you know it was unspeakably bad.

Blasphemy of the Year:
Slap Shot 2. The greatest sports movie of all time did not need a sequel, especially one starring a Baldwin brother. Old time hockey! Eddie Shore! Eh, nevermind. You wouldn't get it.

Movie that nobody saw that I really liked:

The Salton Sea

Movie that everyone liked that I hated:

Mr. Deeds. Then again, I hate Adam Sandler with a passion usually reserved for my loathing of Ted Rall.

Movie that just did not live up to it's potential:
Death to Smoochy. What should have a been a dark, funny, sinister farce was vapid, boring and disappointing.

Movie that I watched in 2002 although it didn't come out in 2002 and should win some kind of award:
Battle Royale:

Japan at the dawn of a new millennium. The country is in a state of chaos, violence by rebellious teenagers in schools is completely out of control. The government hits back with a new law: Battle Royale. Every year a school class picked at random will be cast away on an abandoned island to fight it out amongst themselves. It lasts three days, everyone gets food, water and a weapon, ONLY ONE MAY SURVIVE.

This, folks, is must see theater.

mr. heat meiser

I'm calling a moratorium on snowballs. Next person that leaves a snowball image in my comments will find a flaming bag of dog shit on their front steps tomorrow morning.

Then again, if it wasn't for a comment snowball fight today, I would have had like three comments all day.

Still. Flaming bag of dog shit. You hear?

something something of the year

It's taking me a while to get back in the mood for blogging about war and terrorism and politics in general. Plus, these cretins keep throwing snowballs at me in my comments, but I took care of them good. I hid a nice sized rock in each snowball I threw back at them. That'll teach 'em.

I'm thinking of a year end wrap up. I usuall do a best-of music review at the end of the year but music sort of sucked donkey balls in 2002. I suppose I could do the best movies I saw - or the worst. Maybe the best comics I read this year or the worst tv shows I saw or just a review of the year in general or the year in blogging review.

Any suggestions?

In a few hours I'm going to put to use the margarita set that Justin bought me. Maybe even the shotglasses that my sister bought for us or the beer mugs that my parents gave us....I wonder if my family thinks I drink a lot? Anyhow, I'll get back to newsblogging later tonight. Meanwhile, if you can make suggestions as to what kind of year-end review you would like to see me do (and I do think that either the year in blogging or maybe a contest for blogging moment of the year or biggest blog story or....) well, leave any ideas or suggestions or pleas to not bother with it in the comments.

Right now, I've got new toys that need to be paid attention to.

Christmas photo essay: the beauty of snow, the wisdom of homer

This post has been moved to the photoblog

deck the hall with tons of boxes?

Happy Boxing Day!

We may not officially celebrate Boxing Day but, from what I understand, December 26 (in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada) is a day to spend time with your family and play games. Basically, that is what we do here, in addition to throwing out a hundred boxes, so I guess this is our own version of Boxing Day.

Of course, my son thought it was the day he should wake his sister up by punching her in the head. And then maybe gather around the tv while we watch Rocky 1-4. Maybe make fun of Mike Tyson for a little bit, which is always a fun family game.

Anyhow, Christmas was great and I intend to post a gazillion pictures of our presents and the snow and the kids engaging in a rumble at my aunt's house on Christmas Eve.

It's odd how going just one day without posting can make you feel so out of practice. And now I have to try to be as entertaining as Laurence in order to keep the readers he sent over here. I do not have cats, people! That's what seperates me from Lair. Well, that and the whole anatomy thing.

Yea. I'm off to troll the news sites and upload some pictures.

It's good to be back.

one last quote...

"Thank you, thank you very much. I'm here 'til Thursday. Try the veal."


December 25, 2002

and all through the house

Christmas was wonderful and very white.

I'd like to thank Laurence for filling in and keeping everyone who came around during the holiday amused. Maybe I'll return the favor and blog for him on Yom Kippur.

I'm on vacation until next Thursday. Normal blogging will resume with a vengeance tomorrow.

For now, all the creatures are done stirring and I'm going to go to sleep while visions of Christmas bills dance in my head.

Worth all the smiles, though. Hope yours was as merry as ours.

As the curtain falls...

(Posted by Laurence Simon as part of the Amish Tech Support Occupation of A Small Victory during the holidays))

Let's check the scorecard for this goofball 1-800-JEW-BLOG idea , shall we?

Amish Tech Support, Amish Tech Support Dead Pool, A Small Victory, Overtaken By Events, Liquid Courage, and a token test post at Peoples Republic of Seabrook.

Okay, so I blew off Ho Ho Holy Shit and IsraPundit for the time being, but hey... it's not like I'm the only Jewblogger out there who can take up the slack for our celebrating Goy friends, nu?

So, how did I do? I've been keeping an eye on the blogrolling.com reciprolls for Michele of A Small Victory just to see if my posts there are causing the audience to flee in horror and disgust. It turns out she's gaining readership from this little 1-800-JEW-BLOG experiment. Binkley just tacked her on his list of reads.

Isn't this place great, Bink? Just wait until she has a few in her and really gets a head of steam up. That's when the fun begins!

Of course, I just lost a reader from my blogrolling reciproll list. Thanks for stopping by, Unnamed Individual! Glad to have been the least wholesome part of a nutritious breakfast!

Next year, more. Lots more. The concept is proven, a precedent has been established, and a demand is being met. In fact, I'm almost inspired to try a campaign of A Blog A Day, where I, the Wandering Jew, go from blog to blog until I have been on 365 different blogs, one for each day of the year.

A man can dream, can't he?

Now for all you African-American bloggers out there looking for someone to take the reins while you go off and do whatever Kwanzaa thing you go, have I got a deal for you. I mean, let's face it: you were slaves, we were slaves. Neither of us can get elected President.

Drop me a line, I've got the time.

the uss new york

(Posted by Laurence Simon as part of the Amish Tech Support Occupation of A Small Victory during the holidays)

Michele's a New Yawker, so I figured quite a few of you folks are, too. Here's a little something for all you New Yawkers out there looking for a little Christmas cheer... scrap from the World Trade Center will be used to help build the USS New Yawk:

Sorry. I meant to say USS New York. My bad.

Steel salvaged from the wreckage of the World Trade Center will be used to build the Navy's USS New York, a warship named in honor of those who perished in New York on Sept. 11, 2001.

The scrap steel will be extricated from the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island on Friday and trucked south to a Northrop Grumman shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. Northrop Grumman will start building the USS New York in Pascagoula in the middle of next year.

The USS New York will be the fifth of 12 amphibious assault ships in the San Antonio class, which the Navy calls one of its most technologically innovative. The 684-foot vessel will carry a Navy crew of 402 and up to 800 Marines.

I heard a rumor that they were could to use Al Sharpton's hair to weave into the mooring ropes, too.

Now, normally state names are reserved for submarines, but an exception has been made in this case to allow the USS New York label to be used on an assault vehicle instead of an undersea "Melt their sand pit into molten glass and singed camel dung" retaliatory vessel. Other states and cities are getting into the act now, begging to have their names placed on vehicles other than submarines:

USS New Jersey: Garbage scow for the USS New York.
USS Maryland: Army sniper transport.
USS New Orleans: A USO-run submarine that only sinks two inches a year.
USS Detroit: Floating mosque, hospital ship for enemy casualties.
USS Florida: Troop transport that can carry 5,000 Marines and 5,000 Army troops. Or was that 5,500 Marines and 4,500 Army Troops? We need a recount!
USS California: Designed as a nuclear-powered submarine, the pile's been shut down and it's forced to borrow power from the USS Texas

(Posted by Laurence Simon as

(Posted by Laurence Simon as part of the Amish Tech Support Occupation of A Small Victory during the holidays)

Despite an overwhelming number of requests, I am not going to put a boob-shot of myself up here. I will not be girding my chest or loins with Christmas wrapping, candy-canes hanging from my nipples or other appendages, or encasing body parts with wax from menorah candles.

Sure, I'm flattered, but you'll just have to wait for Michele to come back and beg her, okay?

(If you're really nice to me, however, I might just do a little something with strategically-placed Matzoh for Passover.)

A Little Pope-A-Dope For Your Amusement

(Posted by Laurence Simon as part of the Amish Tech Support Occupation of A Small Victory during the holidays)

I really don't envy those of you out there who are Catholics. I mean, here's an example of a Catholic who needs to get in touch with a good Jewish lawyer: Pope makes plea for peace.

You might have missed it, considering that these days there's 500 channels out there for you to watch instead of the 4 or 5 broadcast channels all covering the same scratchy video out of Rome. Here's a few mumbled highlights the BBC felt necessary to pollute the web with:

Delivering his Christmas Midnight Mass homily at the Vatican, the Pope said the Nativity signified "God's merciful love" for the poor and oppressed, for sinners, for those who felt lonely and abandoned.

Christ's message remained valid for "those suffering from conflicts of every kind", the head of the Roman Catholic Church said.

"The centuries and the millennia pass, but the sign remains, and it remains valid for us too - the men and women of the third millennium.

"It is a sign of hope for the whole human family; a sign of peace for those suffering from conflicts of every kind; a sign of freedom for the poor and oppressed; a sign of mercy for those caught up in the vicious circle of sin; a sign of love and consolation for those who feel lonely and abandoned.

"A small and fragile sign, a humble and quiet sign, but one filled with the power of God who out of love became man."

At this point, with his empire reduced to a few city blocks in Rome and even starving nations of the world spitting the atom and spinning the products down into warheads, any good attorney would convince him to plea war but negotiate for a reduced sentence.

Let's face it: this Pope's done his job. Poland's a free country now, every slope has been skied, and ignorance about women's reproductive rights has been maintained for yet another generation. Now that he's asleep at the tiller, the hired help's getting their grubby hands on the merchandise and getting slapped time and time again by the press, so to speak.

He's just been working off fumes, and the incense is burning low. It's time this guy got his eternal nap and a few days lying in state so that another guy can free his country.

Maybe some good can come out of a little change. Who's the Archbishop of Zimbabwe these days? Do they have a Lech Walesa in a dashiki down there for Pope Unga Bunga the First to act as PR Guy to, or has Bobby Mugabe already slit his throat?

Waking up...

(Posted by Laurence Simon as part of the Amish Tech Support Occupation of A Small Victory during the holidays)

Most people wake up on Christmas Day to stacks of presents and the occasional corpse of a pet that ate just a little too much tinsel.

Me, I wake up to the furniture having been moved around while I slept.

A few pictures are off the walls, a few others are back on the walls, and an end table has moved from the entryway to a spot next to the couch. Also, the kitchen now has a few hanging green glass lanterns that will shatter over the cat food stations when the hooks end up falling out like they always do.

The cats are spooked by the changes, rubbing their cheeks against anything that's out of place and wandering around to get a good idea of how to navigate the furniture should they decide to chase each other like crazed rabbits.

The aspirin and shotglass of Goldschlager are still there. I figure that if the fat son-of-a-bitch ends up coming here, then he's tired enough to need a belt and some pain relief.

Just as well he didn't come... even though Nardo, Piper, and Edloe would have bolted, Frisky would have smothered him to death and we left a firelog going, too.

Carnival of the vanities #14

(Posted by Laurence Simon as part of the Amish Tech Support Occupation of A Small Victory during the holidays)

Instead of going nuts reading every other instance of me spread across some blogs here as part of the 1-800-JEW-BLOG Project, why not go back and read what people thought was their best and brightest, collected up in the Carnival of the Vanities? Sure, it's usually at Bigwig at Silflay Hraka but this time it's on tour and Ravenwood's Universe has got the nod.

If you're crazy enough to be on the web during the anniversary of your saviour's birth, go read the stuff and have a Merry Christmas anyway.

December 24, 2002

Merry Christmas, Movie House!

(Posted by Laurence Simon as part of the Amish Tech Support Occupation of A Small Victory during the holidays)

My wife is watching every single holiday special, Christmas classic movie, and remake of the Christmas Carol that the Idiot Box has to offer.

Yuck. This is why I'm in here, blogging for everybody else with my 1-800-JEW-BLOG concept.

Anyway, I may have mentioned before that I like to play a little game with these holiday classics where I cut off the movie near the ending and see how the tone of the movie completely changes. Heck, I play this game with every classic movie, really, but it's Christmas and we can pretend it's a Christmas tradition.

"It's A Wonderful Life" is so much more interesting if Harry Bailey jumps in the river to rescue Clarence, but you cut off the movie and you assume they both drown. Truly a German gestalt waiting to happen.

"A Christmas Carol" brightens my day when Ebenezer Scrooge is weeping, hanging on his own headstone as the grim Ghost of Christmas Future, and then I just assume that he wakes up the next morning and brushes off the haunting as a bit of bad sausage. He lives a long, evil life torturing his assistant Bob and Tiny Tim dies.

"The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" Just when the Grinch has the sleigh full of all the stuff he stole from The Whos cresting the mountain, he ends up ditching it into the valley below. That whiny and disloyal Max the Dog is crushed along with the goods as they tumble down the slope and smash to flinders.

Any moment now, I can expect my wife to weep with joy as George Bailey stumbles across the fake snowbanks, shouting "Merry Christmas, Movie House!" If the movie house wants to make my Christmas merrier, they can lose all the third reels and get a little more realistic.

I was going to write a happy ending to this piece, but... you get the idea.

Give your grocery store the finger.

(Posted by Laurence Simon as part of the Amish Tech Support Occupation of A Small Victory during the holidays)

Here's something that everyone can agree with during the holiday season as we stand in long lines and wait for that jerk with the full shopping cart at the shelf-check to get done: giving your grocery store the finger:

Kroger Co., the largest U.S. supermarket chain, is offering some customers just that opportunity, testing finger imaging as a method of payment in three of its Texas stores.

A machine scans the index finger, matching the customer's unique fingerprint with the individual's account.

The company avoids the term "fingerprinting" because of its law enforcement connotation -- the same reason the technology is applied to the index finger, rather than the thumb.

Customers can register for the voluntary program by presenting a drivers license, an index finger and a method of payment -- either credit card, debit card or electronic check.

"Early indications are that it's being well received by the customer, the new technology is performing well, and it is saving both time and money," said Gary Huddleston, manager of consumer affairs for Kroger's Southwest division.

The company has been testing finger imaging in the Texas towns of Bryan and College Station for about nine months. About 10,000 customers are currently participating.

If I'm not mistaken, either some Aggies or a Rice professor demonstrated how to defeat their fingerprint security with a simple gelatin-based fingerprint overlay or prosthesis finger. It was completely surreptitious, and only needed a good fingerprint to generate.

Sure, it's still easier to clone a credit card number or credit rating identity, and the security and relative difficulty of faking a biometric is inherently more secure. However, biometrics have a huge hurdle to get over with Big Brother-like fears. Heck, that's inflated by the horribly science-ignorant press, just like ignorance over how truly difficult it is to work up a fake finger or any other method of "hacking" a biometric.

It's sort of like airline security, really. People assume credit cards are safe, the appearances of security make people feel better, and the truth is that all the credit card companies do is make up bogus commercials with red-line safes and walls and bear traps around their easily-poached numbers. Where airline security failures resulted in thousands of deaths last year, credit security failures mess with millions of futures.

Instead of preventing the crimes, the credit card companies "aggressively" pursue cased after the fact only when they're a bit curious, but usually when it's after the fact and the damage has been done. Then there's the hassle of discovering and disputing and disproving each charge to the credit card company, and then the ever-muleheaded credit reporting agencies.

Better to prevent such misuse entirely, and to find a method to prove that you is really you.

weren't you supposed to be christmasing or something like that?

(Posted by Laurence Simon as part of the Amish Tech Support Occupation of A Small Victory during the holidays)

Jesus, is that cumbersome or what?

At first I was going to say "Well shouldn't you have your name or some credit variable in your template, you holiday-crazy bitch?" but then I realized that I don't have a credit variable within the template on my own site.

That's when it hit me. I'm not so crazy as to open up my own site to outsiders. You must be really fried from all this Christmas crap you Goyim freak out over. I offer to bust my fingers and keyboard to keep the homepagefires burning, and you come back here for the nitpicky bitchslap.

Fine. Just be ready to hand the reins over to me for a few months when they haul you off in your brand-new straightjacket for being such a site addict.


I'm breaking that cardinal rule of insulting the readership again, aren't I?

Oops. Just chalk that up to a "Bad Ash" moment, okay?

As for the feedback via e-mail, I'm getting cc: copies of all the comments that are being posted up here. If you feel like sending something to me in private regarding what's up here, trust me, it's not worth saying. If you're going to try to take me down or make me flinch, you're going to need large numbers of very large people and private e-mails won't make that dog bark.

just one second here...

Michele speaking..

May I interject here for a moment?

Please remember that LAURENCE made those posts below and LAURENCE should, at the top of his posts put POSTED BY LAURENCE so he gets the hate mail and not me.

You can reach LAURENCE at file13@ev1.net. Thank you.

P.S. You're doing a great job, Lair. But don't overdo it or all my readers will move over to your blog when I come back and never return to ASV.


(Posted by Laurence Simon as part of the Amish Tech Support Occupation of A Small Victory during the holidays)

What do the executives at McDonalds wish for Christmas? To be as reviled and hated as the executives at Coca-Cola who came out with the bilge known as "New Coke."

Say hello to New Meat:

McDonald's Corp. is tinkering with its primary product -- the hamburger -- in its effort to stimulate sales.

Beef patties will get a reformulated seasoning mix "to improve the flavor of our meat," and new sandwich buns will be rolled out next spring, a memorandum sent to franchisees disclosed. A copy of the document was obtained by Dow Jones Newswires.

All that remains is Jell-o to screw with their flavoring, and the Axis of Cosby will have destroyed the world!

It's as plain as the nose on your face...

(Posted by Laurence Simon as part of the Amish Tech Support Occupation of A Small Victory during the holidays)

What is it with people shooting beverages out of their noses as a result of reading my stuff? Day after day, I get e-mails and feedbacks saying that people have blown various beverages on their monitors and keyboards.

How can I tell it's the holidays?

Kevin Parrott: Good stuff. I shot eggnog out of my nose.

That's right. Eggnog.Wow. I hope he was drinking eggnog at the time. Otherwise, someone might try to call this a fucking Christmas miracle or something.

By the way, here's a brain-teaser for the holidays: if Jesus drank water and laughed, would wine come out of his nose?

Carnival #14 is Coming

(Posted by Laurence Simon as part of the Amish Tech Support Occupation of A Small Victory during the holidays)

Just a reminder... Carnival of the Vanities #14 is going to Ravenwood's Universe for the Christmas Holiday. Be sure to submit your best posts needing just a little more link love.

I may just decide to tweak off Michele by submitting my introduction post on A Small Victory for her site. I just wouldn't be me if I weren't a bad guest at least once, you know.

Holiday Meal Recipes For Cats?

(The brutal occupation of A Small Victory by the Insane Defense Forces of Amish Tech Support continues. Jane Fonda just called Michele and asked if there was anything she could do to help.)

Yeah, cat owners love their cats to the point of annoyance around the holiday season. We get them their own stockings, their own little costumes, their own little spice rubs and marinades...

Wait. Read that back to me again?

REUTERS: Boys Eat Cat That Stole Christmas Dinner

Three Kenyan schoolboys were arrested for eating a cat they suspected of stealing chickens set aside for their Christmas feast, newspapers reported on Tuesday.

The three boys aged 12-14 killed, skinned and roasted the cat for lunch last Thursday, the state-owned Kenya News Agency (KNA) reported. They were arrested after complaints from residents in Mororo village in eastern Kenya.

The complaints must have been that they didn't share.

Testing... 1 2 3

Hello? Is this thing on?


As Michele said, I'm Laurence Simon of Amish Tech Support. We're trying out my concept of 1-800-JEW-BLOG where a Jewish Blogger lets a Goy blogger take a break for the holidays, just like the Goy Cops and Goy Nurses and Goy Jail Guards head off to be with their families and let Jews and Muslims cover for them. We Jews keep things running smoothly while y'all make drunk asses of yourselves and bitch about the pile the coats on the bed because that means you'll just have to do your cousin in the linen closet.

Sure, she didn't have to go 1-800-JEW-BLOG. She could have gone to the other side of the fence and called upon a practitioner of The Religion of Peace™. Look, just relax for a moment, folks. There is no freaking way that I'd let a Muslim cover for her. I mean, come on... if not for the radical change in tone, but that little sneak would probably rip down all the tit-shots as blasphemy and change the font to some shitscribble Arabic. Nobody's commanding my friend's bazooms be blanketed by a burkah without getting their block knocked off.

So, please, sit back and relax as I take the keyboard for a day or so, let Michele focus on holiday preparations and get her head back on straight (or attend to other body parts needing realignment and adjustment... by the way, where's that JPG you promised me?), and I entertain you with material that is no way an example of the Vast Jewish Conspiracy spreading its tentacles and claws into every site, institution, and organization on the planet.

Speaking of which, if any other folks want to take a break for the holidays, feel free to join up with the 1-800-JEW-BLOG movement and hand over the keys to a Jewish Blogger while you make merry under the mistletoe.

"Reynolds? Kaus? Quick? Bear? Lileks? Bueller? Bueller?"

Don't worry, we'll hand the keys back once the hangover passes and you breathe a sigh of relief when the stick you peed on stays blue. We'll be out of Bethlehe- I mean off your blog when the time comes for you to resume blogging.

Honest. (Heh heh heh)

turning things over to laurence

And now, I take a very short blogging vacation. I'll be back either very late Christmas night or early Thursday morning.

Far be it from me to leave this place empty for a day or two. Instead, I put you in the very able hands of Laurence from Amish Tech Support, who answered the phone when I called 1-800-Dialajew for blogging hiatus assistance.

There's no telling what Laurence may or may not say, or if he will put up silly little icons or offend one or all of you. That's the beauty of Laurence.

I apologize in advance. See you soon.

A Small Victory Christmas Address 2002

Join me for a holiday fireside chat.

Christmas is here, and whether or not you celebrate the holiday, it is still a time of year to bring warmth and love to others. It is also at this point in the year that I ask forgiveness from those I have hurt and, conversely, to forgive those who have done harm to me, as well as thank those who have been gracious and kind to me.

I made a vow sometime in mid-year to spend less time on the computer at night and more time with my family. I think those of you with blogs know how easy it is to sit down to just read a few sites on your link list and maybe make one post, and before you know it, three hours have gone by. I do most of my posting from work now, even writing a few posts ahead of time to upload at night. One of the things that had to go was my time spent on AIM, as it sucked up my whole evening. Unfortunately, that is where I engaged in conversations with some very good friends and thus, our friendships sort of tapered off when my AIM time disappeared. I also became a bit slack at returning email and my friendships have suffered for it.

For those of you this applies to you, and you know who you are, I am sorry. If I follow through with my New Year’s resolution to manage my time better, perhaps we can pick up where we left off.

On the other hand, I lost some friends, one in particular, over this weblog and the politics I engage in here. I am not going to apologize for my opinions and I am very sorry you felt it reflected poorly on you to remain friends with me. I wish you well in the coming year. I harbor no bad feelings, just a bit of sadness.

As some people abandoned me, many others embraced me and welcomed me into their fold. This weblog, and the people that are involved in it, whether through reading, commenting or linking to me, has become somewhat of a little community to me; a very warm, welcoming, supportive community and I am proud to be a part of it.

I did make some wonderful friends this year. Too many bloggers to list here, but I’ve tried to let each and every one of you know the difference you have made in my life. I wish you all nothing but the best in 2003, and a continued friendship with you.

To all my readers, I can’t thank you enough. Since I was twelve years old, all I ever wanted was to be a writer. And while this may not qualify as being a writer, per se, it still amazes me that people stop here every day to read my words and comment on them. Even to those who consistently disagree with and bait me, I appreciate your comments and thoughts because you keep me thinking.

I hope that his holiday season brings you joy, inner peace and tranquility. I wish you and your families the best and I hope you will all continue to be a part of my life in the coming year.

Happy holidays to all.

give me back my upper haaaaaaaand!

Christmas Eve already?

As usual, I am behind in everything I need to accomplish before tonight. I'll be posting a bit from work today, but once I leave work I am doing the unthinkable and handing my blog over to someone else until late Christmas night.

It's a surprise. I'll tell you who it is later.

Meanwhile, from Newsday:

Washington - The Bush administration pressed North Korea diplomatically yesterday to refrain from restarting a dormant nuclear reactor, even as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld warned that the U.S. military could simultaneously take on both Iraq and the communist Pyongyang regime.

"We are capable of fighting two major regional conflicts," Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon. "We're capable of winning decisively in one and swiftly defeating in the case of the other, and let there be no doubt about it."

Oh, this should get the far left in a nice little Christmas snit. Rumsfeld is nothing if not confident. And arrogant.

In many ways, Rummy reminds me of Ash from Evil Dead II, but without the sense of humor.


Give me back my hand! Give me back my haaaaaaaaaaand!

Stay tuned for my Christmas Eve Address to the Blogging Nation.

December 23, 2002

one more clash story: somebody got murdered

Can you stand one more Clash post? Please?

Back in the early 80's, we used to do dangerous things, as young people are prone to do. Looking back at it now, I can say we were pure idiots and I wonder how we made it through our youth unscathed.

There was this road, Sweet Hollow Road. It was a one lane of dirt that beat a winding path through a town where the houses had bathrooms bigger than most people's entire homes. Sweet Hollow Road ran past these houses, but you never saw the estates, as they were called, because the driveways to their houses ran for a mile into the woods and up to the four car garages.

We drove Sweet Hollow Road for sport. There were no lights and deep woods on both sides. Armed with only cheap beer, a nickel bag of pot and our young bravado, we would enter the road, turn off the headlights and drive like a ghost was chasing us.

I usually sat in the back, fear making the beer in my belly want to come right back up. The fear was more intoxicating than the beer and pot.

Have you ever been in complete, utter darkness? The kind of dark that makes you wonder if anything outside of you exists at all? That was Sweet Hollow Road with the headlights off. Doing 60 on a road that called for ten, stoned out of our minds and shrieking like we were about to die.

It all came with a soundtrack and that one time that we almost went off the road, the soundtrack was The Clash. Sandista was the cassette and the song was "Somebody Got Murdered."

Someone lights a cigarette
While riding in a car
Some ol' guy takes a swig
And passes back the jar
But where they were last night
No-one can remember
Somebody got murdered
Goodbye, for keeps, forever

We hit a rock or a boulder or, as the story grew to unbelievable proportions days later - a wall of stone. The rock flew up from underneath the tire and hit the windshield. We screamed. One person thought we hit a body, another thought a UFO had come down to get us. And the driver, I believe his name was Mickey, thought he saw a man crawl down from the hood of the car and smash the window with a rock. This is how urban legends begin.

Either way, the sudden suprise of the crack! on the windshield caused Mickey to swerve and we went off into the woods, control lost, panic ensuing. Mickey managed to slam the brakes before we hit one of the huge trees in the woods and the car fishtailed to a stop. We sat in silence for a few minutes, nobody uttering a word. Nobody but Joe Strummer, singing Somebody got murdered, his name cannot be found. A small stain on the pavement, they'll scrub it off the ground.

We started the car, took off - with the headlights on - and never traveled Sweet Hollow Road in the dark again.

interrupting all programs

Wrapping presents, listening to The Clash and feeling oh so mournful.

Interrupting all programmes

Joe3.jpgThis is Radio Clash from pirate satellite
Orbiting your living room, cashing in the Bill of Rights
Cuban army surplus or refusing all third lights
This is Radio Clash on pirate satellite
This sound does not subscribe to the international plan
In the psycho shadow of the white right hand
Them that see ghetology as an urban Viet Nam
Giving deadly exhibitions of murder by napalm

This is Radio Clash - tearing up the seven veils
This is Radio Clash - please save us, not the whales
This is Radio Clash - underneath a mushroom cloud
This is Radio Clash - you don't need that funeral shroud

Forces have been looting
My humanity
Curfews have been curbing
The end of liberty

Hands of law have sorted through
My identity
But now this sound is brave
And wants to be free - anyway to be free

This is Radio Clash on pirate satellite
This is not free Europe
Nor an armed force network
This is Radio Clash using audio ammunition
This is Radio Clash can we get that world to listen?
This is Radio Clash using aural ammunition
This is Radio Clash can we get that world to listen?
This is Radio Clash on pirate satellite
Orbiting your living room, cashing in the Bill of Rights
This is Radio Clash on pirate satellite
This is Radio Clash - everybody hold on tight

A-riggy diggy dig dang dang

Go back to urban 'Nam

That part where he says "and wants to be freeeeeeeeeee" was always my favorite part. I'm on my fourth listen in a row.

Brent and Solonor were both kind enough to leave links to audio of this song in this morning's eulogy to Joe Strummer. Solly's version is of his band covering the song, check it out. And then listen to Radio Clash, which Brent provided.

I can't believe he's dead. I think I'm going to cry, and I don't normally do that over the death of someone I didn't know personally. But you have understand - this is my youth. This is part of my life, my history, my soul.

I'm feeling old and sad and like something is missing.

gratuitous pictures and details of my day

This will be my last post until much later tonight. I'm leaving work in a few moments to brave the crowds at Best Buy for some last minute gifts. Later on, we are meeting my best friend Barbara and her kids at Outback (mmm cheese fries) for our annual Hannakuh/Christmas dinner. Barbara, bless her heart, has invited my kids to sleep at her house tonight, leaving Justin and I alone to finish wrapping.

I brought my kids to work today - as did most of the employees here it seems - and we had camera in tow. So here are gratiuitous pictures of me and my wormbabies. (If you have to ask, don't).

with Natalie

with DJ

I'm clairvoyant, so I'll answer your remarks ahead of time:

1. Yes, I know I look tired. I am.
2. Yes, Natalie always has that smirk on her face.
3. Yes, DJ is in desperate need of a haircut. He looks like I slapped a bowl on his head this morning.

Now, go forth and be merry.

today's textbooks: lies, revisions and the equator in Florida

What is your child being taught in school?

According this article in the Daily News, you may not be happy with the answer.

Ever wonder what your children might be learning when they hit the books in the New York City public schools?

A kinder, gentler definition of jihad. It really means "to do one's best to resist temptation and overcome evil."

An error-filled version of global geography. The equator actually passes through Florida, Texas and Arizona.

A saga of a swashbuckling hero of today who can be compared to ancient historical heroes dating to the Trojan War: Indiana Jones.

The world of 21st century textbook education is a learning laboratory in which agendas, ideologies and errors all too often trump balance, accuracy and fairness.

I'm taking a wild stab here, but I'm guessing that New York City is not the only place these textbook revisions are occurring.

One book in the school library states that Rev. Al Sharpton, hails from a "long tradition of activist ministers like Martin Luther King Jr."

Al Sharpton - publicity hound, ambulance chaser, obnoxious loudmouth, defender of Tawana Brawley. Hardly Rev. King material.

And while going out of their way to avoid textbooks with stereotypes or other non-politically correct phrases, the schools felt okay with this line from a history book: "Poor blacks in the cities often found themselves at the mercy of Jewish shopkeepers and landlords, who decided when and when not to advance credit to their customers."

There is also a whitewash of Louis Farrakhan, described as a "black American of achievement" who bears a "message no American can ignore." The Nation of Islam leader also shows a "willingness to forgive," the book claims.

Are we thinking of the same Farrakhan here, or is there a kinder, gentler Farrakhan walking around somewhere that we don't know about?

At least three schools have bought copies of "The American Vision," a 2003 high school history textbook, published by Glencoe McGraw-Hill, that was one of the first to write about the terror attacks. In a seven-page lesson on the massacre of 3,000 innocents, students are asked:

"What are the three main reasons certain Muslims became angry with the United States?"

"Why does American foreign policy anger Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East?"

Ah, yes. These books must be for that new course, "Root Causes 101," where the students are taught to always blame America first, that when your country is ambushed and bombed, it must have done something wrong to bring that on themselves.

Political correctness isn't the only thing wrong with the textbooks. They are filled with factual errors.

Prentice Hall's "Exploring Physical Science," a middle school science book used in Queens, confuses Newton (1643-1727) with Galileo (1564-1642). It also pictures the Statue of Liberty bearing the torch in her left hand and calls her skin bronze; actually, it's copper with a green patina, and she holds the lamp in her right hand. Corrections were made in a 1999 version, said spokeswoman Wendy Spiegel. But errors remain in thousands of 1997 editions still in circulation.

McGraw-Hill's "Human Heritage: A World History," a high school social studies text used in Brooklyn, incorrectly identifies Gerry Adams as "a Protestant leader." Actually, he's the Catholic firebrand who heads Sinn Fein, the Irish Republican Army's political wing.

A geography book states that the equator actually passes Florida, Texas and Arizona.

And, of course, we must protect our children from the horrors of artworks:

The cover of "Economics," a high school textbook due to enter city schools next year, sports a doctored photo of the New York Stock Exchange's landmark exterior.

With a pair of loincloths strategically inserted into the picture, publisher Holt, Rinehart and Winston draped the private parts of the two heroic male figures — Agriculture and Science, by name.

"The nudity was inappropriate for kids at this level," said Holt spokesman Rick Blake.

Don't worry about those copies of Teen People magazine on the library shelf, though. Those ads with butts bared and cleavage flowing aren't nearly as offensive as pieces of art outside of an American landmark.

The ridiculousness reaches levels so bizzare, I actually had to laugh out loud:

Stripped of relevant passages to avoid giving the slightest offense to anyone. Gail Stein, a French teacher at Long Island City High School in Queens, is the author of several popular French textbooks that deal with Gallic staples — perfume, Champagne, chocolate mousse.

Then her publisher started getting complaints: Perfume was deemed sexist; not all women use it. A line about "bubbles in a glass of Champagne" might foster underage drinking. So out went the bubbly and all other offending references.

When "French is Fun" was released, one woman complained that using cognac in mousse would encourage drunkenness. So Stein's editors at Amsco School Publications asked her to change the next edition. Out went the cognac, out went the authenticity.

I'm just waiting for the lawsuit from some parent who claims that learning about Socrates caused her child to kill himself.

The famous 1896 picture of husband-and-wife scientists Marie and Pierre Curie experimenting with radioactivity in their Paris lab was reproduced in Holt's "SciencePlus: Technology and Society." But it was radically cropped to purge Pierre, who shared a 1903 Nobel Prize with his wife.

Holt's Blake said Marie "was a famous scientist in her own right" and that "some of her most important work took place after her husband died."

I'm waiting for the next version of the book, when all references to Nelson Mandela are edited out in order to give his ex-wife, Winnie, the limelight that she missed out on when standing in her husband's shadow. I wonder if they will doctor photos of the Clintons so as not to make students assume that Hillary rode her husband's coattails to the senate.

History also was fictionalized in McDougal Littell's "America's Past and Promise," taught to middle school students in Brooklyn. It prints a 1915 photo of men linking hands around the world's most massive tree, the General Sherman sequoia in California, with a caption that reads, "Conservationists link hands around a tree to stop loggers from cutting it down."

The sequoia was never threatened by loggers. The men were simply demonstrating its enormous girth.

Agenda, anyone? Could these books have been written and chosen for the district by - dare I say it - liberals?

Many of the older versions of textbooks had product placement - sticking a product like Frosted Flakes into a math word problem. A bill has been introduced in Albany to do away with product placement, which is probably the only decent suggestion in this whole article.

In the meantime, math problems in some classes continue to be formulated like this: "Will is saving his allowance to buy a pair of Nike shoes that cost $68.25. If Will earns $3.25 per week, how many weeks will he need to save?"

$3.25 a week?? The poor child must be working for Nike, not buying shoes from them!

How far can we, as parents or future parents (or not even parents, but people who depend on the education of today's children to preserve our history, and protect our future) let the various boards of education around the country tinker with the education of America's youth?

Revisionist history and silly displays of pro-feminism posturing, liberal agendas and the whitewashing of historical figures and places has no place in public education.

Our future looks very grim, indeed, if this is what the future leaders of our country are being taught.

a eulogy of sorts

I did not start out today intending to write a eulogy; in fact, I was not going to post from work at all today. However, the death of Joe Strummer calls for a moment of rememberance. Not silence, not that. Today, my speakers are filled with the sounds of The Clash.

When a favorite icon of your life dies - be it an actor or writer or rock star - one takes the time to reminisce and share some memories and relive -in the rock star case - a little of your life through their music.

1977 was a watershed year for me. Punk rock arrived in the USA and it forever changed the way I listened to music. Though I didn't pick up on it until the following year when I heard the Ramones on a college station, I still recognize 1977 as the year the music changed.

A friend whose uncle owned a record store lent me an import copy of Clash (UK), which hadn't been released in the US yet. It was I'm So Bored with the USA that wrapped itself around my head and never let go. Janie Jones, Remote Control...I listened to the album on my piece of crap record player over and over. I was in 11th grade. 16 years old. My friends were listening to the new hearthrob of the music scene, Bruce Springsteen. Some of them were still doing the hustle, openly engaging in disco dancing while the rest of us wore our "Disco Sucks" pins.

At the end of 1978, a friend gave me a cassette copy of Give 'em Enough Rope. Safe European Home and Tommy Gun were staples of my days and night. Sitting in my bedroom with my newer, yet still crappy stereo, those huge, cushioned, oversized headphones on, bopping my head up and down and humming punk rock tunes all to the annoyance of my parents.

This isn't so much about the songs - I could sit here all day listing which songs played on my stereo during specific times of my life - it's about what Joe Strummer and the Clash meant to me. There were times when the only sounds coming from my room or my car were The Clash or The Jam.

So many hot, sticky summer nights, sitting in my Nova, drinking beer and listening to Joe Strummer's passioned voice.

I had my first major break-up with Clampdown playing in the background.

When I threw up that entire bottle of Boonesfarm wine, Brand New Cadillac was blasting from the speakers we had set up in the park that night, before the cops came, before we were chased through the woods by snarling dogs, smelling of puke and Miller Lite. Every time I hear that song, I can recall the taste of warm beer vomit.

And even though Sandinista disappointed me, I can still recite all the words to Magnificent Seven, and I bet my sister can, too.

By the time Rock the Casbah came around and everyone was a Clash fan, I had earned the right to call myself an old school fan and maybe, just maybe, looked down upon those who thought The Clash were a "great new band."

The most telling memory of what Joe Strummer meant to me, perhaps, lies in the bottom of a box in my bedroom closet. It's a tiny stuffed chicken that someone gave me, I have no idea why. It was just one of those things. When that person, my old friend Chris, gave me the chicken and said I had to give it a name, Radio Clash was on the air and I thus named the chicken Strummer.

I guess I'll fish little Strummer out of the box today and give him a place of honor on my dresser, right next to the tattered photo of Joey Ramone.

I think you all should leave your favorite Clash lyrics here. Just for the hell of it.

so long, joe

Joe Strummer died.

I'm pretty damn sad about it.

More on this later.

5 sacks for Christmas

A special message to my sister, Lisa:

Merry Christmas, Drew Bledsoe.

Don't hate me because I'm beautiful. Hate me because my team beat yours.

weather report: slight chance of nostalgia


I don't recall the last time we had a white Christmas around these parts. I'm sure that when I was a child, we had them all the time. Right?

I wonder how many of my Christmas memories are colored not by real happenings, but by television commercials and magazine articles and other people's polaroids.

When I envision Christmas Past, I see myself as a small child, dressed to the hilt in gloves, parka, snow boots, some itchy woolen hat with a pom-pom attached and, if my grandmother was around, plastic sandwich bags around my socks for extra protection. I see at least two feet of snow on the ground, and every lawn decorated with real snowmen, not those blow-up doll versions of today. Carrot for a nose, coal for eyes, a real honest-to-goodness stovepipe hat and the most perfect of all branches that jut out like real arms and hands.

I'm almost positive it would snow every Christmas Eve, beginning just about midnight. And I know that if I stayed very, very still in my bed I could hear not only the glistening, powdery snow falling to the ground, but the slight jingle of sleighbells in the distance. Maybe even a ho! ho! ho! if I listened very, very carefully.

And I'm pretty sure that when I woke up Christmas morning, before the sun, before even the birds, that I would immediately spring to the window and pull up the shades and be greeted by the hugest snowfall ever. The moon, still hovering in the dark morning sky, would reflect on the whiteness below and everything appeared to be tinged in an early morning vision of blue. The snow sparkled and shimmered in the moonlight and the perfectly formed icicles that hung off the rain gutter of every house on my block reflected the moonlight and made those wee hours look as if a magic spell had turned my street into a Christmas fairy land.

And I know that when I woke up my sisters at that ungodly hour and we ran in to shake my parents until they opened their sleepy eyes, that everyone was incredibly excited to be awake at 4am, even my parents. We would trudge into the living room, fuzzy slippers shuffling on the carpet, and either mom or dad would turn the tree lights on and the living room would come alive with color and flashes and the huge, spinning, majestic star on top of the tree seemed to dance.

I'm pretty sure that we would all exclaim at the same time that Santa indeed had arrived, even my parents, who looked as astonished as us girls and we would weep with joy because Santa loved us so.

In my memories, the three of us, sisters full of love and wonder, would sit by the fireplace as mom and dad handed us present after present - Chatty Cathy and E-Z bake ovens and K-Tel records and trinkets that seemed to be made of gold, frankincense and myrrh. We never fought, us angelic sisters. We didn't compare or contrast or argue over presents. We just shared each other's joy and felt the warmth from our parents, who praised Santa for rewarding such well behaved children so lavishly.

I'm almost positive that we would then dress up in our winter ensemble, the boots and jackets and scarves, and we would frolick out in the deep, soft snow with all the neighborhood children, and the nice man from across the street would offer sleigh rides to all the children, whose cheeks were flush and rosy and whose laughter filled the air.

I force these nostalgic visions of the Christmases that really weren't upon my own children, regaling them with tales of chestnuts roasting on an open fire and riding in a one horse open sleigh. They eye me suspiciously, as if these memories of mine could not possibly be real.

Oh, I am in no way saying that the real version of my Christmas Past does not fulfill my sense of nostalgia; even the visions of my sisters and I fighting over gifts and the itchy pajamas we had to wear and my parents not being very joyous at 4am still make me smile.

Even if we never had a white Christmas at all, in my mind's postcard of those holidays, the ground is always white and there's a huge spruce in my front yard and sleighbells can be heard at midnight. My memories get mixed up with Norman Rockwell paintings and Christmas poems.

Still, all that nostalgia is made of a few real things, whether or not there was snow on the ground. It's made of family and warmth and the anticipation that comes with being a kid on Christmas eve.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

December 22, 2002

video games that should not be

From Somethingawful.com

click for biggie size

the party you are trying to reach is still unavailable

Thank you for continuing to hold. Your call is important to us.

Your call may be recorded to ensure quality service.

[I think I love you, so what am I so afraid of]

Thank you for continuing to hold. Your call is important to us.

Your call may be recorded to ensure quality service.

[I'm afraid that I'm not sure of A love there is no cure for]

If you do not wish to continuing holding, please leave a message.

[I think I love you, isn't that what life is made of? Though it worries me to say
I've never felt this way]

please hold while i finish christmas shopping and having a nervous breakdown

We're sorry. All our thought processes are clogged right now. Your page visit is very important to us. Please stay on the line and you will be served by our next available coherent thought.

[You light up my liiiiiiiiife]

We're sorry. All our thought processes are clogged right now. Your page visit is very important to us. Please stay on the line and you will be served by our next available coherent thought.

[You give me hoooooooope]

We're sorry. All our thought processes are clogged right now. Your page visit is very important to us. Please stay on the line and you will be served by our next available coherent thought.

[To carry ooooooooonnnnnn]

This blogging hold program copyright Juan Gato 2002

an explanation not owed, but given anyhow

I have no idea why Sylvain reads this site, when all he has to offer to every post is negativity and opposition. Oh, I don't mind opposition at all, but when it becomes apparent that someone is reading your words just to find fault within them, it makes me want to tell them to piss off and get another hobby.

I wrote this on the "bite me" post last night:

" I know what it's like to be poor. Ever cash in your kids' bonds to buy groceries? Ever hock jewelry to buy diapers and formula?"

To which Sylvain left the comment:

Hate to say this, but who made the decision to have kids? My ex-wife tried to convince me to have a kid, put I told her we couldn't afford it. She went of (sic) the pill anyway without telling me. Lucky we all survived that, but it took several years, and ended in divorce.

You choose to have kids, you choose to put yourself in that position.

Not that it's any of your god damned business, Sylvain, but the shit hit the fan after we had kids. Oh, it probably started before then, but I wasn't wise to the fact until it was too late.

See, I married a compulsive gambler. No, I didn't know that's what he was when we got married. I thought the problem was long gone. Things looked downright rosy for a while.

Some time after our second child was born, I realized (and I admit I was stupid for not taking a more active role in the finances of our union before this) that bills that I was told were being paid, weren't. That instead of building up a little savings, we were in debt. That my then husband had borrowed money from my own father without telling me, that he owed bookies somewhere between life and limb and that we were, in fact, piss poor.

Proving further that I was way too trusting and a bit naive, all the credit cards and household bills were in my name. My credit rating was forever ruined. My bank account was empty. And thus, I had to cash in bonds, break the piggy banks and hock jewelry to get the necessary supplies.

I did not owe you this explanation, Sylvain. But you took it upon yourself to be presumptous and rude about the whole thing - per usual - and I thought that because you left that statement in my comments for all to see, I should explain myself and my actions.

And not for anything, but most people can never "afford" to have a kid, as the cost of raising one, let alone a brood, is never ending and always escalating. But we do it anyhow, and we survive and so do the children. A little sacrifice here, a little juggling of the budget there, and it's all good in the end because having kids (for me, and I know it's not the same for everyone) is one of the greatest joys of life.

I'm sure you will find something in my explanation to blame me, to turn my words around or to make a ridiculous commentary on my past, but that's ok. I understand. You're an oppositional, defiant, negative ass and you can't help it.

Happy holidays, Sylvain.

December 21, 2002

welcome, wipe your feet at the door

If you are coming here from The Guardian/Observer, the alternative Christmas songs are here.

I'll try to not make any disparaging remarks about The Guardian while you're here.

Refreshments are in the corner.

bite me

And another thing, about this tip jar crap.

If you feel like reading a profanity laced rant, step inside. If not, move forward. I like to give options.

I got one email telling me that if I knew what it was like to really be poor I wouldn't be asking people for money when other people really need it.

Fuck you, I know what it's like to be poor. Ever cash in your kids' bonds to buy groceries? Ever hock jewelry to buy diapers and formula? Been there done that, so shut your pie hole.

Next email was from an asswipe who said I should put my money where my mouth is and cough up dollars to other bloggers, their tip jars and their causes.

Let's see. I raised $700 dollars for the Daniel Pearl Foundation back in July. I raised over $1000 for the IDF last month. If a blogger I read daily has a tip jar, I give. If they have a wishlist, I buy when their birthdays or other occasions come around. I read sad stories and buy Christmas presents for people who can't afford to give their kids anything. I just don't announce it, if that's ok with you. So stick it.

My favorite email was this one:

"Oh, please, who do you think is going to give money to some girl who puts some bitchy opinions on a website? Big fucking deal. No one cares. Maybe if you showed a little T&A once in a while your readers would be more inclined to give. You're a girl, for gods sake, shut the fuck up for a change and flash us some skin and then maybe you'll deserve to be paid for what you write. Doesn't mean we'll care about what girl bloggers have to say about politics, but at least us guys will still check your site out to see if there's any new pictures or if the cam is on."

You think anyone writes to Glen Reynolds or Andrew Sullivan and tells them to wave their dick around on camera to get people to throw them a few bucks? Somehow, I doubt that. But once again, I come across an asswipe who thinks that female bloggers have nothing of importance to say, unless they are saying it with their tits. Go back to your porn and your box of tissues, buddy. That's probably all you're ever gonna get.

Yea, I'm in a mood. Why do you ask?

reacting and over reacting

In the course of one day, Acidman called accused me of slander and called me a bigot.

He compared me to Bill Clinton and inferred that I said southerners are idiots and unintelligent.

This was the entire post he referred to:

In case you were wondering where to shop for Trent Lott's Christmas present.

Oh, damn. Too late! Two shopping malls in Huntsville have evicted a vendor selling Dixie Outfitters merchandise, which combines images of the Confederate Battle Flag with trucks, wildlife and dogs.

Mac says " their supplier also sells a shirt depicting 'blacks picking cotton and the slogan, "Land of Cotton."'

But Terry Bagwell, owner of the offending kiosks, said Dixie Hot Stuff, the supplier, carries 600 different different prints for their shirts and "Most is dogs and puppies and fish and deer."

I bet they is.

Acidman said:

Oh, yeah. That "I bet they is" comment chapped my ass, too. I'll admit that we have a different way of talking down South. It's called the "vernacular" in intellectual terms, and it means that we have lots of idioms and phrases that sound peculiar to the untrained ear....

I don't see anything foolish or ignorant about it. I have a degree in English Literature and certificates for Business Writing classes that I have attended. And ain't I proud of ever one of them suckers? Betchooass I am. Just because we talk funny don't mean we're all idjits down heah, heah?..

We're Southern and therefore we're ALL pining away for the good old days of segregation, lynchings and separate water fountains.

Nobody but a professional liar such as Clinton or a complete ignoramus could say such a thing with a straight face. When I read Michele's post, I felt that same wink, wink, nod, nod crap being passed off as conventional wisdom again. Yeah. WE KNOW about the South.

I don't see where I stated that only southerners say things like "they is." I don't see where I implied that southerners are idiots. Nor do I see where I implied all southerners pine for segratations or are racists. And I still don't see how this makes me a bigoted Yankee.

Like I told Acidman in his comment, If I got my panties in a bunch every time someone made fun of the way Long Islanders talked, I'd have a wedgie 24 hours a day.

Maybe I do need to apologize for that post. Did anyone else read into it what Acidman did? Did I come off as a bigot? Did you construe from my words that I think all southerners are idiots who can't speak? Am I a bigot?

Please, share with me, because I can't see it.

Just for the record, I really like and admire Acidman. But sometimes I just want to kick him in the balls.

what exactly do you mean by white christmas?

Mark Steyn reports:

Merry Christmas. There, I've said it. Which is more than the Royal Canadian Mint is willing to do. Its ad campaign for this "holiday season" uses a certain familiar tune, which has been so imperceptibly altered that only the most alert will notice it: On the first day of giving/ My true love gave to me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the P.C. apologists have taken over the world. I fear the time has come when we must alter every "holiday" song to please and pacify the politically correct so we do not enrage, offend, demean or omit any person, race, creed, color, religion, species, subculture, nation, organization or plant life.

Hence, the new, improved holiday songs, with title and/or lyrics appropriately changed or subtitles added.

  • I'm Dreaming of Many-Hued Winter Season
  • Rudolph, the Reindeer with the Facial Appendage of a Different Color
  • Oh, Come all ye Faithful, Agnostics and Atheists
  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (but it was Grandma's fault for being in the space set aside for woodland creatures to run free without interference from human beings)

  • Frost the Snowperson of An Indistinguishable Gender
  • Joy to the *World (*The word world includes all nations, including Iraq, North Korea and Iran)
  • I Saw My Parent/Step Parent/Guardian/Caretaker Kissing Santa Claus
  • We Wish You a Merry December (and a happy new calendar page for those that observe the years according to other religions or cultures)
  • I'm Getting Nothin' for Christmas (because my parents think the holiday is overcommercialized and co-opted from pagans and only capitalist pigs buy presents)
  • Little Drummer Person
  • It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Buy-Nothing Day
  • You Must Have Had a Terrible Childhood, Mr. Grinch
  • Supreme Being of Your Choice Rest Ye Merry Gentlepeople
  • Oh, Christmas Tree (we will guard you from the lumber industry)
  • Up on the House/Apartment/Cardboard box Top
  • All I Want For Christmas is My Two Front Teeth (but because we don't have nationalized health care for everyone, my parents can't afford dental coverage)
  • Let it Snow (but it won't because of global warming)

Have yourselves a merry little seasonal day of enjoyment!

addendum to two of last night's posts

Typical reaction from a leftie when called on the carpet:

"This is being turned into a circus by the right-wing media outlets and fed by right-wing haters," [Sen. Murray's spokesman, Todd] Webster said.

Bullshit. For once I would like to see a left-winger stand up and say "I was wrong," instead of immediately going on the defensive and telling the media "everyone who thinks I was wrong is a poopy head."

Usual leftist crap of resorting to name calling and finger pointing instead of taking responsibility for their actions. Or, god forbid, admitting their actions were less than stellar.

Before you get your panties in a bunch, I understand that these traits are not strictly held by the left, but they seem to have a corner on the market.

Engaging in debate is one thing. Using your "America is to blame for everything" views to bring your brand of propaganda to high school students is reprehensible.

Don't be surprised at my reaction, after all, I am a blogging blowhard.


(Thanks to TQOTFI for the image)

One more thing, just to piss off Acidman.

Oh, give me money, I am a poor, hungry soul. Feed me, clothe me, bathe me, shower me with your plastic goodness and dirty dollars.

Fuck that. Buy me tequila.

action figure nativity

click for larger image

Yes, I know I'm going to hell.

December 20, 2002

run, joey, run: now you have can suffer, too!

In my post about the horrible songs that get stuck in your head, I referred to the 70's gack-fest, Run Joey Run.

Because I want you to suffer through this song like I have, I've uploaded a copy of the song, courtesy of a very generous and nice DJ (whose email I seem to have lost), for you to listen to.

Run, Joey, Run!

Lyrics are here:

Run Joey Run
David Geddes

Daddy please don't, it wasn't his fault, he means so much to me
Daddy please don't, we're gonna get married...just you wait and see.

She called me up, late last night, she said Joe, don't come over
My dad and I just had a fight, and he stormed out the door
I've never seen him act his this way, my God, hes going crazy
He says he's gonna make you pay, for what we've done, he's got a gun, so

Run Joey Run Joey Run
Daddy please don't, it wasn't his fault, he means so much to me
Daddy please don't, we're gonna get married...just you wait and see.

I got in my car and I drove like mad, till I reached Julie's place
She ran to me, with tears in her eyes, and bruises on her face
All at once, I saw him there, sneaking up behind me, WATCH OUT!
Then Julie yelled, he's got a gun, and she stepped in front of me
Suddenly, a shot rang out, and I saw Julie falling
I ran to her, I held her close, when I looked down, my hands were red,
and heres the last words Julie said...

Daddy please don't, it wasn't his fault, he means so much to me
Daddy please don't, we're gonna get married.....aaahhh..ahhhh

Run Joey run Joey run Joey run Joey run Joey run

I apologize in advance for any nightmares that may result from listening to this song.

here a blowhard, there a blowhard

Norah Vincent (L.A. Times): Putting the Brakes on Blowhard 'Bloggers'

But there's a flip side to this. As much as the blogosphere is full of brave and vital input, it's also full of the careless, mad and sometimes vengeful ravings of half-wits who will say anything, especially about established journalists and writers, just to attract more attention to their sites. This can get ugly when content is unregulated. (emphasis mine)

Note to those "established journalists and writers" who feel picked on:

Being an established journalist or writer does not exempt you from being ripped apart by the general public, bloggers included.

Being an established journalist or writer does not necessarily mean that your words aren't full of smug, self-righteous bullshit and should be torn apart mercilessly by those who posses more wits about them than you will gather in your closed-off brain in your entire lifetime.

In the major media world, editors and fact-checkers try to catch inaccuracies, excise lies and slanders and print corrections and retractions for mistakes that slip into print. But few bloggers follow this protocol. What they say, however outrageous or unfounded, tends to stick.

Is she saying that the words of half-wits and blowhards carry more weight in the world of the written word than the established journalists and writers themselves?

Blogging is one of the best things that has ever happened to freedom of expression and the press, and we should make every effort to protect its scrupulous practitioners. But freedoms come with responsibilities. Common journalistic standards of accuracy and fair play exist for good reasons, and bloggers, like the rest of us, must abide by them.

No, they don't have to. They should, but they don't have to. If that were the case, there would be a lot of blowhard, half-witted bloggers out there having to defend their mad and vengeful rantings on a daily basis.

Besides, I could probably name more established journalists who do not engage in standards of fair play and accuracy than I can bloggers. But I guess that's the benefit of being paid to be a paid blowhard. It creates a certain smugness when a paycheck lets you call it journalism instead of blogging.

the last cat supper

Before I leave my office for the day, there is one thing I must share at you, via Xkot. I don't know whether to damn him or thank him for this link.

Walter Potter: A case of curiosities

Back in the 1800's, Mr. Potter (I'n hoping he's not relation to Beatrix because that would be way too creepy) took taxidermy to a new level. He posed dead animals to make art.

Dead. Animals. Art. That's right.

click for the larger, more disturbing image

Yes, those cats are stiff. This is so many shades of wrong I can't even find words for it. Can we say issues?

He doesn't stop at cats, though the dead cat wedding is interesting. There are rabbits and rodents and I think I saw a cow before I freaked out and hit the back button.

These pictures beg for new nursery rhymes to be made.

(Thanks to everyone who hit the tip jar today. I have enough to buy two bottles of tequila so far! Party at my house!)

speaking of propaganda

Reader Sondra sent me a link to this story, concerning her state senator, that almost made me lose my lunch:

Speaking at Columbia River High School, [Senator Pat] Murray, D-Wash., responded to questions from students, most about the war on terrorism or government spending for education.

Murray met at Columbia River with world history students and student government leaders. Across town, Hudson's Bay High School students participated via teleconference.

Murray concluded the session by challenging the students to consider alternatives to war.

"We've got to ask, why is this man (Osama bin Laden) so popular around the world?," said Murray, who faces re-election in 2004. "Why are people so supportive of him in many countries … that are riddled with poverty?

"He's been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that.

"How would they look at us today if we had been there helping them with some of that rather than just being the people who are going to bomb in Iraq and go to Afghanistan?"

So, she challenged the students to think how we could be more like the man who masterminded the plan to crush America.

There are plenty of philanthropic people who, at the end of the day, are still raging assholes. Giving money to charities and building bridges does not mean that people should follow your lead. Most likely, in bin Laden's case, he had ulterior motives for everything he did that seemed "neighborly."

I resent the fact that a senator of the United States went into a classroom and shoved her leftist propaganda bullshit down the students' throats.

Before you lefties start in on me, imagine if a right-wing senator went into your child's class and asked them to suppor the war, or support Israel or any of your perceived enemies. You would be marching on the school campus within minutes.

"War is expensive too," she said. "Your generation ought to be thinking about whether we should be better neighbors out in other countries so that they have a different vision of us.

"It is a debate I think we ought to have."

Better neighbors? Should we start by having Saddam over for a cup of tea and a nice chat? Shut down the INS so anyone and everyone can come on over here, earn an engineering degree with student loans and then make a plan to blow the USA to pieces? Perhaps we should extend a welcoming hand to North Korea. You know, share plans for nuclear annihilation over a sandwich.

Murray opened Wednesday's event telling the students, "You'll be graduating into a world that is very difficult. … The economy is struggling. War in Iraq is a very real possibility in the short term" and could cost $200 billion even if it were to last only a few weeks.

The cost of waging war could result in cuts to domestic programs such as Pell grants for college students, she said.

Remember Natalie's project on propaganda from this morning? Her history teacher could use Senator Murray as a prime example.

Murray did respond to the paper, stating that "Osama Bin Laden is an evil terrorist," but she also said in the statement "Having a challenging and thoughtful discussion about America’s future reflects the best values of a free democracy; To sensationalize and distort in an attempt to divide is not."

Oh, really? What was that bit about how a war could result in cuts to Pell grants? Engaging in a bit of scare tacticts, there?

She also stated in her response "How else can we bring America's values to those who do not understand us?"

News flash, Senator. I guess you haven't been keeping up with current events because those people do not want our values. In fact, some of them want us to adopt their values and threaten to kill us all if we don't.

Good neighbors, indeed.

the inevitable happens

CNN is reporting that Trent Lott will step down. No link yet.

Yahoo News has the story.

Trent Lott has stepped down as Senate Republican leader, GOP sources say. The reports come as more Republican senators line up behind Bill Frist as a successor to Lott, amid the continued controversy over Lott's comments concerning Strom Thurmond's 1948 segregationist campaign for the White House.

CNN has the story up:

Lott is expected to retain his seat as Senator from Mississippi, while giving up the majority leadership position in the upper house of Congress.

I don't know much about Frist, so I'm reserving judgment. However, I think Lott did the right thing, perhaps the only thing he could do. There was no way he was going to recover from this and be able to lead the senate effectively.

I did a run of my blogroll and I think I was the first to post this. I beat LGF out by three minutes.

Yea, I know the only thing this means is that it proves I'm reading weblogs on the job. You take what you can get.

breathe easy

I'm just thinking out loud here - you know those smoke eaters they have in restaurants and bars that suck up all the smoke so the air stays clean?

Someone should invent a really tiny one that you can implant in your lungs.

Oh, go ahead and laugh. Some day you will all look back on this post and and recognize me for the genius that I am.

Stop laughing.

you can't make this shit up

(this one goes out to adam)

Headline of the day:

Man sentenced for monkeys in pants

Don't even read the story. I think we should all make up our own, because the real story could not possibly do justice to the headline.

how to give a parent a heart attack

Natalie came home from school yesterday with a "very important notice" that I was going to be "very angry" about. Great. What now?

I take a look at the note.

Dear Parents,

Because the state is not giving us enough aid and because the budget was smaller than usual this year, we have to make some changes in order make do with what we have.

It then listed the changes - which were not proposed changes, but changes already put in place, the notice said.

-After school extra help would no longer be free. It would cost $22.50 per hour, even if the instructor was your own teacher

-The price of school lunches would rise by 25% beginning in January

-Each student would have to pay a $250 budget fee prior to each school year to make up for lack of supplies

-Computer time in the library would now cost $20 an hour to make up for technology costs that the state isn't paying.

I nearly had a heart attack. I was all set to run for the phone, outraged, when I looked at the signature.

Richard M. Nixon
Director of School Propaganda

The lesson in history class this week is about propaganda and how people react to it.

I told Natalie to tell her teacher I'm suing him for distress.

the one time, never-happen-again pledge drive

Sure, I made light of Andrew Sullivan's Pledge Drive. Who's laughing now? Not me.

Sullivan pulled in almost $80,000 in tips and donations during his drive. That's right, 80k.

I offered to stage a pledge week featuring all female blogger sex and jello wrestling.

I offered to double my efforts and post twice as much. I got bad songs stuck in your head. I gave you horrid decorations to look at.

The thing is, I didn't have a tip jar or a donation button. Oh, but I do now. You can see it over in the sidebar.

If elected tipped, I promise to be even more humorous, more outrageous and more vitriolic.

No, that doesn't sound right. It sounds as if I have been holding back on you. Which it's painfully obvious I have not been doing.

I can do tricks. You would be amazed at the things I can do with my tongue. I can have DJ entertain you. You should see him channel Dean Martin when he sings Jingle Bells. I could invite you over and have Natalie make her famous strawberry cream dessert or have Justin serve you his famous steak au poivre.

Or I can just continue writing here, which I will do with or without tips. So this isn't really a pledge drive, as I'm not pulling one of those PBS stunts and yelling to the kids that Barney will go the way of extinction if their mommies don't open their wallets right now.

Nah, I will always be here, spewing and ranting and (hopefully) making you laugh. I'm just saying. If Andrew Sullivan can make $80k in two weeks and he doesn't even show any cleavage, maybe I can pull in enough money in two weeks to buy a bottle of tequila so I can do some weekend drunken blogging.

And you do realize that most of this post is here because I have pretty much nothing else to say this morning? I need to wrap four presents, bake rice kripsie treats and pick up donuts for class parties and drop them all off at two different schools before I get to work.

I'm real good at procrastination. If only I could get paid for that...

Amazon Honor System

Click Here to Pay
Learn More

I feel so dirty now.

I will not ever, ever, ever mention the tip jar again.

update: I just realized there are some people who would much rather hit me than tip me. I working on a hit jar, so you can virtually punch me every time I piss you off.

I'm nothing if not fair.

December 19, 2002

mirror ball

Bah. Humbug. If I hear Felice Navidad one more time I'm going to wish myself deaf.

We did finally get the tree up and I took the requisite mirror shot in the ornament.

I'm beyond exhausted. Any rants I had ready to go will have to wait until tomorrow.

Except this: Good riddance, you bastard.

sports scores and a real hero

The Green Machine girls basketball team (coached by yours truly) handily beat the Yellow Jackets (coached by the nasty, tough ex-marine who has been on my shit list for five years) 18-6. We are 1-0. Woohoo.

It's been a long day and I haven't eaten dinner yet. I'll update later, but meanwhile, pleasepleaseplease go read why how Kat saved the lives of two lost children today and became my hero. Start with the Kira post and work your way up.

conversation of the day

Phone rings.

Me: Judge's Chambers
Man: Oh, the Judge has a little person over there answering his phones?
Me: Little person? Hardly. I'm his secretary.
Man: And what's your name?
Me: (In little girl voice) Michele
Man: Oh, Michele, I'm just jok....
Me: Did you need to speak to the Judge?
Man: Yes
Me: Who is calling, please?
Man (mumble mumble)
Me: Al Simerz?
Man: (grrr mumble mumble)
Me: Alzheimer's?
Man: Al. Simons.
Me: Oh, Al Simons, why didn't you say so?
Man: Can I speak to your boss please?

I walk into the Judge's chambers

Me: Some asshole is on the phone
Judge: Oh, Al Simons??

I'm not saying all attorneys are assholes (I know too many nice ones), but the ones I have to deal with on a daily basis certainly are. Maybe they are just pissed at having to deal with small claims cases and misdemeanors instead of the big cases so they get their jollies pissing off secretaries and clerks.

the cheerleaders of the left, gathered in one place

Right Wing News has the final countdown of the most annoying liberals of 2002.

Ted Rall was voted more annoying that Sean Penn and Woody Harrelson, which makes me proud, in a hateful, spiteful sort of way.

See if you can guess the top 20 before you head over there. And I heartily agree with #1.

(I'm quite overwhelmed at work today and I have to coach a basketball game tonight, so the most you'll get out of me is links to others people's sites until later tonight)

food for thought

A co-worker in the Navy Reserves got the call he has been dreading last night. He's shipping out right after Christmas.

My sister's friend, a Marine, got his call yesterday. He's headed to Kuwait first week in January.

Just saying.

tackiness in the name of the lord: More Christmas Decoration Hell

The Christmas Decoration Hell TIPSters are out in full force.

I had no idea that the tackiness and guadiness of holiday decor had grown to such proportions.

Ever vigilant reader Carol sent along a link to the following picture from where else, Texas. Yes, kids - that is Santa's head skewered on a fork.

(I am at work and Photoshop-less, so I had MT make thumbnails for pop-up images. Sorry for any extra large images that appear in the pop-ups, I'll minimize the size of them tonight)

Mike sends along this exhibit of overabundance:

Henry Blake gets TIPSter of the Day award for his link to this site, (midi warning) maintained by a homeowner who thinks the surefire way to get people to recognize that Jesus is the reason for the season is to suck up all the electricity in the entire state of Indiana: (thanks also to Michelle Jones, who sent me a link to this article about the house)

Oh, there's more. So much more:

He even has a history page/diary:

November 8, 1999

We have put up around 15,000 lights so far. All the lights are on the house. We tested the chase sequences on the house last night for the first time and we were amazed at what we saw. Dasher worked perfect! We only have about 70,000 to go. It is a lot of work but my "Father in Heaven" and "Jesus Christ" are WELL worth it.

I'm sure they thank you for turning your neighborhood into a circus sideshow and sending gawkers to look at you like you're at your mind. The key to eternal life in the kingdom of heaven is........Electricity and advertising!

And remember kids, Jesus may be the reason for celebrating Christmas, but Santa shows up at the house every night from 7-9 pm!

Along the same lines, there's this gem, sent to me in a link by Peat:


A unique holiday display in Boise has prompted mixed reactions from neighbors and passersby. Residents of a home in the 6300 block of Ustick Road have erected a cross with a full-size, stuffed Santa Claus attached.

Chili Ciluaga got the idea to build the crucified Santa in his front yard while watching a TV commercial. He said the display conveys the message that the holiday season has become over-commercialized.

“The last thing I want to do is offend people, but if I have to do that to bring people to the cross, come on,” said Ciluaga, who lives in the home with his wife and two roommates.

Nice way to traumatize the neighborhood kids, asswipe. These grinches and killjoys who want to suck the fun out of childhood and everything good associated with it ought to just lock themselves in their house for the month of December and stop bothering everyone else with their sourness and bad taste.

I swear to Santa on a cross, if that guy lived near me, he would be finding piles of dog shit all over his lawn every morning.

More, more, more. There is no deadline on sending pictures or links. In fact, I have a few of mine - I've been driving around at night with camera in hand - and will post them on Saturday.

foiled again

I thought I did a good job ripping apart those Canadian grinches, but of course, Lileks makes me look like sloppy seconds.

i swear, i was not singing air supply songs

There are days when I flip through the myriad of radio channels that come with my digital cable and I find myself singing along to something on each station, often looking around to make sure no one can hear or see me.

I know all the words to a lot of Air Supply songs. I can still sing along with the Bay City Rollers. I've been known to...dare I say...dance to Nsync. This is all in between my attempts at singing guttural death metal and screeching like Axl Rose and trying to style like Ice Cube.

Once in a while someone will catch me humming "I'm so out of love, I'm so lost without you," but no one really laughs. Because we all have our musical skeletons in the closet.

Admit it, you really like Skid Row. You roll up the windows in your car when Abba comes on the radio so no one knows what you're singing. You bring the cd player into the bathroom and croon in the shower to Michael Bolton. You not only can belt out all the songs from Annie Get Your Gun, but you can play all the parts.

Yea, so I like that Nelly song. And if you walk by my office while I'm listening to my mix cd, you just might hear me sing:

Ben, the two of us need look no more
We both found what we were looking for
With a friend to call my own
I'll never be alone
And you, my friend will see
You've got a friend in me
(You've got a friend in me)

I've confessed. Now you do the same. What songs are you almost embarassed to admit you love? What cd, albums or 45s do you own that you hope no one ever finds? What song do you know all the lyrics to, but you wish you didn't?

Anonymous comments are allowed, but I do wish you would come clean once and for all. It's cleansing. It's good for the soul.

early morning notes and news

Before I get to the promised music post, I'll do a bit of a news roundup on things I may or may not expand on later.

First, for those who emailed about it, Natalie did not take her grounding well, as expected. But she did get all her homework done before dinner; which in itself is amazing, and the fact that she was off-limits from the phone and AIM gave her ample time to work on a project that is due after vacation. I expect I will have more to say on the subject of teacher expectations and learning disablities later on.

Second: The Bitch Bra™. Made from 100% pure duct tape, the Bitch Bra™ will provide you with all of the defense you need against airport security. It comes in two styles! Brought to you by who else but the Bitch Girls.

Third: It looks at though we are getting closer to war and it may happen in late January or, according to Stephen, early February, when there is no moon. I'm hoping for January 21, thus ensuring that the premiere of America Idol 2 will be pre-empted for war coverage, and I won't be forced to watch it with Natalie.

Fourth: There's been a nasty, horrid stomach virus going around here. Almost everyone I know has had a taste of it. Today I read that the local hospital (located just about half a mile from my house - and whose staff and doctors mostly live around here and whose children go to school in this district) has been struck by the Norwalk Virus. More on this later, I suppose.

Last: Look for a big shake-up at the North Pole today. Less than a week before Christmas and pink slips will be handed out - survivor style.

I think that's it for now.

December 18, 2002

prepare for tomorrow's post

One more thing before I pass out.

Tomorrow I will do another music related post, this time about guilty pleasure songs - those tunes you don't want anyone to know you love for fear of embarassing yourself and losing your street cred.

Start thinking.

Oh, and Joe has a post over at Raising Hell.

And my pings aren't working. I hate it when I can't ping. MT is acting real weird like these days, but I'll be damned if I have the patience to look at it now. I'm in a royall pissed off mood and the best thing to do is curl up with some graphic novels until I fall asleep.

slow boat to denial

U.S.: Iraq Plans Scorched-Earth Strategy

Iraq is preparing to destroy its own oil fields, food supplies and power plants and blame America for the devastation in the event of war, U.S. intelligence officials said Wednesday.

Attention all purveyors of peace and handshakes and appeasement: your boat to denial land is now leaving. Please board immediately.

Saddam has been preparing for a war with the United States and its British allies since the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, the officials said.

Anyone who still believes that Saddam is not a threat to us or his own people is either a complete idiot or should lay off the peace pipes.

If you read the whole article (and I'm in too pissy of a mood to sit here and quote the whole thing line by line) you will see where Saddam has put us.

He obviously has weapons. Only a fool does not believe that. And he intends to use them. The thing is, we lose either way. If we invade, he deploys everything he has against his own people. If we don't invade, he employs everything he has against us, eventually. A leader does not collect biological and chemical warfare just to say he has them. If you produce these weapons, it's because you intend to use them.

Heads out of your asses, folks. We are fucked no matter what we do - or don't do.

note to toren

Thank you, thank you Toren. The books arrived today. I now have manga to keep me warm and cozy over Christmas vacation.

And that was the greatest company Christmas card ever.

hit the back roads, bill

Clinton calls GOP 'hypocritical' on Lott

Former President Clinton said Wednesday it is "pretty hypocritical" of Republicans to criticize incoming Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott for stating publicly what he said the GOP does "on the back roads every day."

You don't want to talk about what goes down on those back roads, Arkanas boy.

"How do they think they got a majority in the South anyway?" Clinton told CNN outside a business luncheon he was attending. "I think what they are really upset about is that he made public their strategy."

Hate to break it to you, Bill, but I don't think any party's strategy is self-destruction. Oh, wait. That was the Dem's strategy this year, oh so it seemed.

Asked if Lott should be removed, Clinton said, "That's up to them, but I think they can't do it with a straight face."

You would know. You're the master of straight-faced lying. I did not have sexual relations....

The former president then said, "He just embarrassed them by saying in Washington what they do on the back roads every day."

And you embarassed the entire nation by doing under your desk what teenagers do on the back roads every day.

"I think the way the Republicans have treated Senator Lott is pretty hypocritical since right now their policy is, in my view, inimical to everything that this country stands for," Clinton said.

Not for nothing, but if no one said shit about Lott, Clinton would be standing up there raging to the media about how no one spoke out against Lott's racism. He is an opportunist of the worst kind; willing to jump in and kick at the bodies only when they are already dropping.

As to what this country stands for, the leaders of this country made it pretty
clear when they practically ran you out of the White House for your bold faced lies and drunken old man behavior.

I think Bill needs a can of whoop ass opened up on him. (Thanks Sondra!)

you are in a large jail cell. there is a small bucket in the corner and a man named bubba is staring at you.

Four brothers who work for a suburban Dallas computer company were arrested Wednesday on charges related to an alleged financing scheme for the radical Islamic group Hamas, law enforcement sources told CNN.

A 33-count federal indictment filed Tuesday named the brothers, three other individuals and the computer firm, Infocom Corp.

Infocom?? The same Infocom that took away half my life by making those addictive adventure games?

You are standing at the entrance to your workplace. You see federal agents approaching.
You cannot go that way
There is a large tree blocking the path
You come face to face with a man holding a gun
>examine man
There is nothing to examine
>examine gun
It is a huge gun
run where?
>run w
You run straight into the path of another armed man
who do you want to talk to?
>talk man
The man says you are under arrest
>To whom do you want to pray?
pray to Allah
>Allah says you are on your own

What's next? The makers of Atari arrested for supporting Saddam?

the six towers

New Plans For Ground Zero Released

1. Ugliest building design ever.
2. Too cold looking, very sterile.
3. I always liked the Oklahoma City memorial, where there is a chair for each victim. This design borrows on that: The garden would contain an amphitheater on the north tower footprint with one seat for each victim who died in the attacks. I like the peacefulness and grace of this design, as opposed to the hard symmetry of the previous two.
4. Too post-modern for my tastes. Also, looks too much like the inside of any mega-mall.
5. Welcome to Epcot. Umm..is that a plane flying in back of the towers?
6. This is what would happen if Darth Vader were an architect. I think someone was watching the Superman Fortress of Solitude scene when they thought this one up.

Maybe it's me. Perhaps I just don't get these artsy, complicated designs.

Then again, perhaps I still don't wish to see ground zero built upon. I feel once they do that, once they start building, Pete, and the others, will really be gone forever.


Two weeks ago, we got in the mail Natalie's certificate for making the scholastic roll for the first semester.

Today we got her progress report.

She is in danger of failing all four major subjects this semester.

The shit is going to hit the fan here at about 3:30 p.m. It will not be a pretty sight. Have you ever grounded a teenage girl from using the phone or AIM? Do you have any idea what this house is going to be like in an hour?

Fear me, for my wrath has been invoked.


Baby Jesus has made his way into the Santa Blog. And he's not crying, he's whining.

So, I've made my break and here I am - do you know how god awfully cold it gets in Trenton at night? And those 'tards have the gall to leave me outside in nothing but swaddling! Sure, mom and - er - that guy who isn't really my dad, are there looking over me, but they don't do a damn thing - hey! There's a frickin' sheep over there, make me a blanket! Jesus H. Christ!

Peace unto you, too.

(Sorry for the quietness today. I'm wrapping presents and bemoaning how much I spent for Natalie on stupid American Idol crap)

bloviating jesus

Bill Cimino is on a fast train to hell. And I think he made the baby jesus cry.

the operative word here is "tool"

Oh My Goodness! I am SHOCKED! I think I have to lie down, I'm so unnerved by the revelation that Iraq is using Sean Penn as a propaganda tool.

Oh, please! I don't know where those statements are being fabricated from," said spokeswoman Mara Buxbaum.

"This is specifically propaganda. It's a twisted interpretation of what he said. They are twisting his words."

According to Buxbaum, Penn never even spoke with the Iraq Daily.

So why would Penn's newfound buddies stab him in the back?

Buxbaum said Penn would not be available to answer that question.

Nor could she say whether the acid-tongued talent would now write off the terrorist nation.

Raise your hand if you saw this coming a mile away.

we had joy, we had fun....

Everyone has a special song, maybe more than one. I don't mean the let's hold hands and gaze into each other's eyes songs. Nor do I mean the man I miss those drunken college days songs. I'm talking songs that grate on your every last nerve, songs that get stuck in your head for days on end, songs that make you think bad, bad thoughts.

I have several of those songs, but none that get under my skin more than Terry Jacks' Seasons in the Sun. You know the one:

We had joy we had fun
we had seasons in the sun

Yea, that one.

What made this song so spectacularlly horrible for me was the mention of my name:

Goodbye Michele, it's hard to die
when all the birds are singing in the sky

When this song came out, it surpassed singing the Beatles' Michele as the number one way to bug the living shit out of me.

The song was sticky, syrupy sappy. The lyrics made me cringe. And everyone knew this. My sisters, my neighbors, my classmates who needed no further excuse to make fun of me to begin with. If you wanted to get under my skin, you just stood in front of me and sang Seasons in the Sun.

A little known fact about Seasons in the Sun is that the 45 (remember those?) had an equally disturbing and morbid song on the flip side. Titled Put the Bone in, the lyrics went something like this:

Put the bone in
she yelled
at the store
cause my doggie
got hit
by a car

I am not kidding. Looking for a link to the lyrics, I discovered that Soul Asylum did a cover version. I can only hope it was for laughs.

There were plenty of songs I could use against friends, if I had any. Billy Don't be a Hero was a very popular song at the time, full of war time angst and sadness, but I didn't know anyone named Billy. Besides, if Billy was the hero, it just wouldn't have the effect I wanted it to.

Then there was Run, Joey, Run, a song about a boy who got a young girl pregnant and the girl's father shoots him, leaving the mourning young woman to wail at the end of the song (presumably while holding Joey's dying body in her arms):

Daddy please don't
we're gonna get....
(pause for effect)

I think there was a slight obession with over-wrought emotions and death in the 70's. Maybe it was to counter the happy hedonistic disco craze.

The 70's was also the height of my mother's show tune craze. I was almost afraid to get off the bus each day, as my mother had a penchant for opening every window in the house and blasting her soundtrack of the moment. Do you know what it's like to get off the bus with a group of people and have every stare in horror at your house as the songs from Hair drift out the window?


Father, why do these words sound so nasty?

Can be fun
Join the holy orgy
Kama Sutra

And you wonder why I am the way I am? These are the songs of my childhood. War, death, sex. It all makes sense now, doesn't it?

Mom and dad also schooled us in the way of doo-wop, forcing us to listen to the Sunday night show on CBS-FM. There was nothing like having a few friends over on a summer Sunday night, hanging in the backyard and your mom turns off your "hippie druggie" music so she can embarass the hell out of me by dancing with my dad on the pool deck to lyrics like "Sh-boom, sh-boom." Doo wop seeps into your brain like on other kind of music. Three days after hearing a song, your mind is still going ramalamadingdong.

There are plenty of other songs - without my name - that get stuck in my head and cause me to writhe around on the floor in agony. McArthur Park, Copacabana, The Pina Colada Song, Whoomp There it Is, song, just to name a few. The only way to combat the phenomenom of a horrible tune playing on repeat in your head is to listen to some Cannibal Corpse. Trust me, after hearing those lyrics, you will forget all about the cake being left out in the rain.

And don't ever, ever sing that Seasons in the Sun song to me. You will regret it.

he who shall not be named

At the risk of facing the ire and wrath of the Imperial H.I.M. Emperor Misha I, I will not make a single post or reference about He Who Shall Not Be Named today.

So here's the latest Imperial Decree™:

By order of His Imperial Majesty, Defender of the Clue™, Wielder of the Holy Hand Grenade of Enlightenment™, Scourge of Idiotarians and Evil Ruler of All of the Known Universe, Pontifex Maximus of the Church of Linear Thinking, Princeps Patriae and a Partridge in a Pear Tree (With Cheese™), it is henceforth to be considered a crime of the highest order to mention the numbskulled, mealy-mouthed, fuckwitted jerk 1st Class with Oak Leaves and Diamonds, the soon-to-be-former Majority "Leader" of the Senate, Trent Lott.

I'd rather not deal with the punishment. I'll go pick on Ted Rall instead.

carnival of the vanities: season 13

So I overslept just a little bit today.

That's ok, you don't need to be here, anyhow. Alex Knapp has put together an incredible episode of Carnival of the Vanities. Makes my icon idea look like child's play. Just an idea of what he put together and the work he put into it:

Season 13 of the popular, long-running series Carnival of the Vanities is regarded by many critics and fans as the best season of all. This season occurred during a long period of time in which the creator of the program, Silflay Hraka, gave up creative control of the series, and several other prominent producers took the helm for a season apiece. Critics frequently regard season 13 as the best due to the sharp wit brought to the program by famed producer Alex Knapp. Fans of the long running series, however, view Season 13 as a high point in spite of, not because of, Knapp. Frequent mutterings can be heard at Carnival conventions about "that lousy egomaniacal hack Knapp" whenever a critic heaps praise on his work in the 13th Season. These hardcore fans cite that the writers for season 13 had already been lined up by previous producers, and that Knapp was merely "riding on their coattails." Still, love him or hate him, nobody can deny that season 13 was filled with terrific writing, intense characterization, ingenious plot points, and of course, a healthy dose of humor.

What are you waiting for? Turn the station to Heretical Ideas and watch the 13th season of COV.

December 17, 2002

at my own request

I love Jim Treacher.

Speaking of funny people, Kevin Parrot is having a Blogger/Blogspot motto contest. Hopefully his archives are working!

request night at asv

This one is for Kevin Parrot re the post with Rummy. (note to Kevin, it's Aladdin, not Little Mermaid)

I can show you the world
Shining, shimmering, splendid
Tell me, Myers, now when did
You last let your bombs decide?

I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under
On a giant missile ride

A whole new world (order)
A new Saddam-less point of view
Bushie can't tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we're exaggerating

Unbelievable bombs
Indescribable feeling
blasting, shooting, arms dealing
Through an endless nuclear night

Yea, I'm not as good as Laurence or Bigwig at these things, but it's the thought that counts.

at the request of juan gato

This one's for Juan.


I mugged a protester to get this for you. Don't mind the stains under the armpits. It's just liberal sweat. Maybe a bit of blood.

professor or professional protester?

Found at - where else - Indymedia: Faculty and Students Call for Teaching Moratorium

We, the undersigned students and faculty, resolve that on the two school days following the beginning of an unnecessary and unjustified bombing campaign or land invasion of Iraq, will hold a two day teaching moratorium. During this time only teach-ins debating the war and related foreign policy issues will be held. Through our actions we will create a space for dialogue and discussion for the diverse elements of civil society who are united in our skepticism of the necessity of such a war.

Should such an attack occur during the winter recess the moratorium will take place on February 3rd and 4th, 2003.

Andrew Arato GF New School University
David Graeber Yale University
Lauren Leve GF New School University
Stevphen Shukaitis New School University

If I was a parent paying for my kid to go to one of these colleges, I would be throwing a tantrum on the floor of the main office right now.

I don't really care if you are for or against the war, but if you are paid to teach, then teach. If you're on the clock, you shouldn't be spending your time spouting your ideologies and political ideals to your students. Colleges are not supposed to be training grounds for liberal pep rallies, but it sure looks like that's what's happening these days.

What about the students who don't think the same way? Maybe some of the students actually want to go to class and learn something besides ways in which you can be a far left liberal.

I wonder what the university higher ups would say if a bunch of right-wingers got together to stage a day of protest for Israel or to support a regime change in Iraq. You can bet a semester's tuition that they would be silenced so fast the protest would never get past the planning stages.

who turned out the lights?

Is it just me or has the entire blogosphere slowed to a crawl this week?

Well, don't look at me to break the trend. I'm too busy Christmas shopping and trying to figure out if Victoria's Secret has started designing clothes for 13 year olds, because it sure looks that way. My daughter is not going walk around dressed like a ho.

Man, life was so much easier when before Natalie turned into a teenager.

So, you think Rummy is in love with this guy, or what?


when bloggers have too much time on their hands

If you haven't been reading the Santa blog, you're missing out on some interesting developments. Apparently Mrs. Claus (aka Stacy) and Strom Thurmond go way back. And Strom is a little umm....light on the brain matter these days.

Hannakuh Harry has stopped by to post also. The dude gives out library cards for Hannakuh presents and then he wonders why people are shooting at him.

Even Sean Penn wrote a letter to Santa.

fingering your neighbors for christmas

Hold the presses. I'm not ready to give Batgirl her award yet.

Peat of Diversionz has found a link to what may be the most offensive - yet oddly amusing - Christmas decoration yet:


You don't have to look very carefully to spot the giant wooden middle finger among the lawn Santas, reindeer and lights in one Pompano Beach neighborhood.

The homeowner said he was inspired when someone speeding by his yard hit and killed his Jack Russel terrier, Whiskey....

...His finger, according to city officials, is a personal expression on private property. So for now, the unique display will remain.

I think he should have at least strung some festive lights on it, or at least blared this song through speakers. It would make a much bolder statement.

When Penn speaks, does anyone listen?

Sean Penn. Gotta love him. After all, he just saved an entire country from having the wrath of the U.S. foisted upon it's ground.

Mr. Penn gave an interview to Iraq Daily:

He confirmed that Iraq is completely clear of weapons of mass destruction and the United Nations must adopt a positive stance towards Iraq.

Well, it looks like there's no need for the weapons inspectors to be there now that a bona fide Hollywood star has confirmed that there are no WoMDs.

The self-righteousness and smugness of this man amazes me. Does anyone really put that much value in Sean Penn's declaration of Iraq's state of armament?

Oh wait, I'm sure everyone in the Moore/Chomsky/Rall camp o' idiots will be hanging on Penn's every word and cheering him as a spokesperson for his generation.

I say strap him to a missile and aim it for Saddam's palace. Two crazy birds, one missile.

News with a gratuitous stab at Lott

In case you were wondering where to shop for Trent Lott's Christmas present.

Oh, damn. Too late! Two shopping malls in Huntsville have evicted a vendor selling Dixie Outfitters merchandise, which combines images of the Confederate Battle Flag with trucks, wildlife and dogs.

Mac says " their supplier also sells a shirt depicting 'blacks picking cotton and the slogan, "Land of Cotton."'

But Terry Bagwell, owner of the offending kiosks, said Dixie Hot Stuff, the supplier, carries 600 different different prints for their shirts and "Most is dogs and puppies and fish and deer."

I bet they is.

Snoop in da hizzouse!

I'm very busy at work today so I thought I would bring in a guest author to entertain you with a traditional Christmas story.

For your blog-viewing pleasure, I present my homie Snoop Dogg with A Visit From St. Nicholas:

T'wuz da night before Christmas, when izzall through da house Not a creature wuz stirring, --not even a mouse; The stockings wuz hung by da chimney wit care, In hopes that St, know what I'm sayin'? Nicholas soon would be there n' shit. The shorties wuz nestled izzall snug in they beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in they heads; And mamma in her 'kerchief, 'n I in my cap,

Had just settled down fo' a long winter's nap,
When out on da lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from da bed see what wuz da matter."
Away da window I flew like a flash,
Tore open da shutters 'n threw up da sash n' shit.
The moon on da breast of da new-fallen snow
Gave da lustre of mid-day objects below,
When, what my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, 'n eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively 'n quick,
I knew in a moment that shiznit gots be St, know what I'm sayin'? Nick, know what I'm sayin'?
More rapid than eagles tha dude's coursers they came,
And tha dude whistled, 'n shouted, 'n called 'em by name;
To da top of da porch! da top of da wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away izzall!"

As dry leaves that before da wild hurricane fly,
When they meet wit an obstacle, mount da sky,
So up da house-top da coursers they flew,
With da sleigh full of toys, 'n St." Nicholas too n' shit.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on da roof
The prancing 'n pawing of each little hoof, know what I'm sayin'?
As I drew in my hand, 'n wuz turning around,
Down da chimney St n' shit. Nicholas came wit a bound n' shit.
Tha dude wuz dressed izzall in fur, from tha dude's heezee tha dude's foot,
And tha dude's clothes wuz izzall tarnished wit ashes 'n soot;
A bundle of toys tha dude had flung on tha dude's back,
And tha dude looked like a peddler just opening tha dude's pack, know what I'm sayin'?

His eyes -- how they twinkled! tha dude's dimples how merry!
His cheeks wuz like roses, tha dude's nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth wuz drawn up like a bow,
And da beard of tha dude's chin wuz as white as da snow;
The stump of a pipe tha dude held tight in tha dude's teeth,
And da smoke that shiznit encircled tha dude's heezee like a wreath;
Tha dude had a broad face 'n a little round belly,
That shook, when tha dude laughed like a bowlful of jelly, know what I'm sayin'?

Tha dude wuz chubby 'n plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I seen tha dude's ass, in spite of myself;
A wink of tha dude's eye 'n a twist of tha dude's heezee,
Soon gave me know I had nothing dread;
Tha dude spoke not a word, but went straight tha dude's work,
And filled izzall da stockings; then turned wit a jerk,
And laying tha dude's finger aside of tha dude's nose,
And giving a nod, up da chimney tha dude rose;
Tha dude sprang tha dude's sleigh, tha dude's team gave a whistle,
And away they izzall flew like da down of a thistle, know what I'm sayin'?
But I heard tha dude's ass exclaim, izzle tha dude drove out of sight,

Fo shizzle.

have a crustacean christmas?

Christmas Hell TIPster Batgirl has outdone herself and everyone else by directing me to this picture of a Cajun Christmas.

click for larger image

I dare any of you to find anything more absurd than that. It defies even a caption.

sean penn, north pole activist

Not content with visiting Iraq for his own peace of mind, Sean Penn has decided to pay the North Pole a visit to see for himself how Santa is upholding U.N. Resolutions:

Santa's mailbag.

you've been a baaaaaaaad boy

What is it with nativity scenes?

Charleston police arrested an East Bank man for allegedly having sex with a sheep used in a West Side funeral home's live nativity scene.

I don't know what's more disturbing; the guy having sex with the sheep or the fact that a funeral home has a live nativity scene. The thought of mourners having to pass what appears to be a holiday petting zoo on their way into the funeral home seems wrong in a whole lot of ways.

But what I really want to know is, if this was a "live" nativity scene, where were the people playing Mary and Joseph while this guy was bedding the sheep?

The assailant was charged with trespassing, destruction of property and cruelty to animals.

I wonder if the sheep really thought it was cruel.

December 16, 2002

Operation Christmas Hell: add another rule on the fire

Operation Christmas Hell TIPSter Mike sent me a picture which reminds me that I forgot one very basic rule of Christmas decorating:

Christmas spirt and school spirit should never, ever be mixed. Ever.


Token Lott post for Monday

Funditry has a growing list of people who want Trent Lott to resign. (link via Instapundit)

I know the political world is dying to know my views on the issue. So I'll tell you.

I think Trent Lott should step down or be taken out.

It has less to do with the words he spoke (which I thought were incredibly ignorant) but the fact that he spoke them at all.

If you are too stupid to think before you speak, you have no business being majority leader.

And that is why I think Lott should be gone come January 6.

they made the baby jesus cry


$800 for a plastic Jesus? For about 70 bucks the owners can run down to any mall and pick up another one.

Maybe they thought it was the real baby Jesus? In that case, they should have asked for a hell of a lot more than $800.

The note was signed:

The note was signed by "Me, him and the other kid who was really scared and didn’t want to take your baby Jesus and the whole time all he did was say stuff like you’re going to hell, this isn’t right, stop."

I'm sure I shouldn't find this amusing in any way, but I do. You really have to give the thieves credit with that note. They sure knew how to get in the local paper.

you think?

Powell: Iraq declaration has 'problems'.

He later announced that the world is round and Michael Jackson is weird.

I'm headed to Target. On a Monday, nine days before Christmas. If I'm not back in a couple of hours, send bail money.

And don't forget to see what that nasty santa and his posse have been up to.

A reader's letter to NPR

Reader and frequent commenter Alistair Mackay took issue with an interview on NPR this morning with Cokie Roberts, centered around the Trent Lott story. Alistair, an NPR subscriber, was ired enough to send off a letter to NPR regarding his feelings on the issue. It reads like a blog entry and should be a blog entry, and Alistair has given me permission to post his letter here:

As a dues-paying National Public Radio supporter, I was glad that today's "Morning Edition" included Cokie Roberts' analysis of Senator Trent Lott's situation. Roberts noted that the weeklong controversy has been fueled by conservative rather than liberal commentators. She then asserted that these
pundits object to Lott because he is an "institutionalist" and a "legislator" rather than a true-believing right-wing activist in the mold of Rep. Tom DeLay.

It's an interesting and important story. If true. I wouldn't know what motives lurk in the hearts of right-wing pundits. However, to Trent Lott's sorrow, Google makes it easy to recall what people actually say and write.

The "prominent," "conservative" commentators that I've read are Andrew Sullivan, Charles Krauthammer, Joshua Micah Marshall, and Glenn Reynolds. Recent brief quotes from the first two (plenty more where these come from):

Andrew Sullivan: "[Lott's Dec. 6 statement] was part of a pattern of consistently voting and speaking as if he did indeed regret desegregation. [It] was damaging precisely because it makes more sense of Lott's career in racial matters than any other plausible explanation."

Charles Krauthammer: "[Lott's behavior] is about getting wrong the most important political phenomenon in the last half-century of American history: the civil rights movement. Getting wrong its importance is not an issue of political correctness. It is evidence of a historical blindness that is utterrly disqualifying for national office."

Perhaps Sen. Lott's vile statements and craven spin-doctoring have stayed in the news because these analyses make sense to centrist voters like me. Perhaps the heart of this story is best captured by righty pundits, not mainstream media pontificators or collegial apologists (James Jeffords, Paul Simon).

Ms. Roberts might wish to name the commentators who have criticized Lott for his "institutionalist, legislative" tendencies, rather than for his despicable utterances on matters of race and history. If she can't point to any such pundits, she can always apologize for her "poor choice of words" this morning.
Suggestion: do it quickly, completely, and sincerely.

written by Alistair Mackay

he said what?

Scene: Family dinner last night at my parents' house, all of us present

DJ takes a piece of bread out of the bread basket and looks around for butter. Seeing it's all the way down the other end of the table, he politely asks for someone to pass it down. Unfortunately, no one hears him. He sits there a few minutes until, tired of being ignored, my nine year old son says - in a loud, macho-type voice - what he heard at his father's house earlier that day, thinking it would get results:

"Hey! Who do I have to sleep with to get some butter around here?!?"

It was obvious he had no idea what it meant, nor did his use of the phrase get the desired results. I think he realized from the look on my face that what he said was totally inappropriate and that Cousin Paulie was not a person he should be mimicing.

But man, if I had a video camera at that moment and a desire to be on America's Most Ridiculous Home Videos, I would be golden.


Ho ho holy shit! A group blog with featuring a pissed off Santa, a bitchy Mrs. Clause, and Dingle, the union rep elf.

It’s nine days before Christmas and all is not well. I’m tired of this shit. Back in the day, when the Holiday Gods gave me immortality so I could do this crap every year, I was young of mind, naive and full of gung-ho-ho-ho. I wanted to spread joy and peace throughout the land. I wanted to make kiddies smile. Now, I just want to bomb the fuck out of almost every country and give every kid a lump of shit in their stocking.

Santa's blogging and boy, is he pissed.

random picture #1

The angel from mom's tree.

christmas myths legends, and shoes for mama

For those of you who commented or emailed that the modern image of Santa Claus was created by Coca-Cola as a marketing tool, please be advised that you are, as I stated previously, wrong.

This legend is not true. Although some versions of the Santa Claus figure still had him attired in various colors of outfits past the beginning of the 20th century, the jolly, ruddy, sack-carrying Santa with a red suit and flowing white whiskers had become the standard image of Santa Claus by the 1920s, several years before Sundlom drew his first Santa illustration for Coca-Cola. As The New York Times reported on 27 November 1927:

A standardized Santa Claus appears to New York children. Height, weight, stature are almost exactly standardized, as are the red garments, the hood and the white whiskers. The pack full of toys, ruddy cheeks and nose, bushy eyebrows and a jolly, paunchy effect are also inevitable parts of the requisite make-up.

There you have it.

While we are on the subject of Christmas myths and legends, let's -with the help of the ever-reliable Snopes - debunk a few before they make the rounds again:

A Japanese department store did not show a display of Santa crucified on a cross.

The character 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' was created for the Montgomery Ward group of department stores.

A man attempted to surprise his family by dressing up as Santa Claus and entered the house by sliding down the chimney. He got stuck, died, and was discovered by his family after they lit a fire in the fireplace.

That one only happened in Phoebe Cates's award-worthy scene in Gremlins.

And some things that are true are hard to believe, like the fact that this song actually became a hit last Christmas:

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please
It's Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there's not much time
You see she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight

Although some of you may remember the story of - who else - DJ and his misunderstanding those lyrics:

So Natalie comes home from school today singing this song. The song is wrong in and of itself. The main lyric is "if momma meets jesus tonight." It's way too sappy, way too depressing and just...wrong. If momma meets jesus tonight.

Now, you know how people sometimes mishear lyrics? And they sing the wrong lyrics so openly, so righteously, because they think that's the way the lyrics go, no matter how bizarre it makes the song? So we were sitting in a restaurant tonight, eating dinner, having a pleasant family meal, when DJ starts singing at the top of his lungs:

What if momma eats jesus tonight....

I didn't stop him.

What if momma eats jesus tonight

Yes, I know. I'm going to hell.

At least I'll be laughing.

millions of strangers are disappointed

Hang onto your Real Dolls and put your bikes back in the shed. The NYC transit strike is off. For now, at least.

After a feverish round of eleventh-hour talks, the transit union stopped the clock on a subway and bus strike early today - giving millions of morning commuters a reprieve from a walkout.

"Trains and buses will run at least through the morning rush," a union source told the Daily News. [emphasis added]

How comforting.

For the record, I do not tolerate either side in this mess. It's like a Joel Schumacher movie; there are no likeable characters, the plot drags on and on without really moving and it feels like it will never, ever end. All we need is a stylish soundtrack and a love scene.

December 15, 2002

You better watch out!

My sister Lisa told me this story today, involving her fiance's mother Mary and his sister Eileen.

Mary and Eileen go to the mall to have Eileen's year old son Jack sit on Santa's lap for a picture. They wait on line for what seems like hours and finally, it is their turn. Mary takes baby Jack up to Santa's throne while Eileen runs into a store.

After Jack grins at Santa and the picture is snapped, Santa leans over to Mary and says, pointing to the little boy, "This one is going to have the ancient curse."

Mary looks at Santa warily. "What do you mean?" she asks him.

Santa leans down close to Mary and whispers in her ear, "He's going to kiss a lot of pussy!"

Mary grabbed Jack off of Santa's lap and turned towards the female "Santa's Helper" standing next to her.

"That man is a pervert!" she shouted at the woman.

"Yea, I know." Was all the woman could muster.

Mary found Eileen and practically ran out of the mall.

I probably would have kicked old Santa in the balls and reported him to mall security. Mary is much more civil than I. And I imagine she is a bit traumatized. I mean, even if you are over 50, it still has to be upsetting to hear Santa utter the word "pussy," especially while your grandson is on his lap.

Seriously, I would have knocked him on his ass. Wouldn't you?

get on your bike and ride

Transit strike + snowy morning rush hour = armageddon.

I guess Mayor Bloomber didn't plan ahead for snowy and icy sidewalks when he encouraged people to ride their bicycles to work.

His other bright idea, picking up strangers to comply with the four person-per-car minimum isn't going over too well, either. 84% of the people taking a Newsday poll said they would not ride with strangers. The other 16% of the votes all came from the Nassau County Jail.

Just in case you were wondering, motorcycles and hearses are exempt from the four person rule.

Stay away from NYC tomorrow.

Thanks, Santa

Christmas comes early!!

Look for him to start a comedy career in which he does nothing but mock himself. Think about it, he has an endless source from which to draw on. And really, what else can he do? Make Pepsi commercials with Shakira?

So let's start the betting pool now. Who will be the Dems' sacrificial lamb?

bigwig sucks up in song

A Small Victory has been immortalized in song by the pardoy song-master himself, Bigwig.

I sat and read the blogs all day
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
And what did those blogs have to say
On Christmas day in the morning?

Michelle of a small victory
On Christmas day, on Christmas day;
Wrote on her kids and entropy
On Christmas day in the morning.

Go read, lots of fun!

creative liberties

I don't know how I get on these mailing lists - maybe someone is covertly trying to indoctrinate me into the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.

One of the newsletters I get is from Orion Magazine. I'm sitting here, too lazy to unpack the box of Christmas decorations I took out of the closet. So I read the Orion newsletter and click on a few links.

I see now. It is unmined territory for me. I can add this to the list of places I troll looking for far left drivel.

Tonight's feature story is from David James Duncan, a college professor of creative writing.

Yet as the semester unfolds and we listen to President Bush and his various goaders and backers wage a rhetorical war on Iraq and prepare an increasingly vague national "we" to lay waste to Saddam Hussein, the mere teaching of creative writing has come to feel, for the first time in my life, like a positively dissident line of work.

I can see he teaches this class objectively. I wonder how many of his "creative writing" lectures head off into anti-war statements. And please, pray tell, what does creative writing have to do with invading Iraq? Oh, look. He explains.

Creative writing requires a dual love of language and of life, human and otherwise. The storyteller then sculpts these raw loves with acute observation, reflection, creative struggle, allegiance to truth, merciless awareness of the foibles of human beings, and unstinting empathy toward human beings even so. Not only have these strategies foundered in the post-9/11 rhetoric of the Bush administration, they look to me to have been outlawed by two recent federal documents: the "2002 National Security Strategy for the United States" and the 107th Congress's "Patriot Act."

Basically, if you are in support of an invasion of Iraq, you cannot be a creative writer, because you probably hate humanity and have no empathy at all.

In such an America the teaching of creative writing is one of countless professions that has been inadvertently redefined as dissident. This puts me in an odd position. Having signed a contract to teach before Bush/Cheney/Powell's "New America" existed, and knowing only the former America's literary methods, I'm left no choice but to instruct my students in how to become what the new national lexicon might call "better unAmericans."

I had to read that paragraph twice to make sure I read it correctly. Writers are now considered dissidents. All literary methods have changed since Bush became president. He now is forced to teach his students to become unAmerican.

I wonder what would happen if I were in his class. Would you call me "too American?" Would he accept my challenges to his views? Would he tell me I'm a terrible writer because I support what our country is doing?

Post-9/11 anti-Saddam talk has usurped thought, annihilated international trust, and polarized our populace.

Yes, we all have become unthinking, unfeeling robots of the New America, the Stepford Children of politics, just waiting to be told how to act and what to say. My mind is being controlled from the White House.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE of how the New America forces literature into a dissident position is Bush's presumption (stated in the National Security Strategy, page 5) that it is the New America's "clear responsibility to history" to "rid the world of evil." As a lifelong student of the world's wisdom literature, it is my duty to inform students that "ridding the world of evil" is a goal very different from any recommended by Jesus, Buddha, or Muhammad, though not so different from some recommended by the Josephs Stalin and McCarthy and by Mao Tse Tung.

Where does religion fall into this and why is he comparing former world leaders to religious leaders? He claims it his duty as a teacher to tell his students that their president is comparable to ruthless dictators. He is a creative writing teacher. I'm sure nowhere in his job description does it state that he must force his politics upon his students.

And tonight's secret word, ladies and gentlemen is OIL.

I fear that the Bush administration's claim that Iraq must be attacked, defeated, and occupied for America's domestic safety is just such a distortion, and that its chief aim is the embezzlement not of cash but of Iraq's oil reserves -- the third largest on Earth.

Ding! Ding! Ding! Congratulations, Mr. Duncan, you are tonight's winner of Tire Rhetoric prize package. It includes a one way trip to Berkeley and a date with Susan Sarandon!

I fear that weapons of mass destruction will be discovered in Iraq, that the discovery will be hailed as the greatest victory yet in the war against terror, and that the U.S. will use this victory to justify occupying Iraq with a military force whose job it will be to cultivate international goodwill and protect us here at home by brandishing weapons of destruction all day every day at Muslims forbidden to brandish their own.

So what is he wants us to if WoMDs are found? Pat Saddam on the back and go home? Embrace him in empathy?

I still don't get what this all has to do with teaching creative writing, or why writers are unAmerican.

Silly me, it has nothing to do with it at all. He just needed a scary monster to pop out of his closet and yell BOO! at the right time.

Now that, folks, is creative writing.

Christmas Decoration Hell: Come all ye tipsters

I've been receiving some excellent pictures and links via email. I've also been scouring the neighborhood taking my own pics of holiday decorating monstrosities.

I urge you all to grab a camera and go riding through the night, spying on your gaudy neighbors, as I will award a prize to the person who sends me the picture of the most horrible display of Christmas tackiness.

Go forth and seek out the lights!

have a ho-ho-homer christmas

No, it's not mine. The drunken-looking Homer belongs to my neighbors.

Mmmmm.....drunken Christmas.


pissing on my christmas tree

Or: Why this atheist celebrates Christmas

Let's talk about Christmas and co-opted holidays and why some people have their panties in a bunch about this time of year and why I don't.

We all know by now that Jesus was not born on December 25. That doesn't really matter to me because Christmas was never about Jesus's birthday to me. It's about so many other things. Sure, I'm not celebrating the "true meaning" of the holiday but then again, no other holiday really gets its true meaning celebrated. Easter has become about bunnies and colored eggs. Halloween is about scary witches and ghosts and candy. Even holidays meant to celebrate births of great figures in American history are nothing more than days off from work and school. Americans love a holiday, that's for sure.

So why does this atheist celebrate a holiday that is supposed to be about religion? It's not the gifts, it's not the gaudy decorations. It's the spirit.

You know what to do, click the "MORE" link to continue.

When I was a child, Christmas time meant so many things. Parties in school, snow on the ground, snooping around my parent's bedroom for hidden presents. The air was filled with a sense of anticipation and joy that was not present most of the year. The calendar was marked down with X's on the dates of December, and every new X meant that special day was coming.

Of course, I loved the presents. But I loved the atmosphere, too. My parents are very social people. During the holiday season, there would be friends and relatives dropping over to say hello, have a drink, maybe a bite to eat. The Christmas tree glowed and sparkled and the windows were covered with those plastic, colorful decorations depicting Santa and snowmen and angels.

Christmas is about traditions. For as long as I can remember, we would gather at my aunt's house on Christmas Eve - we still do - enjoying an Italian feast of fish and pasta, at least 40 of us crowded into the fully decorated basement. We exchanged presents and Santa came and the grownups were all happy and carefree and festive. We would go home late, get tucked into bed and then lay there for what seemed like hours, too excited to sleep. It was a great night to be a kid.

My father would always take us shopping on Christmas Eve day, usually to Sears. We would buy presents for our mother - always Jean Nate perfume and powder - and presents for each other (I still have the music box my sister bought for me one year that played "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head") and we would get home and have hot chocolate covered in whipped cream and wrap our presents. We made cards for our parents and sometimes we would make presents, too; sloppy hand-made ornaments that still hang on my mother's tree.

Even decorating the tree became a tradition of hot chocolate and Christmas songs and sibling fights over who got to put the star on top. We still do that to this day, gathering at my parent's house, now with kids and spouses in tow, and continuing the tradition of decorating and fighting. In fact, we are doing that tonight.

As I got older and discovered - through a spiteful cousin - that Santa no longer existed, none of the excitement and wonder of the holiday season wore off. I became more deft at making hints at what I wanted for Christmas, and still secretly wrote letters to Santa in hopes that my cousin was playing just kidding. Eventually I became ok with my parents being the real Santa. I figured they were more likely to get me a Black Sabbath album than the jolly bearded guy would be.

On Christmas morning, my sisters and I would wake earlier than any human should rise, and we would sit by the fireplace in the half-dark, opening whatever was in the bulging stockings that hung from the mantle, waiting for our parents to wake. Finally, we couldn't take it anymore and we would run into their bedroom, jumping on the bed until they finally got up, bleary eyed and exhausted from wrapping and arranging presents the night before.

After the presents were unwrapped and the fire was roaring, fed by discarded wrapping paper and empty boxes, dad would make a huge breakfast and we would gush over our presents, comparing each other's stack of gifts. Then, while mom cooked, dad would take us out visiting relatives and each aunt or uncle would give us Christmas candy or cookies as we went from house to house.

All these traditions are still intact. Some have changed a bit; there were years when the Christmas Eve party at my aunt's house turned into 3am drunken poker games and most of the cousins hanging out back with the keg and the nickel bags of pot. Then we got older, had kids of our own, and put the magic back in our tradition.

We still open our presents very early, all of us arriving at our parent's house at an ungodly hour, heading straight for the stockings while we wait for our parents to wake up. They greet us with the same bleary eyed look they always did and the presents are still stacked sky high under the tree like they always were. We have a big breakfast and compare presents and then it's time to visit relatives, except now we visit them at Holy Rood cemetery, putting wreaths and blankets on their graves and thanking them for the all the cookies and warmth they gave us in the past.

Of course, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Our Christmas and Christmas eve follow all the same patterns, but now we have our own children to work magic for. There is nothing like the gleam in their eyes as they see the gifts under the tree and even though they no longer believe in Santa, they still delight at the note that "Santa" leaves for them, thanking them for the cookies and milk. Even better is the smile on their faces as they present us with the presents they picked out, wrapped using six yards of scotch tape and a lot of love. They are truly grateful for everything they get and our home is filled with a warmth and comfort that gets pushed aside most of the year by homework and housework and the hurried pace of our lives.

This is why I love Christmas. I love way the neighborhood is lit up in color and light at night. I love the excitement in the air, the way people give so freely of themselves in the spirit of the season, the way the kids bounce when they walk through the mall, thrilled at the thought of picking out presents for those they love.

Yes, Christmas has become commericialized and may appear to be nothing more than a celebration of cosumerism. If that's what you see, then that's all you want to see. Me, I see pretty lights and smiling kids and relatives all gathered in one place for a change instead of scurrying to appointments and ball games and work.

If I co-opted your holiday, I'm sorry. I think we could all use a time of year set aside to eat, drink and be merry. If you don't celebrate it or for some reason or are angry at the way this time of year has ventured into a capitalist's dream, that's your choice. Just don't piss on my Christmas tree and try to take that joy from me because you don't want to see it.

live from new york, it's saturday night tedium!

It's only fitting that the most boring, unfunny person in America is hosting the most boring, unfunny show in America. All accompanied by the world's most boring band.

Does anyone watch this show for fun anymore, or do people tune in a train wreck sort of way?

On an Al Gore note, I watched an episode of Pinky and the Brain today where Al appears as Eeyore (called AlGore) and Pinky and the Brain realize he is so full of hot air when he talks that they can use him for a balloon to reach the top of the honey tree.

Which was not nearly as funny as the queen bee being Bea Arthur.

Now that is funny tv. Narf!

update: On second thought, Al may have a career in self-parody. He's not doing so bad.

December 14, 2002

the grinch is canadian

I think I found the winner of the Asshole of the Year award. I wasn't exactly looking for one, but when I read this article, I made up the award just for her.

VANCOUVER - After years of sending friends anti-Christmas cards, one of which featured a homeless Santa and another battered child angels, Valerie and Trevor Williams decided to "go big" this year.

The result can be seen on a billboard looming over the Pat Bay Highway near Victoria, where commuters, rushing no doubt to buy gifts, are faced with this stark message: "Gluttony. Envy. Insincerity. Greed. Enjoy Your Christmas."

Ho! Ho! Ho! to you, too! If anyone in Vancouver has a paint gun, please head over there and start shooting at the sign for me.

While others are humming carols, trimming trees and picking out gifts for the people they love, Mr. and Mrs. Williams have taken all their Christmas gift money this year -- $1,200 -- and spent it on the attack ad.

"I think the billboard is stark, it's angry, it's red. Black letters on red, the Christmas colours," she said when asked to describe the sign.

I thought Christmas colors were black and green. Damn, now I have to go change my decorations.

The couple sent out this mass email to friends instead of Christmas cards:

In response to the growing onslaught of manufactured consumeristic Christmas cheer, we have decided to actively reject the capitalist ideology of Christmas. We refuse to spend one cent on buying into the consumer machine this year -- no tinsel, no tree, no shiny balls, no Christmas cards, no presents, no wrapping paper, no turkey, no cranberry sauce, no candy canes, and no icicle lights. Christmas will not be coming to this house.... Join us in our Christmas rebellion!

If I got that email I would certainly reply to them, but I would attach the nastiest computer virus I can find. Preferably one that makes the computer start spewing out Christmas carols every time they turn it on.

Their holiday message on the answering machine goes like this:

Callers hear a recording of White Christmas that is interrupted as if the Williams had just come home.

Valerie: "My God, who put that music on?"

Trevor: "It's awful, get it off."

Valerie: "Oh.... Jesus. Oh. Oh. Doesn't that just drive you insane?"

First of all, it's just stupid. There's no irony, no humor. It just falls flat. I think they should have gone with "We're not home you capitalist pig! Call back when you're done spending all your money on facist toys!"

Mrs. Williams, who grew up in a middle-class family in Victoria, said she has good memories of the Christmases she had as a child. But the growing commercialism of the season and its Christian exclusivity had long troubled her.

Hello? Christian exclusivity? It's a Christian holiday you dumb bitch!

"Who is Santa?" she asks heatedly. "He is the mall's puppet.... Children are taught to worship this white, heterosexual man who overeats. I mean, it's wrong."

It would be better if her were an Asian gay man who has an eating disorder?

The Williams have no children of their own. When asked if she explaining her views to other children, she said:

"And I wouldn't want to say anything to ruin Christmas for a child.... "

Oh, no. You'll just erect a huge, ugly billboard that stares them in the face as they drive past it every day, forcing their parents to explain what the sign is about.

"If everyone in B.C. gave their Christmas money to charity this year, imagine the good we could do," she said.

So instead of sending their $1500 to charity and quietly supporting their own beliefs, they instead spend the money on a huge ass billboard and get as in-your-face about the whole deal as they possibly can. Think of how many books or cans of baby formula or warm winter coats they could have bought for needy children with that money.

She's cheered to learn that Visa is predicting that, in B.C. alone, people will spend 23% less this Christmas than they did last year.

"That's my Christmas present," she says with delight.

Asswipe, people aren't spending less because they are joining your idiotic cult of unhappiness, they are spending less because they have less. Thanks for taking such joy in other people's financial disasters.

I have the sudden urge to drive up to Vancouver and beat this woman over the head with ten foot, metal candy cane while yelling Joy to the World, you humorless bastard!

This story was pilfered from Andrea, who gave Ms. Williams the Sheriff of Nottingham award.

Mike also tackles the grinches with his usual cold fury.

blaming george clooney

We just watched Ocean's 11.

Guess I'll go out and rob a casino now, because you know that's what happens when you watch movies.

(I actually enjoyed the movie. Very slick, very stylish, a lot of fun.)

outrage alert

The Univeristy of Illinois does next to nothing while its students are raped and abducted at an alarming rate.

In the past three months, there have been 27 rapes (several including abduction) on my campus. This week, a 28th occured. This does not include the numbers from the summer, when the string of attacks began. The total approaches, if not exceeds, possibly 50 women--mostly of Asian heritage--who have been targeted by this predator, who is still very much at large, and using a handgun to subdue his victims.

Read the rest. It's an eye opener. Emily, the author of the blog, also gives several ways in which you can voice your concern. You do not have to be a student of that school or even live in the area to be outraged by the apathy the university is showing.

the other miracle of christmas

And because Jesus was born on the same day, the miraculous story of the reindeer who gave birth to the pumpkins remains largely unknown, except to my neighbors who still celebrate this little known tale.

click for amazing picture!

anti war protesters: let Iraqis free themselves!

The anti-war people get wise. They are now clarifying, for those interested, that they oppose Saddam and the war.

We oppose the impending U.S.-led war on Iraq, which threatens to inflict vast suffering and destruction, while exacerbating rather than resolving threats to regional and global peace. Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who should be removed from power, both for the good of the Iraqi people and for the security of neighboring countries. However, it is up to the Iraqi people themselves to oust Saddam Hussein, dismantle his police state regime, and democratize their country. People in the United States can be of immense help in this effort--not by supporting military intervention, but by building a strong peace movement and working to ensure that our government pursues a consistently democratic and just foreign policy. [emphasis mine]

Listen up, you dimwits. In your own words, Saddam is a tyrant. Have the reams and reams of articles about Saddam's penchant for torturing and killing those who speak against him not given you any clue as to how it would turn out if even one person spoke against him, let alone many? They would be locked up and hung from their ankles in a millisecond and their revolt would be shorter than Sean Penn's marriage to Madonna.

How do you expect people who have very little education, if any, no food, no medicine and no money to democratize their country? Are you really that naive or do you just think that everyone has the freedom we do to stand up and oppose the government?

"Democratic and just foreign policy" does not work with a leader who understands neither concept. It's been tried. It failed. Please explain to me how all the banners and marches and speeches of the peace movement will in any way, shape or form help Iraq become a democratic country.

blame game, part 2

This is just what I said except he gets paid for saying it.

From Ben Stein, How to Ruin American Enterprise

3) Create a culture that blames the other guy for everything and discourages any form of individual self-restraint or self-control. Promote litigation to punish tobacco companies on the theory that they compel innocent people to smoke. Make it second nature for someone who is overweight to blame the restaurant that served him fries. Encourage a legal process that can kill a drug company for any mistakes in self-medication. Make it a general rule that anyone with more money than a plaintiff is responsible for anything harmful that a plaintiff does. Promulgate the pitiful joke that Americans are hereby exempt from any responsibility for their own actions--so long as there are deep pockets around to be rifled.

Read the rest, it's very good.

Thanks to reader Suze for the link

what jesus AND satan drive

Thanks to Kieran Lyons, I have discovered what Satan drives.

According to this news bit, he drives a 1992 Eagle Talon.

Pudell's car then struck a 1992 Ford Probe, which crashed into a light pole in the center median. His car was stopped when it was hit by a 2001 GMC Jimmy and crashed into a tree. Neither Pudell nor any other of the drivers were seriously injured in the series of collisions.

After he was arrested, Pudell said that Satan was the one in the driver's seat, police said.

"The driver responsible stated that he did it intentionally, that Satan told him to do it," said Troy Police Sgt. Bob Redmond.

Looks like Satan is the environment concious one, not Jesus. Obviously, it was Jesus in the GMC Jimmy that stopped the Talon from committing further mayhem.

The blame game

Over at Hit and Run (an excellent blog from the folks at Reason), there's a post about a Dateline NBC story on John Allen Muhammad, one of the two accused DC area snipers.

I didn't see the program, nor did Mike Alessi, the author who blogged the post, but he did catch the promo for it:

DATELINE HOST STONE PHILLIPS (voice-over): It's one thing to shoot at a static paper bull's eye, quite another to pull the trigger while aiming at a human target. But Muhammad apparently had this figured out, too.

(on camera): Sources close to the investigation have told DATELINE the duo had access to a popular Xbox video game called "Halo."

(voice-over): The game is a chillingly realistic simulation of what it's like to peer through a telescopic sight, line up an unsuspecting victim in the crosshairs and pull the trigger.

DATELINE has also learned that investigators are looking closely at this 1998 feature film, "Savior," about a man who loses his family to a terrorist bomb and takes revenge with sniper shootings. Sources say the movie likely inspired Muhammad and Malvo.

Ah, yes. The old media-made-him-do-it trick. We've heard this a million times before, from back when parents blamed Ozzy and Judas Priest for the children's suicides to Columbine and beyond.

Either way you look at this, it is bad for all the industries involved. On the one hand, we can end up like some of those nations in denial who have banned all sales of video games.

On the other hand, if people of reason look at this the way I, and many of you do, it could turn out just as bad.

See, I believe that if a person commits suicide while listening to a Marilyn Manson song, the thought had to be in their head to begin with. Startling, eh? A normal, healthy person does not switch on their stereo and say "Oh, a song about suicide, think I'll do that too!"

If a person shoots up his fellow students after playing Doom a couple of times, the violent tendencies and hatred that were instrumental in performing this act had to be in his head to begin with. A normal, healthy person does not look at a violent video game and say "Oh, they're shooting people, think I'll do that too!"

You see where I'm going with this, right? So, in this age of all kinds of correctness and protecting our children and making the world a place full of fuzzy bunnies and pretty rainbows, video games and violent movies will be treated pretty much like guns. Scenario:

A young man walks into Best Buy and picks up Grand Theft Auto or some game like it. He brings it to the cashier.

Cashier: Ok, sir. You know there is a three day waiting period to purchase this game?
Man: Yes.
Cashier: Ok, I just need your license and social security number, and you have to fill out this form in triplicate.

The man does just that and three days later comes back to pick up his game.

Cashier: I'm sorry, sir. You've been turned down.
Man: What??
Cashier: Well, when I plugged your name and SS# into the Total Information Vast Databank of Everything Everyone Ever Does, Says or Buys, it showed that you are currently under the care of a mental health professional. It clearly says right here on the label of this game, Warning: This game cannot be purchased by sociapaths, psychopaths or idiots.
Man: Which am I?
Cashier: Well, according to our database, you are all three.
Man: Why am I flagged as being an idiot?
Cashier: Well, I'm not supposed to tell you, but it says here that you watch MSNBC news regularly and frankly, that labels you as an idiot. Also, you recently purchased the book "To Kill A Mockingbird" from the Borders Book Store on Fifth Avenue.
Man: So?
Cashier: I'm sorry, but we can't allow you to purchase a violent video game if you own any book, movie or game with the word "Kill" in the title. May I interest you in one of our many Bob the Builder video games for the Playstation? That seems to be all you are allowed to purchase at the moment.
Man: I...
Cashier: Oh, wait! You can't buy that either. It says here that you once got into a fight with a construction worker back in college.

You get the point. Soon, they will just need to slap a label on every form of media saying, You must have clearance from a licensed psychologist, your teacher, your parents, grandparents and the nice old lady down the block before you can purchase this item.

Instead of looking at the real reasons why people commit crimes, blame is being placed everywhere but on the perpetrator. It's the guns, it's the video games, it's the tv shows, it's the music.

It's never the upbringing or the parents. The criminal him/herself is never to blame. Of course not. Someone is always digging deeper, looking for the root cause and coming up with pure bullshit in the process, allowing us to become a society where no one is ever held responsible for their actions.

It's McDonald's fault that your kid is fat. It's the tobacco company's fault that you are coughing up your lung. It's the bully's fault that you can't do your math homework at night. It's dairy industry's fault that you have zits. Go ahead, blame away. We have become a nation of finger pointers and the finger is never pointing at the right person. It's so much easier to blame a big business, to blame the media or anyone that can be sued for millions of dollars, thus easing the pain of the carpal tunnel syndrome you got from jacking off to computer porn all night long. It's the girl's fault for being so damn pretty. It's America's fault for being so damn progressive.

This is what we have to look forward to. A time when every single thing you want to do is legislated and regulated and sterilized, because we cannot accept that a person can be held responsible for their own actions.

If we don't start teaching our kids now that the world is not their fall guy, that you just can't point a finger at someone else and make your negative actions go away, we are in for a real dismal future.

I hereby relinquish my shotglasses...

Things will be a little slow around here this morning as I'm dealing with a ton of regret from what I drank last night. Regret comes in many forms, dear readers. Some of them not so pretty.

Check back around noon, when I will follow the latest trends and announce my resignation from the Bloggers Who Like To Drink Association. It's for the best, really.


Revisionist history is a good thing, sometimes.

We are all going to act like last night did not happen. Thank you.

December 13, 2002

lady godiva is calling

I would like to apologize in advance for any untoward comments or posts tonight, here or on other blogs. I went to the liquor store for a nice Pinot Grigio and spent $80 on other sundry stuff.

I'm drinking chocolate coffe martinis.

1 part Stoli Vodka
1 part Cappucino Godiva Chocolate Liquor
1 part Baileys

They go down way too easy.

Like I said, sorry for whatever may transpire, though alcohol coma may come before I get to any commenting or posting.

Plus, I am bleeding profusely from a cut sustained while opening the bottle of Godiva. I would take a picture of my bloody keyboard, but the camera is in the car and it's raining and I'll melt if I go outside. I have a cute little crayon band-aid on, though.

I'm sick of the word "resign"

Well, Lott didn't step down, but Kissinger did.

Resignations went 2 for 3 today.

I'm about to make margaritas for Arthur, who reviews Lott's press conference better than I would have summed it up. Anyone else in?

blah blah blah

My prediction for Lott's 5:30 news conference:

He steps down, grudgingly, stating that he is doing so for the party, for America, for - of course - the children. So to speak.

I'm sick of Lott, I'm sick of smallpox, I'm sick of the NYC transit strike that hasn't even come to be yet.

I'm going to write about comic book snobs later. That will be fun. Maybe.

Maybe I should look up Jason Voorhees to drum up some excitement

Friday the 13th has always been a lucky day for me. Good things usually happen to me while everyone else is blaming all their mishaps on the date.

Today just is. It's not bad, it's not good, but it is so overwhelmingly blah that not even seven cups of coffee is doing anything for me. I think the constant gray skies have finally gotten to me.

I suppose I should be bolstered by the fact that the Pope did, indeed, accept Cardinal Law's resignation. Being of the school that sorry just ain't good enough sometimes, I'm not completely satisfied with the results. Law will still remain a Cardinal attached to the church, just in retirement, and I'm left wondering if this isn't all just a slap on the wrist for some heinous actions.

In other mind boggling news, Bowling for Columbine named Best Documentary of ALL TIME by the International Documentary Association and Robert Fisk wins a press award. See MooreWatch for the rest of the Columbine story.

Back to the book lists, and listing my favorite Simpsons episodes for Juan Gato.

Anyone else making lists of any sort today? I'm in an obsessive compulsive sort of mood.

more friday fun: kiddie lit

(I'm trying to stay away from warblogging or newsblogging today. Trying.)

Jim Miller is dissatisfied with the Seattle Times list of recommended children's books to give as Christmas presents:

The books would appeal to a radical feminist graduate seminar. There is no book by Dr. Seuss, but there is Bee Boy Buzz for 2-5 year olds by bell hooks, who really does spell her name that way. No books on any American heroes, but there is a book on a kid with attention deficit disorder and a no doubt uplifting novel for young adults that "explores broken families, infidelity, and even murder". (Sounds perfect for Christmas, don't you think?) No books on George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, but there are books on a surly foster child, a Mexican Cinderella, and a wise boy in the Middle East. By this point you can probably guess what the one book on sports will be like. It is a story about a boy on a flag football team that needs another player, but the best athlete is a "girl who doesn't shave her legs". No religious books, but there is Crispin: The Cross of Lead, about a boy who has to struggle with the corrupt medieval church. I could give more examples, but I think that the pattern should be clear by now.

Jim then says:

You have to click the MORE link if you want to proceed. Which you do.

I am not an expert on children's literature, but I think I can do better than this, and I am sure we can. Tomorrow, I will start posting a list of book suggestions for kids. I'd be grateful for any suggestions that you might have, books that you enjoyed as a kid or that you know kids enjoy.

Children's literature has always been my favorite kind of reading. When I was younger, I read books faster than my mother could them into the house. As I got older, I never let my love for kiddie lit wane. In fact, I spent a few years working in the children's department of the local library (where my mother still works). When I had kids of my own, it gave me an excuse to rebuy all my favorite books over again. Plus, it didn't look so odd for me to be poring over Madeline.

I'll send my list to Jim Miller, but I'd like to post it here to get some discussion going on this subject.

Favorite books I read as a child that I have read over and over again into adulthood:

  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
  • Half-Magic (and other books in the series) by Edgar Eager
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  • Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  • The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  • The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  • How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  • The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  • The Encyclopedia Brown Series by Donald J. Sobol
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Children's books I read as an adult and enjoyed

  • The Series of Unfortunate Event books by Lemony Snicket
  • His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman (which I reviewed here)

Books I have enjoyed reading with or to my kids

  • The Day I Swapped my Dad For Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
  • The Captain Underpants Series by Dav Pilkey
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • Owen by Kevin Henkes
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg(anything by Van Allsburg is good)
  • Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by John Scieszka
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

    This list is no way, shape or form complete. I'll probably add to it as the day goes on. Please feel free to add your own or comment on the books you read as a child (or still read when you want to feel like a child, or read to your own children......)

    Link to Jim via the lovely and gracious Meryl

  • last post on smallpox

    My kids' pediatrician was just on the radio talking about smallpox vaccinations. She is recommending that people not get them.

    Oh well, I'm off this rant for today. No more smallpox. Acidman told me to lighten up.

    It's beginning to look a lot like (insert holiday of choice here)

    No, I have not forgotten about the holiday decor from hell. The TIPSters have been sending in pictures and links and as Christmas fast approaches, the decorations around my own neighborhood are gathering chilling momentum. Look for an updated post tomorrow, and if you have any tips to send, do it now.

    Meanwhile, I have some Friday holiday fun for you.

    Bigwig isn't the only one writing Christmas song parodies. Mike at AKA Cooties and The Mighty Geek are currently embattled in a dueling parody contest.

    Meanwhile the South Knox Bubba Research Institute has been doing experiments on the Spaghetti Principle Effect in relation to unraveling strings of Christmas lights.

    Speaking of Christmas decorations, SayUncle tells why he affectionately (I think) calls his wife the Light Nazi.

    See, I can be lighthearted. I'm not always the pessimistic warmonger.

    Idiot of the day, part 1

    Well, that didn't take long. Only 6:45 a.m. and, via Pejman Pundit, I found my first Idiot of the Day: Mr. Sean Penn, who has embarked on a three day trip to Baghdad.

    "By the invitation of the Institute for Public Accuracy, I have the privileged opportunity to pursue a deeper understanding of this frightening conflict," Penn said in a statement released in Washington and Baghdad on Friday. "I would hope that all Americans will embrace information available to them outside conventional channels. As a father, an actor, a filmmaker, and a patriot, my visit to Iraq is for me a natural extension of my obligation (at least attempt) to find my own voice on matters of conscience."

    Dear Mr. Penn. As a father, you should not be in a place that is in danger of being bombed soon. You have to go to Baghdad to find your voice of conscience? Most people do that right in the very own homes. As for embracing information available outside conventional channels, I sure hope you do not think that when you arrive home, we are going to beg you for your newly found inside information regarding Iraq, which will probably be the standard The Iraqi regime is misunderstood, the people love Saddam, and the real bad guy is Bush. Heard it, ignored it, don't want to hear the drivel again, thanks.

    You want a deeper understanding? Hang around Iraq awhile. The U.S. armed forces will give you real deep understanding.

    Congrats on being today's first Idiot of the Day, Sean Penn!

    To nominate more idiots, go here or email me.

    now collecting idiotic quotes

    I think I'm going to institute a daily "asshole of the day" award, or at least a "stupid quote of the day" award. Though with the way people are flapping their gums about everything and anything these days, it may have to be "stupid quote of the hour."

    If I gave such an award yesterday it would go to Ted Turner. Ted, who was being honored by the U.N., had this to say about his piles of cash:

    I went from nothing to a pile of money as high as the World Trade Center," he said Wednesday at United Nations headquarters in New York. "And then just like the World Trade Center -- poof! -- it was gone overnight.

    What a charming man, eh? It seem sort of fitting that he was honored by the U.N.

    Oh, and why does Ted love the U.N. so much that he donated a billion dollars to them? Their humanitarian efforts? How they strive for world peace? Well, no - because both of those are fallacies. Little Teddy likes the pretty decor outside of the building.

    "Since I was a little boy, I've always been very partial to the U.N. I love the flags," he said.

    If you have an idiot of the day or a dumb quote of the day to contribute, please leave it here in the comments. I'm betting that by the end of today, we can have at least ten of each.

    shocking news!

    U.S. officials believe Iraq's declaration of its weapons of mass destruction program omits many details about its program and is "far, far, far short" from being a complete report, according to one senior U.S. official.

    Although a detailed analysis of the declaration will take place later this month, the White House's initial judgment is that the report contains "unanswered questions about things we know they have done in the nuclear arena," the official said.

    "We don't think from what we have seen so far that it meets the test," another official said.

    December 12, 2002



    If only they were aware of Americans For Chicken Saftey.

    learning as you go (gratuitous self link)

    Recycling is good for you. Especially when it's old posts.

    The smallpox/children discussion today led me to think about the things parents have to learn about; sometimes they are things you thought you would never have to know, or want to know.

    I reprinted an old post at Raising Hell today, called An Expert of Sorts. I think most parents will recognize the feelings.

    prepare ye the way of the end times

    So many people posted today about preparing for some kind of attack, and having a plan and all kinds of necessities in the house that I felt the sudden urge to run out to Price Club and bulk up.

    Then I realized that I don't have to, because I have been preparing for this for years. Allow me a repeat post here, so I can prove to you that some idiosyncracies do come in handy.

    From January 31, 2002:

    I have a shopping problem. I like to buy in bulk.

    It's not even one of those Costco/Price Club bulk binge problems. Because I don't buy the bulk all at once. I just collect items until they become bulk quantity.

    I've been this way since I was little. I was a hoarder. I would take canned goods, candy bars, those little boxes of cereal and put them under my bed. I once packed a suitcase full of silverware, napkins, canned fruit and, of course, a can opener. I hid it in my closet, sure that one night a hurricane or earthquake or tidal wave or alien invasion would necessitate my having a suitcase full of sliced peaches ready to go. I was always prepared for the worst, ready to stave off starvation by just reaching under my bed. Eventually my mother realized what I was doing and took all my supplies back, muttering something about therapy.

    This quirk persisted into high school and beyond, when I would buy pot in mass quantities and store it away in my nightstand in case there was a nuclear war and I was the last one standing and needed to spend the rest of my lonely days in a hazy oblivion.

    Eventually my pack rat sensibilities crossed over into other areas. I saved months worth of Creem magazines to read when I was under quarrantine when the inevitable plague arrived. I bought loose leaf paper by the box, sure that I would need it all to write down my memoirs when I was the sole surivor of an asteroid disaster. At some point, I was able to keep my hoarding impulses under control and I stopped collecting things for future disasters.

    You can never keep a good quirk down. A few months ago, I went into the pantry to get hot cups. I stared at the shelves in horror. When did the uncontrollable urge to buy uneeded items in bulk strike me again? I didn't even realize it had started up. But there lining the shelves was the evidence. 6 packages of hot cups. 4 packs of styrofoam bowls, 100 to a pack. Enough paper plates to take down the entire rainforest. I walked around the house in a daze, opening cabinets and drawers and cupboards. 4 Economy sized boxes of Fruit Roll-Ups. 12 - yes 12 - cans of coffee. 5 lbs of butter in the freezer. 7 boxes of Success white rice. And somewhere along the line, I must have developed a chicken broth fetish without realizing it. Justin took out the calculator and did a quick survey. All together, in a myriad of cans and those stay-fresh-forever boxes, was 293.5 ounces of chicken broth.

    The sad thing is, the compulsion to overbuy doesn't end with food. I have three 100 count boxes of CD-Rs in my closet. 6 packs of blue Sharpies. 10 marble notebooks. And tampons. I could plug up the Mississippi River with the amount of tampons I have.

    Am I subconciously getting ready for a nuclear winter? Am I preparing once again to be the last person standing on earth? Or do I just have really bad buying habits?

    Gotta go. ShopRite is having a sale on plastic forks.

    I could probably live forever with the amount of food and supplies we have in our small living space. Which begs the question, would I want to?

    By the way, my back is killing me tonight and my wonderful husband propped me up at the computer chair with some pillows and a footrest and some Motrin. I'll be here all night or until I pass out. Try to keep up, ok?

    getting claustrophobic yet, trent?

    Hammer. Nail. Coffin.

    How many nails does it take to close a coffin, anyhow?

    Smallpox part 2

    The What Would You Do thoughts about smallpox I posted today were strictly hypothetical, or at least something for more serious future thought.

    Joanie faces a more immediate decision to make about the vaccination. She is a health care worker and as such, is being offered not only the vaccine, but a chance to train as a vaccine-giver (for lack of a better phrase).

    As Joanie said in the comments, Michele, I invite you and all your readers to help me decide whether or not I volunteer myself for being vaccinated. Go give her a read and your opinion.

    You got a lotta explain' to do!

    Yesterday, in reference to Sean Hannity's interview with Trent Lott, I said:

    I felt Hannity asked Lott tough questions, but it seemed that the questions were designed to enable Lott to defend himself, not explain himself.

    Today on his radio show, in response to a caller who questioned Hannity's motives in questioning Lott, Sean said, (and I paraphrase here because there was a cop next to me and I didn't want to get a ticket for DWW: Driving While Writing):

    I am proud to have given Trent Lott a forum to explain himself. He deserves that much.

    The caller then asked Hannity if he would do the same for a Democrat accused of the same thing and Hannity basically begged off the question and ended the call.

    Later, Newt Gingrich got on the phone and told Hannity (again, paraphrasing) that what Lott did was ok because it was poor old Strom's 100th birthday for crying out loud and the man had done so much for America and he deserves to be honored and blah blah blah. Sean readily agreed and I was trying to remember back to the Wellstone rally funeral and whether Hannity cut any slack to the Dems for being so crass about a dead guy.

    I don't think they did. But neither did I, and I'm not cutting Lott and slack either.

    Anyhow, this was post was all just to say told ya so!

    see ya

    Hammer. Nail. Coffin.

    Law steps down

    Cardinal Law has offered his resignation

    Don't look at me to applaud this move. This is something that a) he should have done ages ago and b) should have never even been an issue, as he should have been made to step down as soon as the depth of the allegations against him and his priests became clear.

    The caveat: The pope must accept his resignation in order for it to take effect.

    You never know. I can absolutely see the Pope telling Law he must go in his current position and right the wrongs or some crap like that.

    A state grand jury investigating accusations that archdiocese officials mishandled alleged molestation cases involving clergy has been meeting for months, but so far has only demanded church records. Reilly and other prosecutors have acknowledged that they have yet to find grounds to bring criminal charges against Law or anyone else for the scandal that erupted a year ago.

    I'm sorry, but turning the other way while your employees systematically abuse, rape and sodomize children should be some sort of crime. Allowing the abuse to go on and doing nothing more than shuffling the offending priests from parish to parish, giving them access to new victims, should be punishable by law.

    Why do I think the Pope will not take Law's resignation so easily?

    A 1999 Vatican document from the files shows that the pope decreed that one defrocked Catholic priest should not remain in the area where his actions were known, unless his bishop decided that his presence would not cause a scandal.

    That's why. They just don't care about the victims.

    liquid lunch, part 462

    Will those people at Google ever stop coming up with interesting things? I hope not. The Google viewer is a very cool tool, just because.

    We have a big holiday luncheon outside of the building today. No telling what shape I may be in when I get back. I have my camera. Bonnie will be drinking with me. Stay tuned.

    No, I'm not driving.

    Bloomberg to commuters: "I have no idea what I'm talking about"

    The transit strike isn't even on yet and the media is working New Yorkers into a frenzy. There is talk of calling in the National Guard and some cab organizations are threatening to keep their workers off the road in a show of solidarity.

    And there is the buffoon Mike Bloomberg, spinning and wheedling his way through press conferences and interviews. Bloomberg has already said that cars must have at least four occupants to be allowed into the city during a strike. His solution to the people who don't know four people to travel in with?

    Bloomberg suggested that motorists who haven't filled each seat should offer rides to strangers to meet the four-person quota.

    Asked if that might not be dangerous, the mayor responded:

    "You will be going in a car at a very slow speed with cars on either side of you, in front of you and behind you. I would suggest that's not a significant risk."

    Hey! You in the trenchcoat? Want a ride?

    Right now some would-be stalker is sitting in his apartment rubbing his hands in glee at the thought of easy prey.

    I can see it now - Stockbrokers riding in with hookers, cops riding in with three card monte dealers - think of the friendships that can be forged through this!

    And think of the potential for animosity. Fights will break out among strangers over whether to listen to Howard Stern or Curtis and Kuby on the ride in. Drivers will start charging their passengers. Passengers will start revolting.

    And Dean Kamen will have a kiosk on every street corner selling Segways and some entrepreneur will be selling Real Dolls so you can pretend you have passengers. Hey, you can pretend you have a girlfriend, too while you're at it. There's a silver lining in every cloud, folks. Look for the opportunities here.

    I mean, besides the opportunity for Bloomberg to prove how out of touch with the people he really is.

    what would you do?

    The more I read about smallpox, the less I know. It will either spread like wildfire and we'll all be dead within days, or only one out of every three people will die from it and the rest will recover. Or anything in between. Or it's the vaccine that will kill you, not the disease, or the vaccine is good, but not for people under 18.

    Bush is planning on making the vaccines available to everyone, starting with military personnel and health care workers. In some cities, preparations are already in full swing. It all sounds very ominous to me, but I've been known to make mountains out of molehills.

    Bill Quick brought up an interesting point in his post about smallpox last night. He links to an ABC news article about the side effects of the smallpox vaccine which states that "many doctors believe people under 18 should not be vaccinated unless there is a real health emergency." Bill then poses the question:

    How many parents will go along with the notion of getting vacinnated themselves, but leaving their children unprotected?

    My response in his comments:

    I was just writing a post about this very thing. I would never get vaccinated if my kids couldn't. I'd rather suffer with them.

    That said - and I know this will sound morbid and horrible to those that don't have kids - but if we were hit by smallpox and it was inevitable that it would strike us all, I would kill my kids in their sleep rather than make them go through the horror of dying from smallpox.

    This is not a thought I just threw out there. It's something that I, as a card-carrying pessimist, have thought about plenty of times before.

    A few years ago, I re-read Stephen King's The Stand. The first time I read it, I didn't have any children and I though the idea of armageddon and the ensuing post-apocalyptic world was fascinating. I still think it's fascinating, just not cool.

    When I read the book again, all sorts of dark thoughts went through my head. War, disease, radiation, chemical and biological warfare. What would I do if something like that was imminent? How would I handle it with my children? I even played out a scenario in my head about an earthquake in the ocean and a tidal wave coming to wipe out Long Island, bringing death to us all. What would I do?

    And the answer was simple. If I knew that we were all destined to die some horrible death; that some wretched, painful disease was going to strike us all within days, or a poison gas or chemical that would cause us to all go insane and die in a short matter of time, the choice would be clear. I would kill my children, and then myself, rather than make them go through that. I couldn't imagine sitting there, cradling my child in my arms while he erupted in festering sores, or watching my daughter suffer as her airways closed up and not being able to do anything - or dying in front of them myself.

    I had it all planned out. I would give them a hefty dose of NyQuil or something similar to make them fall asleep, and then I would suffocate them while they slept, sparing them from the misery of watching themselves die, of the pain that would come with whatever fate awaited us. And then I would kill myself.

    Morbid, yes. I know. But I can see no other way I would deal with it.

    To answer Bill's question, I would not get the vaccine if my children couldn't. Even if children under 18 could somehow get vaccinated, Natalie still wouldn't be eligible because the experts say that people with eczema should not get the vaccine because a side effect would be...death.

    I don't know how remote the chances of us being struck with a smallpox epidemic are. But all the news coming out about vaccines and preparations worries me.

    I try not to let it weigh too heavily on my thoughts. After all, I do have other child-related things to worry about; there's school projects and Christmas shopping and birthday parties to deal with and I prepare for each of them as if tomorrow will always come, and it will come without disease or chemicals being released into our air. I can't spend my days worrying about tidal waves and earthquakes and crazed dictators. That's what 3am is for.

    But I will tell you that the more I read and the more I hear and the more I see, the more pronounced that shiver up my spine gets. And it frightens me to no end that I have already made the decision that I would rather let my children die at the hands of their mother than at the hands of terrorism.

    *Update* N.Z. Bear has an eerily similar post

    December 11, 2002

    say it ain't so

    Oh my fucking god. Stop the world, I want to get off. Now.

    Link via the lovely Jill Matrix

    a small victory on the go

    Thanks to Stacy Tabb, the goddess of the internet, A Small Victory is available in different sizes just in time for the holiday season. Please check the menu under "stuff" for the pda version, rss and xml feeds of this site. Now you can take me with you wherever you go. Whee!

    on hate mail, threats and being an asshole

    Damned if I do, damned if I don't.

    No matter what I write about or who I write about or what subject I comment on, I catch some sort of flack for it. Be it politics or religion or sports or even raising my own damned kids, there is always someone eager to jump on me for the things I say.

    See, this is a personal site. I am not a journalist, nor do I ever make myself out to be one. I am not part of the mass media. Therefore, there is no mandate that dictates I be fair and balanced. I offer my opinions here, no more, no less.

    If you're in the mood for some navel-gazing, ranting drivel, click the "MORE" link and read it. I really don't mind if you skip it.

    I receive an inordinate amount of hate mail for a small site. I also receive admonations, lectures and threats. I have comment trolls who appear frequently, writing in the same tired lines over and over.

    The thing is, I don't stand on any one platform, so I open myself up to tomato throwing from all sides. I may be a registered Republican and skew conservative, but I am also pro-choice, an atheist, support gay rights and value my civil liberties. Thus, I get email and comments from the religious right as well as the far left.

    I'm not complaining, mostly. I think the fact that I get hate mail and lecturing sermoms means that someone is reading the site, at least. What I don't understand is why some people think I need to edit myself or censor myself so as not to hurt the feelings of others.

    Obviously, I am pro-Israeli and my posts will reflect that. I am not anti-war, and that is reflected here often, too. But it goes even farther than that. If I decide to talk about music, I am chastised for talking bad about bands that other people like. I'm called elitist and snobby. If I talk about sports or post winning Packers boxscores, I'm being unfair to fans of the team the Packers beat.

    I talk about my kids a lot. I'm currently receiving mail and comments telling me that I have done a diservice to my children by allowing them to believe in Santa Claus all these years. I am a liar and a phony. I also apparently have no right to pass judgment on other parents (this stems from a post I wrote a while back on seat belts) because I am divorced parent and that makes me a bad, bad person. One person even wrote to say that I had some nerve getting remarried because people should only get one chance at such an institution and if I blew it, I should suck it up and live the rest of my life alone. I've had people email about posts at Raising Hell in which I mention DJ's penchant for wearing his sister's clothing and listening to show tunes telling me that I should get him into therapy now before it's too late and he "turns gay."

    I have opinions and I write about them. It is obvious from reading this site where my politics lie. If you think my words are going to offend you or make you irate, don't come back if you can't handle it. Either that or learn how to voice your opinion in my comments and in email intelligently.

    I spend a good portion of my blog time monitoring my comments. I have them emailed to me and I check my email often so I can immediately delete comments that are threatening or racist. It has become a job in itself to maintain this site. I don't mind. I get a lot of pleasure and gratification from doing this. Your hate mails and threats and name calling will not stop me. Not now, not ever.

    If I want to be child and make fun of someone, that's my prerogative. I doubt you will find a blog in all the thousands of blogs out there that doesn't at some point make fun of a celebrity or a politician or even their family.

    Get a grip, people. I'm just some asshole sitting here in bumfuck, Long Island and I happen to have a domain name and a cable modem and a really opinionated personality. Why do my words mean so much to you? Why do you care what I think?

    I can't sit here and write my posts and then check them over to see if I offended anyone from the animal kingdom to the King of Siam. I'm going to offend people. I am not politically correct. I don't use racial slurs and I don't tell ethnic jokes, but I'm also not going to put your feelings ahead of mine if I dealing with a subject I feel passionately about. Sure, I can be an asshole sometimes. But this asshole responds to every email, bad or good. I try to clarify my points and I always apologize if you prove I have wronged you. I reply to most people who comment with dissenting opinions to open the door for debate. I try to be nice about being an ass. My bloodthirstiness I am famous for runs only so deep. But I think trying to be nice to people who threaten to hack my site or follow me home only makes me an idiot in some sense.

    I am what I am. I say what I feel. I don't mean to offend your musical tastes or your choice of clothing or the games you play, but sometimes all I have is my opinion. Yell at me, and I'll yell back louder. Fuck with me, and I'll fuck with you right back.

    I'm done playing nice. If you got it, bring it. I'm ready to throw down, beeyotch.

    searching for Pantera's balls

    Dare I be proud? I am the only search result you get when you search for "Phil Anselmo's penis size."

    Dude, does this look like a man with a penis? Have you heard those high notes on Cemetery Gates?

    A Lott of apologizing

    On the drive home from work, I was listening to Sean Hannity interview Trent Lott. I was also scribbling notes on the back of a Taco Bell receipt with a crayon as I was driving. The things I do for you.

    One of the things I scribbled as Lott talked was "some of my best friends are black," which a whole paragraph worth of Trott's words amounted to. I was really pissed when I got home, checked my blogroll, and saw that Stephen had come out of a short retirement and said the exact same thing.

    Trott said his words about Thurmond were "an error of the head, not the heart," meaning that he meant what he said but not the way he said it, I suppose. He went on to explain that when he spoke of the things Trott has done in the past, he was referring to defense, budget and law enforcement issues, and not that pesky segregation thing.

    He also said that when he tells Strom "you would have made a great president," Thurmond's "face lights up and he smiles."

    That's the way my senile grandfather looks when I tell him he would have made a great first baseman for the Yankees.

    He also compared his own misuse of words with the Wellstone memorial service fiasco, stating that people sometimes get exuberant about people they are close to. Damn, if he waited just a little bit, he could have said those things about Lott at his imminent memorial service/rally.

    addendum: I noted in the comments on Arthur's blog that I felt Hannity asked Lott tough questions, but it seemed that the questions were designed to enable Lott to defend himself, not explain himself. Arthur thinks that Lott is working for the Democratic Party. It all makes sense now...

    Pledge Drive: For the Children

    So I've been thinking about Andrew Sullivan's idea to have a pledge drive. It's a decent idea in theory, when you consider the fact that Sullivan has ten trillion readers a day. The odds for donations go up considerably when you have three times the readers as anyone else to draw from.

    But I realized that Sullivan is missing one necessary component from his pledge drive. As witnessed on any public tv station, in order to get your viewers/readers to stay during a pledge drive, you must offer them something special, that they wouldn't get during any other time.

    For some tv stations that's a Tony Bennet concert "live" from Vegas (actually recorded back in the day when Bennet was a pup of 75), or a chance to bid $500 on items you normally wouldn't pay $10 for, let alone want in the first place. Sullivan isn't offering concerts or auctions or even naked pictures of himself. He's really cutting himself off from potential donations by not upping the ante during pledge week.

    Far be it from me to not cash in on this idea. I was thinking of doing a pledge week myself, asking you all to empty your wallets and credit card accounts and hell, your checking accounts too, so I can continue to do this during my working hours but at least have a little trust fund saved up for when I get fired.

    So what can I offer for you reading/viewing pleasure during the pledge drive that Andrew Sullivan can't? Well, yes there's the tits. Been there done that, though. I do have other entertaining ideas:

    1. Auction off my kids to the lowest bidder
    2. Record myself singing Guns N Roses' November Rain and threaten to put it up as a background sound on the site if you don't pay up.
    3. Give out stickers that say "Touch My SUV And I'll Break Your Fucking Head You Dimwit"
    4. Have my mother wash my mouth out with soap on public access tv
    5. Hold a live drinking contest with Juan Gato
    6. Stay awake for the entire pledge week, blogging continuously, until I either make enough money to retire or die on cam.
    7. Have my liberal friends guest-blog here for a week straight or until people donate enough money to get me to make them stop.

    Of course, this being just a website, you are not a captive audience and therefore you can just hit the back button or take me off your link list and not bother with my pledge to do ridiculous things in exchange for money.

    Which leads me to think that I should go with the tit flashing. No, I won't feel debased or demeaned by it. After all, it's For The Childrentm. They need more Yu Gi Oh! cards and American Idol swag.

    Maybe I can find some naked pictures of Andrew Sullivan and threaten to post them here, blackmailing him into giving me any money he makes during his pledge drive. It's for the blogosphere, you know. It's for each of us who wants to make a difference and be part of big journalism and have our voices heard.
    It's for the sheer joy of showing strangers my private body parts and making fun of my children in a public forum that they may someday come across.

    Sorry, lost track of myself there.

    Pledge week approaches. Get your Platinum American Express ready, because I don't come cheap.

    (I do hope you realize that my tongue is planted firmly in my cheek. Not anywhere else).

    whose human rights are we talking about here?

    Thousands protest war on Human Rights Day

    There were posters that read Stop the War in Iraq and the requisite No Blood for Oil, the astute Fuck A War, and my personal favorite, Iraqi Children are not Collateral Damage.

    One would think that on something called Human Rights Day, these protesters would not be out there - in essence - supporting the continuation of Saddam's murderous regime.

    Human Rights? How about sticking the children of political prisoners in tightly packed cells and starving them to death? Torture? Acid baths? Hanging and beheading right on the streets? Why aren't you over in Iraq protesting that?

    Oh, but what about the children of Iraq who are being starved by sanctions, you ask?

    Well, it seems to me that if their leader is living in splendor in palaces with servants and gold trim on the molding and luxuries that most people in America couldn't afford, then protesters should be asking not why the American government is starving Iraqi children, but why Saddam is living in the lap of luxury while his people live in poverty.

    Oh, perhaps they forgot that Saddam does not really give a damn about "his people." Yet there goes the Human Rights brigade, shouting at us to stop the suffering, to leave the people of Iraq alone, to think of the children.

    We are thinking of the children, kiddies.

    Remember Afghanistan? I was reading an article in National Geographic about the people of that country, and how they are faring post-invasion. For the most part, they talked about freedom. They talked about being able to walk the streets and show their faces and go to school. They were smiling. They were happy. They were relieved.

    Why wouldn't you want that for the people of Iraq, too? You talk about human rights and human suffering and blood for oil and protest and chant and march, but did you ever ask the people of that country if you really speak for them? I think you would be hard pressed to find an Iraqi who would say "no, please do not liberate us from Mr. Saddam, he is so good to us." Unless, of course, Saddam was standing close by with a watchful eye and a gun.

    Human rights, indeed. In my eyes, to call for America to not take Saddam out of power is to call for more and more Iraqis to die and suffer. And don't think it doesn't go unnoticed. I'm sure your buddy Saddam smiles wryly every time one of his lackeys tells him about anti-war protests.

    Breaking the law

    So Cardinal Law is stepping down as Chairman of Catholic University.

    Frankly, I think Catholic University should have asked for his resignation long ago. Why do people continue to give this man any leeway?

    Father O'Connell said that the announcement of the cardinal's resignation yesterday, after the board met, was not an effort by the university to distance itself from the embattled cardinal.

    "We just wanted to say, this man who is the focus of attention, who played a prominent role in this institution, has made a decision and we are sharing it with the public," he said.

    Why wouldn't they want to distance himself from a man who violated everything that being a Cardinal stands for? He has basically run the Boston Archdiocise into bankruptcy, he has allowed priestst to rape their parishioners, he has hidden evidence of those crimes. Isn't that criminal? Instead, the Vatican and Catholic University feel the need to point out all the good things he has done. I don't care he raised people from the dead and cured leprosy - anything has done would be totally outweighed by what he has not done; and that is to put the needs of victims ahead of the public relations of his diocese.

    He’s been in Rome all week, consulting with various Vatican officials. He may or may not meet with the Pope, but I suggest to the Pope that if he does meet with him, and Law bends down to kiss his feet or ring or whatever they do, that the Pope kicks him in the face and tells him to get the hell out of his office.

    Seeing as how the Catholic church has just been so reponsive to the victims of priests, they'll probably make Law a saint.

    tis the season, part 2

    As I’ve mentioned before, and you can see over in the sidebar, my good friend Shel is running his second annual Penny Drive for Charity. This year, Shel has expanded it to include causes as well as charities.

    Shel has asked that the people participating in the drive write a little bit about the cause or charity they chose and why.

    There are plenty of causes I support, but the one I chose is not a worldwide cause or a well-known organization. It’s just one person doing something wonderful.

    Rachel Lucas has recently recently started the Quiet Heroes Project:

    What happened this weekend to make me reevaluate my goals in life? Some introspection, to be sure. But the catalyst was Mr. Morseburg. He sent me some articles he's written about the war, the Pacific theatre in particular. I read his first-hand account about the feelings of American soldiers when Truman ordered the atomic bombings of Japan, and I realized these men were younger than I am now when they were risking their lives and losing their friends and brothers in the most atrocious ways.

    He also wrote to General Tibbetts about me and about what my professor said about the atomic bombings, and Tibbetts asked for my mailing address so he could send me a book. He is 87 years old now.

    So I ask myself, What next? Do I just take these stories and these gifts and then write another rant about Barbra Streisand? Do I hear Mr. Morseburg's stories and decide that's enough, and go back to watching my site meter and hating Al Gore? Do I write off my dream of recording as many stories as possible from the elders and continue to play with my web site and watch The Osbournes on Tuesday nights?

    No. I don't. It's time to do what I need to do, because time is running out. Starting with my own grandparents, I will begin to collect their stories.

    This might be a pipe dream and a hopeless endeavor. But I don't think it is. Even if I have to fund it myself, I will. A few hours each evening for as long as it takes, I'll visit nursing homes and retirement centers, and do e-mail interviews with men like Mr. Morseburg. I have no idea what the final form will take. Documentary? Book? My own personal scrapbook of history? I have the feeling it will reveal itself.

    This blog will not die, not yet. But for now, I am going to turn it into a tool for this project.

    But my focus has shifted and I know in my bones that it's time for me to do what I've wanted to do almost my whole life. It might not change the world, but hopefully, I can accomplish something worthwhile.

    I admire Rachel for taking this on and for having such a passion to do so. Before long, all the stories of WWII will be taken to the grave with the veterans of that war. What Rachel is compiling is not just a history of that time, but a collection of personal histories that should never be forgotten.

    So I'll be rolling up my pennies - and trust me, there are a lot of pennies to be rolled - and sending the money off to Rachel to support her wonderful project.

    If you have a favorite cause or charity, please think about participating in the Penny Drive. Spread some holiday cheer. Last year, over 80,000 pennies were donated. Let's help Shel reach or exceed that total this year.

    I mean, what were you going to do with those pennies anyhow, besides stick them back in the couch cushions?


    Whoever keeps coming here looking for "sexy grandma," please stop.

    Also, to the person who wanted to know "how to tell when your girl is a ho," I would say the first clue is that you are wondering at all. Another good sign is if you come down with a case of crabs after having sex with her. You can always ask Snoop. He is wise to those things. Bitches up, hos down!

    To the person who was looking for "Ted Rall fuckwad," come back anytime.

    Yes, yes. Real content coming, as soon as I get the first gallon of coffee into my veins.

    cov #12 and some morning drivel from me

    Has it really been a week already? Carnival of the Vanities #12 is up and running - icons and all - at Laurence's place.

    I'm still feeling like a crapstick today, but I've dragged myself out of bed and I'm going to work. I'll just spread some Christmas disease with my Christmas cheer. I've discovered that being in my office is far more relaxing than being at home. I think I'll bring a pillow and blanket and spend the night there.

    I've got things up my sleeve today, including my take on Andrew Sullivan's pledge drive. First, I've got the shake the nightmares out of my head - they included working for the Mafia and stealing golf clubs and not being able to find a bathroom when I really needed one - and I need to come to grips with the fact that I am out of coffee.

    That may take a while.

    Go read the Carnival for now.

    December 10, 2002

    once again, indymedia leaves me speechless

    Just when you think the posters at Indymedia can't get any lower, along comes this:

    click for large, horrifying poster

    The post on Indymedia links to a site called strike-free.net, which links to a page that says you have a right to go out and kill Bush and Rumsfeld, among others.

    I'm so disgusted by that poster that I have nothing more to say about it at the moment. I just wanted to share the hypocrisy.

    update: Brent came up with a counter-poster

    in your jesus christ pose

    Creed honored as Group of the Year at Billboard Awards

    An inside informant obtained a written copy of the speech lead singer Scott Stapp had prepared:

    I'd like to thank all the nubile lovely 13 and 14 year old girls who were gullible astute enough to recognize our music as a bland rip off of Pearl Jam orignal and our lyrics as pompous profound.

    I'd also like to thank all the naive kiddies fans who bought the crap were able to see that I am the second coming of Christ a role model for the youth of today.

    I feel a sense of overwhelming self-importance gratitude to the suckers fans who made us played out on every radio station from coast to coast so popular.

    Oh, and I woud like to thank Jesus Christ for not suing me for false impersonation his guidance.

    screw you guys, I'm going backstage to hit on Ashanti Thank you.

    cold contagious


    Achy, miserable, head exploding crap on a stick sick.

    Don't stay here, I'm contagious. Go over to Chuck Simmins's blog, read his post about Pearl Harbor and then help him set some of his commenters straight.

    today's required reading

    Bigwig gets the laugh of the day, at Stephen's expense:

    Stephen the VodkaPundit: A blogland Christmas Carol.

    Weblog Action cause of the week: support Iranian students

    Weblog Action Center Cause of the Week:

    My streak of picking the winners continues as The Emperor's Support the Brave Students of Iran becomes the cause of the week.

    A deserving cause, if ever I saw one:

    Armed with nothing but banners and a deeply rooted belief in Liberty and Freedom of Speech, these young folks are standing up, unafraid and undeterred, to the Mad Mullahs of Tehran, demanding that Iran move into the 21st century with the rest of the world.

    These are TRUE Freedom Fighters and I'm in awe of their courage!

    You can head over to this site to find out more about the students and support their cause.

    Other news stories about this subject:

    10,000 join student protest in Teheran
    Student day of protest (12/7)
    Students want referendum on Iran's future

    twas the night before the vicar burst into flames

    From BBC news via Instapundit:

    Youngsters at a Christmas carol service were devastated when the Reverend Lee Rayfield told them Santa Claus was dead.

    Mr Rayfield also told the youngsters that reindeer would burst into flames if they had to travel at the speeds necessary.

    Parents were livid, to say the least.

    The children were nestled all snug in their beds
    While visions of burning reindeer danced in their heads
    And mamma in with her nightstick and I with my bat
    Had just beaten the Vicar into a long winter's nap.

    See Diversionz and the post Santa Nazi for a funny take on this story and kids not believing in Santa

    the daily report

    (not to be confused with Joe's far more superior Harrelson report)

    The Slate Saddameter is inching towards 70%.

    Oh, don't forget that Laurence is hosting Carnival of the Vanities this week. Go send something in. Beware of animated icons!

    It's come to my attention that while I slept last night, Glenn Reynolds linked to my post about working for MADD (relating to his post on MADD being big business). I've been getting emails that the post is closed to comments (it's an archive issue, I think), so if you want to comment on it, do it here.

    tis the season for giving

    Operation Santa Claus: A Call to Action

    Kim and Scott have combed through the letters to Santa at the Manhattan post office. They are going shopping this coming Saturday to purchase presents for some less fortunate kids.

    After going through the whole thing with Natalie about $100 watches and her whining that I won't buy her one, I talked to her about this today and she has agreed to donate a portion of her allowance this week to the cause. I'm going to chip in, also.

    Go, take a look at the pictures from the post office and read about Kym and Scott's effort. Think about donating or at least mentioning it on your blog.

    Note to my sister Lisa: Don't bother calling me at work today. I'm home with your nephew and he's puking all over the place.

    ho ho ho, merry shopping!

    CNN: Brand name gifts are all the rage

    No shit.

    Natalie, just shy of 13, hands me her Christmas list. Her finalized, twenty times done over Christmas list. She had to redo it so many times because she lives in a dream world where Santa still exists and he's going to bring her a cell phone, a digital camera and laptop.

    Natalie, I thought since you stopped believing in Santa your lists would get more realistic.

    What's not realistic about it??

    I hand her a blank sheet of paper and tell her to start over again. Finally, she comes to me with the list she says is the ultimate, final, realistic list.

    First thing I see is the Eminem cd. I take a red Sharpie and cross it off.


    Sorry, can't have it.

    But what if you get the edited version?

    It's not the curses that bother me, it's the context.

    What does that mean?

    It means that even if he's not saying shitmotherfuckerbastardwhore he's still talking about things that a 13 year old just doesn't need to be singing about. Stick the American Idol songs, ok?

    And I know this is hypocritical of me. Among my kids' cd collection are offerings from Metallica and Linkin Park and Faith No More and Puddle of Mudd and a gathering of other bands whose lyrics would make my own mother blush. I can deal with these bands, mixed in with Natalie's American Idol sap and DJ's Les Miz soundtrack. I find Eminem's lyrics too real, too jarring, too good; something that makes sense only to me, I suppose.

    So I mark Natalie's list up again, crossing out and correcting spelling and reminding her that money does not grow on trees.

    Once more, with feeling. The next day after school she brings me a new, improved list with the items she must must must have because, well - it's what all the other girls have. Remember that in kidspeak, all the other girls could very well mean just one, most likely the popular one.

    The list has three things on it:

    Kate Spade pocketbook
    Baby-G watch
    Pea coat

    Natalie goes to do her homework and I start looking these things up on the internet.

    Did you know that Kate Spade pocketbooks start at $100.00? I call Natalie into the room.

    Please tell me there are not seventh grade girls walking around with Kate Spade pocketbooks.

    She rattles off the names of four girls who own such an item. What kind of parent spends $100 on a pocketbook for their 12 or 13 year old? Oh yes, a rich one. I gently remind Natalie that not only are we not rich, we are most likely not even middle class. She pouts, but looks a little embarassed at the revelation of how much this item costs.

    Next item, Baby-G watches, something I've never heard of before. Oh, look here. They range anywhere from $70 to $200. I call Natalie back into the room. I show her how much these watches cost.

    But it's a watch, mom. It could be my big present. Pleeeeaaase?

    I'm going to buy a $100 watch for a girl who has lost almost every piece of jewelry she ever owned?

    It's not really jewelry, it's, like...umm...important. I need a watch. I need that watch.

    What about the watch I got you last year?

    Oh my GOD, mom! You got that from BURGER KING!

    I stifle a laugh, she leaves the room in a huff (is there any other way for a teen to leave the room?) and start looking for where to get a pea coat in her size. The phone rings. It's Natalie and DJ's father, wanting to know what to get them for Christmas.

    I think for a minute. I know how he loves to play the good guy all the time and buy them expensive presents in lieu of spending any quality time with them (even though he has them every weekend). This irks me to no end and I sometimes chastise him about buying the kids' loyalty. But not this time. I decide to finally stop playing the cards I have against him. I fold.

    Natalie wants a Kate Spade pocketbook, a Baby-G watch and a pea coat.

    Twenty minutes later he calls back. He got Natalie the watch and the coat. Neither of us will spend the money on the pocketbook.

    Oh yes, I know that was probably the wrong thing to do, letting my ex buy her the materialistic, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses items that I wouldn't. And I know she is going to squeal in delight in when she opens them. But the point is, it's a middle ground thing. She gets the coat and the watch from her dad, she gets the Game Boy Advance and telephone for her bedroom that she was dying for from me and Justin, and she forgets all about the Kate Spade pocketbook and the Eminem cd.

    Ah yes, there was a point to this post and I've rambled and gone off in a direction that I didn't intend to. That point being - who is so hung up on labels and brand names that they would spend $100 on a pocketbook for their kid or $45 on a t-shirt, yes T-SHIRT, just because it says Abercrombie and Fitch? Maybe I need to be rich to understand those answers.

    Oh, and the other thing was, I probably overreacted with the Eminem cd. But much in the same way I will not let DJ, who is barely ten, have Adam Sandler movies on DVD, I will not let Natalie have Eminem cds. It's just a thing. And besides, I'm the mom. I can do what I want.


    December 09, 2002

    he took the words right off of my blog

    *update* the offending party took the whole post down. I still want an apology, damn it. Thanks to everyone who went over there and beat him with the Clue Bat.

    Weird happenings. I had a dream last night that someone was stealing my content.

    Lo and behold, I find this tonight:

    Ah,yes. To sleep, perchance to dream.

    In the days before the mean old USA decided Iraq needed a regime change, the little Iraqi children lead lives of bliss. The frolicked and played to their heart's desires and when nightfall came, they had a delicious, nutritious snack and mama tucked them into their warm, comfy beds. Then they drifted off to a peaceful sleep of bunnies and kitties and clowns and freedom.

    But not so anymore. Grumpy old USA is going to come in and take their benevolent leader out of office. The USA is going to disarm their country. The USA is going to lead them to something more of a democracy than they have now. And that horrid, wretched USA is going to rebuild their country and help them get good food and schools and freedoms they never knew about.

    Hang on while I take my tongue out of my cheek.

    What nightmares that must give a child. Oh, yes - the nightmares of a coming war do exist, I'm sure. But to insinuate that an Iraqi child does not sleep peacefully because of the impending war is ridiculous. I'm sure that living under the regime of a psychopath fills their little dreams with sugarplum fairies, too... *rolls eyes* I'm willing to bet that you would be hard pressed to find a single Iraqi child who sleeps peacefully at night, even before all this war talk started (again), and that's the truth.

    ...the whole fuckin' world's against us, dude, I swear to God...
    Now, it's time for me to study for finals.
    Insight out

    Sound familiar? Maybe it sounds like this post:

    Ah,yes. To sleep, perchance to dream.

    I'm too tired to even go over there and make a case about it. I'm torn between ignoring him and ripping his head off, but I got so aggravated in my dream about this last night I don't feel like going through that all again in waking life.

    I'm scaring you, aren't I?

    Nah, I think I'll go rip him a new one.

    don't make me start telling fart jokes.

    The sense of humor quotient around this place is seriously low.

    Laugh. Hahah. It's good for you. Recognize humor or tongues planted firmly in cheek or sarcasm. Put the claws and fangs away for a few minutes, ok?

    I promise, laughing doesn't hurt. It won't kill you. But 24-7 gravitas - that will.

    monday monkeys

    Giving someone a present they like is fun. But getting to watch that present thrive and grow on cam is even better!

    It's the Sea Monkey cam!

    tales of the gay gunslinger

    I was going to write something about Marvel introducing their gay gunslinger comic, The Rawhide Kid, but Chris captured the essence of my problems with this comic, in typical Chris manner:

    My favorite quote from the article, by the way, is this:

    Brian Reinert, Marvel's public relations officer, said that Marvel has always been "interested in tapping into stories that are relevant today." He expects the reactions to this comic to vary.

    Although many readers will accept the new sexuality of the Marvel hero, Reinert expects possible negative responses from people who don't accept homosexuality and readers who do not want to see a change in their beloved character.

    For starters, there's absolutely nothing "relevant" about how they're handling this character. And second... THE RAWHIDE KID IS NOBODY'S "BELOVED CHARACTER." HE'S A PIECE-OF-SHIT THIRD-STRINGER THAT NOBODY'S WRITTEN A STORY ABOUT IN TWENTY YEARS. I laugh, indeed, I laugh.

    And that's why I let it slide that he hasn't had a spare second to hang out with me since my wedding. He makes me grin.

    Jim Treacher, who also makes me grin, weighs in on the gay gunslinger also.

    And yes, Jim, your margins are still screwed up. Would have answered that on your blog but you're a silly man who asks questions that need answering and has no comments.

    (Insert Aquaman is gay comment here)

    beyond the law

    Cardinal Bernard Law consulted with the Vatican on Monday during an abrupt trip to Rome, stirring speculation that he was stepping down or arranging for the Boston Archdiocese to declare bankruptcy.

    Step down? He should be tried for aiding and abetting criminals.

    "He's lost his diocese," said the Rev. Robert Bullock, a leader of the Boston Priests Forum, a group that represents about 300 of the approximately 600 priests in the archdiocese. "He's in hiding. He can't appear in public here. We need new leadership."

    I hope no one is surprised about this turn of events.

    C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League and an outspoken Law supporter, said he considers Law the person best suited to fix the scandal.

    "Were he to leave now, it would simply be in the lap of his successor to clear up these problems," Doyle said. "The cardinal, by staying, is really making a sacrifice for the church, allowing his future successor to come in with a clean slate."

    Do you think the superintendent of a school district where teachers were rampantly molesting children was found to have been complicit in those acts, that he would be allowed to stay on to "clear up the problems?"

    Would a CEO accused of embezzling be allowed to stay with the company to help clean things up?

    If he hasn't cleaned the slate by now, it's highly unlikely he would do it in the future. In fact, he muddied the slate so much by not cleaning it up as he went along that it probably isn't even a fixable situation.

    How people can continue to defend this man, who let his employees rape, molest, impregnate and sodomize the people who trusted them is beyond me. He should be arrested and thrown in jail, not off in Italy having an audience with the Pope.

    when celebrities speak, people listen. And laugh.

    Stop the Presses! Hold the war talk! Celebrities have written a letter to Bush and he MUST.STOP.NOW.

    Because world affairs revolve around what two-bit celebrities have to say, you know?

    Mike Farrell and Anjelica Huston will release a letter Tuesday signed by a hundred celebrities who want President Bush to stop his war rhetoric toward Iraq.

    The letter reportedly is signed by stars including Kim Basinger, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Lange and Martin Sheen, publicists for the event said Monday.

    I can hear the conversation in the White House now:

    Condi Rice: President, we have to stop carrying on like this. We are hurting Mike Farrell's feelings!
    Rumsfeld: And Ethan Hawke! His vast knowledge of war and foreign affairs is something we should not take lightly!
    Bush: And let's not forget Uma Thurman. If she says the children of Iraq would be better off if we didn't force a regime change, then by God, we must stop now!

    What kind of bloated ego does it take for these celebrities to think that their pleas and petitions could make any possible difference? Who the hell is going to take to the foreign policy ideas of Matt Damon seriously? I don't even take him seriously when he says he's an actor.

    Farrell, who plays a veterinarian on the NBC drama ``Providence,'' previously compiled a celebrity-endorsed letter in June asking U.S. senators to vote against a plan to bury the nation's nuclear power waste at Nevada's Yucca Mountain.

    Co-signers of that letter included Alec Baldwin and Tim Robbins, Rob Reiner, Barbra Streisand and Harry Belafonte.

    On July 9, senators voted 60-39 in favor of the Yucca Mountain project.

    Ok guys, go back to making crappy straight-to-cable movies and whining on your websites. Your fifteen minutes of political fame are over.

    he said what? part 22

    Jimmy Carter on the Middle East:

    "One of the key factors that...arouses intense feelings of animosity in the world is the festering problem in the Holy Land, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the inability of Israel to live in peace with its neighbors," he said.

    Someone please tell him it's awfully hard to live in peace when your enemies are constantly strapping bombs to themselves and blowing your neighborhood up. Thank you.

    Link from The Shark, whose brother joins the IDF today.

    Today's required reading

    "Where do you get your signs printed up? I want to make a sign that reads 'Kill Kurds, not Mumia.' How much do you think that would cost?"

    lies, generalizations and SUVs

    In which I take to task not only a book but a review of the book as well.

    Let's start with the obvious disclaimer. I own an SUV.

    Have you ever wondered why sport utility vehicle drivers seem like such assholes? Surely it's no coincidence that Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, tours Washington in one of the biggest SUVs on the market, the Cadillac Escalade, or that Jesse Ventura loves the Lincoln Navigator. Well, according to New York Times reporter Keith Bradsher's new book, High and Mighty, the connection between the two isn't a coincidence. Unlike any other vehicle before it, the SUV is the car of choice for the nation's most self-centered people; and the bigger the SUV, the more of a jerk its driver is likely to be.

    That's just the start of the review.

    First of all, if I seem like an asshole it's because I am an asshole and it has nothing to do with my choice of vehicles. But I guess it's a good thing I only drive a measley 92 Ford Explorer and not one of those Expeditions, because I rank only sort-of-a-jerk on the SUV food chain.

    I never did think of myself as a self-centered person, but I guess I need to go over that again. Hmmm...who is more self-centered: me in my SUV or that guy driving in front of me with the Greenpeace sticker on his bumper whose car obviously hasn't been serviced in ten years and is farting all kind of fumes and exhaust into my window?

    According to market research conducted by the country's leading automakers, Bradsher reports, SUV buyers tend to be "insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors and communities. They are more restless, more sybaritic, and less social than most Americans are. They tend to like fine restaurants a lot more than off-road driving, seldom go to church and have limited interest in doing volunteer work to help others."

    If I didn't know better, I would think they were talking about Lexus or Mercedes drivers.

    Let's do a checklist:
    Vain: probably
    Insecure: no
    Nervous about my marraige: I wasn't married when I bought the Explorer
    Uncomfortable about parenthood: Isn't everyone?
    Lack confidence in my driving skills: No, I lack confidence in the driving skills of everyone else.
    Self-absorbed: Only when I'm driving and trying to stay alive by avoiding assholes in sports cars. That is, if you consider trying to stay alive during your commute self-absorbed.
    Sybaritic: If I was sybaritic I wouldn't be driving a ten year old vehicle.
    Fine restuarants: Is Taco Bell considered a fine restaurant?

    He says, too, that SUV drivers generally don't care about anyone else's kids but their own, are very concerned with how other people see them rather than with what's practical, and they tend to want to control or have control over the people around them. David Bostwick, Chrysler's market research director, tells Bradsher, "If you have a sport utility, you can have the smoked windows, put the children in the back and pretend you're still single."

    Well yes, I am a control freak. But so are a million other people who don't drive SUVs.

    Oh, and I can have the smoked windows, put the children in the back and pretend like I'm the warden taking them away to the orphanage because they wouldn't stop throwing things at each other. I'll let you in on a little secret; those smoked windows are to keep you from seeing that our kids are mooning you and giving you the finger as you weave in and out of traffic, in your little convertible, putting our lives in danger. Also, you wouldn't want to see my son throwing up on his sister. Again.

    Armed with such research, automakers have, over the past decade, ramped up their SUV designs to appeal even more to the "reptilian" instincts of the many Americans who are attracted to SUVs not because of their perceived safety, but for their obvious aggressiveness. Automakers have intentionally designed the latest models to resemble ferocious animals. The Dodge Durango, for instance, was built to resemble a savage jungle cat, with vertical bars across the grille to represent teeth and big jaw-like fenders. Bradsher quotes a former Ford market researcher who says the SUV craze is "about not letting anything get in your way, and at the extreme, about intimidating others to get out of your way."

    Aggressiveness? It's hard to feel aggressive when you have three kids screaming about Yu-Gi-Oh! cards in the back seat and the Radio Disney blaring from the speakers.

    My friend owns a Durango. She bought it because she liked the extra seat in the back; she can carpool and be able to buckle all the kids in safely (oops, I forgot, she's not supposed to care about anyones kids but her own!). I'm sure my she never did get the "looks like a ferocious beast" thing when she picked the car out. Jaws, teeth, jungle cat - now you're just getting silly.

    Not surprisingly, most SUV customers over the past decade hail from a group that is the embodiment of American narcissism: baby boomers. Affluent, and often socially liberal, baby boomers have embraced the four-wheel-drive SUV as a symbol of their ability to defy the conventions of old age, of their independence and "outdoorsiness," making the off-road vehicle a force to be reckoned with on the American blacktop.

    Actually, I bought an SUV because I have a serious case of penis-envy. But that's just me.

    Ironically, SUVs are particularly dangerous for children, whose safety is often the rationale for buying them in the first place. Because these beasts are so big and hard to see around (and often equipped with dark-tinted glass that's illegal in cars), SUV drivers have a troubling tendency to run over their own kids. Just recently, in October, a wealthy Long Island doctor made headlines after he ran over and killed his two-year-old in the driveway with his BMW X5. He told police he thought he'd hit the curb.

    Oh, come on now. That's stretching it a bit. I can recall at least two similar incidents right here on Long Island where people with regular cars ran their kids over. I'd like to see the statistics on people with compact cars who run down their own kids v. people with SUVs who do the same, and break it down by income level while you're at it. Because it had so much bearing on the story that the guy was a "wealthy doctor."

    But if soccer moms and office-park dads really need to ferry a lot of people around, they could simply get a large car or a minivan, which Bradsher hails as a great innovation for its fuel efficiency, safety, and lower pollution. (And minivans don't have a disproportionately high kill rate for motorists or pedestrians when they get into accidents.) According to industry market research, minivan drivers also tend to be very nice people. Minivans are favored by senior citizens and others (male and female, equally) who volunteer for their churches and carpool with other people's kids. But that's the problem. SUV owners buy them precisely because they don't want the "soccer mom" stigma associated with minivans.

    Hey, I used to have a minivan! A 94 Plymouth Voyager. The ex took off with it when he left. Does this mean I used to be a nice person but now I'm not? My ex is nice? Hold on there, buddy. Now you're talking complete nonsense.

    As for the "soccer mom" stigma, everyone knows that soccer moms don't drive mini-vans anymore. They drive those ferocious Durangos.

    While Bradsher does a magnificent job of shattering the myths about SUVs, he has a difficult time proposing a solution. Sport utility vehicles have become like guns: Everyone knows they're dangerous, but you can't exactly force millions of Americans to give them up overnight.

    Nah. Not even gonna touch that one.

    ...activists have begun to leave nasty flyers on SUV windshields berating drivers for fouling the environment and other offenses.

    Yes, and to prove what great storage space my SUV has, you should see how many dead activists can fit in the back of my Explorer.

    Relax, I'm kidding.

    Anyhow, I have to head out to work now. Can't wait to run down a few old ladies while I'm driving like a maniac and talking on my cell phone to a friend about which expensive restaurant we will meet at for lunch. Then I'll pretend I'm single and flirt with egotistical, self-centered men driving similar SUVs as I shout "Fuck America and fuck your safety!"


    But that penis-envy thing - that's all true.

    (And before you all start leaving comments about the oooiiiiiiillll, I get better mileage on the Explorer than I got on the car I drove before it).

    *update* Improved Clinch had a bit to say previously on the subject - and it's a slow day as I have spotty internet connection at work today.


    Before I start writing here each morning, I do one thing - I have my daily moment of zen. And that zen comes in the form of Fragments From Floyd - a beautifully written blog from Fred, who describes his site as such:

    Country life written in words and images from Floyd County, Virginia: home to one stop light, no Walmart, and progressive life in the slow lane. Make yourself at home.

    Fred has left a present for us all this morning; a beautiful portrait of life in the woods. Go, have your moment of zen today and every day. Tell him I sent you.

    December 08, 2002

    Sopranos season finale: a short review

    Wow. That sucked.


    Mikkidee is a frequent commenter here. He and Rita finally have their own blog: The Church of the Blinding White Light of Stupidity. Go, read.

    What About the Children?

    From the Seattle Post-Inelligencer (via the delectible Juan Gato)


    Ah,yes. To sleep, perchance to dream.

    In the days before the mean old USA decided Iraq needed a regime change, the little Iraqi children lead lives of bliss. The frolicked and played to their heart's desires and when nightfall came, they had a delicious, nutritious snack and mama tucked them into their warm, comfy beds. Then they drifted off to a peaceful sleep of bunnies and kitties and clowns and freedom.

    But not so anymore. Grumpy old USA is going to come in and take their benevolent leader out of office. The USA is going to disarm their country. The USA is going to lead them to something more of a democracy than they have now. And that horrid, wretched USA is going to rebuild their country and help them get good food and schools and freedoms they never knew about.

    Hang on while I take my tongue out of my cheek.

    What nightmares that must give a child. Oh, yes - the nightmares of a coming war do exist, I'm sure. But to insinuate that an Iraqi child does not sleep peacefully because of the impending war is ridiculous. I'm willing to bet that you would be hard pressed to find a single Iraqi child who has gone to sleep peacefully at night before all this war talk started.

    The What About The Children rhetoric is getting old. What about our children? I don't know about you, but my kids ask me a lot of questions. They are terrified of the world. They fear planes flying overhead. They dream of terrorism. The mere mention of the World Trade Center still gives them the chills.

    I'm tired of people victimizing the enemy by using children as weapons in their war of words. And I am more tired of Americans viewing their country as the Big Bad Bully. Bullies don't rebuild nations after taking out a tyrannical leader. You want bullies? How about the guy who tortures his own people?

    What do Iraqi kids have nightmares about? Probably acid baths and beheadings and all forms of torture. That comes at the hand of their own leader, not the mean old USA. And I bet any amount of money that the parents of those little Iraqi children are praying for the USA to come in and give them the freedom they have been craving.

    peace, love and throw stones at your enemies

    What cracks me up about the far-left movement is that they propose to be all about political correctness. Except when it applies to someone they don't like.

    And they have no sense of humor. But I guess there is no room for humor when you are trying to avoid hurting the feelings of every living thing on the planet. Except the J-E-W-S, of course and Indymedia brings out the most caustic of anti-Semites.

    The current thread of ignorance stems from the Rainbow Shops dispute in the Bay Area. (See, Food Fight in Tofu Land, SFGate.com, 12/5/02).

    The thread starts off with a poster calling for people to support Rainbow Food's boycott of products imported from Israel. To be fair, Rainbow Food is a co-op, and not all the members of the co-op are in agreement on this issue, so only certain departments of the store are taking part in the boycott. In turn, Rainbow Foods has taken some flack for its stance, and the supporters of both the boycott and Palestine want people to show up at the store and spend money there to send a message. Fair enough.

    The first comment goes like this:

    This is a public call to steal and destroy as much property at Rainbow Grocers (1745 Folsom St. at 13th St. in San Francisco) as possible. As a concerned anarchist neo-liberal, this is protected public speech. This form of protest will show the world that it is WRONG to exploit dead vegetation for profits. [emphasis added]

    Obviously a joke, a parody, some tongue in cheek humor, whatever you want to call it.

    This is followed up with this comment, from one Nessie, whom I have taken to taks here quite a few times before:

    >anarchist neo-liberal,
    There is no such thing.
    >this is protected public speech.
    No, it's not.
    It's assault on my NoBAWC comrades. If you do it in front of me, I'll hurt you

    An astute reader responds with:

    Of all the characters on this forum, I love Nessie the most. One post was an obvious parody of the vegan lifestyle and a shot at the violent nature of ALF, ELF, PETA, and other activist groups in our fair town. What I found the most side-splitting is that Nessie threaten to injure somebody! If splashing dye onto an ermine coat or trashing a Starbucks is political speech, then torching a grocery store is too, right? Well, both are wrong, but it is a rich tapestry of inept protest and inarticulate ethical theories that make this site a bounty of spurious thought.

    Think Nessie would get the hint at that point. Nope. Here is Nessie's next reply:

    This is not funny, nor do I expect it was intended to be. Zionists and their supporters are cold blooded, amoral and ruthless. Blood drips from their fangs. Anybody who doesn’t take their threats seriously needs a history lesson.

    When in doubt, resort to name calling. I think that mantra is written somewhere in the How To Be A Far Left Liberal handbook. And it deteriorates from there.

    Posted by someone cleverly named FUCKISRAEL:

    So some fucking jews are upset because they can't find some "kosher" snacks to feed their fat fucking ugly-ass faces with at the local natural food store? These bourgeois jews love to eat guilt-free according to their "religion" and "social conscience". HA! If they had a "social conscience" they would return "Isreal" back to its rightful owners, the Palestinians. But they won't. They don't give a fuck about human rights.

    And it sucks hearing that Rainbow is backing down from a total boycott. Now they're running a damage control P.R. campaign to not lose any jewish business. Even though they are a collective organization, they still have to play the game to remain in business in this Kapitalist society.

    Ok, fuckstick. Let's talk human rights. Let's talk about suicide bombers who purposefully attack schools and buses full of children. Let's talk about being proud of your child growing up to be a cowardly killer. Human rights, my ass. You, my terrorist-loving friend, are about as intelligent as a used tampon. If you want to get into a debate, or even a knock-down, drag-out fight about Israel v. Palestine, fine, go for it. But I can see by your lovely string of epitaphs and slurs that you, too, have read the far-left how-to book. Here's a clue guys - it's not working.

    And then:

    These people ("Zionists") are violent. They don't give a rat's patooty what you or I think. If they're gonna do it (protest with violence), they're gonna do it. Our opinion is not part of their equation.

    If they do it, and I happen to be present, I’m going to get violent right back at them. It’s the right thing to do. Everyone should. People who allow their comrades to become victims of violence, and do nothing about it, are scum.

    Where is this violence? I haven't seen any stories about Jews gathering in front of Rainbow Foods ready to do battle in a Middle East version of West Side Story.
    And you call Israelis violent? Why is it that these people cannot see the violence perpetrated by the people they are supporting? Or is it that they think suicide bombing is somehow justified?

    On the subject of violence comes this comment:

    Fascist vigilantes aren’t the main problem, either, but they are a problem, a real problem, sometimes a fatal one. As such, they must be dealt with, and not ignored. Ignoring them is dangerous. On occasion, it is fatal. Unlike the police, however, fascist vigilantes can be dealt with, and it’s not rocket science.

    It often requires violence, though, because non violence does not work against violent people, especially fascists and racists. It’s a waste of time and it can get you killed. Fascists, racists, and thugs in general, are violent by nature. They are also driven. Talk alone never dissuades them. Thump therapy does.

    Hmm..aren't you guys the ones who hold up peace signs and call for an end to all wars? Your gentle, loving nature sure takes a turn for the worse when it has hatred spurring it on. You are all hypocrites of the highest order.

    The thing that really pisses me off is the way in which the far-left, on the one hand, preaches tolerance and acceptance and peace, love and flowers.

    Except for the J-E-W-S. It's ok to kill them It's ok to threaten them with violence. It's ok to call them names and insult every one of them. It's when talking about Jews that the real stripes of the far-left come through. They may call themselves peaceful, but in this instant, I call them hateful and violent.



    Scrappleface is on a roll today. His last two entries made both laugh out loud and envy his wit.

    If his site is not a must read for you every day, it should be.

    *Umm, I think that would be laughing my ass off rolling on futon licking orange lollipops peeing my pants spewing my coffee.

    Something like that.

    the christmas party that wasn't, but should have been

    Thanks to dania, I was able to make my own letter to Santa, madlib style:

    Dear Santa,

    I have been a good girl.

    It really wasn't my fault what happened at Bonnie's Christmas party. It was Robyn who spiked the punch with too much tequila. I can't help it if I drank 7 glasses. It was so good---smelled and tasted just like vomit.

    I thought it was funny when I put Bonnie's bra on my head and danced the Macarena on the couch while singing Teenage Enema Nurse'. I didn't mean to break Bonnie's vibrator and don't know why Bonnie would sue me for statutory rape.

    I don't remember calling Todd's wife a sexy sheep---even though she looked like one with green eye shadow and purple lipstick!

    And when I threw up on Stacy's husband's crotch, it was only because I ate too much of that meatloaf.

    After all that fun, I admit I was a little tired. So I fell asleep on my way home and drove my SUV through my neighbor's kitchen. I don't think that was any reason for my neighbor to call me a moldy cow and have me arrested for public lewdness!

    So, Santa...here I sit in my jail cell on Christmas Eve, all horny and drunken. And I'm really not to blame for any of this sadly stuff. Please bring me what I want the most---bail money!

    Sincerely and freakishly yours,
    michele (Really a nice girl!)

    P.S. It's only 12 bucks!

    The sad thing is, this could probably happen in real life. Save for the Robyn wearing hideous make up.

    santa claus is coming - get a tissue!

    If anyone out there lives in Oslo I need to have a picture of this:

    A clothing store in downtown Oslo decided on an avant-garde window-dressing display to welcome in the Christmas season. Borrowing a few inflatable dolls from the condom specialists next door, the shop staged an unorthodox display.

    One doll is dressed as Santa from the waist up. The other is on its knees in front of Father Christmas, with its face buried under Santa's red velvet gown. A sign proclaims: 'Santa Klauz is coming soon!'
    "This is going too far," Laila Hansen told newspaper VG's web site. She thought the display was a prank that would provoke the wrath of the shop owner. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Hugo Grimsrud, manager of the clothing store on Oslo's main street, Karl Johan's Gate, told VG Nett that the display was carefully planned.

    "I think we've been very clever," Grimsrud said. "Of course I understand that some may offended but the idea is to be humorously provocative. We have started our countdown to Christmas and Santa is coming!"

    Link via one of the only Liberals who still likes me

    this day in history

    22 years ago today, John Lennon was murdered.

    I was never much of a Beatles fan, but that moment of Lennon's death stays with me for many reasons. Here is what I wrote last year, on the anniversary of his murder:

    When an event happens that shapes your life, or plays a significant role in it, you tend to remember every little detail of the moment it happens. Twenty-one years ago last night. December 8, 1980. I was in my bedroom, lying on the bed with the headphones on, listening to WNEW. It was Jim Morrison's birthday, and the station was running a two hour special devoted to him. I was obsessed with Morrison at that time, and was taping the special I was listening. I know I was wearing an old Led Zeppelin t-shirt and sweat pants and I was writing a poem as I listened to the radio.

    My room faced the front of the house, and the Christmas lights that hung from the roof glowed red and green and white over my bedroom window. There was a decoration hanging on the window; a big white star made out of plastic pieces melded together. The colors of the bulbs outside made the star look psychedlic. I had smoked enough pot that night to stare at the star for a length of time, imagining the colors blending into one another. My concentration would be broken every now and then by headlights beaming down the street, and I would run to the window and peer out. We were waiting for my cousin Michael, my favorite cousin, to arrive by car from Florida. I was anxious to see him and disappointed that each susbequent headlight did not belong to his car.

    All the while, Jim Morrison's life story played out in the background, and I stopped looking down the street for my cousin at some point and started paying attention to the radio. I remember it was late, probably close to 11:00. I may have drifted off at some point and I was jolted fully awake by a shaky voice announcing that someone tentatively identified as John Lennon had been shot outside the Dakota apartment building in New York City. I waited, nearly numb, hoping for more news. Soon after, it was confirmed. I went inside to tell my parents, but they already knew. I think they announced it on Monday Night Football.

    I was never much of a Beatles fan. But sometime in high school I went through a hippie phase and took a liking to John Lennon and his ideas. The fact that he spoke out for peace and died so violently was one of the first things that struck me when I heard the news.

    The event didn't change my life the way it did the lives of Beatles fans. It didn't impact me in quite the same way as someone who was mourning Lennon the man, or the music he created. I mourned something else. I think up until that point, I still had a sense of innocence about me. I was still naive about the ways of the world. I was still all about peace and love and tranquility. I assumed the rest of the world was too. I thought we could all live in harmony and love one another and make the world a better place for future generations.

    Something happened to me the night John Lennon died. I lost a lot of that idealism. I couldn't get past the fact that someone who was so fervent about living peacefully could have his life taken from him in such a way. I couldn't fathom that something like this could happen. How did we let our world get to this point, that people could just walk around murdering one another?

    It was then, that very night, that my eyes opened to a new vision of the world. When Lennon died, whatever was left of the peace movement died, too. I dropped my peace sign mentality some time after that night. I gave up and gave in and became cynical like every grown-up I knew. It wasn't all because of Lennon; there were other things that lead up to it also. But the death of John Lennon - the murder of John Lennon sure as hell played a very significant role in shaping my psyche for the rest of my life.

    That, more than anything, is why I remember every little detail of that night. Somehow I knew, I felt it in my gut the moment I heard the news. I knew that I would never be the same again. I ingrained that moment in my brain somewhere, marking it down as a "this day in history" of my meager little life.

    21 years now that I'm a cranky bastard.

    Make that 22.

    Jack also has a post on this subject.

    December 07, 2002

    til death do us win

    -Add your alternative Christmas songs to my list-

    I've submitted my nine entries for the Death Pool. I don't know if I'm supposed to tell you or not until the pool actually starts in January. I've got three sports figures on my list, though and not as many politicians as I thought I would end up with.

    Go join, it's gonna be guilt-inducing, hell-burning fun.

    Oh, watch out, Laurence thinks he is clever and he put a really loud background sound on the page.

    But Miss World gets headlines

    Today is Pearl Harbor Day and it wasn't until now, at 6pm that I finally saw a link on CNN about it.

    Fox News has nothing on its main page about Pearl Harbor. Neither does the Washington Post. A New York Times Op-ed uses the occasion to launch into a rant about Iraq and Henry Kissinger and Saudis.

    Just noting.


    Of course, leave it to the bloggers to come through. John Hawkins at Right Wing News took a break from his normal weekend hiatus to post about Pearl Harbor Day.

    Alternative Christmas CDs, 2002 Edition

    It's time for Christmas music. No, not that kind of music. You won't find Little Drummer Boy or Frost the Snowman on my Christmas cds.

    This will be Alternative Christmas 2. I've started with some repeats from last year, and will add suggestions from you.

    What I'm looking for is either Christmas classics redone in a completely new style or songs that deal with the less jolly side of Christmas (for instance, that Weird Al song about Santa going crazy at the mall, any South Park Christmas song, etc.) or just plain weird holiday songs. Please, no Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.

    I've started the list with these tunes:

    Spinal Tap - Christmas With the Devil
    Vandals - Christmastime For My Penis
    Pennywise - Christmas in Hell
    Captain Sensible - One Christmas Catalogue
    Fear - Fuck Christmas
    King Diamond- No Presents For Christmas
    Christmas in Hollis - Run-D.M.C.
    Snoop Doggy Dogg - Santa Claus Goes Straight To The Ghetto
    Zebrahead - I Hate Christmas
    Wesley Willis - Merry Christmas

    I think you see where I'm going here. These will not be cds to play when grandma and grandpa come over. Or your parents, for that matter.

    I made two cds last year. If I can get enough suggestions for songs that don't repeat the 2001 cds, I'll make it three and give some copies away in a bah-humbug-ish sort of Christmas spirit.

    Have at it, and don't be afraid to give me the most bizzare selections you can find. That's why it's called Alternative.

    (Yes, I will be illegally downloading these songs. But if you have an mp3 to pass along to ease my corporate guilt, please send it my way)

    *updated* Led has a great Christmas song list going on - he also has a radio station to play the songs on. A lot of those tunes were on my list last year, like Bad Religion, The Frogs, and Type O Negative. I think I'll add the Weezer song to this year's.

    John Fogde also has a list (and a great blog) and I'll scoop the Badly Drawn Boy song from him.

    making a list...too late

    If you want a gift for Christmas that can only be found in say, Japan or some other million mile away country, it's best to tell the person who would be buying it for you sometime BEFORE DECEMBER 7th!

    I'm trying to find this book for Justin. Every site I go to, the price ranges from 41$ to 73$. The one site that has it in stock and can get it to my by Christmas, does not take my preferred payment method.

    What's frustrating is this would be the present to give him, because he really, really wants it. And now, for waiting so long to give me his list, he is going to end up with a lump of coal.

    I hate shopping.

    the final countdown

    Sunday's forecast: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of war.

    Last Monday, Bush said that the declaration of WoMD Saddam will submit tomorow must be credible and complete, or he will prove that a leopard cannot, indeed, change it's spots and that Saddam has rejected the path of peace.

    Let's look at the use of the word credible. According to Dictionary.com, it means:

    Capable of being believed; plausible.
    Worthy of confidence; reliable.

    Has Saddam ever been capable of being believed? By insisting that he worthy of confidence, Bush has pretty much given the green light to blast away.

    My personal feeling is that Bush and others already know the things that Blix and company don't. They know where the WoMDs or at least the ingredients for WoMDs are hidden. Sending Blix and his troops out there was just a way of playing nice so the proper documents, sans any admissions, get into the U.S.

    As soon as that ten ton lie gets into the right hands, it won't matter whether it has 13,000 pages or ten pages. They will know exactly what paragraph, line and word to look for and when it does not appear, the ommission of that information means Saddam better start looking for an underground bunker.

    Of course, that's just my theory. Everyone has one these days.

    Christmas Decoration Hell tipsters come through

    Kim and Scott have achieved the title of Grand Master TIPSters in the Christmas Decoration Hell project.

    Not only did they go out and take pictures in their neighborhood, but they dedicated a little spot on the web to their findings.

    They took pictures of five houses all together, but House 5 is definitely the winner in this bunch, for the overall effect of making their home look like the Small World ride at Disney was having a garage sale.

    Congrats to Kym and Scott for a job well done.

    in my dreams i write comics

    Today is make your own comic day. For me, at least.

    Yea, you have to be a gamer to get it. I thought it was slightly funny, at least.


    See here for readable version.

    December 06, 2002

    everybody into the pool

    Laurence is starting a 2003 dead pool.

    I was going to put Ted Rall on my list of nine, but rule #5 of the pool says:

    You may not kill them yourselves, nor may you contribute to their deaths.

    Oh well. I'm still in, though

    Tanya has a bomb pool running for the next 48 hours. I think she's pretty confident that this war is coming. I got dibs on midnight Saturday.

    say yes

    Isn't my nephew the cutest thing you've ever seen?


    in memory of

    On December 6, 1989, fourteen women in Montreal died at the hands of Marc Lepine.

    I was seven months pregnant at the time.

    One of the women who was killed was named Nathalie Croteau.

    I didn't know Nathalie, didn't know she existed until she was murdered and her picture appeared on the front page of my local paper. But my daughter, Natalie, is named after her.

    Today is a day of rememberance for those women.

    in other words

    From CNN:

    After Iraq hands over its declaration on weapons of mass destruction programs Saturday, U.N. weapons inspectors will analyze and edit out parts of it before distributing it to members of the U.N. Security Council.

    Hans Blix, chief U.N. weapons inspector, said Friday the 15-member council agreed to the procedure after discussing "the risks of releasing parts of this declaration that might help to achieve proliferation of nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons."

    So, if they don't have any nuclear, biological or chemical weapons then what exactly are those passages of the declaration about?

    The United States, Russia, and other countries are concerned about releasing information that would provide "a training manual for how to build weapons of mass destruction," a Western diplomatic source told CNN.

    Weapons of mass destruction? Those things they claim to have none of? That peaceful, humanity loving Saddam would have no knowledge of any such things. Inconceivable!

    So the passages will read something like this:

    We used (deleted) and (deleted) plus a little (deleted) to make (deleted).

    The U.N. will assure the President that it originally said "We used eggs and flour and a little sugar to make a cake. You know, for the Canadian ladies that were coming!"

    I mean, the only time I have a recipe for chocolate souffle and all the necessary ingredients laying around is if I'm actually going to make chocolate souffle.

    Maybe he had the plutonium because he was planning on buying a DeLorean to back to the good old days of the 16th century.

    And maybe that mustard gas was just a big mistake on the palace chef's part, who thought he was ordering the fixings for a big barbecue.

    The declaration will contain more than 10,000 pages -- 4,000 pages of information along with 7,000 to 8,000 pages of supporting documents, Iraqi officials said.

    That's an awful lot of words to just say "Fuck you, United States!"

    Oh, on a side note, Juan Gato is back blogging, which means I have to start drinking to keep up with him again.

    Oh, Canada

    Opposition to a war on Iraq has a long way to go before it rivals the draft-card burnings and demonstrations against the war in Vietnam in the 1960s, but a new anti-war movement is growing muscle. Some Canadians already have left for Iraq to serve as human shields against bomb attacks on Baghdad. More will follow before Christmas.

    I got news for these people. When the bombing starts, no one is going to stop and say, "Oh, look! Anti-war activists! STOP THE BOMBING!"

    I'm trying real hard to understand the point in doing this. Sure, they're against the war, I get that. Are they really so firm in their convictions that they would go protect a tyrannical dictator who has been known to drop his own citizens in vats of acid and torture young children?

    What's their next mission? Form a protective circle around Arafat? Jump the fences at Camp Gitmo?

    One of the women said “I’m not too scared. I think it will be a powerful experience.”

    Yes, dear. Powerful. As in KABOOM.

    ted rall redux


    How fourth grade of me. But fun!

    Thank you, Dennis.

    the charlie brown and penis show

    Ok, one more thing. Just in case you didn't see thithis comment from Fredo in the middle school sex post, it is so worth repeating:

    This is slightly off-topic, but related -- when I reached school age,
    my father wanted me to understand the proper clinical terms for the

    Dad: You know the part of your body that hangs between your legs?
    Me: Yes.
    D: Well, all boys have it. It's called a "penis."
    M: A what?
    D: A "penis."
    M: Oh.... OH! You mean like the Charlie Brown comics?

    I'm sorry, Fredo. That made my day.

    think small, act big

    Start rolling your pennies on December 9.

    I particpated in this last year and I will again this year. It's a great cause from a great guy.

    That's it for now, I'm off to our annual luncheon.

    middle school sex: it's the parenting, stupid

    Sex in Middle School?

    Anya Alvarez, a 13-year-old girl from Tulsa, Okla., agreed to record a video diary for 20/20. In it, she describes her transition from childhood to adolescence. "When I was 5," Anya said, "it was like, 'Should I give him a toy or not? Now, it's should I smoke weed? Should I have sex? Should I lie to my parents?"

    My daughter is in the seventh grade and will be 13 in two months. I don't think she even knows that "weed" is another term for pot.

    Anya said, "There's one girl at our football games that like gave oral sex to five different football players."

    Students told us that some kids are having sex in school bathrooms and hallways — even in classrooms.

    All I keep hearing about is this rash of middle school sexual activity, but I've seen no evidence of it on my end.

    What do you say to the girl who feels she has to "put out" to be popular and to please boys?

    This is what I said when Natalie asked me what a virgin is: It's what you will be until you get married, dear.

    Of course, I then told her the real defintion and we had another frank talk about sex and sexual image and respecting yourself.

    Even though we parents and kids may be embarrassed, Roffman says we have to convince our kids that can't have more freedom and responsibility until they have information.

    I'm not embarassed at all to talk to my kids about sex and in return, they are not afraid to ask me anything or tell me their feelings on the subject.

    I believe that most girls who put out at such a young age aren't getting "the talk" in the right manner, or at all. That is why the stories about middle school sex don't bother me. And remember, being way too open with your kids about sex can be just as harmful as being closed off about it. It's hard to find that right spot where you both feel comfortable with the issue at hand. You don't want your child to fear sex, yet you don't want them to crave it.

    Of course, the talks don't always work out the way you planned, as evidenced in this talk I had with DJ:

    "So, how does the stuff a guy has down there get into the woman?"

    "Ummm, the guy puts it in there."

    DJ contemplates my answer for a minute. Then his face scrunches up in a look of horror and appallment.

    "IN HER MOUTH?? HE PUTS IT IN HER MOUTH??" The color has drained from his face.

    Or this conversation with Natalie:

    Ok. Bi. Like in two. I get it. Ok, so. What does it mean when they say that two people are umm....you know.....
    No, I don't know. Spell it.
    (sound of brakes squealing as the sound of that word coming out of my daughter's mouth makes me almost miss a red a light)
    I said spell it!!!
    Whatever. What does it mean?
    It means they are having sex, but not in a nice, loving sex way.
    Ok, so when one of the girls today said "I want to fuck him..."
    (I swerve into other lane while I choke on Gatorade)
    Do you really need to know this stuff, Natalie

    I may not have all the answers, and I certainly am relectant to give the answers I do have, but I give them. If I am open with my daughter now, at 12, she will be able to come to me without worry when she is 17 and wants to have sex.

    Middle school sex is not an epidemic. Bad parenting, however, is. No girl who has an ongoing, open dialogue with her parents about sex is going to think that givng a blowjob in the school library - or anywhere for that matter - is ok.

    And it's not just about teaching your kids about sex; it's also about teaching them respect for themselves, to think more of themselves than to let another person use them or convince them that in order to experience love you have to experience sex.

    Maybe I am just an overprotective parent. Perhaps I haven't been able to let go of Natalie as much as I should at this age. But I see what is becoming of some of her friends who have been given to much freedom and not enough guidance, and I won't allow her to go in that direction, even if it means stifling her. Just a bit.

    with friends like these.....

    I'm a bit confused as to why the Saudis are referred to as "our friends."

    The Saudi police minister has claimed Jews were behind the Sept. 11 attacks because they have benefited from subsequent criticism of Islam and Arabs, according to media reports.

    Interior Minister Prince Nayef made the remarks in the Arabic-language Kuwaiti daily Assyasah last month. The latest edition of Ain al-Yaqeen, a weekly Internet magazine devoted to Saudi issues, posted the Assyasah interview and its own English translation.

    "We know that the Jews have manipulated the Sept. 11 incidents and turned American public opinion against Arabs and Muslims," Prince Nayef was quoted as saying in the Arabic text, while Ain al Yaqeen's English version referred to "Zionists" instead of "Jews."

    "We still ask ourselves: Who has benefited from Sept. 11 attacks? I think they (the Jews) were the protagonists of such attacks," Nayef was quoted as saying. Nayef's spokesman, Saud al-Musaibeeh, did not respond to repeated requests for confirmation the minister had been quoted accurately.

    Friends of whom, exactly? Radical Muslims? Terrorists? Arafat? They sure as hell don't sound like any friend I would want to have.


    Kathy Kinsley has created a DIY Blogwatch:

    This is the "do it yourself" blog watch weblog. The idea is that if you have an announcement that you need passed around (I'm leaving! I'm back! I've moved!), or a post you think is important, you can post it here in the comments. I've set the comments so they look a little more like regular posts. You title them, put in the link and have a body of text.

    What a great idea!

    when is a sin not a sin?

    Via Midwest Conservative Journal comes this piece from the Boston Globe on the Rev. Robert V. Meffan, who has admitted to having sex with teenage girls:

    The documents are among the most remarkable in the 2,200 pages of once-secret church files released yesterday: allegations that a priest had initiated sexual acts with teenagers preparing to become nuns by encouraging them to believe they were making love to Jesus Christ Himself.

    Last night, the Rev. Robert V. Meffan admitted it was true, and said he still believes his sexual relationships with teenage girls were ''beautiful, spiritual'' experiences intended to bring young people closer to God.

    ''What I was trying to show them is that Christ is human and you should love him as a human being,'' said Meffan, 73, reached by phone at his Carver home. ''Don't think he's up there and he's spiritual and he's not human and physical. He's human, he's physical. That's what I was trying to point out to them. I felt that by having this little bit of intimacy with them that this is what it would be like with Christ.''

    ''I had developed a wonderful relationship of love with these people, a real solid relationship of love, and I had no intentions of ever hurting anybody and ever causing any problems,'' added Meffan, who was placed on leave by the Boston Archdiocese in 1993 and granted retirement in 1996. ''I was trying to get them to love Christ even more intimately and even more closely .... To me they were just wonderful, wonderful young people. It was a very beautiful, I thought, beautiful, spiritual relationship that was physical and sexual.

    So, this Reverend was passing himself off as a secondary Jesus Christ in order to bring underage girls closer to Jesus himself. Wouldn't that in and of itself be an offense to the Catholic Church? And I thought that's what communion was for; to bring worshipers closer to Christ as they take of his body and blood.

    I guess the good Reverend thought that the spiritual version of the body and blood of Christ was just not enough and that young girls must consumate their relationships with Jesus with the Reverend's sperm as sort of a conduit.

    The allegations came in the late 80's. The Reverend retired in 1996, with these words from Cardinal Law:

    ''Without doubt over these years of generous care, the lives and hearts of many people have been touched by your sharing of the Lord's Spirit. We are truly grateful.''.

    In June 1996, Meffan was granted ''senior priest/retirement status'' but with restrictions on his role as a priest. The following month, Meffan sent Law an essay in which he lamented his removal from public ministry, calling himself ''a prisoner of love in a cell of allegations.''

    In a reply letter, Law called Meffan's essay ''a beautiful testament to the depth of your faith and the courage of your heart .... You have touched me deeply, Bob

    Which makes Cardinal Law complicit in all this, as his words practically gave the Reverend absolution for his criminal acts against other human beings.

    Apparently the church is just as lax in their punishment of pedophiles who prey on females as well as males. And, accordingly, this should make the church think twice about their position that pedophile priests is a "homosexual" problem. Then again, I don't see them calling to keep heterosexual priests out of the priesthood they way they call for gay men to be kept out.

    Until the Catholic Church comes out with a zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse of any kind, this will continue. And the church, of course, will continue to whitewash the stories and move the abusive priests around from parish to parish like a game of criminally evasive chess.

    link via Improved Clinch


    Mr. Feces Flinging Monkey on why the smallpox vaccine won't mean crap in the end.

    more crap in lieu of real content

    Woke up a tad late today, on the day when I should be leaving early because the roads are icy and every asshole with a brake pad will be slipping and sliding all over the place today.

    Today's schedule includes a breakfast for one of the Judges who is moving on to another court in January, and our annual Secretaries Holiday Luncheon where the Judges take the secretaries out to show their appreciation, but which is really an excuse for all the Judges to stand up and make fun of each other, which is really ok, because we just keep ordering drinks and putting it on their tab. I don't think I will be going back to work when the luncheon is over.

    I'll leave you - for now - with this, from the comments at blogcritics on my now infamous Led Zeppelin post:

    better lay off, michele...that is unless you'd like me to go all jay and silent bob on your fat, hypocritical ass.

    What does that mean? Anyhow, you would think the fact that the site is called BlogCRITICS would give it away that some of the reviews and such would be CRITICAL.

    Anyhow, I'm gearing up for my Alternative Christmas Mix CD Volume 3, so start thinking of some good songs. I'm going to try to stay away from war talk to day, just because it's Friday.

    December 05, 2002

    crap on a stick

    I probably should stop my nightly tour of the far left sites. It's both exhausting and frightening. And sometimes, amusing.

    Tonight's idiocy comes from good old voxNYC

    The Bush Family Must be Immediately Killed

    By the administration’s own policy the Bush family must be immediately destroyed. No trial, no explanation, no warning - Just immediate death.

    According to White House officials the President’s policy is that ANY “association” with ANY suspected Al Queda or terrorist is sufficient enough for immediate extermination by the CIA or US military.

    Yet there is NO other family in America today who has had closer ties with the Bin Ladens than the Bush family. And that bears repeating.

    First of all, calling for the death of the president and his family clearly indicates your intelligence level. Not the shiniest roll of tin foil in the store, are you, Vox?

    Secondly, your foil hat must be on a bit too tight. Sure, if you are riding around in a car in Yemen with a bunch of guys that bombed a U.S. submarine, you're gonna end up a bloody mess. Oh well. I hardly think the CIA is going to start sending out forces to knock on the door of every American home:

    Knock knock
    Who's there?
    It's the CIA, Sir.
    What do you want?
    Are you now or have you ever been associated with a member of al-Qaeda?
    Well, my uncle's brother-in-law lives in Afghanistan and...

    Me, I say if a guy is hanging with the enemy, especially during a time of war, you bring the bastard down. It's called being a traitor, and most Americans don't take that too lightly.

    Then again, Vox, the CIA just might be interested in you and your gang of al-Qaeda sympathizers.

    Oh wait, we don't need to worry about a thing, because VOX reader Sabu knows all!

    When the Moon reach it's 9th vortex, there will be much blood spilled over the Earth. The Earths inner-systems will destroy those who are worthless to the ONE! The illuminati, Vatican, an the rest of the host will have to come out of the darkness, an walk with the people. The people will see the reptile resemblance in these persons an will kill them on site. There will be no escape.

    Posted by Sabu

    Ok, so someone just tell me when it is that the moon reaches its 9th vortex so I can make sure there is film in my camera. Wait....reptiles coming out of the darkness and walking with the people? Wasn't that the plot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

    And from there the thread delves into the "no plane hit the Pentagon" crap that my mind just can not handle right now.

    Oh, and if it weren't enough that I'm getting comment pies thrown at me for my politics, I know have to deal with two dipshit girls slagging me for making fun of Led Zeppelin. Can't you make fun of anyone around here anymore? Have we all gone mad?

    I'm going to bed. Last one out, turn off the lights.

    but leave the night light on, ok?

    Note to Bonnie: Bring my Nick Cave cd to work tomorrow, you skank ho.

    fifteen feet of pure white snow: photo essay

    I snapped some photos today, but I think I'll get better ones tomorrow when my fingers don't feel like they are going to snap in half from the cold, and when little kiddies aren't throwing snowballs at me.

    The brain has obviously fallen asleep before its owner, so instead of my usual self-written essay that goes with my photos, tonight you get Nick Cave, Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow.

    is anybody
    out there please?
    it's too quiet in here
    and i'm beginning to freeze
    i've got icicles hanging
    from my knees
    under fifteen feet of pure white snow

    is there anybody here whofeels this low?
    under fifteen feet of pure white snow
    raise your hands up to the sky
    raise your hands up to the sky

    raise your hands up to the sky


    Good thing the mailman delivers through hail and sleet and snow. My issue of Couscous Express came today and it's chock full of comicy goodness.

    Love, war, family and the best hummus recipe in New York City

    Scooter enthusiast and spoiled brat, Olive Yassin, delivers food for her parents' award-winning Middle Eastern restaurant, Couscous Express. She hates it. It's boring. She would much rather be hanging out with her courier-mercenary boyfriend, Moustafa.

    But when the local branch of the stylish and dangerous Turkish Scooter Mafia make a move against the restaurant, she knows she has to do something, anything, to protect her family.

    Couscous Express combines delicious food, automatic weapons fire, and scooter culture into a hectic, adrenaline-fueled story of love, family, war, and the best hummus recipe in New York City.

    How can you not love that? I'm going to curl up by the fire and read it through.

    Wait, I don't have a fire place. What's that on fire, then?

    Oh, just Ted Rall's head. Throw another log on!

    in macy's window, baby

    I love referrer logs.

    Came across this one:

    The Trommetter Times
    A Christian Journal of Politics, Religion and Opinion

    The first thing on that archived page says:

    This is the page where I put all the posts about politically correct Jackasses. I've singled out some web sites for special mention here at the top of the page.

    And there I am, with the ACLU (which I despise), The NEA (which I have no love for), The Rainbow Coalition (perhaps he did not see my post slagging Jesse Jackson), NOW (I am SO not a women's libber), among others.

    Me? Politically correct? Ok, I am jackass, I admit that. But I'm not a politically correct jackass.

    Maybe the fact that I'm a pro-choice atheist gets his panties in a bunch. But I do think that labeling me a jackass when he does not know me is mighty un-Christian like of him.

    However, I will turn the other cheek.

    Here's my cheek, babe. Now kiss it.

    join the fray

    While I shake the snow off my shoes and finish cursing every single person who has no idea how to drive in the snow, head over to Indepundit and read the exchange between Scott and reader. Add your own two, three or twenty cents about The Laws of War and Death to al-Qaeda.

    let snow...and ice...and sleet

    Yea, I think I'll be leaving work now.

    A fifteen minute drive will now be a half hour ride to aggravation.

    absolutely fabulous

    One of my favorite readers, Joy Rothke, has an essay in today's Chicago Tribune.

    50 may not be so fabulous, but at least she's still here

    I'm relatively young--as least compared to Bob Hope or Strom Thurmond, but I've must face the truth that physical decay has begun its inexorable march.

    I've got hot flashes that no amount of estrogen or soy products controls. I've got tendonitis that was exacerbated by the extreme sports of grating hard cheese and packing a plethora of boxes for a move earlier this year.

    Go read the whole thing while it's still free. And don't let her fool you. She is fabulous.

    *Login required. enter username: smallvictory, password: patton.*

    the tingling of responsibility

    Found at Bertram Online:

    So, now we — I suppose — can expect the oh-so-neutral media to be up in arms, commenting on this story? (for the Danish-challenged: “Unknown perpetrators tried to set a mosque on fire in a Copenhagen suburb. An imam, who lives in the building, was not injured.”)

    Or this one, hailing from Sweden: “An intelligent, friendly student, somewhat lonely, but well thought-of, has been charged with three counts of arson, stabbing and bodily harm. And all his crimes were motivated by racial hatred. He was the leader of the group called ‘White Watchers’ ...”

    Or will you write concerned diatribes that all but understands that we — Europeans of the non-Muslim persuasion, I presume — develop a certain “chauvinism, xenophobia and fascim?” The article here finalizes the magnificent about-face from lionizing the Bosnian Muslims as a repressed, but valiant opposition to the vile Yugoslav Stalinists, to painting a picture of a deadly, Wahhabite threat to, yes, indeed, our core Christian Europe.

    So, commentators of the “Right”, you who — in your own, warped self-understanding — have been fighting a fight against Communism and so smoothly converted that fight into a fight against Muslims: do you feel the slightest little tingling of responsibility for what goes on? In the suburbs of Copenhagen and in Sweden? [emphasis mine]

    In a word, no.

    It wasn't the "Right" who invented a fight against Muslims. It was the militant Muslims who created the fear, loathing and animosity that exists today towards militant Mulsims.

    No blogger, reporter or pundit is responsible for the deeds of others. While I may rail against certain violent Muslim sects, I do not encourage people to go out and burn mosques. Should anyone commit such an act, they and they alone are responsible for their behavior.

    Not all members of the right are "White Watchers," inasmuch as not all members of the left are America haters.

    The "Religion of Peace" has been co-opted by exteremists in order to justify their violence and hatred. This is fairly recognized by most members of the right. When the right speaks of Islam and Muslims in tandem with acts of violence, it is apparent who they are talking about. I, for one, am not talking of my neighbors. I am speaking of people who slam airplanes into buildings in the name of Allah, people who opress others in the name of their God, people who think blowing up innocent children - on purpose - is an act of ultimate sacrifice.

    I would not be sorry if the people who perpetuate those ideas were to be bound and gagged and shot in the head, not at all. That is why I am all for the War on Terrorism, and the war on our enemies in general.

    I am not for taking down a whole religion because their are violent factions that present themselves as of that religion. However, there are people who do feel that way. There are people who will burn and torch and pummel anyone or anything to do with Muslims, because those people are as ignorant, inhumane and beneath contempt as the extremists they are purporting to fight.

    I have no "tingling of responsibility" for what ignorant people do. Just as video games do not make kids stab each other and listening to heavy metal will not make one commit suicide and violent movies will not cause one to go out and rape unless there already was an underlying problem in that person's psyche, the media - and the world of information at large - is not responsible in any way, shape or form for acts of violence committed by degenerates who cannot think for themselves.

    Does the left-wing pundits feel responsible when one of their own goes out and kills a cop in the name of their causes? Actually, they cheer him on and congratulate him.

    I doubt you will find anyone in the right wing media - even the underground media - cheering on people who burn down mosques in America or beat innocent Muslims in their neighborhood.

    But that's another story, isn't it?

    looks like bitchslap day hasn't ended yet...

    If you have Moveable Type, the best thing you can do is have your comments emailed to you. How else could you keep up with arguments that go on for days?

    The Ted Rall thread is now up to 70 comments and not all of them are flames and curses! There is some interesting free speech debate as well as a debate of whether Rall is a vile prick or a festering sore.

    Also, If It Looks Like a Duck is chock full of goodness, especially some astute, meaningful and intelligent comments from Asparagirl.

    Fresh content coming today. I'm just debating whether to run out and get some snow shoveling supplies (salt, gloves, a shovel) or whether to deal with the oncoming storm the usual way - stay inside until it goes away, thus avoiding the hard work of shoveling and cleaning the car off.

    where have i heard this song before?

    Terrorism: The gift that keeps on giving.

    "The gift for the holiday is on its way," is what al-Qaeda is announcing now, and I hope they shipped Federal Express because if they used UPS at this late date it's probably not going to get here in time. And I really hope it's not one of those cheese wheels. That is such a cheap gift.

    So why am I being facetious instead of my usual panic-stricken self at the proclomation of new terror attacks forthcoming? Easy. I don't believe them this time.

    Frankly, I think all al-Qaeda has left is words and threats at this point. They are scattered and without distinct leadership and I don't think they have what it takes to pull something off on American soil again. I'm thinking Kenya was their last big moment.

    In the al Qaeda statement, the group warned Americans to leave Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Africa and Asia: "Otherwise, you will reap death because of your stupidity in ignoring our warnings to you.

    How many warnings have we had now? Starting with the Great Mall Warning of October 2002 and up until the Ramadan warnings (We will get you at the start middle end of Ramadan) there have been at least 50 different tales of terror. I have reacted to each one of them by cowering under my bed.

    Either al-Qaeda is playing a game of the The Boy Who Cried Terror or they are just scraping the bottom of their propaganda bucket and trying to scare us.

    Either way, I'm done with being frightened out of my wits every single day.

    Still, I hope it's not a cheese wheel.

    Thanks from pizzaIDF.org

    We at PizzaIDF would like to thank all of you who showed your support
    for the Israeli soldiers. We will be throwing them a “hanukah party”
    tonight of Donuts and Pizzas.

    The soldiers truly appreciate the backing they are getting worldwide
    from people with such different backgrounds.

    Once again thanks for your support and we look forward to delivering
    many more treats in the future to our soldiers on your behalf.



    December 04, 2002

    self congratulations

    Yahoo has put out it's Top Picks for 2002 and Raising Hell, my other (group) site, finished at #13.

    The original blurb on Yahoo: This isn't an advice rag, and it won't tell you what your baby should be doing at three months or two years. Instead, the writers present new twists on parenting with liberal doses of wry humor that even singletons will enjoy.

    Thanks Mig, Melly, Pat, Ratty, Brian, Jason, and all the guest authors we've had since May 2002.

    My own personal favorite Raising Hell posts: Don't Pee in the Millenium Falcon; The Absolutely Wrong Way to Discuss Sex With Your Child; and for a bit of seriousness, An Expert of Sorts.

    You can view all my post by using the link in the sidebar over there, but I highly recommend that instead you read posts from the other authors instead. You will not regret it, even if you aren't a parent.

    By the way, did you know I have a photoblog where I post photo essays? I'm hoping to add a snowy photo essay tomorrow.

    frosty's phallic symbol

    I came home tonight and Frosty The Masturbating Snowman was not alone. He was guarded by several brightly lit candy canes and two frolicking, 800 watt reindeer.

    I must stop my uncle before it's too late. What if he adds something new every night? I'll end up with one of those lawns, the kind that I write nasty blog entries about.

    My neighbor across the street has completed her outdoor decor and it looks as if a Lite-Brite threw up on her lawn. My cousin has adorned her yard with a giant inflatable lawn ornament that, from my vantage point, looks like Santa is re-enacting a scene from Deliverance with Rudolph.

    Frosty The Masturbating Snowman Frosty and his guards

    the 800 watt reindeer Phallic toy or sword of death?

    On the other side of things, Booge knows how to decorate tastefully.

    snow job

    So we're sitting here waiting for a snowstorm. This morning they were talking about flurries, then an inch or two, and now they are predicting six inches.

    I love the first snowstorm of the year. What I hate is the people who think six inches of fluffly white powder signals the coming of armageddon and they must run out to the grocery store and knock each other down for the last loaf of bread.

    Oh, this calls for a repeat post!

    From January 19, 2002:

    Big storm on the way. I'm mostly excited, I like the first snow of the year. But I would much rather have it during the week so I can get a day off from work.

    So I went to the grocery store this morning - not in anticipation of the weather, I'm not one of those "prepare for the end of the world when a storm is coming" people - but because I had the urge to make steak tonight. I get to the store and there's a local reporter out there, questioning everyone about the snow, because you know how those news people love a good storm story. He was asking shoppers what they were buying, what were they stocking up on (come on people, it's 6 inches, not 3 feet!) and asking how they were getting ready for the weather. I see him approaching me as I walk towards the entrance. I'm not in a very good mood. Traffic was bad, I'm tired and cranky. I do not want to be on the news talking about buying toilet paper and water. So he stands in front of me, cameraman in tow, and throws the microphone in front of my face.

    "So," he says, "What are you buying today m'am?"

    I say nothing but this does not deter him.

    "Are you stocking up on necessities for the first storm of the year?"

    I look straight into the camera and grin.

    "I'm buying Tampons," I say.

    His jaw drops, the cameraman giggles and I brush past him and head into the store. Let's assume I will not be on the news tonight.

    Sometimes I wonder how I've gotten this far in life without being punched in the face.

    do not tear off under penalty of law

    U.S. Wants 'Aggressive,' Multiple Iraq Inspections

    Not for nothing, but it only took them an hour an a half to search and eight-sided, three-story palace. What did they do, look in the closets, have a cup of tea and leave? Nope, no monsters in here.

    Did they check under the mattresses? While they were at it they could make sure that the mattress tags weren't removed under penalty of some international terrorist law.

    Maybe Saddam stuck the plutonium in one of those Maxwell House coffee cans that is really a safe. You never know, he could shop at seenontv.com.

    Did they check the toilet tank? I've heard of guns being hidden in tanks, why not uranium? Do you think Saddam uses that blue stuff to make his toilet smell fresh?

    I mean, an hour and half just does not seem like a long time to search somewhere. If you have unfettered access, you should be taking hours to do a search. Look in his underwear drawer. Check his harems' walk-in closet. How about his humidor?

    They may not find any WoMD, but they could at least come out of it with some good cigars and lacy bra or two.

    Then again, to some people a cigar is a weapon of mass destruction.

    that sound is my stomach lurching

    For lunch I had several Death by Chocolate Martinis. They consisted of Godiva Chocolte Liqueur, Baileys and Vanilla Stoli. And I had something with jalepenos. Or maybe just the jalepenos and not the something.

    I'm back at work now and currently seeking an office with a couch. Or a small bucket.

    Carry on.


    Two more entries have been added to the top of Carnival of the Vanities? Why? Because I tend to be a bit absent-minded at times and as well as forgetting where I put my keys or took off my glasses, I also forget where I save things to.

    I'm making a vow right now to get more organized.

    Oh, the hell with it. I'm going to lunch, if I can find my keys.

    my god, what is that snowman doing?

    Carnival of the Vanities #11 is right here.

    It is December now, and each night of this month brings new and fascinating horrors of Christmas decorating. Tonight, I plan on driving through town with my camera, so you can witness these disasters first hand.

    Unfortunately, I have fallen prey to the tacky decoration gods - though not of my own accord.

    My uncle lives upstairs from me. Last year, we put him in charge of the Christmas decorations and he did a great job. A few strings of lights on the house, a few on the hedges and it was nice and pretty and understated. Just the way I like it.

    Imagine my surprise when I got home from work the other day and the house was ablaze with a carnival of lights - red and blue on the the big hedges, green on the bushes and white icicle lights dripping from every corner of the gutters.

    I might have been able to deal with all that if not for the one thing that was staring me in the face - something that breaks one of my own cardinal rules of decorating. There, on the lawn, was a ten foot, brightly lighted snowman. I nearly cried.

    Old Frost was standing there smiling at me, his top hat vibrating from the motor that keeps him pumped and lit. He had one arm outstreched in a wave, and the other arm hanging limp by his side.

    And then the wind came. A strong, fierce wind that caused Frosty's arm to sway and move. It gave the appearance that Frosty was ummm....polishing the icicle if you know what I mean.

    So here I am, the self-professed Dictator of Decorating, the one who will hand out bitchslaps and ass kickings to anyone who dares to break the boundaries of good taste with their holiday decorating, and I have on my lawn the largest masturbating lighted snowman in the world.

    and keep your fists in your pocket at all times

    Airliners confiscate contraband from travelers over the weekend.

    Seized at airports during the Thanksgiving crush: 15,982 pocket knives, 98 boxcutters, six guns and a brick.

    A brick? Remember people, bricks don't kill people, people kill people. And when you outlaw the bricks, only the outlaws will have bricks.

    Regardless of what someone was doing carrying a brick onto a plane (a holiday gift for someone they hate? Re-enacting a cartoon?), it stands to reason that if bricks are barred from planes, then we must bar all heavy objects that could result in injury if used as a weapon.

    Henceforth, frozen turkeys, cement blocks and copies of the Congressional Record will no longer be allowed on flights.

    I still want to know where that passenger was going with that brick.

    Carnival of the Vanities #11

    cov11.gifIT'S CARNIVAL TIME! I don't know what Bigwig was thinking when he handed hosting duties for Carnival of the Vanities #11 to me, but here it is. And this isn't like one of those Carnival Cruises; no one will come down with a stomach virus from this party boat. It's a good mix this week with everything from peace, love and understanding to drunken bloggers to hardcore Santa. No, not hardcore like that. I had a lot of fun doing this, I highly recommend it to everyone. I read a lot, I learned a lot and I laughed a lot. I cried, too - you'll figure that one out soon enough. If I forgot anyone's entry - missed an email or anything - please feel free to send me a reminder and kick my ass. Now, go read them all. I mean all of them. The posts are excerpted; click on the title to visit the author's site and read the whole thing. There will be a pop quiz later on, so read for comprehension! Don't skim! Bonus question will be: Who is hosting the Carnival next week? Answer at the end. Pencils ready, and....go!

    Click on that "MORE" link to see them all or I'll kick your ass. Thank you.

    Skippy The Bush Kangaroo: Tradition! love.gif
    the skippys have decided that tradition is what you make it, and the important things about traditions are not the trappings and the specific doodahs and thingies that you have to provide, seal, light, hang, cook, hide, shoot off, exchange or kiss, but the meanings behind those actions, and the family and friends (and the feelings about them) that such actions bring together.

    Ipse Dixit: Only the Hyperbole is Clear
    law.gif The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral argument next week in a case some think may lead to a significant change in the scope of citzens' Miranda rights. It is definitely one of those classic cases where bad facts can lead to bad law, but I think that the concern expressed by the professional hand-wringers that the Court will over-rule Miranda in this case is a bit hyperbolic. In fact, two years ago, the Court was presented with a case that would have afforded them just such an opportunity - and they declined to take it.
    Northwest Notes: The Meat Market meat.gif
    Whole Fryers $1.99/lb. Spiral Cut Ham GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILIABLE The last one appeared in two locations. The extra “i” had been added to each as a squeezed-in afterthought, instantly giving the word a new syllable. If only an old sign painter would come out of retirement and paint the signs the way they’re supposed to look, and the owner could throw away his collection of markers….
    M. Finely: Anton's Syndrome
    quill.gifIf you stop right now, and take a piece of paper, and write down the three moments in your life that most defined you -- that delimited your aspirations -- you will likely have three short stories, a tryptich that tells much more about you than a comparable set of three happy scenes, the birth of a child, a favorite vacation, the moment you first fell in love.
    Fragments From Floyd: UFO In Floyd County!ufo.gif
    Monday morning began bright and brisk, with a low silver sun, calm, peaceful as ever. Sitting at the computer waiting for the muse to visit and move my fingers on the keys, I became aware that I was hearing sounds unnatural out my window. I got up from my chair and stood at the open front door in my robe and slippers. Whatever it was, it was circling back and forth between our valley and the neighbors.
    ambulance2.gif Chuck Simmins: One Step Forward
    I see people devote hours each week to other volunteer jobs, Scouting, childrens' sports, candystripers. That's super. God bless you all. But, don't you ever feel the urge to stand between your loved ones and evil? One day, out of the blue, evil comes to call. Some folks run forward, towards the danger. Others don't.
    police.gif Everything Must Go: They Made Me a Criminal
    Driving to work this past Sunday evening, I was pulled over by a cop for failing to stop at a stop sign. I'll say upfront I'm guilty as charged, but I didn't admit it to the officer. I plan to fight the ticket. It's a libertarian thing. I've thought about it for several days, and the more I think about it, the more I realize I was entrapped, and the police had no business spying on me and wasting my time, in order to raise funds for the city.
    Greeblie Blog: Adopt a Blogger!baby.gif
    It's time to introduce you to my adopted BlogChildren (AKA the Axis of Greeblie). I took in some people to my domain because I was in the giving mood, the people I took in had terrible Blogger service and I had a little extra space and bandwidth on my web server account. Hopefully I can do my part to make sure they have a great experience here.
    liquors.gifSolonor's Ink Well: Feel The Power
    ME: Ooh, this looks like a rowdy bunch. THEM: *nervous laughter* Who is this creep? ME: Um, I guess that's what I get for not putting a picture on my blog. THEM: Oh, THAT creep!
    Heretical Ideas: They're Getting More Antsy All The Time
    peace.gifLooking at Islam specifically, it's impossible to claim, like Robertson and others, that it is a religion that openly advocates violence against unbelievers. If that were true, than a great majority of Muslims would be, well, employing violence against unbelievers. But that is obviously not the case. What is the case, however, is that the Islamic sect of Wahabbism does openly advocate violence. But it's important to remember that Wahabbism is still, by far, a minority sect, despite the best efforts of the Saudis.
    Pop Culture Gadabout: WebLibs
    mlib.gifIn these days of robot-generated text, Mad Libs seem a bit archaic. But just because a concept's outlived its entertainment value doesn't mean we won't use it here at the Gadabout. Without further ado, we offer our first poli-blog Web Libs: THE YAMMERINGS OF (plural noun): More proof (as if further was needed!) that being a good (noun) doesn't necessarily make you a(n) (adjective) pundit. Today, (full name) appeared before the press to (verb) our president's (adjective) campaign against the (pejorative noun) of the Middle East, Saddam Hussein.
    Mad Kane: The Rantings of Trent Lottsinging.gif
    Sounding off in DC From his Senate stoop, In his right-wing meetings, Lott leads a scary group.
    dizzy.gif I'm Not A Cowboy: Why I Can't Talk To You About My Thanksgiving Vacation
    When you ask me about my Thanksgiving vacation I'll probably say it was OK, shrug and quickly change the subject. It was actually the worst week in my life that I can remember. Here's why I can't talk to you about my Thanksgiving vacation.
    icon_santa.gif Amish Tech Support: Holiday Blogging Public Service Announcement
    Yes, it's very interesting to hear about how you got the blowjob in the copier room at the office Christmas Party. Too bad your wife wasn't able to make it there, but thank goodness she reads your blog, right?
    *ed note: Not only did I steal the icon-for-every-post idea from Lair, I also stole his Santa icon that he used on this post. IMAO: In My World: Dead Man Jeffords Slams Bush's Environmental Record
    death.gif"The Bush administration has continued its pattern of sacrificing our environment to the demands of special interests," said Sen. James Jeffords in the Democrats' weekly radio response as he tried to ignore the grim specter of death that floated above him.
    Where Worlds Collide: Who's The Enemy
    soundoff.gifDid you know that the most senior Muslim clerics in Nigeria have actually condemned the so-called fatwa on the Nigerian journalist who's article sparked off the riots there? How many Islamic blogs or news sources do you ever read?
    traffic.gif AMGCLTD: Hellride
    1:15 PM Learn to appreciate a whole new definition of "irony" as we cruise at a brisk walking pace underneath a "SLOW: TRAFFIC CONGESTION AHEAD. REDUCE SPEED TO 45 MPH" sign.
    hornet.gif Bleeding Brain: More Fearsome Than Warriors
    Today's American soldier is different. He is as likely to be torn to shreds as he is to be struck by lightening. It would be a very rare and quaint experience to meet a soldier who seriously believed he was going to meet his demise on the battlefield.
    WTF Is It Now?: Decline of Civilization (archives aren't working, so the whole post is right here)
    boobs_sm_01.jpgHave you seen the commercials for Fox's new program "Joe Millionnaire"? From what I can tell it's another reality show, where pouty-lipped, vapid, braindead walking breasts parade in bizarre, uncomfortable lingerie, large hair, and a whorucopia of make-up for what seems from the back to be some kind of romance-novel-cover Eurostud. That he seems to be in great danger of having his testicles crushed by his own stallion may in fact save time later on when he finally does get 'engaged' to one of those grasping, taloned bimbos. Not that I'm jealous or anything.
    Cal Pundit: Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving
    icon-lincoln-memorial.gif....On October 3rd, 1863, after decades of neglect, Abraham Lincoln re-established the last Thursday in November as a "day of thanksgiving and praise." My great-grandfather, Eli Drum, a private in the Union army, spent most of that year in Ambrose Burnside's Army of the Ohio, where he was part of the now virtually forgotten Eastern Tennessee campaign. In late November Eli and his comrades were driven into Knoxville, where they were besieged by Confederate forces. Here is what he recorded in his diary on Thanksgiving day:
    tv.gifRavenwood's Universe: Most Unrealistic Sitcoms
    Dukes of Hazzard - How many of you actually grew up thinking that the police had to stop chasing you at the county line? Besides, in real life each time they were caught, Bo and Luke would have been pistol whipped so bad their own Uncle Jessie wouldn't have recognized them. Also those pretty boys would make good girlfriends for Hazzard's local yokels while in the pokie.
    The Kitchen Cabinet: Things We Don't Talk About in Polite Converstion
    quiet.gifI was always told that it was rude to talk about religion or politics. (In my family, it hardly needed to be said that sex was a conversational no-no -- which brings up a question I'll pose to Nick: Who wants in-laws who are eager to talk about sex?) But there was this corollary: it's only rude when you don't know where the other person stands, or when you know they disagree with you. If neither applies, fire away!
    crying.gif Bloviating Inanities: Senate Passes "Sorrow Resolution"
    "[Senator Mark] Dayton and three other Democratic senators gathered on the Senate floor to eulogize Wellstone and approve a resolution expressing the Senate's 'profound sorrow and deep regret' on the deaths of Wellstone, his wife and daughter, three staff members and two pilots in the crash."
    Nikita Demosthenes: What Would Jesus Drive?
    wwjd.gif There were fewer environmentalists in the age of the quadruped. This was not because there was less environment-offending conduct by humans - I grew up on a dairy farm, so don't get me started. There were less environmentalists then because there was less leisure.
    Metrocake: Slap on the Ass and a Bang on the Ear
    cell2.bmp So: last night. Post-class, on the train home, the 10:00-ish train out of Penn Station. Man talking on his cell phone. Really loudly. I was four rows back from him and could hear every word, crisp and clear. I was getting annoyed; others around me were, too.
    media.gif The Eleven Day Empire: This Will Come As No Surprise
    But that day is long past; because the networks face fierce competition from cable-TV and satellite, and VCR and DVD and the internet, etc. news can't be allowed to lose money or even break even; it must contribute to the bottom line.
    Silflay Hraka: Twas the Night Before Christmas
    'santausa.gifTwas the night before Christmas, and all through Iraq Not a weapon was firing, not even ack-ack; The white flags were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that Uncle Sam's men soon would be there
    bonus answer: Amish Tech Support will be hosting #12. Start bugging him now.

    December 03, 2002

    I may be sleeping already

    Been working on the Vanities thing all night, except for that part when I tried to help Natalie with her algebra homework and realized that I still don't know anything about algebra, and then that other part where I tried to help DJ with his Yu Gi Oh! game and I realized I am way out of touch with whatever the popular thing is out there these days. Whatever happened to Power Rangers? I liked that show. They didn't have 50 dollar card deck sets that your kid just had to have. They just had that kung-fu action and Lord Zed and Rita Repulsa. I think I had a crush on Lord Zed.

    And think It's past my bedtime. Stay tuned for COV#11 tomorrow morning.

    it's a ted rall party!

    Not only is it Bitchslap Ted Rall Day, but it's turning into Bitchslap Ted's Fans and Bitchslap Ted's detractors Day.

    I thought Rall only stirred up this much controversy over at The Comics Journal boards.

    Come join the fray!

    on tour

    I'm sitting here on my lunch hour going through all the submissions for Carnival of the Vanities #11. I've come across some blogs I didn't previously read and some entries on known blogs that for some reason I missed. Let me tell you, there are a million words out there in the blogosphere that you have never seen. And they are all fascinating.

    If you have the time, you should seriously consider hosting COV while it makes its tour around the blogosphere. I am truly humbled by some of the posts I am getting to read.

    There's still time to get a post in if you haven't submitted already. To find out more, see here.

    Thank you to Bigwig for giving me this opportunity.

    Now, back to work.

    You put up one hell of a fight

    I do believe that subtitling this site "The Gentle Art of Making Enemies" was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    grandma's looking, put your hat on!

    There was a scene in The Sopranos Sunday night where a group of old Italian women were in a restaurant. When the meal was over, they grabbed their doggie bags and began stuffing the remains of the dinner into them. Not just the leftover food, but the sugar packets and anything else that wasn't nailed down to the table.

    My grandmother used to do this. I remember once we were at Friday's, having lunch after we went shopping. When we were about to leave, she started stuffing sugar and napkins and leftover bread into her purse. I just looked the other way.

    Between that and Aunt Jo's funeral, I've been thinking of Grandma all week. This Friday, December 6, will be the fourth anniversary of Grandma's death.

    (Yes, another long one. Click MORE to read the rest. )

    To understand the force that was Grandma Millie, you have to understand my family. My then husband and I moved into Grandma's house when Natalie was born. My parents live across the street. Next door to Grandma, sharing a yard, is an aunt and uncle. Behind Grandma's house, with a yard connected to ours, is a cousin and her family and next door to her, another cousin and his family. Neighbors call it the compound. And Grandma Millie was the ruler of the compound.

    Grandma could curse like nobody's business, all in Italian. Along with teaching us how to cook a mean spaghetti sauce, Grandma taught us how to let out a stream of vulgarities in a foreign language. She also showed us how to give the evil eye to someone, and to make sure we spit as we did so.

    As much as she was a strict disciplinarian (especially when it came to Grandpa and his wine) and we feared her at times, she also had this incredible soft spot in her heart. She was the one who came to our rescue when she thought our parents were being too harsh on us. She stuck dollars bills in our pocketbooks and worried excessively about our lives.

    As all the cousins got older, got married and had kids, Grandma became the ruler of our children as well as us. She was rarely seen without a stroller or carriage; she fed our babies and changed them and tried to convince us it was ok to stick cereal in their bottles when they were only two months old. She threw all her superstitions at us and watched which way we held our children and what kind of words we said in front of them and what we fed them, lest we unknowingly put some evil hex on them.

    She watched us like hawks when we took our children out. You could not pass her house without hearing her yell out the window "Put a hat on that baby!" She watched when we left the house and when we came home and yelled at us for keeping the kids out too late. She was obsessed with how we dressed them; the thermometer meant nothing to her. It was the calendar she went by. So even if it was a balmy 80 degree day in October, it was still October and thus fall, and how dare we have that baby in shorts in the middle of October?

    We always knew she meant well. It still aggravated us and made us yell at her more than once, but we knew. She just wanted to keep all of her progeny safe and secure and most of all, free of chills. Our kids got used to this, and, in fact, it became a running joke between them. Here comes Grandma Millie, put a hat on! And they would laugh. Yea, she was a pain in the ass, but in a way I think our kids appreciated her more than we did.

    Living downstairs from Grandma was a story in itself. Three, four, five times a day, she would yell down the stairs for me. Did I want some soup? Did I want some peaches for the kids? Did I have the heat on? Up and down the stairs all day, getting food from her, returning her Tupperware, bring her coffee every morning.

    In the evenings we could hear her tv blasting, always Wheel of Fortune. She would curse out loud "That bastard! I didn't want that son of a bitch to win!"

    I got used to the sound of her chair scraping across the kitchen floor, of the creaks in the wood as she went down the hallway into bed each evening, even the incredibly loud belches after she finished dinner.

    We threw an 90th birthday for Grandma in August of '96. There had to be a hundred people there, gathered for three yards across. We took a ton of pictures; her with all the grandkids, her with the great-grandkids. It was the first time since Grandpa died five years earlier that we saw Grandma smile; a real, heartfelt smile. As much as she complained about fuss, she liked being the center of attention.

    When it came time for her birthday cake, we gathered all the grandkids around. We had rehearsed this moment for days before. Some families, in tribute to an older relative at their birthday, may recite a heartfelt poem or present the birthday person with a plaque or framed portrait of the family. Not us. We had a special birthday song ready. On the count of three, all the grandkids sang:

    Happy birthday to you!
    (Put your hat on!)
    Happy birthday to you!
    (Put a coat on!)
    Happy birthday Grandma Millie!
    Happy birthday to you!

    She nearly fell off the chair. The kids were cracking up, the hundred or so guests were cracking up and for a moment I thought Grandma was crying. When she looked at us, she did indeed have tears running down her face, but she laughing. And laughing. That's one of the memories of Grandma I keep tucked away in a special place.

    In October of 1998, Grandma got sick. She remained in the hospital until she died on December 6 of that year.

    And now, four years later, I still have her the last batch of meatballs she made me in my freezer. I still panic when I pull into the driveway a bit too late at night, worried that she will see that I have the kids out at such an hour. I still make sure DJ has an undershirt on when it's cold out and Natalie has her ears covered when she heads out the bus stop in the morning.

    My aunt and uncle live upstairs now, and every time the chair scrapes across the kitchen floor I have that flash of a second when I think it's Grandma.

    She was mad at me when she died, for reasons that will remain private for now. I hope she knows things worked out for the best and that I made the right decision, even if it wasn't the one she wanted me to make.

    I still miss her sauce, I miss her soup, I miss the way her kitchen used to smell. I miss the way her hands felt, her skin so soft and loose with age, but always comforting. I miss the way she yelled at me constantly, the way she opened the door just a creak and called my name and I could tell from the tone of her voice whether she wanted to give me something or chastise me for something.

    I miss the sound of Wheel of Fortune and her constant cursing, I miss the smell of her toast burning in the morning and roasted peppers cooking at night. I miss the creak of the floorboards as she walked from room to room and the way she held my children when they were babies, as if they were the most precious things on earth. I miss the way she used to cross herself whenever she got in the car with me, and how every time she said she would never drive with me again, but always did.

    I do miss her a lot. But every time I make sure my coat is zippered all the way up before I walk out the door, I get the sense that she's not really gone.

    today is bitchslap ted rall day

    Ted Rall is a festering sore on the face of mankind. Other than that, I cannot come up with a comment that is suitable for his latest piece of ugly comic journalism.

    Not for nothing, but I've seen better comic artwork on the back of matchbook covers. I've also seen better commentary written on bathroom walls. The man is not a comic artist; he's an American loather with a couple of markers and a bloated sense of self importance.

    Ok, maybe I did have a comment or two.

    December 02, 2002

    Christmas lights TIPSters: the hubcap tree

    My TIPSters are out in full force. I have several promises of amazingly tacky Christmas decoration photos to be sent to me in the next few days.

    Meanwhile, TIPSters John and have come through today:

    John, of Cold Marble Musings passes along these picture that he took in his neighborhood (did I mention that John is a fantastic photographer? Spend some time at his site.)

    Street of lights: there's a whole slew of pictures here including flamingoes, crabs and a hubcap Christmas tree!

    And reader Carol sends along a site I already linked to, but I failed to mention the lighted Dr. Suess Land.

    Keep the links and pictures coming!

    Also, the Bloggerville Favorite Christmas movie third place prize has been awarded to Nightmare Before Christmas.

    Thank you to all who obeyed voted.

    While we are on the subject of Christmas, I would like to make a confession:

    I like fruitcake.

    black and white

    Hey, did you know Lord of the Rings is racist?!?

    What with the dark skin, broad faces and dreadlocks, it's a wonder Tolkien didn't give his baddies a natural sense of rhythm, says John Yatt, examining Middle Earth's suspect racial undertones.

    I always thought dark was evil and white was good since long before people started giving a crap about skin color. White, in essence, represents purity because it is pure of color. Black represents evil and darkness because, well...it's dark!

    Why do people feel the need to look for controversy at every turn? Slow news day? Lack of imagination to come up with a better piece for today's column? A love of hate mail? Perhaps....ignorance or stupidity?

    I think I set a personal record for most posts in a day today. And I'm not done yet. Caffeine - the angry blogger's friend.

    Hmm, maybe I'm trying to make up for Stephen's conspicuous lack of posting. I should switch to Vodka, then.

    Oh, and I posted at Raising Hell today, as well.

    protesting idiocy

    Any New York bloggers up for a little protest?

    Thierry Meyssan is coming to town. You remember Mr. Meyssan. He's the flaming French asshole who wrote 9-11, The Big Lie, in which he claims that the September 11, 2001 attacks on the WTC were concocted by the government and that an American missile, not a plane, hit the Pentagon.

    Our little French friends made the book a best seller over there for three months.

    Meyssan, an activist with his own left-wing association called the “Voltaire Network,” says he did not actually travel to the United States to investigate his theories, but had researchers working for him. He said much of his book is based on public documents, newspaper articles and the Internet.

    Sounds like his references was Ted Rall, Michael Moore and a bunch of conspiracy sites. I'm willing to bet more than a handful of Indymedia trolls will be there applauding this cretin.

    I've got a box of rotten tomatoes ready to go. Who's joining me?

    if it looks like a duck...

    I had Sean Hannity on the radio on the way home and he was interviewing Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, author of Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality: A New Clinical Approach.

    Dr. Nicolosi was giving tips on how to change a child's course from that of homesexuality to heterosexuality. His tips included making sure the father of the child bonds with him while the mother stays "backs off."

    His guidelines for determining if your child may be gay: if your son shows a preferences for dolls or if your daughter does "boy things."

    He offers courses and studies and how to use therapy to make sure your kid doesn't grow up to be gay.

    Personally, I think he offers courses and studies designed to rip people off and cause sever emotional damage to kids who already may be feeling confused about their lives.

    No, there is no definitive proof that people are born gay. Nor is their proof that once someone realizes they are gay, that they can change. To take money from worried parents and stick a child in a therapy session where he is told their feelings are wrong and he needs to change seems like a very, very bad idea.

    To me, this is clearly a case of someone taking his own personal agenda and trying to make it stick on everyone else. Why do people insist that everyone who doesn't live like they do must be doing it wrong?

    I honestly don't think there is any such thing as a "recovery" from homesexuality, nor do I think there should be. Just as some people are tall or short or blonde or can run fast or jump high, some people are gay. It's just a part of who a person is and to condemn that part of a person and try to force him to change is to make that person deny who he is.

    I really have nothing definitive to say about this. It just pissed me off enough to vent about it.

    get your cipro out

    Bioterrorism at the IBM building in New York? Perhaps.

    Asparagirl, who works there, has the details.

    the time to hesitate is through

    I want to thank Mike from akaCooties for sending this article along.

    Ana McDonald: Shared beliefs are at the heart of peaceful and lasting solutions

    As unlikely, incredible and totally illogical as it sounds, radical Muslim leaders like Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat and yes, even Saddam Hussein strive for an ideal that Americans can endorse: social justice. "The bedrock message of the Koran is that Muslims must build a just and decent society, in which poor and vulnerable people are treated with respect,"explains noted religious historian Karen Armstrong in a Washington Post column.

    Karen Armstrong also said: "We should try to make an imaginative effort to understand what radical Islam was trying to do."

    The article goes on to state:

    The Islamic ideal requires leaders to live modestly, as the people do. Their leaders — the good ones — take personal responsibility for the poor and ensure that wealth is fairly distributed.

    But our wealthy live quite differently than our poor, so Muslims judge us immoral. On the international scene, where entire countries live with disease and famine that we would never tolerate here, the gap is even more vicious. So when radical Islam attacks America, they are trying to attack social injustice.

    In the process, they violate their own value system. When bin Laden and Arafat recruit suicidal men to destroy innocent lives, when Saddam resists the just call for weapons inspections that could avert a nuclear disaster, they have forgotten that a good Islamic leader must be merciful and compassionate. By Islamic definitions, they are not good leaders.

    Yet they are followed by good people — deeply confused, but still good. And when we negotiate with these good people, we must remember that our lifestyle has much in common with their ideals. By building on similarities, we may yet avoid war.

    And so Secretary of State Colin Powell is correct in insisting that the United States obtain U.N. endorsement for military action in Iraq. His reasons are no doubt complex and nuanced. Mine is simple. A good leader — democratic or Islamic — does not rule alone or arbitrarily. A good leader consults with others before making decisions. By submitting ourselves to the wisdom of the international community, America will remain a good leader in the best international tradition.

    Oh, I see now. We've gone about this all wrong. What we need to do is understand radical Muslims, learn their history and follow their example of leadership.

    Sure, a good leader consults with others. But it does not consult with a group of people who are known to despise them - and I do not mean the radical Muslims here - I mean the United Nations.

    And, in fact, by submitting ourselves to the whim of the United Nations - that paragon of virtue and truth - we are setting a tradition of being wimps. It is people like Ana McDonald and Karen Armstrong that make me wish we would just get this war on already and shut up with the "understanding our enemies" rhetoric.


    Why Saddam must go

    From the Britisish dossier collected on the brutal regime:

    Methods of torture include eye gouging, piercing of hands with electric drill, suspension from ceiling, electric shock, sexual abuse and acid baths. The torture is not limited to adults. There are first hand accounts of children being tortured by the regime, including one two year old girl whose feet were crushed by soldiers while the intorregated her mother.

    There was the woman who was tortured while her children were made to watch; cigarettes were put out on her body and she was beaten and thrown about the room.

    Women's heads have been cut off in the street. Babies are taken away from women who will not submit to demands.

    Executions are carried out without due process of law. Relatives have been made to pay for the bullets used for the execution of their family members.

    Male relatives are allowed to kill a female relative out of honor without any punishment.

    Raping female political prisoners is a standard practice of the regime.

    Between 1987 and 1988, at least 60 Kurd villages were attacked with mustard gas, nerve gas or a combination of both.

    Penalties for criminal offenses include branding and amputation, including amputation of the tongue.

    Need I go on?

    How do you appease a regime like this? How do you reason with them? Most of all, how can you trust them?

    The answer to all three is, you don't.

    And you don't wait until the moment they decide they want to exact their way of life on you before you go after them. You do it now, before it's too late, before any more innocent Iraqis are tortured, before more children are beaten, before more men are starved to death in holding cells.

    You don't wait until they launch the weapons of mass desctruction. In the name of democracy, in the name of future peace, in the name of all those tortured and killed every day by a ruthless leader you do it now. Before they come for you.

    update: From reader Sondra, a very graphic, very depressing site dealing with the March 1988 Iraqi chemical attack on Halabja.

    one good turn

    Oh how original, calling soldiers killers for hire. Just like the phrases it's about the oiiilllllllll and for the children, the soldiers as killer routine is getting old.

    Mr. Bix not only spewed his garbage on his own website, but went over to Weblog Action Center for no other reason than to piss on Kathy Kinsley's thoughtful idea. He actually took the time to go through is blog and find ugly posts he wrote about soldiers so he can drop the links in the WAC post. What a guy.

    I do a lot of name-calling and post-ripping-apart here, but I never go to someone's site with the sole purpose of raining on their parade, especially when the idea one is putting forth is a fundamentally good one. But what do you expect from a guy who says, in response to soldiers talking on CNN about the Pledge of Allegiance:

    Shut the fuck up you stupid-ass killers. You belong to an organization dedicated to training you to kill other human beings, so don't you fucking dare to claim any authority to preach to me about God.

    Actually, they belong to an organization dedicated to protecting your cowardly ass, so you can have the freedom to practice or not practice any religion you want, asswipe.


    In wars, people die. Better by far that if people need to die, it is the people trained to murder and destroy, than the people caught in the middle.

    So what he is saying - and correct me if I read this wrong - is that if we go to war, he would rather see all our soldiers die than one Iraq civilian. You know what, dimwit? Those people in Iraq don't five a fuck about you. When all of our soldiers are dead, as per your wish, and Saddam and his people come to take us over because our army is gone, not one of those militant death-wishers is going to come up to you and say "oh, yes here is the man who supported us. Let's be nice to him." No, they are either going to blow your brains out, torture you, shove a hot poker up your butt, or use you as a slave.

    On the other hand, if we do go to war and for some reason the war ends up on our soil, you can be sure that if Sgt. Stryker recognized you and you saw you being captured by the enemy, he would probably spit on you and wish you well.

    Have fun out there, Blix. And be careful what you wish for.

    Bloggerville's Favorite Holiday Movies: Results (mostly)

    No, I did not forget about the movie post.

    The run away winner, with 20 votes, was:

    "I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle! "

    Yes, A Christmas Story. We all saw that coming.

    In second place, with eight votes was It's A Wonderful LIfe, which I've never seen so I can't comment on.

    Now, for third place, we seem to have a four-way tie. With six points each, we have:

    How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Dr. Suess version)
    National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
    Miracle on 34th Street
    Nightmare Before Christmas

    It's up to you guys to determine the third place winner, so we can have an official top three movies. You have the rest of the day to cast your vote between those four flicks. Choose wisely, choose carefully, and remember how much I love Tim Burton.

    Feed the IDF: thank you for participating

    The time has come to send all the donations over to pizzaIDF.org so they can get the pizza and soda and donuts to the soldiers for Hanakkuh.

    We raised $1,090 dollars for the cause. That is going to make plenty of soldiers very happy, not to mention full. If you haven't donated yet and had intended to, you can just go straight to the pizzaIDF site and donate through them

    I'd like to thank Tanya for doing all the legwork on this cause.

    Thank you a million times to everyone who donated, everyone who linked to the original post and everyone who couldn't donate, but sent along messages to the soldiers. You've all done a wonderful thing.

    Mothers for Saddam

    From Instapundit comes a story of Moms Against Wartm.

    "I said that all mothers should automatically be against war," Reed said. "It was against their nature to be violent instead of nurturing." Maybe, she said, it was time to start a movement -- Mothers Against War.

    Nurturing my children includes this: the desire to make sure the world that lies ahead of them is a safe, peaceful, democratic one, free of tyrannical dictators who want to see free countries blown to bits.

    There are many other groups opposing the war, says the article. One group is the National Council of Churches, the people who brought you the What Would Jesus Drive campaign.

    On December 8 through 15, there will be a series of actions across the country. The biggest day, (Robert Edgar, General Secretary of the group) said, is Dec. 10, which is significant not only because it is Human Rights Day but also because it is the day that former president Jimmy Carter is to receive his Nobel Peace Prize. "Carter, as an evangelical Christian, represents a great number of people in the antiwar effort," Edgar said.

    Carter also represents - I don't know, maybe only himself - in the movement to have America disarms to set an example for other countries. Which, of course, would get us all killed in the end anyhow.

    Indeed, on that day, religious groups across the country plan to stage mass acts of civil disobedience. Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, founder of Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities, plans to join church groups in New York and get arrested, he said, for the first time.

    "I've never engaged in civil disobedience before," he said. "But if some country was going to do this to us -- have a little preemptive war with the U.S., bomb our people, kill or maim people because they thought that at some time we might bomb them, we'd say that's a war crime. I feel that getting arrested is the biggest statement that I could make to say that what the Bush administration is doing is wrong."

    Ah, yes. Nothing like having a police record to make a statement that you are Business Leader with Sensible Priorities. Hey, how about free ice cream for all those starving Iraqi children! He could even bring it over there himself. And stay there.

    Once again the activists are purporting to speak for everyone and saying absolutely nothing at all. It's all fine and dandy to promote peace and and want to stop war. But you have to have viable alternatives. You can't just say "go make peace" and not have a plan for that peace. Easier said than done. And until some peacenick can come up with a way to make this world a safe and democratic one, I cannot take them seriously.

    update: Glenn also has a bit about the other side of the Mom coin.

    taking liberties with labels

    Some mornings there is absolutely nothing I want to write about. Then there are days like today, when my blog-to-do list is a mile long. I'll start with The Denver Post and Henrietta Hay's What is a Liberal? (link via Daily Pundit)

    Ms. Hay is a knee-jerk liberal and proud of it. Good for her, I say. It's good and American to stand up for what you believe in, even when others may call you a fool for doing so.

    Generally, when I talk about liberals on this site, I am referring to the far left liberals. This is why I hate labels. There are too many sub-genres of the political genres. Liberal, far left liberal, moderate liberal. And all the same for conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, etc. I'd rather take ten minutes to explain my politics to someone who asks then just slap on a name tag that says "Hi! I'm a Conservative!"

    The problem with trying to fit yourself into one group and then applying a definition to that group is you end up sounding like you just walked out of Broad Brush Painting 101. Inasmuch as defining a certain politic puts those within that politic into a nice square hole, you also keep out anyone who may adhere to only part of your square. Politics should be a venn diagram, not a bunch of neat little boxes.

    Ms. Hay defines liberals as thus:

    In today's world, the liberals are the idealists, the people who still believe, in spite of everything that has happened, that they can make the world a better place for everybody. Realistically, they know they're outnumbered, but it is a belief that shapes their lives.

    Not only liberals think they can make the world a better place. Conservatives and moderates believe that also, they just want to go about it in different ways. Also, idealists do not think realistically, which is why one cursory glance at any liberal website will leave you with the impression that the liberals are not, in fact, outnumbered, but they believe they are louder and greater in number than any other political force.

    They believe that government is inherently good, that it can make the human condition better. They believe that we have some obligation to our fellow human beings. They believe in personal freedom, in freedom of speech and religion. They believe in the common good, the things people cannot do alone.

    Well, Ms. Hays, I am not a liberal, but I certainly believe in obligation to my fellow human beings, personal freedom and freedom of speech and religion. My main problem with liberals is they think they have cornered the market on inate goodness and altruism. They think they are the only ones who want freedom. Conservatives want it too, and they want it for everyone, not just Americans. The people of Iraq do not have the freedoms that liberals covet so dearly, yet those same liberals don't want us to enforce a regime change in order to give the Iraqi people those very freedoms.

    The liberal thinks government can make the human condition better. The conservative thinks government always makes things worse.

    Hmm. From everything I see in the media and on various websites, it seems that the liberals are the ones who think the government makes everything worse, and most of them think that less government would make the human condition better.

    It takes a long time to create a true liberal. They usually start young and enthusiastic, and are sure they can save the world. But finally they come face-to-face with unfiltered reality. Either they go by way of yoga, guitar lessons or just plain dropping out, or they stay in there swinging.

    I was young and enthusiastic once. I thought I could save the world. I wore my No-Nukes t-shirt and listened to Jefferson Airplane and channeled every dead hero from the 60's. Reality certainly did kick me in the ass. I don't know which portion of reality it was, most likely the Iran hostage ordeal. My road to the middle started then, and just reached it's destination now, although a little further to the right than I thought I would end up. I did not go by way of yoga, nor did I stay in there swinging. I changed course, as did so many of my idealist classmates of those days. It may take a long time to make a "true" liberal, but all it takes is one dose of ass-kicking reality to make one turn tail and run from that course.

    Liberals are not criminals. They are not traitors. They are patriotic Americans. They love their families. They go to work and complain about traffic circles. Most of them probably have cats. Most of them are Christians. Most of them are Democrats. Some of them are Republicans. Most of them say, "You believe your thing and let me believe mine."

    They are not criminals, no. Not unless they are vandalizing property in the name of activism. They are not traitors, no. Not unless they are supporting an enemy country's leaders over their own, not unless they go to that country and openly blast the president on enemy soil. Not unless they kill a cop in the name of sending a message.

    I love my family. I complain about traffic. I go to work. I am not a liberal.

    Most of them own cats? Most of them are Christians? Where did this woman get her data from? Most liberals I know would not go anywhere near the Christian church.

    Most of them say, "You believe your thing and let me believe mine."

    Hardly. Most of them say "You believe your thing and I will tell you that you are wrong and will not listen to your response."

    Of course, that's true of people other than liberals. But so is everything Ms. Hays said.

    Just reason #106 why I Hate Labels.

    December 01, 2002

    cause of the week

    Weblog Action Center Cause of The Week:

    Support our servicemen, brought to you by Kathy Kinsley of On The Third Hand.

    I was going to start something like this as soon as the Pizza for IDF cause ended, but I'd rather not step on Kathy's cause. I'll just help her out by supporting it. She's done a great job collecting links to different ways you can send support and good wishes to U.S. servicemen during the holiday season.

    religious correctness gone mad

    One more thing on holiday decorations for today.

    I may be an atheist but I love the holiday season and I love (tasteful) decorations. When I walk through any local town here that has a Main Street or a downtown area and see the lights on the store windows or the bright ribbons on the street lights or the menorah in the town square, it makes me feel good. This season brings such warmth and joy, even when I am stressed about gifts and bills.

    So please, for the love of God, literally, stop complaining about religious decorations. Who the hell cares how many angels are in front of Town Hall? Who cares if there is a menorah in the Post Office? It's a freaking holiday, people. Just because the decorations are there doesn't mean somone is forcing you to observe the holiday they represent. You don't like it, stay in your house until New Years and shut the hell up. Stop putting a damper on the holiday spirit just because you have a bug up your ass about a religion that's not yours.

    I'm talking to you atheists, too. Is it really a problem for two or three weeks out of the year to let people have their damn decor? It's not on the same level as posting the ten commandments inside of a courthouse; no one is claiming that by stepping into City Hall you automatically must abide by the tenets that the angels represent.

    Let your festering bitterness towards religions other than yours, or religion at all, take a rest for the remainder of the year. Ti's the season whether you like it or not. Don't use your damn causes to take the joy out of the holidays.

    People really need to stop taking themselves so seriously. They are taking all the fun out of this world.

    Bah, humbug.

    you would even say it glows

    Only 12 hours into my month long war against tacky Christmas decorations, and one of the TIPsters has already called in a behemoth.

    Melissa at Pointy Ears sent her dad on a mission to take pictures of his neighbor's giant, glowing bible and he came through. Go here to see the pictures.

    Thanks for being a good TIPster, Melissa. Everyone else, get those cameras out and start scouring your neighborhood for violaters of the good taste codes.

    some things just shouldn't be re-usable

    WARNING: If you are easily disgusted by a woman's menstrual cycle, do not read this post. Or read it and then make a nasty comment about how I ruined your dinner.

    As I was doing my Sunday night scouring of the Indymedia sites, I hit the Portland site and realized with horror that I had missed the Menstrual Pad Making Workshop today.

    No, really. I do not make this stuff up.

    The Women's Health Collective will be holding a menstrual pad making workshop on Sunday, at 10:00 a.m., at the Back to Back cafe (616 E. Burnside). "Come and learn all the different options women have besides tampons and how to make your own resuable pads. Any extra thread, needles or scraps of flannel you can bring would help."

    Reusable. Flannel. I had to read that twice.

    "6.5 billion tampons and 13.5 billion sanitary pads, plus their packaging, ended up in landfills or sewer systems in 1998. And according to the Center for Marine Conservation, over 170,000 tampon applicators were collected along U.S. coastal areas between 1998 and 1999."

    You know, I recycle. Every Sunday night I put out my little green bucket with my newspapers and plastic and metal. But I'll be damned if I'm going extend my environemtal awareness so much that I start reusing my maxi pads. And who the hell is throwing their tampons into the sea? Message in a tampon, anynow?

    Over at scarleteen.com, there's a little article about the myths of washable menstrual pads.

    2. They’re Unsanitary: Stop and think for one minute. Think about your underwear. That’s right, that’s what I said: think about your underwear. Is your underwear unsanitary? Do you boil it after every wear? Hopefully you don’t. Same goes for washable menstrual pads.

    Well, I don't know about you, Miss Scarlet Teen, but my undies get washed after every use. Maybe not boiled, but it's something close to that.

    Using washable menstrual pads simply means taking a few extra minutes out of your day to rinse out some pieces of cotton and hang them somewhere to dry.

    Date: Hey, what are those things hanging in the bathroom?
    You: Oh, those are my washable menstrual pads!
    Date: Uh, I just remembered I have to scrape my mother's feet tonight.

    If you’re like me, and many of the washable pad users I’ve spoken with, you might actually grow to enjoy the time you spend dealing with your pads.

    Woohoo! It's Wednesday! Can't wait to get home and wash my menstrual pads tonight!

    Bloodsisters,, who describe themselves as menstrual activists, have a nifty suggestion, too:

    Other alternatives exist for women. Natural sea sponges can be bought at any pharmacy. Just attach some dental floss for a string. Dip it in boiling water to sterilise it, squeeze and insert as you would any tampon.

    I can hear the theme song now:

    Who lives in a pussy under the sea?
    Spongebob Tampon!

    If pads aren't your thing yet you want to remain environmentally concious, you can always try The Keeper. It's a little cup that looks more like a bathroom plunger (and from the FAQs, sounds like one too). You can use it for up to ten years and the great part is, ou can be super-duper vigilant in your recycling, because you can empty the cup into your garden when you take it out. I kid you not. Apparently plants are vampiric in nature and thrive on blood.

    Me, I'll keep my tampons, thank you very much. Maybe I'm being selfish, but I'd rather release my little plastic applicator into the wilds of the New York sewer system than spend a night rinsing out something that's been sitting between my legs all day while I have my period.

    Then again, I shave my legs, too. I'm such a radical that way.

    track 2 is for terrorist boarding only

    The Bizzaro World legal system, brought to you by John Ashcroft.

    fisking on a sunday morning

    I usually leave the fisking of Mr. Fisk to others, as it is an art form that only a few can do properly. But he irritated me so today, and as it gives me an excuse to put off the housecleaning for another half hour, I'll have a go at it. Well, just certain parts of it.

    Italics his. Obviously.

    Oh, click on the more link. It's another long one.

    But last week's killings in Kenya and the attempt to bring down an Israeli airliner were far more important than most people realise. For by bringing Israel into the loop – by allowing Israel to become a partner in President Bush's asinine "war on terror" – al-Qa'ida has ensured that the Arab Muslim world will henceforth give its real if quiescent sympathy to Osama bin Laden.

    I was under the impression that Israel was already in the loop. Come to think of it, I was under the impression that the Arab Muslim world had already given its sympathy to bin Laden.

    Outraged as many Arabs were at the international crimes against humanity of 11 September 2001, few will object to an attack against Israelis, however cruel, while Israel's suppression of the Palestinians continues. If al-Qa'ida is now against Israel, Arabs will give their support.

    Again, he is stating the obvious. Arabs not caring about attacks on Israeli's? I'm shocked! It certainly did not take Israel joining the war on terror for that to happen. Fisk is just finding another opportunity to justify hatred towards Israel.

    With utter predictability, Ariel Sharon walked into the al-Qa'ida trap. He vowed "revenge". Thus any strike against the al-Qa'ida – by America, by Britain, by Australia – will be seen as an Israeli attack.

    Of course he vowed revenge, you asswipe. What else would you expect a leader to do when his land and its people are attacked so brutaly? Submit? The fact that an attack against al-Qaida by America would be an attack-by-proxy from Israel is not news. It's been talked about for a year. The attacks on Thanksgiving gave Israel no choice but to be vocal about its part in the war on al-Qaida. Were you looking for meetings and handshakes instead?

    America and Britain and Israel are now fighting on the same side. In the short term – and in his mendacious attempt to link Yasser Arafat with Mr bin Laden – Mr Sharon may have gained some advantage. At last, Israel's war on Palestinian "terror" can be placed on the same footing as its new war against al-Qa'ida. No longer will Mr Sharon's ghastly spokesmen have to justify their army's brutality towards Palestinians. Israel is fighting the same struggle of "good against evil" that President Bush invented for us just over a year ago.

    Love those scare quotes around Palestinian terror. Do you not call suicide bombers terrorists? Have you been playing cards with the Reuters guys? And brutality. Surely you jest. What is more brutal than people celebrating the death of their enemy's children? What is more brutal than strapping a bomb belt to your son and praying that he kills as many people as possible, including himself? As for the invention of "good against evil," I hardly think Bush invented those planes that smacked into the WTC and the Pentagon. There has never been a clearer case of good against evil. Even if you want to place the blame for the attacks on the American government, you need to take a look at all the innocent people who were killed that day. Good against Evil indeed. No invention necessary.

    But for Israelis, there is one big error in all this. By responding to al-Qa'ida's wicked assault on its civilians, it is taking on a mighty big opponent. For Mr bin Laden's men are not the hopeless suiciders that the Palestinians produce from their foetid refugee camps. The Afghanistan-trained men of Mr bin Laden's legion do not spring from the squalor of Gaza or the occupied masses of the West Bank.

    Anyone can read between those lines and get the same words I did: the Palestinian suicide squads only exist because Israel forces them to exist. Again, he justifies their existence without even having to spell it out.

    Israel's rabble of an army can kill child stone-throwers with ease. Al-Qa'ida is a quite different opponent. And if Mr Sharon wants to take on Mr bin Laden, he is ensuring that Israel goes to war with its most dangerous enemy in 54 years. Better by far to let the Americans tackle al-Qa'ida – and even they don't seem to be all that successful – than bring Israel into the battle.

    Today's child stone throwers are tomorrow's suicide bombers. They are also the victims of martyrdom whose parents teach them to run out in front of tanks, where their deaths are then used to wage a war of innuendos against Israel. Israel is already in the battle. The bombing in Kenya made sure of that.

    Now, however, Messrs Bush and Blair will have to watch in silence as Mr Sharon bludgeons the occupied Palestinians into further submission.

    Have you ever read the stories of the surivors of suicide bombings? Nails embedded in their lungs, pieces of metal left to linger in their limbs; talk about bludgeoning.

    Israel is now engaged in our war, on our side, and whatever Israel does will now have the imprimatur of the "war on terror". Israel is now on the side of the good guys and if it kills nine children when its air force wants to assassinate a Hamas leader, the White House will not even be able to call it "heavy-handed".

    And how does Palestine justify its killing of children? It's intentional killing of children? Why do the people who support these suicide bombers not answer when asked why it is ok to kill innocent children? How can you support it on one side - the side that does it purposefully - and not the other side, who does it without premeditation?

    So here's a few thoughts. Why must we let al-Qa'ida write the script? Why don't we set up the machinery of real international law? Why don't we talk about "justice" rather than revenge? Why don't we have international tribunals so that those who wish to kill us can have their time in court? I don't want al-Qa'ida's members blown to pieces in Yemen by Mr Bush's hit squads. I want to see them tried, fairly and by due process.

    That must be a nice little world you are living in, Fisky. International tribunals? Court? Due process? Where was the due process for the 3,000 victims of September 11? Sure, you want to drag this through some world wide court system so it will linger on for years and justice will never really be served. If we don't find bin Laden, we try him anyhow, in absentia, and what? We claim a moral victory when he is found guilty while he's laughing in an underground cave somewhere? You may not want the member of al-Qaida in Yemen dead, but I sure as hell do and I bet I can find at least a million people who agree with me.

    Of course, the Americans will whinge and whine about this. They will rabbit on about how Americans may be taken to court for political ends, about how American troops might be liable for war crimes trials – and given some of their behaviour in Afghanistan, I can well see why they would worry about this. I can see, too, why Mr Sharon would worry that he, too, could end up in court on war crimes charges for his involvement in the massacre of Palestinians at Sabra and Chatila in 1982. I don't know if Mr Sharon is guilty. But I think he deserves a fair trial.

    What then of Arafat and Hamas? Do they get trials? The suicide bombers get no trial and their only punishment will come when they step into heaven and look for their 72 virgins and get Satan laughing in their face instead. If you are going to take Israel and America to task for their "war crimes," then say the same for Palestine.

    No, I'm not equating al-Qa'ida and Mr Sharon, nor am I associating the innocent with the guilty.

    Yes, yes you are.

    But it's time we wrote the script to this terrible conflict. It's time we stopped crushing our own freedoms. It's time we talked about law and fairness and justice. Not just for criminals. But for the whole Middle East.

    If you for one minute think that any member of al-Qaida or Hamas gives a shit about law and fairness and justice, you are out of your freaking mind, Mr. Fisk. Step out of bizzaro world and into reality. It may not be nice here, but at least we face the hard truths without making up some fairy tale endings.

    Operation TIPS: Christmas Decoration Hell

    hell.gifGet your cameras ready, oh faithfull TIPsters. I have a mission for you: Seek and destroy The Evil Overdecorator. You know who I'm talking about; the guy who uses more electricity for his Christmas decorations than an entire small city. The neighbor who makes it look as if the Wal-Mart Christmas department threw up on her lawn.

    I have a list of tips so you can determine whether or not you should report your neighbors to the TIPS Christmas hotline:

    1. Does the brightness of their lighting display cause low-flying planes to think they are approaching a landing strip?

    2. Do they have a soundtrack of sappy Christmas songs playing on repeat all night long?

    3. Do they mix in other holidays (Fourth of July, Halloween) with their Christmas decorations?

    4. Is their nativity scene represented by cartoon characters or are they using characters that have nothing whatsover to do with Christmas and should not be used in any decorations ever? (see, Pokemon display)

    5. Are any of the inflatable decorations over four feet tall?

    6. Does a line of cars form down your block from December 1st until New Years, turning your neighborhood into a tourist attraction?

    7. Do they charge people to view the lights?

    8. Have they turned any of their lawn junk into decorations?

    9. Do they have flashing or lighted messages boards whose size rivals that of the Shea Stadium Diamond Vision?

    10. Do they force their kids to re-enact The Night Before Christmas on their lawn every night?

    11. Do they advertise their display in the local paper?

    12. Do they have an animatronic Nutcracker Suite?

    13. Is the Santa they hired to "ho-ho-ho" all night long is drunk?

    14. Do they have a lighted birthday cake for Jesus?

    I think you get the point. I am entrusting that none of you have made any of the above errors in judgment.

    Now, I am sending you out into the wild, armed with your cameras to hunt down the perpetrators of any of the above Christmas crimes and report back to me. Rewards to be had for the person who brings in the most offenders. You may also use this opportunity to turn yourself in if you are a guilty party and receive amnesty before one of your neighbors rats on you.

    I will be out trolling the streets of Long Island, looking for the most tasteless, tacky decorations I can find. Two words: wire cutters.

    I got 'em and I'm not afraid to use them.

    Reader Carol sends a link to Bright Nights. I mean, what's Christmas without a 48 foot high poinsettia?

    I'm having way too much fine finding these tacky pictures. I'll add more as the day goes on. And don't forget to vote in the Bloggerville's Favorite Holiday Movies poll