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October 31, 2003


The rest of the Halloween pictures will have to wait until tomorrow.

I just realized that, this being October 31st, tomorrow is November 1st.

As in, the day I have to start writing my novel; 50,000 words in 30 days.

I am in a complete state of panic. I thought I had the story all worked out and now, at the last possible minute, I'm coming up with all kinds of doubts about the storyline.

I need to go clear my brain for the rest of the evening.

Quickie poll, though. I've said before that I'm going to post the story as I go along (over here) and - at great risk to my self-esteem - leave the comments open as I do. Now I'm not sure.

So, to post or not to post, that is the question. Whether its better to let the readers have at it at a chapter at a time, or to wait until the whole damn thing is (hopefully) complete.

here there be wenches

In the nearly three years I've been doing this, I think I've posted two pictures of me here. I'm sure you could find them if you look hard enough, but I won't tell you where they are.

Not only am I not photogenic at all, I am also very self-conscious. But hey, it's Halloween and I'm pretending to be someone else, so why not.

I started off as a Vampiress, but as I lost parts of my costume (the long wig, the big collar thing that made me look Malificent) I realized I looked more like a bar wench than a vampire chick. That's ok with me, because I've always had this secret desire to be a bar wench back in the day when there was no ACLU to sue all the pirates and make them use the phrase "waitperson" instead of bar wench.

I just like the sound of that. Aye, bar wench! Fetch me a bottle of beer! And one for me parrot!

Anyhow, I had a really crappy camera with me, hence the graininess that even Photoshop could not erase. My husband had fun taking the pictures, anyhow.

Enjoy, or whatever.

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sugar rush

Wheee! Nothing like raiding the kids' bags when they stop off at home.

Still doing the Halloween stuff. Back with pictures (of me, even!) and tales later on tonight.

Hope you're all having a safe and fun Halloween.

everybody say awww

My nephew, a/k/a Buzz Lightyear, came to visit me at work. I guess he was tired from all that saving the world stuff, because he is obviously passed out in this photo.

Don't worry. I'll be taking at least 100 pictures of him and my own kids later and I will post every single one of them here for your viewing pleasure, each one with a cute caption and maybe a midi of "Bless The Children" embedded in each photo.

Now that's scary.

[insert scary music here]

Hey, I have my own creepy story to tell. Sure, most of you have read it before. Maybe even twice. But humor me in thinking that I've gained some new readers since I last posted it.

"I Dream of Kurt Cobain"

It was around Halloween, the year after Cobain died. My mother goes all out decorating for Halloween. Every year is a different theme. That particular year was rock-n-roll graveyard. She made tombstones for every dead rock star she could think of and stuck them on the front lawn, complete with hands coming up out of the graves and cobwebs and such. It really was lovely. Elvis, Buddy Holly, Jim Morrison....they were all there. And so was Kurt. I don't know why, but this bothered me. It's not like I was a fan of the guy and felt bad. It just bothered me on some level I couldn't articulate.

So, that night after we decorated I had a dream:

I was working in a library. I had to put books away in the downstairs reference area that was off-limits to the public. It was a small room, crowded with floor-to-ceiling stacks and photo copy machines. I had to stand on a step stool to get a particular book away. It was a thick, dusty book of famous quotations. As I was reaching up to get the book in its proper place, I felt a presence behind me. Afraid to turn around, I took my time getting the book on the shelf.

Someone coughed, that clearing your throat kind of cough you use when you are trying to get someone's attention. I turned around ,and there was the presence I felt. Leaning on the photo copy machine as if he had every right to be there was Kurt Cobain, looking grungy as every.

He nodded in my direction and said "Hey." I waved to him.
"What do you want?" I asked him.
"Chill out. I just want to ask you a favor."
"Ok, but hurry. I have books to put away before I wake up."
"Um...do you think you could tell your mom to take my head stone down? It's giving me the creeps."
"I guess. I don't really like it either."
"Yea, it's too....new."
We stood there a few minutes, looking at each other. He came over to me and whispered in my ear.
"This isn't a dream, you know."
"I know."
He moved toward the door and pointed at me, a silent reminder of my promise.
"I'll take care of it in the morning," I said.
"I knew I could count on you. Thanks."
"Yea. Bye."

And with that, he was gone. I went back to shelving my books.

The next day I told my mother the dream and asked her to take the head stone down. She did. I never saw him in a dream again.

i think that 80's music counts as horror

And therefore, this qualifies as a Halloween post.

Yea, another 80's lyrics quiz. My sister always told me that knowing Poison lyrics would come in handy some day.

stolen from keith

you're my obsession

Hey Bill, you're a pest!
You're a pest 'cause you're obsessed!
Hey Bill!
Hey Bill!

Well, you have to click that on to see what it means. And while you're there, take his Halloween poll on the scariest movie character. Which makes this an official Halloween post.

wearing the orange and black

This is an All Halloween Zone. Like Alan, I count the news as something that scares me, so what looks like a news post could really be a Halloween post.

Anyhow, if you are writing any Halloween type stuff today, drop a link in the comments.

And then check out the special Halloween section at Blogcritics.

Oh, and here's my Halloween music mix from 2002.

the u.n., halloween and child servitude

box.gifNow that I think about it, I realize that the U.N. has been using a form of child slave labor all these years. I suppose one day at a meeting between the U.N. Council of For The Children(tm) and the UNICEF people, someone raised their hand and said, Hell, the kids are out there begging door to door on Halloween anyhow, why don't we use that to our benefit? And thus, the exploitation of young children at the hands of the U.N. began in earnest.

I didn't even know what the money I was collecting was actually for when I was young and naive enough to just do what they told me. We were told in some vague terms that there were children in other countries who needed medicine and I immediately thought, I'm going door to door in this stupid, plastic, suffocating costume to collect money for medicine? Here I was willing enough to suffer through this off-the-shelf bargain store monstrosity of a costume so I could get some candy and now they tell me I'll be asking for money for medicine for some kid I don't even know.

I wasn't the only one who was outraged at this idea, so they had to explain to us that we still could trick-or-treat for candy, but we should hold up the UNICEF box as well. And smile. Maybe bat your eyelashes. Those children need medicine! I thought perhaps those children would really prefer a nice Three Musketeers Bar to a dose of foul-tasting pink medicine and I said so out loud. I was rewarded with a lecture on how those children don't even know what chocolate is.

So we took our UNICEF boxes and put them in our Halloween bags and went trick-or-treating. But we were clever. Oh, so clever. We just knew that somehow it was wrong of the U.N. to ask us to go fundraising for them on what is supposed to be the most glorious day of the year besides Christmas, so we didn't bother to hold out our orange boxes and smile at the neighbors for spare change. We just waited until we were done trick-or-treating, then we sat on a corner and went through our bags digging out the pennies and nickels that the old ladies on the block had given us. We dumped them in our UNICEF boxes and we were done. And we felt good about ourselves. As we sat on that corner pretend-smoking our candy cigarettes and gulping down Milk Duds, we were very self-satisified. Until we found out that the school kids in the neighboring town didn't trick-or-treat for candy at all. They went around town with only their UNICEF boxes in hand, and they all dressed like doctors and nurses. We felt pretty smug after that. Losers! They didn't get any candy!

Yes, we missed the point of the entire thing.

I get the point now, though. I am older and wiser than I was back then. Had I known then what I know now, I wouldn't have given them the loose change from my trick-or-treat bag. Who knows? Maybe some of that money was diverted and it went into a fund that eventually paid for Scott Ritter's salary. Look what I've done!

I think if the schools are going to participate in forced child servitude, they should at least be allowed to raise money things that are needed in their particular schools. Of course, we couldn't let the administration make those choices or we'd have the kids walking around with boxes that say, Give your pennies for the new large-screen tv in the administrator's office!

Let the kids just have their holiday. Put the orange boxes away. Don't make those on a fixed income be forced to choose between buying candy for the children or just keeping a bowl of loose change by the door. Don't be a slave for the U.N. Giving into the legend of the orange box today may mean another Scott Ritter tomorrow.

Happy Halloween.

See also, Damien Penny, The Case Against UNICEF.

October 30, 2003

tell me a scary story

A TRUE scary story, that is.

If you've ever had a paranormal experience, a supernatural moment, if you've ever been haunted or heard voices when no one was there or just had a completely weird and unexplainable experience (like Kelley's), tell me. Make it good, none of that crap with the image of the Virgin Mary on a tombstone. Been there, done that.

it's the great drowning pumpkin, charlie brown!

I am definitely making this and putting it outside the house tomorrow. I think I'll try a few of the other sick ideas I found at this site, thanks to Adam.

We get a good amount of trick-or-treaters every year - well over 100 if the weather is good. With tomorrow being a Friday, and good, warm weather expected, I think we'll be mighty busy answering the door and scaring people. My sister and I were trying to think of cool ways to scare the older kids, but I think we are going to make a Ghoulish Pumpkin Garden, with a bunch of the ideas from Extreme Pumpkins.

[5 minutes later] Yep, I just called her and she's all for it. We'll put the pumpkin patch on the lawn on the far side away from the door so we don't frighten the little ones.

If you have any other ideas for simple, easy ways to make freaky, scary or just plain sick pumpkins (like the drowning pumpkin pictured here), fire away. Remember, the more offensive, the better.

i vant to suck your blood

Thanks to Jann of Sweet Aspirations for the dripping blood logo!

smashing pumpkins

It's that time of year again. My annual open letter to the wacky kids that roam the neighborhood on Halloween.

I post this letter here as a gift to America. If I can change just one mind, keep just one pumpkin from being smashed, if just one teenager stops short of someone's doorstep and backs away from the pumpkin after reading this, then I will have done my job. Weblogs. They can make a difference.

The only thing different about this year's letter is that it now applies to my daughter and her friends, who have finally joined the ranks of those old enough to head out on their own to make mischief.

Dear local teenagers,

As we approach the dawn of another Halloween, I would like to take this moment to have a word with you. I will say this once, and only once, and there will be no second chances. Not this year.

If any one of you so much as looks at my pumpkins in a way other than admiration, I will pick your eyes out with a spork.

If any of you dare approach those pumpkins, or my scarecrow, with theft and/or smashing in mind, I will chase you down the street and slice your hands off with a butter knife.

If you have the balls to actually cross my property and touch my festive lawn decorations, I will slice your dick off with a razor blade and feed it to the rather large dog next door.

If I find one ounce of shaving cream, whipped cream, or other cream-like substance on my car in the morning, I will hunt you down and make you lick it off until the car looks like new.

Do not doubt me. Do not make me act upon my words. Just walk on by the house and don't even look.

Thank you.

I just want to keep all of you from having the same horrible, tragic experience I had with a beloved pumpkin one Halloween. Do you know what it's like to wake up on Halloween morning and see the guts of Punky Pumpkin, who had become like a member of the family to us, strewn all over your lawn and the street? With seagulls picking at his seeds?

I'm getting all choked up just remembering that.

Pass this letter on to your neighborhood teens. Post it on the telephone polls. Stick it on your car. Wake up, America! Your pumpkins are being murdered while you sleep!

madonna has cooties

And she gave them to Britney.

Ed may be onto something.

not for nothing...

But I'm getting tired of shouting, tired of being angry and tired of saying the same things over and over again, in different words.

Aren't you? And aren't you tired of reading it here, there and everywhere? It's all conflict, no resolution. That grates on your nerves after a while.

And I miss my old friends.

ted rall: if you build it, they will riot

Let's revisit my little essay on how 2004 could be 1968 all over again. Well, let's visit it through the eyes of Teddy Boy.

"Next year in New York" is already the rallying cry of more than 150 groups planning to protest Bush's coronation. United for Peace and Justice, which organized some of the biggest demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq, has applied for a 250,000-person permit to march past Madison Square Garden, where the convention is being held, on the event's first full day.

What's this? Rall is actually proving one of my points; that next year will be the boiling point for this whole left v. right war.

Everyone from radical anarchists to moderate environmentalists expects the NYC/GOP ideological collision to spark the biggest American protest march since the end of the Vietnam War.....Activists are talking, some with barely hidden glee, about the possibility of violence. "It'll be Chicago 1968," a well-connected progressive leader predicts, referring to the "Days of Rage" riots during that year's Democratic National Convention. "Things are gonna burn, people are gonna die."

Well, yes Ted. That's exactly what I was saying and now I have proof of people actually admitting that. But Ted goes on:

As much as I relish the idea of a million angry Americans turning the tawdry Necropublican National Convention into a Seattle WTO-style fiasco, the potential for mayhem is terrifying. As a Manhattanite, I hope that the Republicans will seriously consider moving their convention somewhere else.

Just like Rall to cower in fear. He's afraid of his own people. Even though he "relishes" the mayhem they cause wherever they go, he's basically admitting that they are terrifying.

The risk of convention-related terrorist attacks should be reason enough to not hold it in a city that paid the highest price on 9/11.....A revival of 1968, with cops fouling their batons with the blood of young people, wouldn't do anyone--left or right--any good.

Stop right there, Ted. Fouling their batons with the blood of young people. Let's go back in time a bit, shall we?

"It'll be Chicago 1968," a well-connected progressive leader predicts, referring to the "Days of Rage" riots during that year's Democratic National Convention. "Things are gonna burn, people are gonna die."

So, they're planning on causing havoc and destruction and possibly death, but if the police beat them back, they will be in the wrong.

Riots would make everyone look bad--New York, the GOP and the demonstrators. The resulting property damage could exceed the cost that would be involved in moving the convention to another city--a price that the well-funded Bush campaign can easily afford. The Bushies would be better off today if they had taken my advice on Afghanistan, Iraq, and the economy. They've haven't listened yet--but that's no reason not to start now.

So, New York is supposed to back out of hosting this convention because a bunch of activists can't keep their emotions in check? This sounds like a threat to me when read all together: Move the convention or your city will burn and people will die. In the passive-aggressive world of leftist activism, if New York City becomes a victim of crazed rioters, it will be the fault of the Republicans for holding the convention there. He beat her because she deserved it, eh Ted?

Yes, I'm afraid of the mayhem as well. But that's coming no matter where or when the convention is. It's coming not just to New York, but to California and all the states in between. The anti-everything crowd is not a happy one and they are just absolutely trigger-happy at the prospect of clashing with authorities. They want it to be 1968 because right now they just look like a loose band of hippie wannabes. A 1968 type riot, with a few smashed heads and maybe a death or two would make them feel relevant again.

New York City does not cower. Maybe Ted is a pussy, maybe Ted is scared of what his very own fanbase is capable of. But New York is not afraid. And New York certainly does not need to take his advice, nor do the Republicans. We'd all end up hiding under our beds if we did.

the latest in homeland security

UPDATE: The drama is over. There were two people with a toy gun.

Bravo for our nation's security!

< cough >

"We have information that someone with a gun made an unauthorized entrance into the Cannon office building," U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman Jessica Gissubel told a local NBC affiliate. The man was possibly carrying a .38 caliber pistol, she said.

--Reuters, which is the only source with a link so far. Everyone else just has breaking news headlines.

UPDATE: Fox has more:

Apparently the suspect approached a police checkpoint at the building, set a backpack down and police detected a gun inside the bag. When the suspect realized the gun had been discovered, he grabbed the bag and ran into the building.

Ok, now it looked like a revolver in his bag. And he may or may not have a gun.

free dirty danny II: this time it's personal

From Danny Hellman: "I'm proud to announce the publication of LEGAL ACTION COMICS Volume Two, the long-awaited sequel to 2001's critically-acclaimed LAC Vol.1! Weighing in at a whopping 292 pages, LEGAL ACTION COMICS Vol. Two features contributions from over seventy of the alternative/underground comics scene's top talents, including Art Spiegelman, Kim Deitch, Carol Lay, Skip Williamson, Harry S. Robins, Tony Millionaire, Kaz, Michael Kupperman, Sam Henderson, Glenn Head and many others, plus fiction by "BEE SEASON" author Myla Goldberg."

The esteemed Mr. Hellman not only edited this whopper of a book, but he self-published it as well.

If you are in the New York Area, there will be a signing at Jim Hanley's Universe (4 West 33rd St. (between Fifth Ave. and Broadway) 212-268-7088) on Wednesday, November 19th. Some of the contributors that will be at the signing include Michale Kupperman, Kim Deitch, and the infamous Danny Hellman himself.

You can purchase LAC2 online Last Gasp.

Free Dirty Danny. Buy the book. Do it for Danny. Do it for the children(tm).

spin this

Good news:

The economy grew at a scorching 7.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter in the strongest pace in nearly two decades. Consumers spent with abandon and businesses ramped up investment, compelling new evidence of an economic resurgence.

Now, let's wait and see how the left spins this.

today's lesson (mine)

Sometimes, we perceive someone to be our enemy by virtue of their ideology or politics. We condition ourselves to believe that we should hate our enemies, and that they hate us in return.

How many of us have used our weblog to attack a person we don't really know based on his or her ideals? I sure have. Many times.

What if that person you attacked, that person you despised to the point of rage extended an offer of friendship? What if you accepted that offer and found out that person was honest, sincere and smart and was capable of having a mature, even-handed discussion about your differences? And what if you found out you also had some things in common?

Would you be turning your back on those who stand with you on your political and ideological lines by becoming friendly with this person?

Let's just say I received a great lesson in humility today. And I made a friend.

And we'll leave it at that.

day by day

Chris Muir and his Day by Day comic get written up in a great article at Tech Central Station. Chris deserves all the recognition he gets. And I think that all his fans should write their local papers and tell them to carry Day by Day.

But damn, Chris. You stole my idea for today.

we could be heroes

[All photos are AP photos from CNN. Click for bigger images]

Yesterday, Steven Rucker died in the line of duty while fighting the disastrous fires in California.

From the time I was old enough to comprehend what my father did for a living, I worshiped firemen. Once a year, my dad would come to my classroom -in full gear - and talk about fire prevention and safety. My classmates were in awe of him. A real fireman! In our classroom! Back then, every boy wanted to be a fireman or a cop when they grew up. It seemed exciting and daring and heroic.

When you're a third grade kid with a bad case of hero worship, you don't see beyond the hero himself. A little boy will just see a man in a big yellow jacket and helmet riding on the back of a fire truck, on his way to save the day, or that same fireman running out the door of a burning house, saved infant in his arms. Everyone cheers.

It's not until you are older that you realize what happens in the middle of that story. For me, that moment of realization came when I was about eight. maybe nine years old, in the car with my father. He was, at that time, a volunteer firefighter on Long Island, in addtion to his paid position in the city. One evening, a huge grocery store went up in flames. My mother and the rest of the firemen's wives had the duty of bringing coffee and other drinks to the firemen. Hey, it was the 70's. Women did that sort of thing without question.

So mom packed us up into the car and we went to watch the Big Apple grocery store burn down. I thought it would be fun and exciting. Instead, it was terrifying. I watched the roof collapse. I watched the building crumble underneath the flames. I watched as firemen kept going in, towards the flames instead of away from them. What kind of idiot goes into a burning building? A brave one, I suppose.

Shortly after that, a volunteer fireman from my father's company died in the line of duty. My father's chosen profession suddenly took on a different tone for me. I never thought about the death part. I never even considered the fact that one day he might not come home from work. I went to bed that night angry. How could my father be so selfish that he would risk his life to save strangers and their property when he had kids and a wife at home who needed him? A small voice in my head replied: That's not selfish. It's selfless.

Firefighters were all the rage after 9/11. They were the new heroes. Forget baseball players and rock stars; people wore pictures of firemen on their t-shirts instead. Everyone had an NYFD hat.

Time goes on. Other heroes come and go. People don't forget, but they don't feel that pride for firemen with the same intensity they felt following 9/11. That's ok, those brave men and women don't do this for the glory, anyhow. Most of the time there is no glory.

Have you looked at the pictures from the California fires? Have you seen the videos on televions? Do you understand what hell looks like? Now, imagine someone walking towards that. Going towards that inferno to save the trees, save your house, save whatever they can. Just like that fall day in New York City two years ago; people evacuate, the firemen move in and do their job, without question, without hesitation. Fear? Of course. Who wouldn't be afraid of that wall of fire? But they go forward because it is their duty.

People do not become firefighters for the money. They don't do it on a whim, or to get the chicks. It takes a special kind of person to choose to do this for a living, or to choose to volunteer their time in the local firehouses.

Steven Rucker was one of those people. Remember him as you watch those flames on the news. Remember every fireman who has gone towards the flames instead of away from them.

There is no one person, no group of people, who could ever replace the fireman as my personal hero.

When you are done here, go read Chuck. He knows a thing or two about how hard firefighting is.


Please note (I have been through this before, which is why I feel the need to say this) that I am not placing a higher value on the life of Steven Rucker than that of the others who have died during these fires. I am sorry for all the loss of life, all the property losses, for the tragedy of the whole thing. My heart is with everyone in the line of the fires.

October 29, 2003

it's a schooner

So they've seen the sun-flare induced auroras in Texas, Kansas and Georgia.

New York? Nothing. I sat outside and stared at my neighbor's window, pretending the flicker blue light from their television was an aurora.


Maybe I should take Jay's advice:

You know what you need? What you need is a fatty boom batty blunt. Then I guarantee you'll see an ocean, a sailboat aurora and maybe some of them big-tittied mermaids doin' some of that lesbian shit.

Reference, for those who need it.

what's grey and white and red all over?

[wherein i play devil's advocate]

I'm sure by now you've heard about the dolphin "massacre" that the Sea Shepherd conservation group "filmed" live. [I feel like I work for Reuters with these scare quotes]

I've had the link mailed to me about twenty times today. I've seen it on several news sites. And now, I'm here to debunk it for you. Well, at least make you think that these photos just might be some skillful manipulation of the masses by wild-eyed activists.

Let's look at the first picture, which I found over at Ananova.Now, keep in mind that these dolphins were supposedly hacked to death. By the fishermen that you see in the photo. Do you see blood anywhere but in the water? Look at those pristine white helmets. The white gloves. The Clorox Clean white shoes. The inside of the boat doesn't have a drop of blood on it except for what's on the dolphins. The scuba diver's gloves are clean.


Here's the second photo. The water is supposed to be polluted with the blood of the dolphins. Doesn't the side of that boat look awfully clean for something that was in the center of a hack-o-rama? And how much do dolphins bleed? I wonder how many dolphins would have to be slaughtered to make the water look like Freddy and Jason had dropped by a frat party.


Of course, the above are just my opinions, based on nothing but my skepticism. If anyone would like to prove me wrong, I'd be more than happy to retract my theories.

how soon for the locusts?

Earthquake hits California in area of fires.

If you want up close, and frequently updated fire news, check in with Citizen Smash, who is blogging what seems like 24 hours a day on this story.

This blogger has collected personal photos of the fires from around the internet.


Does anyone know how to prove if a picture has been Photoshopped? Like, is there some way to open it in Photoshop and take it apart?


Boxer Mike Tyson hold signs in support of Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant during the Lakers' exhibition game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Anaheim, Calif., Thursday, Oct 23, 2003. This was the first game in which Bryant has played this season. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) tyson.jpg

This defies captioning.

via Allah

and the punchline is: homeland security

Memo to Tom Ridge:

Maybe before you try to get all high-tech with this facial recognition technology on your wishlist, you should start with something simpler, like keeping boxcutters off of planes.

latuff strikes again

My old friend Latuff is at it again [thanks to Dodd for the heads up].

[click for bigger image]

People ask why I keep giving Latuff attention. Simple answer: Because I think hatred needs to be exposed.

Not so simple answer: Because I am fascinated by him, in a repulsive sort of way. Sort of the way one is fascinated with car accidents or serial killers.

Anyhow, this is Latuff's most recent work, presented here for your commentary. Have at it.

If you are unfamiliar with the noted anti-Semite and anti-American artist Latuff, you can see my collection of some of his "best" work right here. [where you can also view a comment from the esteemed terrorist supporter himself] There's also this recent one which I have yet to add to the collection.

If you are really brave, you can see Latuff's complete works here, and all his Indymedia supported work here.

we are doomed: part 2

What the hell?

A 9-year-old boy was arrested at gunpoint and handcuffed Saturday because he was waving a toy gun over his head while seated on a bench outside a store, according to a Lorain police report.


His mother, Tamyka Saunders of Sheffield Lake, said her son, Thomas Clark Jr., told Lorain police when they approached him outside a Broadway business that the gun was a toy. An officer aimed his weapon at the boy's head, ordered him to the ground, handcuffed him and arrested him for juvenile delinquency by reason of inducing panic, according to the police report.


Saunders said police were not even going to come inside the cosmetology institute to tell her they were arresting her son. She said she learned from another woman her son was being arrested.

Yes, it could have been a real gun. The kid was nine. NINE. He wasn't pointing the TOY gun at anyone. After they realized it was a toy, was it really necessary to cuff him and arrest him? And then not even telling the mother of the child?

I hate zero tolerance. Hate it. It is going to be the downfall of our future generations.

Everybody sing the Doom Song with me.

we made you!

You think I went overboard with my alarmist post last night on the sun flares?

[phone rings in my office]
Me: Judge's Chambers

Stay away from all vehicles today. That's his advice to you.

we are doomed as a nation. doomed.

[off topic for a second: if you're wondering where the waldo post went, i put it on draft for now as I think that poor guy's server crashed from all the traffic today]

[via Tongue Tied]

A 14-year-old New Jersey schoolboy - whose dad and stepdad are in the military - was suspended for five days because he drew a "patriotic" stick figure of a U.S Marine blowing away a Taliban fighter, officials said yesterday.

Ok. I've officially had it. What the hell is this country coming to when kids can't even draw pictures of a soldier killing a terrorist? We are at war! The Taliban is our enemy!

Back in my day (walk, snow, uphill both ways, etc.) that's all we drew in class. Soldiers and enemies. Shoot 'em up. Shoot 'em dead.

As far as I know, none of the kids I went to elementary school ended up becoming murderers.

Said a local psychologist: "I have to wonder what is expected of our children today when 1) our country is at war and 2) both his father and stepfather are out fighting the war."

Doesn't she know the world is made of candy and kittens and fluffy clouds? Sheesh. Get with the program, people. There's no horror in this world. No danger. No war. Nope. None of that here. So just tell your kids to go on painting and sketching happy little scenes.

The school principal: "He's been punished for the drawing. We felt it was highly inappropriate, and we took it very seriously."

Inappropriate for whom? I'll tell you who's inappropriate! The superindendent is inappropriate! The whole damn school system is inappropriate!
/Pacino imitiation.

Seriously. This is just wrong. What can children do today? And what the hell are we going to do when this generation of kids gets out of college and they go into culture shock when they realize that the world is not peace, love and happiness.

And now, the Doom Song.


[Disclaimer: I pose the thoughts and questions below in all sincerity. These questions are not meant to mock or deride anyone's beliefs. I honestly want to have an open discussion about this, to find out why people believe what they do.]

This is something I often wonder about and maybe those who are relgious can help me out: If you believe in God, do you believe he is an interventionist God? For instance, do you think that prayer can cure illnesses, help rescue people from burning buildings or bring a lost child home? Or do you believe that God is just an observer; he made the world and now just sitting back and watching what happens with his invention?

So often when disasters occur, we see quotes like this:

"We prayed and spoke to those flames and told them they had to subside and to those winds and told them they had to subside, and they did....What the devil has meant to destroy lives and destroy property, God just turns it to where people turn to each other and help each other."

Which makes me wonder. If the power of prayer turned those flames back, then one would say that God is interventionist. If that's true, and he can stop winds and douse flames, then why didn't he stop the fires in California in the beginning, before people died and homes were destroyed?

In the aftermath of 9/11, you could hear many survivors saying that God led them safely out of the building. And I wonder, why you? Why did God lead you out of that building safely and not all those other people?

Every night, people quietly say their prayers before they go to bed. Every day in churches around the world, people pray to their God for world peace, for a better life, for a sick relative. But when you look at news stories like children being starved to near death by the people who were supposed to care for them, don't you think that if God could really answer prayers or intervene in lives, he would have stopped that abuse?

I understand that God, if is he indeed up there somewhere, can't spend all his time preventing car accidents and healing sick kids. But you would think that if he gave his son the ability to turn water into wine, he could give someone in Africa the ability to turn grass into wheat, saving thousands upon thousands of lives.

If God gave Moses the ability to part the Red Sea, then why can't he stop earthquakes and fires?

The fact that thoughts like this keep me awake at night lead me to believe that I may be an agnostic after all, and not an atheist.

October 28, 2003

sound the alarms!

[click for bigger image]Not to sound like an alarmist, but it wouldn't hurt to make a backup copy of everything on your computer right now. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to shut down your computer completely. And all your other electric appliances. And maybe try not drive anywhere tomorrow. Well, fill your car up with gas first. Just in case you do have to drive somewhere. Like that fallout shelter your father built in his backyard for Y2K. Oh, just in case this is really the rapture, I'll meet you all in Vegas when it's all over. And in case this is God just fucking with us I'd like to say right here and that I was just kidding about that atheist stuff, God. If it's aliens, just follow Mel Gibson's lead and throw water at them. And then renew your faith in humanity. But I'm not going to be an alarmist. Not at all. And remember: Soylent Green is people!

[photo from space.com]

jumping ahead

The novel writing commences in four days. I am ready to go.

I decided to give myself some inspiration for the 30 days of writing ahead of me. I made a cover for my book.

ted's being ambiguous again

Today, Mr. Rall digs up a 1998 column about bin Laden from Salon. I guess he was tired of defending himself for comparing Bush to Hitler so he went off on another tangent:

< snip from Salon piece >
...[T]he US government has never presented the American public with any hard proof that Osama bin Laden has carried out a single terrorist attack against us. Yet both President Clinton and Generalissimo El Busho have used him as a bÍte noire responsible for everything from bad food to bad music.

Oh come on, Ted. Now you're just exaggerating. I mean, it might explain the popularity of the Strokes, but you're just pushing our buttons here Ted, aren't you?

< snip from Salon piece >
Even if we captured Osama, in other words, we wouldn't be nabbing the guy who hit our embassies, or the Cole, or the World Trade Center. And what about the groups that actually carried out those attacks?
Bush won't even talk about them, much less try to bring them to justice.

So...it wasn't bin Laden and his cronies? I think we need to play Guess the Rall Conspiracy Theory here. Could it be........the Mossad? Or how about the CIA? Bush himself? Haliburton? Satan?

Anyone? Do you have any idea what he's talking about?

It's ok, Ted. The doctor will be right over. Just stay still and don't hurt yourself by thinking too hard.

discuss amongst yourselves: halloween version

Below you will find my Halloween Costume Shopping post from last year. I receive more hate mail for that post than any other thing I've ever written for Raising Hell. The mail ranges from parents calling me a terrible parent to Christina fans who want to kill me for calling her a slut.

Me, I still think it's funny.

I'll be away from the blog until much later this evening. The place is yours for the duration. Drinks in the fridge.

We went shopping for Halloween costumes today.

Me: Oh look, Natalie, Teletubbie costumes!
Natalie (who is almost 13): Mom!
Me: What about Bob the Builder?
Natalie: Mooooom!
Me: Fairy princess?
Natalie: I don't know you.

We look around a bit more and Natalie decides on wearing a black t-shirt that has a candy corn on it and says "sweet," black and orange striped stockings and a black skirt that used to be mine. I used to be thin. Sigh. She picks up orange hair spray and her outfit is complete.

Me: Now, what about you, DJ?
DJ: I don't know.
Me: Baseball player?
DJ: I've been a baseball player the last three years.
Me: Ninja?
DJ: No.
Me: Yu-Gi-Oh?
DJ: No.
Silence. Long pause while we look around.
DJ: Can I be Christina Aguilera?
Me: Umm....no.
DJ: You were going to let me be Britney Spears like two years ago.
Me: Thankfully you changed your mind.
DJ: Why can't I be Christina?
Me: Because she's a slut.
DJ: What's a slut?
Me: (stammer...stammer)
Natalie: A slut is a dirty girl who sells herself for money.
DJ: Like those girls we saw in the city last year?
Natalie: Yup.
Long silence. More looking.
DJ: Ok. I know what I want to be.
Me: What?
DJ: A hooker!!
Me: A baseball player.
Natalie: A baseball player in a dress?
DJ: Oh! Mike Piazza!

Sigh. Again.


Pardon the larger font size. I'm getting too old to be trying to read 12 px font.

a vote for no is a vote for my conscience!

I mean, seriously. What kind of idiot very sweet guy [who is going to a Gaiman/McKean signing this week] would have a poll on his website that asks his readers to determine whether or not he should eat a bug?

So, I need you all to do me a favor. Go over there and vote no. See, last time D went to a Gaiman signing, he and his beautiful wife girl got goodies for me and sent them all the way to my home from England. And they didn't ask for anything in return even though I had promised him something in return but have yet to mail the package. D said that he would try to get me something signed by both McKean and Gaiman - possibly a copy of Wolves in the Walls this time and I am afraid that if his readers choose for D to eat a bug, all will be lost because D will get violently ill or something worse and then he won't be able to go to the book signing.

Well, yes. I am asking you to help me alleviate my guilt. Vote No on Referendum Bug! And leave a comment so he knows you were there because I sent you. Then read the rest of his blog because he's very smart and clever and funny and is in the running for one or two of the British Blogs Awards.

know your enemy

I linked to Healing Iraq yesterday and I hope all of you who haven't been there before went and checked it out.

If not, here's a taste of today's blog. Zayed is pissed.

I demand that all Iraqi diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia and Syria cease immediately. I demand that we expel all foreign Arabs from Iraq until further notice. A little firmness is necessary. We can't just sit and wait for the next attacks. Iraq should resign from the Arab League which is just a symposium for dictators.

Zayed, blogging from Iraq, understands who the real enemy is. Go read the rest.

And then go check out Scott, who fact checks an MSNBC article about Iraq.

you're looking awfully green today

Can you people (yes, I mean you) stop whining about the CNN article that featured Big White Guy and his blog?

I'm not going to point any fingers (links) at you all, but suffice it to say you sound both jealous and whiny.

BWG has been blogging for four years. I've been reading him on and off for about two of those years. He's funny, insightful and is a kick ass photographer. The CNN interview used just 1% of what BWG said. Why don't you go explore the other 99% of what he has to say before you start crying foul? Start here, for instance, and you will see a collection of photographs from Hong Kong that is simply amazing.

Not all blogs are about politics and news. The blogosphere, as we are prone to calling it, is just that; a sphere. Think of it as a planet. Now look at your little space on that planet. Small, ain't it? There is more to this sphere than just warblogs or newsblogs. It's a wide, wide world out there and it's nice to see someone besides the usual pundits and movers and shakers getting recognition.

Congrats on your fifteen minutes, Big Guy. It's well deserved.

about that shaving cream

Owen asks (in todayís Halloween post) what the purpose of ďshaving cream in a sockĒ is for.

Basically, the kids fill the socks with shaving cream and then proceed to chase each other through the streets, whacking one another with the socks. Eventually, everyone is covered from head to toe in shaving cream. It sounds ridiculous but trust me, they are having fun.

When I was young, it wasnít as harmless as shaving cream. The boys would fill the socks with Nair and then chase the girls around. To a girl who was obsessed with her hair, Nair was far scarier than any zombie or ghost. Of course, the small amount of Nair that ended up on our heads wouldnít really do any damage, but we didnít know that. Terror, I tell you. Those boys were terror.

Well, the girls werenít any better. We put flour in our socks. And beat the boys with them.

they are killing their own

Yes, there has been another suicide bombing in Iraq.

At least six people, including school children, were killed Tuesday when a car bomb exploded near a police station in this flashpoint town west of Baghdad, an AFP correspondent at the scene reported.

The bomb was set off within 100 yards of a school.

Sorry, but this is not some disgruntled Iraqi citizens telling the U.S. to get out of Iraq. If that were true, they would not be killing their own children.

These are terrorists - not just Iraqis, but Syrians and others - who are all backed by extremist Muslim countries and their terrorist organizations. Their message is clear: They want to rule, and they want to do it their way. With Sharia law and all the things that were expected under Saddam's regime; torture, rape, murder, etc.

We are doing a good thing in Iraq and there will be moments like this when people will give pause and think we should pull out the troops and come home.

Imagine that. Today there were six people killed. Should we pull our troops out now, there will likely be six people killed an hour. And most of those murders will take place in dank, dark cells below the ground and they will never be reported by any media.

The resistance parties in Iraq, the ones who are doing all of this damage, are aligned with terrorists. This much is obvious. Which makes Iraq part of the War on Terror.

These people need to be stopped and we have the power to do it. If we don't stop them, they will just spread, like an army in a game of Risk. They are in France. They are in Gaza. They are all over Europe, spreading hate and lies and death.

Let them all gather in Iraq. Let Iraq be the breeding ground for the new alliance of terrorists. It will just be easier for us when they are all in one place to take them out, one by one.

"Angered citizens" do not kill their own children. These people did. That makes them more than just people opposing a war. They are people opposing freedom. And that makes it our business, and our war to fight.

Unless, of course, you'd rather wait for them to start gathering in your country.

an old fashioned Halloween

Halloween has changed.

Back in the day (and by that, I mean over 30 years ago), political correctness was still a thing of the future. So we dressed up for Halloween as gypsies and bums and hobos (the latter two later known as The Homeless) and other stereotypical costumes. No one really paid attention to the fact that we might have been insulting someone because no one cared. Halloween was about candy and dressing up and being scared. End of story.

Most of the boys at the time did the usual horror costumes: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy and the proverbial white-sheeted ghost. They would jump out from behind the bushes and scare the girls and we would scream in exaggerated fright and run to the doorstep of the next house on the block.

We had parades at school and some of the kids would march around with fake, dripping blood and rubber masks with mutilated eyeballs. The goriness was all part of the fun. That's what Halloween was for: shrieking and screaming through the neighborhood and finishing it off with a family viewing of Chiller Theater, munching on the candy loot while hanging onto Mom in fright.

But times have changed and we'll have none of that gory, scary stuff anymore. Kids are vulnerable and impressionable, don't you know? The blood might scare them. The costumes might offend someone. I mean, what if some kid in this school had his whole family murdered by a crazed ax-weilding monster? Don't you think that costume would make him feel sad, Johnny?

Even in the junior high school, where the kids are old enough to go see scary movies on their own and wise enough to know that Freddy Krueger doesn't exist, notices come home about appropriate Halloween wear. No blood. No gore. Nothing scary. Nothing that might be deemed offensive to anyone, anyhwere. Please wear only costumes of famous literary characters or great people like scientists and inventors.

Right. Like a 14 year old wants to dress up like Huck Finn. No, a 14 year old - if he was even going to dress up at all on Halloween - would most likely don one of those rubber masks that turn your face into something out of a Stephen King movie. Even the girls want to dress as Freddy or Jason. No Madam Curies here.

Schools have scaled back their Halloween festivities, anyhow. Some people are offended by the Halloween itself, calling it an invitation to the devil, a terrible day that shows children that evil exists in the world. Some think you worship Satan if you celebrate Halloween.

It's about the candy, stupid. Yes, I know Halloween has a long history behind it, I know the origins of the day are lost on almost everyone now. But this is what we grew up with: a day to get scared and get candy. Nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with historical figures. Schools are changing their Halloween parties into Fall Festivals. No costumes, kids, unless you want to dress up like your favorite leaf!

Good thing Halloween is on a Friday this year. I'm going to show my kids what this holiday used to be like, before it became sanitized in the school system just like everything else.

I'll arm them with frightening costumes and socks filled with shaving cream and let them loose on the neighborhood - along with several dozen other kids whose parents remember what Halloween is supposed to be like. And when they get home, their bags filled with goodies, smelling like they went swimming in a pool of Barbasol, we'll pop in some good old scary movies. The black and white kind, with outrageous monsters and thin plots and lots of screaming. We'll dump all their candy on the floor, sort out the healthy stuff and the pennies, and stuff ourselves on chocolate and sour gummie worms.

Long live the ghosts of Halloween past.

October 27, 2003

nonsense break

[I just needed a current events/news hiatus for the rest of the evening]

You all thought I forgot about that time when I asked you all for song lyrics that asked questions, right? I told you I would use them in the future. Like now.

Tonight's question comes from Dreama:

What will you do when he's dead?

Who "he" is, is up to you. Answer in any way you see fit.

charles johnson v. indymedia

I've had my share of run-ins with the folks at Indymedia. While they told lies about me and even printed my phone number and address, those things don't come close to what an Indymedia poster did to Charles.

I won't quote any of it here, you'll have to go read it yourself. Steven DenBest thinks Charles has a good case for libel. However, you may recall the big noise the blogosphere back in June when it was announced that forum operators and bloggers could not be held for libel:


blockquote>The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Tuesday that Web loggers, website operators and e-mail list editors can't be held responsible for libel for information they republish, extending crucial First Amendment protections to do-it-yourself online publishers

Actually, that was not a totally true statement. It turns out that email list editors and forum operators were off the hook; individual bloggers were not.

Indymedia is a forum, not a blog. If Charles wanted, he could sue the person who posted the statement, if he could find out who the person really is. He could probably try to sue the Indymedia moderators, for not taking the post down when it was obviously inflammatory and against the rules of Indymedia posting.

But - suprise here - I am not one of those who is going to cry for Indymedia to be shut down because of this. For all our talk about free speech, some of us seem awfully eager to shut people up.

I'm just afraid this is going to blow up into something else entirely; maybe a reason for many bloggers and blog readers to get together and try to kill Indymedia once and for all.

That would be a shame. As much as I despise that site, I do recognize that they have a right to exist. Take on the individual who made the comments, by all means. But don't try to get the whole place shut down. It would be censorship, a form of stifling those who oppose you. It would be a blow against free speech to shut down a whole site for one post on one sub-site among many.

Yes, Indymedia posts some horrible things. They are violently anti-Semitic. They hate everyone except themselves and Karl Marx. It is an ugly, hateful world inside the bowels of that sewer.

Yet I am violently pro-Israel. I hate the people at DU and IMC. I write about it often. I call them names. wish ugly things upon them. I am, at times, no better than them. I just happen to think my ideas are right, just as they believe that their ideas are right.

I think there are an awful lot of bloggers and readers who are looking at this not as a wrong against Charles, but as a chance to shut Indymedia up once and for all. If I could say one thing to them it would be: go after the individual, not the entire IMC community and all of its websites.

As much as I deplore the views and ideologies of Indymedia, I still realize if people start chasing them in the dark with torches held high, we all look bad. Free speech works both ways and we need to remind ourselves of that often.

this is halloween


Halloween fonts and dingbats

presented without (much) commentary

Meet Grace Phelps-Roper, 11 and Lydia Phelps-Davis, 10. They are the grandchildren of Fred Phelps, noted hate mongerer and "religious" man. Fred flew his grandchildren all the way from Kansas to Long Island so they could stand out in front of Mepham High School with signs such as the one they are holding in the photo. 11 and 10 years old. They don't stand a chance.
[photo from newsday.com]

UPDATE: Here's another disturbing picture. Did you know that God blew up the space shuttle?

More pictures here.

UPDATE 10/28: For those coming here from various links: If you'd like to know the back story behind Fred's visit to Long Island, you can read all of my posts about the Mepham hazing story here. I've been covering it since the beginning.

here, there and everywhere

Citizen Smash has all you need to know about the California fires, with plenty of links, photos and current information.

BigWig has an Afterlife Dormitory Roommate List. It must be hell, because I see that Tom Tomorrow is bunking with Jack Chick.

And I'd like to take this moment to profusely thank the kind readers who sent items from my wishlist. Today we received a Lileks book, an Art Speigleman book and a Porthishead DVD. You all rock. Thank you so much.

And now, it's time (actually it's way overdue) for another episode of Whore Yourself. Got something you want people to read? Drop your link in the comments. Got something to say? Say it.My casa is your casa. Until someone pees in the pool. And then you're all out of here.

and back to reality

If you aren't reading the weblog Healing Iraq, you should bookmark it now. Unless, of course, you are one of those people who refuse to believe that any Iraqis could possibly want to be free.

From today's entry:

My brother came home from school very early this morning and told us all about it. His high school is about 200 meters from the targetted site. He told us that blood was all over the place and people from the area were putting injured kids from the school into taxis taking them to hospitals. Parents were panicking trying to find their children among the mess.

That's right, there were kids in that mess, too. But hey, these people are just defending themselves, right? Just making a statement against the U.S. "occupation" of their country.

Bullshit. They are terrorists. They are vicious, murderous terrorists who do not care what or who they blow up, as long as it gets them toward their goal of driving the allied forces out of Iraq so they can take over. And they are not just Iraqi terrorist. No, the Iraqi resistance has aligned themselves with -surpise- extremist Muslims from other countries, like Syria.

How depraved are these pyschos? Look at another of today's posts from Zeyad:

The Mujahedeen are getting very creative day by day. Someone told me yesterday that a woman carrying a baby just a few months old was arrested in front of Al Yarmuk hospital in Baghdad after trying to enter. The IP and FPS found out that the baby was wrapped in explosives between his clothes. After questioning the woman she confessed that the baby was kidnapped and that some Arabs had offered her a considerable amount of money to get the baby inside the crowded emergency hall in the hospital, leave it there and they would do the rest.

Some of you - and this goes for all the nasty little Democratic nominees as well as some people reading this - better learn who our enemy is. It is not George Bush. It is not U.S. soldiers. Our enemy is terrorism and it's brought to you by extremists from Arab nations, who are banding together to not only drive the U.S. out of Iraq, but to kill as many innocent people as possible in the process.

We all have the same enemy.

found that elusive rainbow

Chief Wiggles is being justly lauded for his efforts with Operation Give - Toys to Iraq.

There's a press release at CENTCOM, an article on the DoD's Defend America website and he will be on MSNBC's Scarborough Country tonight [10pm EST].

Go to the Operation Give website to find out how to participate.

history lessons for dummies

If I see one more post comparing today's Iraq bombings to the Tet Offensive I am going to blow up the internet.

There's a big difference between 70,000 troops marching into 13 cities and a few crazed suicide bombers trying to resist what others in their country want: freedom.

The attack by the Vietcong stunned the country as well as the president. I don't think anyone is stunned by the suicide bombings in Iraq. We know that there are enemies among us there. We know that there are factions that want to keep a Saddam-like government in control.

In the Tet Offensive, the Vietcong lost about 10,000 men. The U.S. lost 500.

500. In one shot. We have not lost that many soldiers by a longshot since this war began, nevermind in one day.

Here's what gets me about the people who are screaming "VIETNAM!" over and over: they are screaming it gleefully. It's an "I told you so" attitude and with every soldier that dies, every bomb that explodes, they lick their lips watch the polls, hoping Bush's numbers go down.

And perhaps that's what they mean by comparing this to the Tet Offensive; after all, that was probably the moment that Lyndon B. Johnson lost any chance he had at a second term. Which is why the Bush haters are hoping this is just like Vietnam.

[Lots of info on the Tet Offensive here.]

phelps comes to town

I decided to drive past Mepham High School anyhow, just to see what was going on. It was hard getting near the circus at all, but I did manage to see a few of Phelps's henchmen holding up their disgusting signs. One sign said "God Bless 9/11." Unfortunately, I forgot to put a disc in my camera before I left the house. I'm sure I'll be able to find some on the local news sites later.

So I listened to Curtis and Kuby on my way to work and they were doing a telephone interview with a son of Phelps. Kuby asked him about the 9/11 sign and how that pertains to Mepham. Phelps replied that 9/11 was God's way of telling us that homosexuality is abhorent, in so many words.

He was asked how he could equate homosexuality with a hazing incident. Phelps explained that parents and teachers let the children know at an early age that being gay is ok, so of course, these kids went and sodomized someone.

What Phelps and his family and followers fail to realize is that this had nothing to do with homosexuality at all. As I've stated before, it was about power and humiliation. It's too bad that Phelps believes that the reason for all the bad things in the world is the proliferation and sinfulness of being gay. The real reason the world is going to hell in a handbasket is because of people like him who preach hate and intolerance and pass that hate on from generation to generation.

If anyone is spreading evil around the world, it's Phelps.

it's the end of the world as we know it

You wake up on a Monday morning to find that all hell has broken loose. It's days like this when you want to go back to bed, hide under the covers and pretend the world is a happy place filled with kitties and rainbows.

No rainbows here. This Monday morning brings news of four separate bombings in Iraq. The death toll stands at 37 as of now. Check out Healing Iraq for more.

No rainbows here. Fires are ravaging California. LT Smash has pictures and up to the minute coverage. Unlike the major news channels. Last night I had to wait and wait for coverage of these devastating fires while the stations covered football, weather and entertainment news.

No rainbows here. Continuing on with my thoughts from yesterday (on the vicious hatred that spews from both the far left and far right), I took a trip to Democratic Underground and Free Republic. DU members manage to blame the fires Bush, the war in Iraq and other Republican type things. Freepers, meanwhile, are blaming pagans and Halloween.

No rainbows here. The hateful Rev. Phelps will be in town today, protesting at Mepham High School. I was going to attend, but decided that the less attention this man gets the better.

I still can't understand why the major news networks (CNN, FOX, MSNBC) will give wall-to-wall coverage slow car chases and pre-trial hearings of sports stars as if they were earth-shattering news, but I have to constantly switch channels to try to find coverage of the California fires and the bombings in Iraq.

I keep feeling like every day brings us one step closer to self-implosion, that one day, we are just going to spontaneously combust as the earth explodes from within. Too much chaos, too much disaster, too much darkness and not enough rainbows.

I'm going to find some silver linings. Let me know if you see any, ok?

October 26, 2003

today's shout out

One last thing before I sink into my pillow (shut up, I know it's only 10:30!):

The blogosphere can now claim an Emmy winner among its citizens.

Congratulations Cam Edwards!

Cam is no longer in the tv business, but he has a radio show in the Oklahoma area (also streamed here) and his guest on Monday morning will be Richard Perle.


These fires
are frightening. It looks like the gates of hell have opened.

Yvonne took some photos of the approaching fires today. So did Skits. Batty is already out of her apartment and staying at a hotel. Ratty has some pictures, too.

To anyone living in the area: stay safe.

and the winner is...

A panel of unbiased, outside judges (mostly family members and not including myself) have handed in their ballots and decided that the winner of the Photoshop Ted Rall contest is....

What's this? It's a tie!

Congratulations to both Matt and Steve Hogan on your victory. Well done!

my dad is an ass

Last year after the Yankees lost, my dad the Mets fan invited us over for some "Yankee pot roast and humble pie."

This year, we were greeted with his idea of home decoration (which is nice companion piece to his decor from earlier in the year).
[click for bigger image]

This, from the man who is a fan of one of the worst teams in baseball. And, he's a Jets fan.

If he weren't such a good cook, I would disown him.

everybody knows you're cranky

I woke up in a cranky mood today. No reason except for a bad night's sleep, which was probably brought on by those Elvis sandwiches I ate last night.

I spent a good portion of the day whipping encouraging my children while they did their chores. Once the house was clean and the kids were outside with friends, I decided to bury myself in the preparations for my novel instead of biting the heads off of small kittens and terrified husbands.

The novel writing itself starts in six days. I am going to do this. Not only am I going to finish the novel, but it's going to be good. I am putting everything I have into this; there will be the ghosts of 10,000 unfinished stories watching over me as well as the spirits of a million different ideas and the legacy of my procrastination, fear and laziness.

Everybody Knows You're Crying may not be the next Great American Novel, but it will be a novel and it will be mine.

You can check my progress over at the blog I set up just for this purpose. Today, I talk about the main character. Some of you just may recognize her.

politcal limbo

I'm disgusted.

The hatred and moral equivalency I've seen from both sides of the political line is enough to make me sick.

The hard-line right is as bad as the hard-line left. On one side, they say that Bush and America can do nothing right. Even if Bush found a cure for cancer and brought about world peace, they would find some way to taint it or deny it.

On the other side they believe Bush and America can do no wrong. They are blind loyalists who find an excuse for every mistake and a fall guy for every bad action.

I don't even know where I stand anymore. The middle is not a real place, it's just limbo for those of us who waiver. I don't have a side anymore.

Where is the place for someone who is pro-choice, yet pro gun rights? Where is the place for someone who supports the war in Iraq but thinks the war on terrorism is not going well?

There are some sites, some weblogs I can't stand to read anymore because they are just a stream of hateful invective. I Every post is angry, every article is filled with hate.

No one tries to understand the other. No one wants to discuss. No one wants a healthy debate. Everyone just wants to throw mud and start fights. That's the thing that annoys me the most - sites that obviously post material that is specifically designed to start an argument or a controversy. And when the controversy begins, anyone who takes the opposite side is made to feel like a traitor.

Lefties get made at their fellow-lefties for supporting the war. Righties get mad at fellow righties for questioning the president. Neither side wants anyone to have an opinion other than theirs. No one admits mistakes. No one listens. They just yell over eachother and you can hear the hoarseness in their voices even though it's just letters on a screen that you're reading. But you know. You know these people yell when they talk and hold their fingers in their ears when someone tries to argue.

I don't know where to stand anymore. I don't feel like I belong anywhere. It's like being caught in an endless game of Red-Rover, and it's making me feel dizzy and naseous.

The thing is, I don't want to belong anywhere if my only choices are the left or the right. I've been in both places, been in the hard-line area of each group. And let me tell you, one is as ugly and hateful as the other. Zero tolerance on both sides.

I'm tired of being angry at everyone; angry at the people who want to pull our troops out of Iraq, angry at the current administration for not doing enough to protect our homeland. I'm angry at the PC police who want to sanitize everything we do, and I'm just as angry at book burners and the morally righteous.

Is there anyone else in this limbo with me?

a burning question

Mr. Hammer asks the following question in the comments:

BTW, am I the only person that will watch a movie which I "surfed" upon that: includes cuts of scenes, dubbed over dialog and long commercials breaks, even though I've got the movie on video or DVD? What causes this behavior?

I'd like to know that as well. It's something I do all the time, like getting excited when True Romance is on TBS even though I know it will be chopped to bits and I have the special edition DVD right here.

I do the same thing with a song on the radio. I'll get all giddy "Wow! I haven't heard this song on the radio in ages! I can't believe they are playing it!" And my husband, ever the voice of reason, will remind me that I just listened to the CD yesterday so why all the excitement.

I've never been able to explain the movie/song on the tv/radio experience, but I have wondered how many people react the same way?

anti-american or patriotic?

[click for bigger image; photo from dc indymedia]But we aren't supposed to call them anti-Americans. They are just patriotic protesters. You know, part of patriotism is expressing your ideas, trying to challenge the status-quo. That's what they tell me anyhow. And that's all well and good. Dissent is healthy. Debate is healthy. Even protests can be a great form of getting a collective voice heard. And we all have the right to hate the president, challenge his ideology or scream at the top of our lungs that his policies are unfair. But don't stand there and tell me that I'm wrong for calling these people anti-American. When you burn the flag, that automatically puts you in the position of being against the country. It is an act of defiance, an act of hatred. When one burns an effigy of a person, they are, in essence, burning that person. So when one burns a symbol it would have to be assumed that you are burning what that symbols represents. Oh, I'm not saying that the flag-burners don't have a right to their views. I'm not even saying that they are bad people for burning the flag. I just want them to be honest, and I want the people who defend them to be honest. They are anti-Americans. Most of them will admit it, and admit it proudly. It's the people who yell at me when I write about these things and say I'm stifling dissent by calling the protesters unpatriotic. You can hate the president without hating the country. I've done it, I do it sometimes still.

Patriotism is not the issue. Who can define patriotism anyhow? It's a very vague word, one that means different things to different people. To one person, patriotism is saluting the flag and singing the National Anthem. To another, it's loving your country enough to try to change what's wrong with it.

It's not patriotism I have a problem with. It's hatred and vitriol and anger that rises to rage. Yes, it comes from both sides and both sides fling it at each other on a daily basis. That's another issue for another day, however. I just want one of the people who accuse me of trying to crush opposition and dissent to say that yes, the people in the picture above, and thousands upon thousands like them, are anti-American.

What I'd like to say to those flag-burners is this: If you hate this country so much, you have two choices. Either go find somewhere else to live, or try to make a change. And I don't mean puppetry and protests and slogan shouting. Change from within. Run for office. Start locally, think nationally. Screaming at the top of your lungs day after day is not going to accomplish anything. You hate this country? Change it, help someone else change it, or leave it. Being a weekend protester is just not going to get the job done.

go fish

I'd like to take this moment to congratulate the Florida Marlins on their World Series victory. They played some excellent baseball.

And now, the cleaning of the Yankee house begins. Any bets on whether Torre stays or not?

P.S. to U.S. residents: Turn you damn clock back. You forgot again, didn't you?

October 25, 2003

heart attack hotel

We've been talking about this for a long time. We have discussed doing it, how we would do it and what we would need to do it. We talked about the pros, cons and dangers involved.

Tonight, I took the leap and did the thing that Justin has been wanting to do for ages.

We made Elvis sandwiches. Fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Yes, fried.

And we ate them.

And lo, they were good.

Ladies and gentlemen, my clean arteries have just left the building.

[Hey, at least we didn't use the super-saturated arteries recipe that called for bacon]

that rall thing

I just received another entry for the Photoshop Ted Rall contest. I guess I'll give it until late tonight in case there are other latecomers. Go have a look at the entries.

witness the madness


If there's a protest in DC, Anna is there to bring you right into the mouth of madness.

See more pictures like the above with great commentary over at the bunny's place - requisite Bush/Hitler comparison sign included.

too many voices

I went out for a bit and when I came back the protest had formed into the planned march to the White House.

If today is any indication of the future of the anti-everything movement, I take back everything I said about 2004 being a repeat of 1968.

These people have no passion, no drive. Their chants are lame and their "march" looks like a stroll through DisneyWorld. At least 10% of the marchers are chatting away on their cell phones. About 80% look bored out of their minds.

Below is a photo of what a protest against the Vietnam war looked like. It makes today's gathering look like a Girl Scout meeting.

[click for bigger image: Photo from the University of Texas collection]

Of course, the people in this photo were protesting one thing and one thing only - the American presence in Vietnam. There weren't forty different movements going on at one rally. They had one voice that spoke together and that's what today's protesters are lacking. As long as they are not a cohesive group, there is nothing to fear from them. Too many voices spoil the demonstration.

told ya

I'm about to give up on the viewing of the protests, but I just want to make one final (maybe) statement:

I defy anyone to tell me that this wasn't an anti-Bush, anti-America rally.

The war and bringing the troops home are just afterthoughts.

Just like I predicted.

UPDATE: Who knew Viggo was a poet?

Dream of children with their heads still on??


It only took 13 minutes for someone to use the word Zionist.

I think that's a record.

UPDATE 1: The third speaker of the day, representing ANSWER, is giving a speech about supporting the Palestinian right to return.

I thought this was a rally against the war in Iraq.

19 minutes in and my opinion that this demonstration has little to do with caring about the people of Iraq is being proven already.

UPDATE 2: This is the thinnest crowd I've seen at one of these events.

Medea Benjamin just spoke about supporting the Iraqi resistance against the U.S. "occupation."

Doesn't the Iraqi resistance consist mainly of people who are killing U.S. soldiers?

Just asking.

UPDATE 3I think I finally realized what these speeches are about: For each separate organization and movement to plug their websites.

So far, no one has talked about what happens to Iraq if we pull our troops out. Then again, I don't expect anyone to address that.

UPDATE 4Actually, this seems to be one big recruitment rally.

Causes tally: Cuba, Columbia, Palestine, globalization, free trade, class warfare, oppression, civil liberties, colonization. Oh yea, send the troops home. They mention that once in a while.

UPDATE 5I should have made a drinking game out of this.

I'm really surprised that it took almost an hour for someone to say that the Axis of Evil is in the United States.

Oooh! Al Sharpton is on! I'm getting the popcorn!

UPDATE 6 Well here's one I never heard before: Unions, yes! War, no!

This is getting boring. It's the same speech over and over again. Blah blah blah Bush is bad blah blah Patriot Act blah blah Palestine blah blah Cuba, etc.

And I'm still waiting for an anti-war person to answer today's burning question: What happens to the people of Iraq if we bring the troops home now?

UPDATE 7Ramsey Clark is delusional.

There's now a chang of Impeach Bush! going on.

another psa

C-Span is showing the protest/anti-everything rally live.

Right now some band is on stage singing "Get out the White House, Bush!"

I'll cover this if anything interesting happens.

My favorite sign so far is Goo Goo Dolls Fans For Peace!


Answering a ton of emails all at once:

1. I will have a slew of links and commentary about the Mepham case later today.

2. Yes, I have toned down my baseball blogging. I told you that, for me at least, the World Series would be totally anti-climatic after that series with Boston. I'm still watching and still cheering, but the urgency just isn't there.

Any other questions?

international day of anti-American protests

This image is from Cox and Forkum's cartoon from yesterday. Read the whole thing, as it's quite similar to what I say below.

As I pointed out yesterday, the real problem is not that there are anti-war protesters, its that all the protesters have melded together into one angry force. While they may call their activist stunts and mass gatherings "anti-war," the fact remains that the war in Iraq has become just one small mark in the myriad of anti-American causes that they are protesting.

Today, for instance, thousands will gather in Washington, D.C., in what is being billed as an anti-war protest.

Unlike the loose, almost spontaneous gatherings of the 60's, this event is well thought out and meticulously planned. There are times scheduled for certain actions, meeting places plotted out, media kits for journalists, buses and lodging arranged for out-of-town protesters and plenty of monetary backing from organizations like ANSWER and MoveOn.

They don't just protest in one place; they converge on a city and spread out in pre-defined patterns called feeder marches. These feeder marches often are supporting causes that have nothing to do with the war: Palestine, globalization, captilasim, perceived facism.

If, for instance, you were going to the march in D.C. today and you want to show your anti-Israel colors, you would look at your schedule and note: "Peace for Palestine" Feeder March - Farragut Square (K & Connecticut, NW). From there, you can switch from you "Free Palestine!" garb into your "Smash the Capitalist" wear and head here: 11:30am: Anti-Capitalist Call to Action! - 7th & P st, NW. Note that with anti-capitalist actions, you should wear a helmet of some kind, as there is usually smashing of windows involved.

While the tone of this march is much different than the rally in D.C. held earlier this year, that is only because the organizers have learned from their mistakes. They are promoting this one strictly as a "Bring Our Troops Home" rally, without all the other baggage that came with the previous march. But don't let that fool you. I'm sure if you look upon the crowd, you will see all the familiar signs: Bush is Hitler, Impeach Bush, etc. Mark my words, at some point this will resemble a horror movie where the seemingly kind and gentle folk of a pleasant, small town all turn out to be devils in disguise. As the day wears on in D.C., you will hear less of the "Out of Iraq" chants and more of the anti-American sentiments we've come to expect. The speakers will start off pleading for the safe return of our soldiers and about half an hour into the progressive march of guest stars across the platform, the speeches will degenerate quickly and they will all be punctuated with cries about Israel, captalism, facism, nazis Mumia.

The main theme of today's march is one of the desire of protesters to bring the troops home from Iraq now.

So I ask this of anyone out there who may be attending these protests or showing solidarity with them in some way: Wouldn't leaving Iraq now be a crime against humanity? Somehow, pulling the troops out and leaving a country that is in the starting stages of rebuilding seems somehow inhumane. I imagine that if our troops did leave now, in no time at all Iraq would revert back to its previous form, with the torturers and rapists and radical Muslims taking over the land.

How does this help Iraq? Or are these activists so caught up in having a movement, having a unifying cause, that they aren't looking beyond their own faces? If they truly cared about the people of Iraq, they would never ask for our troops to be pulled out now.

My thoughts? The anti-war cries are just a front for the real thing. These people have other agendas, other things on their mind. Today is just a test for organizations like ANSWER and MoveOn and RNC Not Welcome to see how their masses respond to a call for action. They are gearing up for 2004 and this is just a test of their emergency protesting system. The plans are already underway.

Today is just a fire drill and the cause is just an available means to an end. I can almost guarantee that tomorrow there will be meetings upon meetings of organizers of the biggest anti-Bush, anti-capitalsim movements around and they will chart and compare and crunch numbers as they work out their mission for August. Watch as the speakers, signs and stickers give away some of their underlying causes.

I stand by what I said yesterday. This is an angry crowd with a mission and the necessary money to make their anger heard. This is the most dangerous kind of anger, too; a jumble of too many causes, too many slogans, too many chances for it all to go awry.

If today's march ends up a failure (by the protester's terms, meaning low turnout, no feeder marches, lackluster crowd), then my predictions for New York City in August of 2004 will probably be wrong. And I will be happy for that.

For more information on today's protests:

United For Peace and Justice
Indymedia DC

October 24, 2003

chris pirillo's happy friday (pants optional)

Chris says:

It's your duty to be thrilled about something in your life, and then put those feelings into action.

I am thrilled that my kids no longer go to their father's every weekend (his choice, his loss) so I am going to act on that by playing Monopoly with DJ (he just loves to kick my ass) and then starting a Simpsons jigsaw puzzle with him and my husband.

I would do something with my daughter, but she's 13 now (oh, excuse me. 13 and 1/2) and she is at that age where she prefers the company of her friends to the company of her family. Like we have cooties or something.

I'll be back with some Ted Rall photoshops after DJ falls asleep. Unless I fall asleep before him.

Now, go take Chris's advice. Be happy, act happy.

deep thoughts

Acid Keg gets all philosophical and deep this week.

Unlike some people, Steve can draw and write.

Steve, don't you know that comics aren't supposed to make you think?

Yes, that's just a fallacy

bitchslap ted rall: the pre-bitchslapping photoshop contest

I'm going to deviate from the usual Friday takedown of my favorite whipping boy, Ted Rall. Instead of rebutting his weekly column, I am going to take on this interview with Ted in the Las Vegas Mercury.

Time constraints do not permit me to do a proper bitchslapping at the moment; that will have to wait until later.

Meanwhile, I would like to offer you this picture of Ted Rall and beg you to do something, anything with it. Make me proud. There's a prize in this one.

Actually, the photo is below. I didn't want his mug on the front page of my site.


the eyes of the sun

Watch out for that sun.

CNN's alarmist headline - Big solar blast may rattle Earth today - is probably causing some people to run for their basements and others to get ready for the rapture.

And somewhere, someone is trying to reach Bruce Willis and Steve Buscemi.

Relax. At most, your cell phone won't work. Though I realize that is a problem for those of you who forgot how to use a landline.

in other places...

People ask me, hey, how's that novel preparation coming? And I tell them, you can find out right here.

So today, you can see how Dr. Frank has inspired me to change not only the working title, but the whole story.

stand and deliver: Presented Without Commentary

My friend Carol just sent me this. It's today's edition of Presented Without Commentary.

Celebrity mental health patient Adam Ant has been all over the UK tabloids with his newversion of his 80s hit Stand and Deliver. Called Save the Gorillas it's a charming plea on behalf of the Dian Fossey foundation. But what we really enjoyed is this unplugged style video showing Adam really enjoying recording the song. He looks really chipper.

You can view Adam singing the song here.

today's reading

Newsday's Lou Dolinar writes about the recent DOS attacks on Hosting Matters.

Lou asked me to post his email address if I linked this, so I'm assuming he'd like to hear from people about this. You can write Lou here.

then and now: why 2004 will be 1968

This week, I expressed concern that 2004 may be a dangerous year in the U.S.

We've been dancing too long. The tension in the gym, all decorated with flags and anti-flags, depending on which side you are standing on, well, its become unbearable. We're gonna rumble like it's 1968.

Yes, I just quoted myself. I'm just giving you some perspective on what's to follow.

Later in that post, I used the word uprising. Perphaps I should have been more specific, because some people seem to think I meant uprising in the sense that some idiots would try to take over the White House. No, no coups coming next year.

It's been a long time since a presidential election year would converge with such dissatisfaction, unrest and war. 2004 will present us with newer, bigger problems than 1968 did in the sense that getting people together is as easy as an email, a post on a website, an instant message. Someone gets an idea for a protest and within hours, 10,000 people know about it.

Let's compare 1968 with 2003 and upcoming 2004 events. The similarities between what is going on now and the climate in '68 may give you more of an idea of where we are headed.

The comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq are obvious. The protest faction used the word quagmire practically moments after the war began. The war in Iraq is one that is opposed on a daily basis. Seven months after the start, there are still anti-war protests and calls to bring the troops home.

In 1968 and in the years after, until the Vietnam war ended, the protests were ugly. They often resulted in riots, tear gas, destroyed property and arrests. Eventually, the protests took on more of an anti-U.S. government tone than an anti-war sentiment.

College campuses were the staging area for most of the protests of 1968, just as they are commonplace today. Although the current protests have not yet taken on the extremism that the '68 sit-ins did, occupation of campus buildings is probably not far behind. In fact, given the fact that colleges and universities today are a gathering ground for liberals, professors included, I wouldn't be surprised to see sit-ins, occupations and protests organized by the teachers themselves - similar to what happened in '68. If Rutgers can host what amounts to a pro-terrorism rally, then school sponsored anti-Bush rallies can't be far behind. In fact, some colleges offercourses on the protests of 1968, where studies include radical protests, counterculture and Marxism.

The biggest similarity between then and now is that 2004, like 1968, is a presidential election year, an election that will be held amongst growing dissent, anti-U.S. sentiments, a rising counterculture and threats to disrupt the national convention.

You know what happened in 1968. Back then, it was the Democratic National Convention. Next year, it's the Republicans.

For many it was a watershed event. After the Tet offensive that January many Americans began to shift their opinions of the war in Vietnam; after Chicago '68 they began to doubt the ability of American institutions to tolerate active dissension.

Here we are in the same place, leading up to the 2004 convention [September, New York City]. There are cries from the left that they can't speak their minds, that this current administration is crushing dissent. They point to polls that say Americans are losing faith in the goverment, losing hope that we will win this war in Iraq and the war against terrorism. Same place, different channel.

While not all circumstances are the same for both years, it's the climate that is right. There's a general climate of unrest, a rising of loud voices, the sound of marching in the street.

And then there's the internet and cell phones and the ability to communicate a plan quickly. Gathering will be larger and stronger and more organized. One glance here or here or here will show you that activists are no longer a loose group of stringly looking youths shouting slogans at the police or the government. They are a business.

It matters not whether their anger is misguided. It matters not whether their statistics are distorted or their ideologies skewered or their arguments filled with conspiracy theories. What matters is they are strong and organized and pissed off at everyone except themselves. They are no longer content to stage a quiet sit-in in front of the White House and sing protest songs until they are provoked. They are now the provokers. Each protest or rally is planned out to the last detail; weapons are brought, routes of destruction mapped out.

Like their predecessors, today's activists offer no solutions or alternatives to war. They meld all of their issues until they are one giant anti-U.S. [and very often, anti-Israel] statement, with no clarity or true message except that they hate the president. They want the world to be a happy, joyous, tree-hugging commune, a world without fear or bombs, yet when we try to root out the terrorists who are holding back the dream of world peace, they cry that the U.S. is a big bully and racist to boot. They have become a large, swarming mass, making a giant buzzing sound, just waiting for a reason to go all out. An election year gives them that reason.

As 2004 approaches, so does 1968 redux. Keep August 29th on your calendar.

There's something happening here. What is is, ain't exactly clear.


UPDATE: Robin Jones makes a valid point about the difference between Vietnam and Iraq.

Jay agrees with my opinion and adds a caveat; in a conflict like this, everyone loses.

today's rerun: for the concorde

Ed. note: I wrote this back in June, when they first decided that the Concorde had outlived its usefulness. Today, the Concorde makes its last flight, so I thought I would re-post this.

concorde.jpgWatching the Concorde was a ritual for Natalie and I, when she was younger and impressed by such things. We would wait every morning for the tell-tale rumble, the slight shaking of the ground. We always felt and heard the jet minutes before it would appear in the sky like a futuristic bird.

As the rumble grew louder and nearer, Natalie would yell excitedly "It's coming mommy! It's coming!" Outside we would go, necks craned, eyes upward, waiting for our glimpse at the wonders of modern aviation.

Natalie fancied the Concorde to be the ultimate in travel. She would save any money she got for birthdays or holidays, put it away in a coffee can and tell anyone who would listen that she was saving up so she could take a trip on the Concorde.

The awe was not just my child's; it was mine as well. The sleek shape of the jet, the way in which it cut through the sky like a rocket, the noise and tremors it caused all took my breath away. How far techonolgy had come, I thought, to create something so beautiful, so powerful. Not many people can see beauty in a plane, I know. But there was something about the Concorde that made me view it as if it were art. The downward nose and the outstretched wings and yes, the idea that there were rich, important people flying in that piece of modern art certainly gave it part of its appeal.

Until 9/11, I considered it a privilege to live so close to an airport, to be able to see the beauty and grace of air flight up close every day. I didn't mind the noise levels or the occasional rattle of my dishes; I was lucky to be able to lay on my lawn and look skyward, watching the landing gear emerge from the belly of the plane. Sometimes the planes would fly so low that I imagined the people on board could see me; when I was a child I often waved to the passengers.

That joy of watching airplanes is slowly coming back. The fear of them has dissipated a bit in the 19 months since 9/11. Sometimes, when the flight pattern changes due to bad weather and the jets scream so low over my roof that the kids playing football on the lawn stop in mid-play, worried looks on their faces, I still get nervous. But mostly, I am back to feeling privileged at my ability to step outside and see the glory of air travel every day, almost up close.

I will miss the approach of the Concorde and that starstruck feeling that surged through me every time it graced my presence. But I'll always have those moments to remember, when Natalie held tight to my arm as the jet neared, giddy with anticipation.

So long, Concorde. Thanks for the memories.

October 23, 2003

more on the DOS attacks

From Peeve Farm comes an English translation of the Arabic website that praises the attacks.

The funny thing is, I did a phone interview today with Newsday's tech reporter about the whole situation and we talked more about the affect of the DOS attacks from a blogging point of view, rather than a "terrorist attack" point of view.

Yet now that I see the URL to this site on that page - a page that says No god except Allah is Mohammad the God's Messenger - I suddenly have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

As I said to Ironbear, who sent me the email that made me aware of this page, part of me wants to bait these people, to go on a blogging rampage posting about things that would infuriate them.

And part of me wants to run.

I'm not overstating this and saying, yeah, it's a terrorist attack! No, I'm just feeling creepy that I've been pointed out by such disgusting, vile people.

another gratuitious 80's moment

Some things are better left un-remembered.

Leah Thompson slept with him. That's just wrong.

nitrous oxide

Every home should have a supply. The world would be a better place.

off to hell....

Have I mentioned that I have a fear of denists and a low tolerance for pain?

I may or may not be back later, depending on how I feel when the novacaine wears off.

You may use this space in the meantime to discuss the meaning of life.


Watching I Love the 80's last night made me remember that I once - not too long ago - had a huge crush on Chris Jericho.

Maybe crush isn't even the right word. Stalkerish obsession, perhaps.

I'll have you know that admitting this took a lot of courage.

Oh, stop mocking me. You know damn well every last one of has had an embarassing crush. You're just not brave enough to share.

Or are you?

running at the mouth

via Vinny

Something about war and patriotism brings has-been stars out of the woodwork to denounce America.

I'm all about the free speech and stars have just as much right to voice their opinion as anyone else. However, that also gives me the right to call them out for being idiots.

Let's talk about Rickie Lee Jones. You may remember her, depending on your age. She had a hit back in the day with Chuck E's in Love (which, many years later, I drunkenly changed the lyrics to Chuck D.'s in love). I don't think she had any hits after that and she certainly hasn't been doing anything noticeable for the past few years except going down a spiral of drugs and booze. But hey, she's a got a new record to sell, so she's making the interview rounds again.

So, what got Rickie singing again? George Bush. Yes, she came out of the obscurity of retirement to rail against Bush.

Now, though, she is singing about the ugly man with the ugly father who is blighting her nation, the two senators killed in mystery plane crashes, and the need for Americans to tell the world what is happening in the US (in a song subtitled Repeal The Patriot Acts NOW).

Mystery plane crashes? Oh my god, they killed Wellstone! You bastards!

"You're an ignorant, low-class, opportunistic man, both personally and politically, who does everything for political gain and nothing for the wellbeing of the people, and you should not be in office, and the kind of fascism you're perpetrating on our country we don't want, and you're out. We're done with you. Ffffhgggmm."

Ding, ding, ding! You have said the magic phrase that pays. Facism! I'm not sure what Ffffhgggmm means, but I think it's moonbat speak for "I have no idea what I'm going on about, but I thought the controversy of this album would get me some attention."

This is my favorite part:

"I think 9/11 gave this generation an identity, and its identity is potentially fascist. My skin crawls when I think of the first week after 9/11. I was looking out of the window and there were people marching down the street carrying flags. It reminded me of spontaneous, angry Nazis and I thought, 'Oh, man, we are in a lot of trouble'. There's a whole bunch of people who have flags hanging from their cars and who are mistaking fascism for patriotism."

So, people who were traumatized by 9/11 and rallied around their stricken country, waving flags and hanging them from their cars because it was the only way to show some solidarity, some sort of togetherness in a time of need, well, they were being Nazis. Facists. What she doesn't understand is that the flag waving was less about patriotism than it was about standing together. The Nazis saluted Hitler and his genocidal, destructive dreams. Americans saluted the flag, not a person. We were giving each other hope to carry on, to support each other, to not cave into people with, well, genocidal destructive dreams.

I don't expect people like Ms. Jones to grasp any of that. If your initial reaction to those days and weeks immediately followng 9/11 were feelings of disgust at the way Americans were behaving, then you are beyond hope. We behaved, for the most part, proudly. I wouldn't have had it any other way. I don't know what Ms. Jones was looking for, and I'm honestly afraid to ask.

On a related note, see today's Day By Day.

game 4

The Clemens era comes to an end as the Jeff Weaver era drags on.

That's all I have to say about that.

October 22, 2003

we had joy, we had fun

story.berry2.jpg Rest In Peace, Rerun.

You brought me many laughs during your days on What's Happening. You were cooler than Roger, cuter than Dwayne and sweeter than Shirley. Forget about Dee, she doesn't count.

It was always you, Rerun. You were the reason I watched the show. You had the best lines, got the biggest laughs.

I always appreciated your comedic genius, Fred Berry.


this is halloween: remember that part with the tree? and the face?

Somehow I got off track of my This is Halloween posts. I better start catching up.

Last year, in preparation for our all-night movie watching Halloween scarefest, I asked for your favorite horror movies. Let's get more specific this time.

I found this link at Fark, which lists some dolt's top ten scariest movie moments. Unfortunately, he got a lot of facts wrong, so his list is moot. Good thing a Farker linked to this list - which only goes from 100-47 right now (and we all know that any list written by Rob Berry is worth its wait in bandwidth. Hah. Get it?).

Anyhow. I've added two of my scariest moments to the Fark list. You'll just have to figure out who I am.

Movies Scary Moments. Let's have 'em. Entertain me while I sit here and moan about my toothache.

first person to mention 'showgirls' gets kicked in the ass

p.s. It doesn't have to be a horror movie, per se. Just a part of a film that really scared you.

on the other hand...

On a day when I decided that I really hate people, the UPS man brings joy.

Thank you to the two very kind people (I never know if gift givers want to be identified, so I don't do it unless they send me an email saying it's ok) who purchased items for me off of my wishlist.

Today we received the Sleepy Hollow DVD (just in time for a Halloween viewing!) and the Myst Trilogy. There's five CDS that came with the trilogy. I've got to hide these from Justin or I may lose him to the computer.

Thank you, both of you. You made me smile even though it hurts.

rain, pours, etc.

stevem.jpgIsn't this what everyone thinks of when they go to the dentist? I mean, my dentist is nice man, late 60's or so, very kind face and gentle voice. But when I think of him, all I see in my mind is Steve Martin. So I was pretty relieved when I went to see the good old Doc today - after a several year absence - that he had not turned into a vicious, sadistic creep.

However, I wasn't too happy with him when he informed me that tomorrow I would begin a three-visit procedure consisting of a root canal, among other things. Sure, the pain will finally be gone, but the pain isn't why I'm close to tears right now.

My dental insurance will cover $385 of the $800 cost of this torture. Ok, I can handle that.

On my way home from the dentist I stop off at the mechanic's to see how he made out with my Explorer, which I dropped off to him this morning. I needed new front brakes. Another 200 bucks.

I get home and my answering machine is blinking. It's my daughter's school with a gentle reminder that I need to cough up the $300 for Nat's trip to D.C. By tomorrow, thank you.

Of course, this happens to be the week that the rent, car insurance and car payment is due. I'm not poor by any means, but it really sucks when all these things come up at the same time. I very rarely use this space to bitch about my life, but I felt compelled to do it now because no one else is home to hear me bitch.

I'm thinking of selling my soul on eBay. That's got to be worth a few hundred bucks, no?

Have I mentioned how much pain I'm in?

a small victory: your personal shopper for the holidays

What would make a better gift for you favorite ultra-conservative than an Ann Coulter action figure? When I was young, we played with dolls like Betsy Wetsy and Chrissy, whose hair grew right before your very eyes. Now, with this Ann doll, you can start training those young girls at an early age to become bigoted shrews! Who needs dolls that blink and wet their diapers and live with their hunky boyfriend Ken when you - and your children - can have this darling thing? Do any of the right wingers on your shopping list have young daughters? Do any of the women on your list have Concerned Women For America as their homepage? This would make the perfect gift for them. Batteries sold separately. Brains not included. There is no truth to the rumor that some of the phrases the doll utters include: We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity and My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building. Unfortunately, is not equipped to sing Skid Row songs.

Now, say you are a leftie and you're giving that Coulter figure to your conservative father-in-law for Christmas. You'll need to alleviate the guilt you feel at participating in such a consumeristic charade as gift-buying. Well, here you go. Just wrap the gift in this paper. Not only will you be sending the message that you don't think too much of Ann Coulter, but you will be gently reminding your father-in-law that people all over the world are dying while he is celebrating Christmas. Relieve your guilt while doling some out. What more could a leftie want?

And that concludes today's Christmas Personal Shopper Experience.

in which i compare terrorism and angry protestors to a Leonard Bernstein musical

Lileks: Iíve no reason to say this, but: my antennae are twitching. I have this feeling that 2004 is going to feel a lot like 1968. But itís just a feeling.

The above quote stems from his discussion on the Great Blog Blackout of 2003. I was all set to dismiss the idea that the DOS attacks on Hosting Matters was somehow a harbinger of things to come. I mentally scoffed at the thought that blogs were of any importance in great War Against America.

To quote Lileks again, Itís like hearing reports from Alaska radar stations of peculiar blips on the screen. Someoneís testing something.

I've been living with this feeling of unease for about two weeks now. It's like that phantom tarantula that crawls up your arm when you are watching a documentary on spiders.

Remember Tony in West Side Story? He finishes up work at the drug store and Riff tries to talk him into going to the dance. But Tony's doing the dance for one, that stalwart of movie musicals. He gallops down the street, swings around the streetlamps and sings:

Could be!
Who knows?
There's something due any day
I will know, right away
Soon as it shows
It may come cannonballing down
Through the sky
Gleam in its eye, bright as rose
Who knows?

Of course for Tony, that something was something good. It was Maria, feeling, oh so pretty.

There's no Maria in my something. Hell, there's not even a Rita Moreno. Oh, there's a dance, alright. And that dance, just like the one at the school with the Sharks and the Jets, will have two enemies dancing around each other, aligning themselves, creating too much tension.

There will be a rumble soon. Perhaps the DOS attack is just the pre-dance routine. It's Bernardo feeling out Riff, trying to see what he's made of.

There's a definite rumble coming. There's gangs lining up on every side; the terrorists here, the protestors there, the pro-war people, the Jew-haters, the Death To America crowd, the extremists and Bush haters; it's showdown time in the back alley!

We've been dancing too long. The tension in the gym, all decorated with flags and anti-flags, depending on which side you are standing on, well, its become unbearable. We're gonna rumble like it's 1968.

Bernardo has sent his henchmen out to scan the possibilities, throw a few wrenches in the cogs. Bernardo is watching to see how the Jets react. Bernardo is moving in, slowly, steadily, more subtle this time than last. It's just a matter of figuring out who our Bernardo is. Muslims? The anti-war crowd? North Korea? So many gang leaders, so little time to prepare the right defense.

Something's comin',
Don't know when
But it's soon

September, 2004, New York City. Right now that's the likeliest place for the dance to end and the real fighting to begin.

[Update: I should clarify that I really don't think the DOS attacks are anything more than America-haters with their panties in a bunch. However, it has just added to my sense of foreboding. In all honesty, I think our greatest threat to national security right now would come from an uprising within our country. See, 1968. As James said.]

October 21, 2003

don't mind me



If you have sent me mail to my smallvictory or commandpost email in the last three days that has gone unanswered, you should probably resend to : afireinsideblogATyahoo.com.

That is all.

I'm going to watch Attack of I Love the 80's. Because I do.

Oh, one more thing. I know a lot of bloggers are now setting up backup sites on Blogspot in case their sites go down. I will not be doing that. I can't tell you how much work I got done today when I realized I couldn't blog or read most of my favorite blogs.

I think this was all a conspiracy set up by a coalition known as Bosses of Bloggers.

[insert Go Yankees thing here]

sharing corner

Nat's homework tonight consisted of writing a letter to someone who has shown moral courage. She asked for suggestions and I gave her a few, including Kobe Bryant, which was a joke. She didn't laugh.

She didn't use any of my suggestions and instead did a little reading and went with her own idea. Below, her letter to George Bush, without commentary, which I am sure will be supplied by all the wrong people.

Dear President Bush,

My name is Natalie XXXX and I am a thirteen year old girl writing to you, admiring your bravery.

I donít normally read the newspaper but while searching for current events, I noticed an article which said something about you and Prime Minister Tony Blair standing up for what you believe in. I highly appreciate people that stand up for themselves so I decided to read it. I found myself respecting your moral courage as well as Mr. Blairís.

It takes courage to stand alone and many know that, and sadly many donít as well. You prove your courage in a risky way. Both you and Mr. Blair stand together to free the Iraqi people and wont rest until the job is done no matter how many people turn you down or think wrong or differently of the idea. This can cost you the next election but as a good president, that doesnít stop you. That is why I think it shouldnít. People should learn how to value the fact that it isnít the easiest thing to stand up for what you believe in, especially if thousands or millions of people are disagreeing. Once again I highly respect and appreciate your courage. If all people in America would have the same type of character as you, Mr. President, America would be even more welcoming than it is now.

Thanks again to you and Mr. Blair.

Thankfully and respectfully,

Natalie XXX

on the schiavos

[Updated at 7:40, see below]

I wasn't going to write about this. I spent the entire day biting my tongue and then forgot about it for a bit when my site went down.

But now I'm thinking about it again. And, obviously, writing.

I always believed that a person should be able to choose to die if they are terminally sick. I think it's unfair to force someone to live with tubes and machines and agony if they don't want to.

If you don't make your wishes known to your family - if you don't have a DNR order signed, if you don't legally write down your desire to have your plug pulled should you enter a persistent vegitative state - then you will be forced to endure the rest of your blank life, just waiting to die.

Rightfully so, I might add. While a husband can profess to speak for his wife and vice versa, if there is no legal, binding piece of paper that says what one spouse wanted in a situation like this, then the other spouse cannot presume to know what the other would want.

In this case, especially, it is hard to take what the husband says at face value. Michael Schiavo is engaged to another woman. He has one child with that woman already and is expecting another. He has been overheard by a nurse muttering "when is that bitch going to die?" This is not exactly a man who is overwhelmed with grief and guilt at the prospect of his wife dying.

Then there's the parents. Terri Schiavo's mother and father swear that Terri responds to them. They want her kept alive. They do not want to sit by while their daughter starves to death, especially when they are convinced that she is, if even only minutely, aware.

Some people are protesting the fact that Florida Governor Jeb Bush signed a bill that will force the hopsice where Terri is located to put her feeding tube back in. They say the government has no right to intervene, that her next of kin should make the decision.

So, do you put your trust in a man, Michael Schiavo, who is living with, engaged to and having children with another woman while his wife Terri lays in a coma, while the money meant to go toTerri's rehibilitation is not being used because her husband has insisted on putting her in a nursing home instead of a rehabiltative center? Do you trust the man who stands to inherit this money should Terri die?

Or do you side with the parents of this woman, the people who gave her life, who raised her, who swear that she is responsive to them at times?

And even if it's only once in six months that Terri was responsive, even if it was only a small movement of her lip or a fluttering of her eyelashes, that's something. It would be heartwrenching to stand there and watch your child starve to death, wondering if she is feeling anything, hearing anything, wondering how much agony she is in as she is denied nutrients.

It would be different if Terri had left a living will stating that her life should be discontinued in the event of something like this. It would be easier on the parents - still painful of course - to know they were doing what their daughter requested, what she wanted and not what the man who has spent the last seven years with another woman wants.

This is a tough one. I've always been in the right-to-die camp but this one has "extenuating circumstances" written all over it.

I wonder how Michael Schiavo sleeps at night. I hope he doesn't.

That said, I will be seeing my lawyer tomorrow about a living will.

UPDATE: Upon further thought, I have to say that it worries me that a governor has the right to override a court's decision and to decide someone's fate. Which is why this is such a sticky case. On the one hand, I Michael Schiavo long ago lost the right to say that he speaks for his wife. On the other hand, we have the government deciding if someone lives or dies and making laws according to their beliefs at whim.

I keep going back and forth. The more I read, the more confused I become. I want her to be able to die, I want her to be kept alive, just in case. Obviously, what I want doesn't matter one bit, but it matters to me in the sense that I thought I had my ideologies all worked out and then something like this comes along and kicks my ass.

And then I have to wonder: how long would I devote myself to my husband for if he was in a coma-like state for years and years? At what point would I give up, or would I?

I'd really like to hear what you all think of this.

about that DOS

Digest this. We'll talk later.

Discuss amongst yourselves for now.

You might be suprised at my opinion on the whole thing.

in defense of hosting matters

Yes, Hosting Matters was down again. Yes, it was part of a prolonged DOS attack that started a few nights ago.

How many of you have hosts who set up a remote message board for times like these, so they can give you up-to-the-second updates on the progress they are making, so you can talk back and forth with others about the situation? Hosting Matters does that, and more.

A DOS attack is not something that a host can predict, nor is it something that is preventable. Many a large site has been the victim of DOS attacks; Microsoft, Yahoo, CNN. It happens, it gets fixed and people forget about it eventually.

There are several whiny, ungrateful people over at the aforementioned message boards, complaining about their site being down, complaining about ďbadĒ service, complaining about everything under the sun.

The ownership and management of HM have been answering the best they can, explaining in plain language what is going on and how AT&T is being unresponsive to the needs of HM and its clients. The HM staff is practically hand-holding these people through this attack, and the most some of them can do is stamp their feet and announce loudly that they are going to move to a different host, even though some of them have been with HM for years and have never experienced any trouble with them at all.

This is directed to those folks, and it something I said over at the boards: There is no host in the world that can guarantee you that their servers will never fall victim to a DOS attack. You can switch hosts all you want but the fact remains that no matter where you go, you are still vulnerable. Itís the nature of the internet. Go ahead and move. Take down your site, put it up somewhere else and see how long it takes you to find out that no one at MegaServers Hosting Company is going to hold your hand when things go wrong. No one is going to answer your help desk email within minutes, if not seconds. No one is going to walk you through things that you donít understand. Maybe theyíll ply you with dreams of 100% uptime, but you can bet your ass you will not be paying what you pay at HM. And I would also venture a bet that your site will go down at some point. And then you will wait hours, maybe a day or longer, for someone at the help center to answer your email.

The bottom line is that this is not the fault of HM. Perhaps all your bitching and whining is making you feel better but, in essence, itís making you look like an unappreciative jerk. I give Annette and company (especially Stacy) a lot of credit for their patience in explaining the same thing to you over and over again, even though you donít seem to be listening or at least comprehending what they are telling you.

Also, as someone on the board said, you should not judge a hosting company by the problems it faces, but by how they respond to those problems. By that standard, HM happens to be a gold mine of a hosting company.

A DOS attack of this nature is a form of terrorism. If you leave HM, then the terrorists have won! You deserters are in serious trouble with Ashcroft and Rumsfeld!

[As for the specific site that was the target of the attack and what that site does, well....that's for another day]

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a day's worth of blogging to catch up on.

earworm, earworm

Earworms is the new term for songs that get stuck in your head. Researchers spent some time studying the cause and effects of these earworms.

The study, presented at conferences of the Society for Consumer Psychology in 2001 and 2003, showed:

*Women report more irritation and frustration as a result of earworms.

*People who are constantly exposed to music suffer them more frequently.

*There may be a connection between earworms and a person's level of neurosis.

"People with higher neuroticism scores tend to react to the onset of an earworm by saying 'Oh no, here it goes again, I wonder how long this is going to last,"' Kellaris said. "That fretting about it, I think, exacerbates it."

Well, today I woke up with Asia's Heat of the Moment in my head. It's not like I've listened to the song recently so I have no idea how that ended up playing in a loop in my brain. Not the whole song, but the chorus, over and over again. Heat of the Moment. Heat of the Moment. Heat of the Moment. It never fades out.

There's no denying that I am neurotic to an extent, but I don't think that's what keeps a song - an earworm - in ones head all day.

Have you ever noticed that most tunes that refuse to leave your brain are bad tunes? Songs that you wouldn't be caught dead singing, let alone owning a copy of, are the ones that park themselves in your mind and settle down for a long stay.

Perhaps the researchers missed their mark. I wonder if we are not being mind-controlled by aliens trying to drive us all crazy by lodging a tiny little microchip in our ear and when they want to bring us to the brink of insanity, they just hit the remote control, aim it at your head and Who Let The Dogs Out begins blaring in your mind, over and over again, all day long.

[One of the researchers] said one theory is that stuck songs are "the brain's attempt to resolve missing information," and that retrieving the forgotten lyrics of a song will provide closure that "unsticks" an earworm.

No. Sadly, I know all the words to Heat of the Moment. I really think this is some kind of government-sanctioned experiment in terror, designed to test how strong your resilience is. Can he withstand seven straight hours of "Purple Rain"? Then he is our man, sign him up! Those who crack under the pressure of having a secret microchip implant playing Europe's Final Countdown for a full afternoon are scratched off the list of potential agents, spies and alien studies.

The heat of the moment.....

October 20, 2003

on the flip side

A night off.

Back tomorrow.

Y'all behave now, you hear?

afternoon work out!

You can help me exercise, so to speak, over at my novel blog.

Just in case you're bored.

open discussion

I'll be out of the office for a bit, but I'll leave you with something to discuss.

I just received the following comment on my most recent post about Operatioin Give.

Perhaps you'd like to have a crack at this guy? Who knows, maybe you agree with him.

Have at it.

Comment by MG Lazer (and yes, all comments entered on this site are open for public discussion. It says so in the manual)

Maybe I have this whole thing (the Iraq war) wrong but shouldn't they be thanking us, not the other way around? We are the ones who fought their fight for them.

It seems a desperate attempt to show those we saved from a worthless life how truly nice and good we are even moreso beyond saving them from a tyrant and sacrificing our lives to save theirs.

And if we want to be influencing them in the right direction shouldn't we not be afraid to flood their country with lots of Western culture instead of bending over backwards to not offend their tyrnannical cult religion which is why we are there to begin with?

The West does not have to apologize to do what we want to do for our own sake.

Victory starts with honesty.


the precedent is not promising

CNN is reporting that sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad had his motion to defend himself granted.

Someone should tell Muhammad that these things never turn out good. Just ask Colin Ferguson.

Give them enough rope....

all those years ago

I get this alumni newsletter from my high school in the mail every so often. It goes straight in the garbage. I have no great allegiance, no strong ties to my high school and I really don't care to read what the rest of the Class of 1980 is up to.

Lie. That's a damn lie. Sure, the newsletter always goes in the garbage, but about five minutes after it hits the trash can, I'm fishing it out, separating it from the coffee grinds and banana peels.

I don't read the whole thing. I skip right past the page where they ask me for money and head to the Alumni Update section. Run my finger down the list, stopping at 1980.

I didn't really like these people all those years ago, so I don't know why I care now. I don't care, I tell myself. I'm just curious.

Flashback [insert wavy lines here, fade to grainy black and white film]: Senior year, early spring, 1980. Our English teacher is feeling morose. He gazes outside the window, looks upon the main road that winds past the school and points to the cars with their headlights on. It is daytime; a bright sunny day.

Do you know why everyone is driving with their headlights on today?

I know. But I want to see if others know. A few people shrug their shoulders.

Look. Go to the window and look.

We all line up at windowsills and watch as the cars race by, bright lights blaring.

No one?

I raise my hand slightly, though my back is turned to the teacher. I'm still looking out the window. I hate speaking up in class. I hate speaking up at all. But I'm horrified that my classmates seem to know so little beyond their own world of friends, sports and hanging out.

Hostages, I say. Iran. And I leave it at that.

The teacher nods solemnly and explains that someone - maybe the Governor, maybe some newspaper editor - decided that everyone would drive with their headlights on today to show solidarity and support for the hostages.

One kid shrugs. It's not like they can see it. What's the point?

I want to explain the point but find that I can't, or my mind just won't. Sometimes explanations are futile, depending on who you are doing the explaining to.

The teacher is agitated today. He obviously doesn't want to get back to the Literature of Western Civilization. He makes us sit down. Take out paper. Get pens ready. It's essay time. The class groans.

Where do you see yourself 15 years from now?

Huh? Most of the students look at him questionably. We're 17, some of us 18. No one has thought that far into the future. When you're a high school senior on the verge of freedom from the restraints of a private school, you only think in terms of June, July, August. Your 30's is like some faraway, mystical land. [insert more wavy lines here, end flashback]

I still wonder what other people wrote on their essays. I'm sure most of them were filled with hopes and dreams like: Married, 2.5 kids, white picket fence. I'm willing to bet that none of the essays said: Dead. Abject failure. In rehab.

And as sure as some of my classmates are married with 2.5 kids and the proverbial fence, some of them are dead, failures, in rehab or a combination of all three.

Yet as I scan down the list of the Class of '80, and catch up on what my old buddies are up to, I see nothing but happiness, success and riches beyond imagination. Almost everyone is a CEO or President or Vice-President in charge of something. Knowing what I know about Mark Smith, I'm wondering if CEO of Smith's Pharmacy translates to Drug Dealer. And there's Kate Jones, Vice-President of Human Relations at an internet dating service. Yea, hooker.

They are all lawyers and CPAs and doting stay-at-home moms to their seven children, all named after biblical figures.

And there are a few who aren't any of those things. Some of them are soldiers. I recognize the name of one of those soldiers as that boy in my English class in 1980:

It's not like they can see it. What's the point?

After we finished our essays that day, we did not return to our regularly scheduled examination of literature. Instead, we got a lecture. The teacher stood at the front of the class for for the rest of the period and talked to us about freedom and democracy and the future of our world. He talked about what our lives might be like 15, 20 years from now if those who hate our nation had their way. There may not be any picket fences or freedom to choose your career. There may not be any world, for that matter. [This is back when we were afraid that any moment, some crazed world leader would push a red button on his desk and blow the entire world to smithereens]

So I wonder, as I look at my alumni newsletter and see that this person has spent many years in the Army, if our high school English teacher's swell of patriotism at the sight of all those headlights during the day and the subsequent lecture we got in defending democracy had any impact on the career choice of this one classmate of mine.

I'd like to think so.

October 19, 2003

heavy metal writing machine

The Yankees have a nice lead in the game. I'm hoping I can divert my attention and go back to plotting my novel and not come back and seen a blown lead.

When I did NaNoWriMo in 2001, I never finished. This is mostly because I had no plan of attack going in. I've now spent the better part of this weekend planning, plotting, characterizing and brainstorming and I'm almost excited for November 1st.

I've rolled out the first of three or four separate soundtracks that will take me through the final stages of my novel. The first is the adrenaline mix, and you can find it at my NaNo blog, where you will shrug your shoulders and say "who the hell are these bands and why is she listening to them?" Hey, it works for me and that's all I need right now.

david blaine comes out

Of his box, that is.

Can someone please explain to me the purpose of this stunt? Was I supposed to glean some important message here that I may have overlooked? Help me out, please, because I seem to have lost something in the translation.

operation give

Chief Wiggles's toy drive for Iraqi children has a new shipping address:

Operation Give
7155 Columbia Gateway Drive
Columbia, MD 21046

The shipping/packaging operation is staffed by volunteers. I just love the way this idea took off.

Operation Give.

required reading

Ed at Late Final does a masterful fisking /fact checking ofSen. Edward Kennedy.

Read the whole damn thing.

[Thanks to everyone who pointed out that I copied and pasted the wrong links. DOH!]

happily ever after!

[via Tongue Tied]

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
Humpty Dumpty opened his eyes
Falling down was such a surprise
Humpty Dumpty counted to 10
Then Humpty Dumpty got up again.

What happened to all the kings horses and men who couldn't put Humpty together again?

They've been banished to the dark, dank basement where politically/psychologically incorrect things go to die.

FOR hundreds of years, he was left shattered after falling off a wall but Humpty Dumpty has been put back together in a politically correct version of the nursery rhyme.

Tapes sold at Mothercare have added an extra verse to the children's favourite after the original was deemed too upsetting

The idea of taking away every single thing that may be scary to a child is ludicrous. How in the world will these children ever make it out in the real world if they spend their whole childhood in sterile surroundings where nothing will ever hurt, frighten or worry them?

My older cousin used to add a verse to Humpty Dumpty, something about the king's horses and men having scrambled eggs for breakfast. We thought it was hysterical.

Little Miss Muffet, Sat On a Tuffet
Eating Her Curds and Whey.

Along Came a Big Spider,
Who Sat Down Beside Her
And Frightened Miss Muffet Away

How dare Miss Muffet be frightened by one of nature's creatures? And what did Muffy ever do to that spider that he is scaring her so? Let's change that to make it less frightening for the poor kiddies.

Little Miss Muffet, Sat On a Tuffet
Eating Her (soy) Curds and (gluten-free) Whey.

Along Came a Big Spider,
Who Sat Down Beside Her
And Miss Muffet and the spider had breakfast together and merrily went on their way.

And what about that nasty old woman who beats her kids before she puts them to sleep? We don't want any of the children having nightmares about child abuse and shoes, do we?

There Was An Old Woman
Who Lived In a (non-leather) Shoe
She Had So Many Children (she took in from shelters)
She Didn't Know What To Do.

So She Gave Them All (chicken-free)Broth
and all-natural bread
She read them the Communist Manifesto
And Put Them into the family bed.

Thanks to folks like the free-range idiots who are changing nursery rhymes, we are raising a generation of kids who will have no coping skills whatsoever. Because in the world of the politically correct, everything his happy and wonderful and peaceful. Talk about fairy tales.

eh, i was going to hell anyhow

Laurence has corrected me. The Pope did not beat Mother Theresa, nor did he beatify her. He beautified her. At least according to CBS news, that's what he did. [screenshot]

I knew the Pope could perform miracles (he can, right?) but this one, he pulled out of his ass. I mean, taking a woman who has been dead and buried already and beautifying her - that's above and beyond the call of duty.

I happen to beat the Smoking Gun to the actual before and after photos of this one, too.





All hail the Pope and this miracle!

i love cartoons!

hoganjosie.gifSteve Hogan, of Acid Keg fame, sent me this link and I in turn share it with you because that's just what I do. Share.

It's I Love Cartoons! and it's your favorite Saturday Morning cartoon characters as seen through the eyes of others.

Steve himself makes of Josie (she of the Pussycats) everything I ever fantasized about. I mean...umm...the way I imagined her in my mind. John Cebollero's Bugs Bunny and Frank Brunner's SpongeBob are two of the best "alter images" here, while my favorite that stays true to character is Ken Allen'sMarvin the Martian and Yosemite Sam.

If only I could draw. I've always wanted to bring those late-night images of Betty and Veronica and Reggie to life.


another dream, and the pope beats mother theresa

I wake up groggy; once again my dreams spill over into my waking life and I have to clear my head every once in while and remind myself that it was just a dream; I didn't really walk through a dangerous neighborhood alone, and I didn't really almost lose a child I was in charge of by letting him dangle himself off some rickety bridge that overlooked the East River.

Still, the visions of the dream that still cloud my head are there, floating around me like leftover LSD trails. A secret letter hidden behind a cabinet. A man who is willing to be shot to death in order to save his girlfriend, who is standing on a makeshift altar (wooden crates and a card table), about to marry someone else. All the while someone is shooting the whole scene with an 8mm camera, yelling out directions that no one is paying attention to, and all the while I am watching some large screen tv playing the ending credits to a children's television show, and the credits is really just a long list of blogger's URLs.

I shake my head again and try to analyze it, but there's no clear meaning there, and if I asked anyone to analyze it for me, I would just get a bunch of sexual innuendos thrown back at me. Isn't that what all dreams come down to, anyhow?

So, as I try to make the still-lingering dream go away, I read the news to force my mind elsewhere. I click on the CNN home page.

Pope beats Mother Theresa.

I pinch myself. No, I am awake. Now, this means several things here. One, the Pope died and upon entering heaven, made a mad dash for Mother Theresa's home in the clouds and sucker punched her.

Or, Mother Theresa is not really dead and the Pope, who suddenly seems very spry for an old, sick man, has had Mother Theresa tied up in a closet this whole time and well, last night he just got out of hand.

I swear that this is part of my dream.

I read it again.

Pope Beatifies Mother Theresa.

Ok then. Nevermind. I'm awake.

October 18, 2003

we are here! we are here!

It's just like when Horton could finally hear all the little voices in Whoville. There are other bloggers out there tonight!

For instance, Mr. Swerdloff is talking about Jeff Jarvis who was talking about his introducing an Iranian blogger to an Iraqi blogger.

Swerdloff says:

Good God (whichever one you like, take your pick) though... Hoder, an Iranian, and Zayed, an Iraqi, are talking, brought together by an American, in order to tell their stories to the world. It's enough to give you goosebumps.

It really is amazing. And goosebump-y.

And Ith is over there, posting her little tushy off, and she's talking about people who don't understand hobbit obsessions. I'm a Legolas kind of gal, myself.

Me, I'm trying to get my writing mojo back. Whenever my mind goes blank, I rev it up by playing some games. I've been through Uproar, (where I play Acrophobia) Boxerjam (Strike-A-Match), Skilljam (Word Jam and music trivia) and PopCap (try Psychobabble_ so far, and I'm not done yet. Give me some words, a game to play with them and a few people to play with (and the World Series in the background) and I'm lost for several hours.

At some point I forget that I was supposed to be writing. Which kind of defeats the point of using games to get my mind going, but at least I'm having fun, in a Saturday-Night-Loser sort of way.

Hey, my husband is watching Half-Baked. Which one of us is the biggest loser, huh?


Was there some kind of blogger evacuation drill that I didn't get the memo on?

Or am I just the only home on a Saturday night?

silencing the critic?

The whole Gregg Easterbrook mess has met with ugly results. Roger Simon, who talked with Easterbrook on the phone (and was one of his harshest critics over this whole thing) reports that Gregg has been fired from ESPN. Even more disturbing is what Glenn Reynolds reports: That all of Easterbrooks columns have been removed from the ESPN site.

Before I even read the post over at Instapundit, my reaction was that the firing had more to do with his bad-mouthing Kill Bill, a Disney film, than his wrongheaded statements about Jews and the film industry. Jonah Goldberg concurs.

If ESPN fired him for his remarks about Jews, I would say that - even though I was as outraged as Meryl and Roger - one has to wonder what this means in the long run for writers who are employed by more than one media outlet.

Do you have to adhere to the standards of Employer A even while you are writing for Employer B, who may not feel so bad about Jew-baiting? Do you have to be careful who owns Employer C while you are writing for Employer D so as not to offend anyone at workplace C?

This would severely limit the freedom that a freelancer who also has a steady column has to write what is on their mind.

Again, I do not agree with Easterbrook's Jewish executives to worship money above all else comment - I find it highly offensive - but this whole thing reeks like hell.

As far as his review of Kill Bill goes, I'll tackle that and my still incoming email on the subject of glorified violence another day.

Write to ESPN and tell them how wrong they are.

ted rall, speechwriter?

I don't want to start any rumors, but it seems awfully coincidental that Rall happens to "be away from the blog" for a bit and suddenly this bin Laden speech comes out.

Seriously, did you read the text? It has all the key Rall Talking Points, uses several of his favorite phrases and the writing is a stilted attempt at sounding professional, just like his essays.

Ok, fine. But I had you thinking for a second there, right?

i confess, i confess

\con*fess"\, v. i. 1. to make confession; to disclose sins or faults, or the state of the conscience.

the idea is for anyone to anonymously confess to anything. it actually feels kind of good to know that someone will read it.

That's the premise behind grouphug.us, a site where you can anonymously let it all out.

The group hug aspect of the site leaves a lot to be desired. There's nowhere that you can leave a message for someone saying, Dude, I know what you're going through. I once spied on my elderly aunt in the bathtub, too! Hug me!

Basically, it's just a bunch of people confessing to odd things or writing about how desperate, sad and lonely their lives are, or just making things up. Perhaps the group hug lies in the fact that misery loves company. Hey, there are tons of miserable bastards like myself out there. I feel so much better now!

I have to say that the anonymous confession part intrigues me. Who doesn't have some musty, dirty skeleton just sitting in their closet, waiting to be invited out? Who among us isn't harboring some childhood secret that causes recurring nightmares and multiple trips to the confession booth, where you always back out and run screaming out of the church at the last minute?

Come on, big group hug for those of us that are holding in a past transgression; it could be a stolen baseball card, a quickie in a chat room with someone who is not your significan other, a lie told to a teacher, a fake bio in your alumni quarterly. Maybe you told your mother-in-law that you love her stuffed cabbage casserole and you're just dying to tell someone what kind of dreck it really was.

Do I have things I need to confess to? You bet.

Am I going to confess my darkest moments here? Not likely. I've put most of those sorry moments away, tucked deep into that part of my mind that only lets things out in the middle of the night, in my dreams, where they manifest themselves in various ways that I decipher upon waking.

But you don't want my dark moments, anyhow. You don't want to read my confessions [bless me father, for I have sinned, it's been x years since my last confession and these are my sins; that is ingrained in my head forever], at least not the ones that would mean something only to me and the people they involved. Let's keep the dark moments where they belong; in the dark.

I can readily confess to other things that don't mean so much in the long run, but someone might get a slight chuckle out of.

I own an Oasis cd.
I voted for Ralph Nader.
I think Justin Timberlake is hot.
I haven't used an iron in years; it's much easier to throw the wrinkled clothes in the dryer for a few minutes.

Yes, that's right. I voted for Ralph Nader.

Hey, maybe that is one of my deep, dark secrets. I feel better, lighter already. Maybe I'll stop dreaming about Al Gore hunting me down with a butcher knife now that I got that out in the open.

Maybe it's time to.....nah, nevermind. You wouldn't want to know about that.

saturday psa

Aaron is calling out male bloggers to put up a link to the Breast Cancer site for the rest of October. Just by doing this, you can help fund mammograms:

Your click on the "Fund Free Mammograms" button helps fund free mammograms, paid for by site sponsors and provided through the efforts of the non-profit National Breast Cancer Foundation to low-income, inner-city and minority women, whose awareness of breast cancer and opportunity for help is often limited.

For the skeptics out there raising there hands in protest, it's already been de-Snoped. It's for real.

It's one of those rare things in the blogosphere that unites rather than divides, so just do it. Would it really hurt to have a big pink button on your site for two weeks, considering what its for? No.

October 17, 2003

open! (stolen blatantly from tim blair)

I haven't blogged on a Friday night in a while. I don't know if you people are even around on Friday nights.

So I'll be over here, at my computer, working on the outline for my novel.

You can hang out here, if you wish. This is an open thread and the discussion may involve any of the following: song lyrics, battery operated toys, food involving chicken, death metal, Puzzle Fighter or umm...whatever.

Have fun. I'll be checking back when I get writer's block every half hour.

::raises hand:::

Add me to the growing list of bloggers - left, right and in between - who think that the the Senate's decision to turn Iraqi aid into loans is the most profoundly bad, stupid, idiotic, destructive idea ever.

Mepham update: enter fred phelps

[other Mepham posts here]

[click for bigger image]Everyone's favorite hate-mongerer, Fred Phelps, is going to pay a visit to Bellmore, New York, to protest in front of the "Sodomite Whorehouse" known as Mepham High School.

Mr. Phelps, for all of his blustering about God and the Bible and Jesus, would not know a true relgious value if it bit him in his ass.

If Phelps was one open to discussion, I would simply tell him that what went on at the football camp was not about sex or homosexuality; it was about power. That's something Phelps himself should be mighty familiar with.

However, because the Reverend is not a man open to a discussion on the merits, the best I can do is attend the hatefest, camera in tow, and display Phelps for what he is: a hateful, deceitful, evil, shameful excuse for a human being.

If Phelps had a shred of human decency - which it is quite obvious by now that he doesn't - he would realize that this is definitely not what the victims need right now. As a man of the cloth (so he says), he should be offering counseling to the victims instead of making this into a media event focused on himself.

I will not provide a link to Phelps's website here. I think you know by now where to find it if you want to see the hate firsthand.

I will be at Mepham High School on the morning of October 27 at 7am. I would very much like to have audience with Phelps. If anyone can help me come up with a constructive way of getting his attention and maybe a few words with him, let me know.

on a plane

The Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration ordered security searches of all U.S. commercial aircraft Friday after suspicious bags were found in the bathrooms of two Southwest Airlines jets, U.S. officials told CNN.

Apparently, this is the work of - get ready for it - the Jews! It's all psyops!

Oh, wait. It wasn't the Joooos. It was another Bush Diversion(tm)!

It makes me angry to see how many people react with glee when something goes wrong with Homeland Security. These people who are wishing and hoping for Bush to fail are, in essence, wishing and hoping for another terrorist attack.


that DOS attack

For those of you who are running with the rumor that last night's DOS attack on Hosting Matters was the result of an Al Qaeda jihad against Aaron Weisburdís Internet Haganah, please be advised that it is not yet certain who the attackers were or where they came from.

From Annette at Hosting Matters:

..the origination points of the DOS and the responsible parties have not been detailed by us, nor will we be releasing those details. Any speculation as to the originator(s) of the DOS itself are the opinion of the party offering the comment and should be not be treated as any sort of official word from Hosting Matters.

I told the kind folk at HM that I would blog this and be sure to let everyone know that the word on this being an al Qaeda fronted attack is not official.

And really, if Al Qaeda is resorting to bring down websites with DOS attacks, I think the war on terror is won.

I'd also like to prominently display what Pete said in my former post on this matter:

The site that received the DDOS is not exactly secret, in fact they're looking for donations to co-locate to avoid this in the future....My understanding is that the PURPOSE of the site was not as much pro-israel as anti-muslim extremist -- they had been getting hosts and DNSs to drop sites promoting Jihad and Terrorism, hence the DDOS.

As for J's comment, this is an example of why someone SHOULD host with HostingMatters -- unless you're going to find a host that refuses to host controversial sites, no host is safe and HostingMatters handled the DDOS spectacularly well.


chickens and goats

Let this be a lesson in counting your chickens before they die:


The New York Post lets their early deadline get in the way of accuracy. The Smoking Gun, as usual, is there.

And for all of you blaming the Red Sox loss on Steinbrenner's wallet or Babe Ruth, your true goat is not your enemy but your savior. Pedro Martinez and his ego ripped a win right out from under the Red Sox. He, Boston fans, is the one that stole your thunder and broke your heart.

Yes, Grady Little is to blame in part for leaving Martinez in so long; that's been said a million times around the country today, at the very least. But it was Martinez's arrogance that let Grady make the move that kept Pedro in the game. Martinez wanted this W at all costs and at the moment he walked back out to the mound when he knew damn well his arm was tired and he had thrown too many pitches, he was letting down his team mates, his fans, all of Boston and every Yankee hater out there.

He is this year's Bill Buckner. Perdro's gaffe may not have been as obvious as a ball between the legs but it is much less forgiveable.

talkin' baseball


Oh, I'm sorry. Did I post that picture already?

Last night's game was the World Series. Anything played after last night is going to be anti-climatic. Marlins? Who cares? I just witnessed one of the greatest playoff games ever. And nothing will match the feeling of winning that game, that series, against the Sox.

UPDATE: I just realized that this will be the Bucky Dent moment for the younger generation of Yankee fans.

so, what happened?

You may have noticed that quite a few blogs were down for the count last night.

Hosting Matters - the hosting company of choice for fine bloggers everywhere - was the victim of a massive Denial of Service attack.

HM was right on the ball, doing everything they could to slow down and/or stop the attack. They immediately put up an off-site message board where they updated users on the status of the attack and answered questions.

Apparently, the attack was aimed at one particular site - a pro-Israeli site. You do the math. There's an investigation into the whole thing and I hope they catch the bastards.

If you want to see what a DOS attack looks like, go here.

no commentary necessary


October 16, 2003

not everything old is cool again

Kids review video games of their parents' youth.

Donkey Kong:

Tim: It's strange that fire moves in this and has eyes. Oh no, the fire's coming. It's going to eat you. Are these barrels alive, too? Everything's alive. And Donkey Kong's mouth is made of pluses. Look: Plus, plus, plus, minus. They're trying to teach you math by brainwashing you.

Brian: How can you die from a fall of a whopping 3 inches?

Kirk: He's only an inch tall. He's a little short fat guy who eats way too much pizza.

EGM: Who's that chick Mario is rescuing up there?

Brian: It's Princess Peach.

Kirk: It's a hooker.

Niko: She looks cut in half.

Tim: Oh wowóshe's one of those pole dancers.

You must read the rest.

and just for good measure


Don't ask me how I did it. It's just important you know that I can.

Hopefully, the voodoo gods are listening.

time to work it

Take it away, Ted.

pre-game jitters

tumbb.jpgIt's still four hours 'til game time and my stomach is already in knots.

This is the epitome of sports. A seventh game between two rival teams. Do or die. Win or go home. Insert cliche here.

My pre-game ritual is all set up and ready go to go. But I'm wondering - do I tempt fate and the gods of baseball by putting some voodoo magic up here? Do I bring back Ted's head for game seven? What do you think? And shut up, Red Sox fans. I'm not talking to you.

Statia, I share my Tums with you. My last and final gesture of kindness before 8:00 comes and we are mortal enemies again. Take one and pass it on.

squeal like a facist pig!

If I wasn't experiencing back pain today, I would invite this guy over to prove him wrong.

Well, no. I wouldn't. He doesn't deserve me.

And hasn't he heard the old adage that conservatives have better sex? I bet liberal don't use real leather in their bondage games, either. Sex with pleather accessories is just so gauche.

ramblings: andrew sullivan in boxers, nanny diaries, hooker and marriage

You know, I don't think I'm even going to tell you the dream I had about Andrew Sullivan in boxers, a volleyball team and my righteous indignation. It was a dream induced by back pain and things you take to make that pain go away and it's really none of your business.

When you need to spend a lot of time flat on your back, there's not much you can do, unless you're a hooker. So, when I got home from work early, at about 1:30, I chewed some Motrin, got on the couch and debated making some money while I was just laying there, but my husband didn't feel like going out and finding customers for me. So I read instead.

My sister - who, by the way, is going to DisneyWorld with her husband and child today and really has some nerve taking that kid away from me for ten days, even if he is going to see his heroes Buzz and Woody - which brings to mind that funny little exchange I had with him when he was presented with a brand new Buzz doll and Woody doll: Me: I got a buzz! Him: I got a woody! Which sounded like every date I ever had in high school.

Did I get lost in a sentence there? Yes, sorry for the lack of closing punctuation, but I can't figure out where I was supposed to close that run-on thought, so I'll just start again.

My sister - the one who is going to Disney - gave me a copy of The Nanny Diaries yesterday and I scoffed and made a face but promised her I would read it because she seemed to like it. I mean, I just read Ender's Game and Snowcrash and Clash of Civilizations and I'm supposed to top that off with a book written by two women who served lunch to snotty kids in New York City and made a fortune telling the world about it? Of course, I dove into it.

I read it through the afternoon news shows and through the Yankee game and by the time the first pitch was thrown in the Cubs game, I finished the book. I have to say, it was probably time better spent than if I had taken up my husband's idea of seeing if the lecherous landscapers outside the window wanted to take advantage of my being on my back while parting with their mulch-stained ten dollar bills. Ten dollars? I smacked him. He should have at least said fifty.

So, Nanny Diaries. This tale of fiction is taken from the true life experiences of the aforementioned women who took care of the kids of the ridiculously wealthy in New York. Nannies. Hence, the title. Apparently, they kept diaries.

While the couples represented in The Nanny Diaries are fictitous, they are very much real. I know these couples. I know the mothers who think kids are accessories, the fathers who are married to their businesses and spend nights with their secretaries instead of their wives, the mothers who have time for every committee, every flower show and shoe sale, but don't have the time to give their children a hug.

I knew one mother who was going to save the whales, stop global warming and feed every kid in Ethiopia. Her own son, however, was going to have to go to a Professional Problem Solver in order to help his transition when he lost his beloved blankie.

There was the mother who started a neighborhood community program that served home cooked meals and delivered them to the homeless, but who hired a full-time cook to serve her kids breakfast, lunch and dinner because her community service kept her tied up.

But they had a perfect family because it was mommy and daddy and mommy and daddy were married. There were no gay parents or step-parents or single parents. Just perfect family function. And these people are active in the community and give to charity and go to church.

I guess it doesn't matter that while Henry Sr. is off bonking his office staff, Henry Jr. is exhibiting signs of serious behavior problems. And while Mrs. Perfect is off at her spa retreat which she so deserved after all that work she did for Activist Committee Number 22, her daughter is looking to her male classmates for affection that she doesn't get at home.

But I - when I was divorced and a single mom - was not worthy to have my little unit of me and two children called a real family even though my kids were well adjusted and never bit anyone and were pretty damn happy in our comfortable, if messy, home.

And the gay couple who adopted a child and loved that child with all their hearts and made excruciating adjustments to their work schedules so one could always be home, spending time with their child, well they don't qualify as a real family either.

Nor would I qualify now, what with my second husband being a step-father to my children, and I'm just waiting for that moment when they snap from the unfairness of it all and start dealing crack and hiding dead hookers in the trunks of the cars they steal from elderly people. I mean, it's bound to happen, because we are not Married Original Mommy and Daddy.

Of course, the mommies who belong to the League of Women Who Join Every League have wonderful, perfect children just by virtue of being married in the eyes of God. Their children won't go astray, they won't act out, they won't become crack whores even though their parents have probably hugged them twice in their entire lives and don't even know what their favorite color is.

I suppose that a perfect mommy wouldn't be sitting around writing about laying on her back to get ten bucks from the landscapers, even though she's kidding around. The perfect mommy would be kissing the perfect daddy good-bye at the door right now, while he scuttled off to the Big Important Job and left mommy behind to solve the world's problems by committee, while her ten year old is sucking his thumb and wetting his pants at night.

Geez, where was I? Hmm...Andrew Sullivan in boxers, back pain, Woody and Buzz....oh, yes.

Nanny Diaries. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Back to my sci-fi, which does not aggravate as much as reality.

tragedy turns bizarre

[I posted this late last night, but did something to the timestamp so it disappeared. Found it. Obviously]

According to sources from the Daily News, the captain of the Staten Island Ferry that crashed today, killing at least ten people, fled the scene after the accident and was later found at his home.

It has also been reported on various news channels that the captain went home and slit his wrists, tried to shoot himself with a BB gun and tried to kill himself outside of his home. And then some outlets are reporting that he did either a combination of these things or all of them.

Rob in NYC has more on that, and his guess, like mine, was that it wasn't the wind that was to blame, as officials first stated.

Witnesses and survivors are talking about how the ferry was traveling way too fast, didn't make any attempt to stop, and how there were no announcements after the crash. The upper deck passengers had to find out what happened from the lower deck passengers. No one came out to help, no one told the passengers what to do.

Drug and alcohol tests on the crew are pending.

October 15, 2003

what do you get when you cross a red sox fan with an indymedia reader?

So what's more disturbing - that someone came here looking for "jeff nelson" nazi hitler yankees or that I'm the first of only four Google results?

i hate game sevens

Lucky for me, my back went out today and I watched the last few innings of the game under the influence of a combination of drugs that would be considered illegal in some states.

Vicodin makes games like that hurt less.

today is ted rall obsession day

Sometimes I think Rall started a blog just to piss me off.

Now, he's going off on Art Spiegelman.

Today's New York Times puff piece on comix underachiever Art Spiegelman (Maus, bad New Yorker covers, nothing else worth mentioning) started me thinking about how artists work around their shortcomings. People like me, who have no shortage of ideas but aren't the best draughtsmen around, end up doing smart, wordy cartoons for alternative newspapers using styles that allow us to avoid having to do a lot of detailed rendering. In other words, we work around our drawing handicaps.

Honey, you are not only artistically handicapped, but your writing makes you seem mentally handicapped as well.

Then he says this about Chris Ware:

[People] can't imagine that such an accomplished artist could be so bereft of original--hell, any--thought.

Pot, kettle. Has Rall not heard about my Four-Trick-Pony theory? For the past two years - at least - he has said the same things over and over again. How original is saying "Bush stole the election" with stick figure men ad infinitum?

Rall says that artists like himself "end up doing smart, wordy cartoons for alternative newspapers." Yea, I know people like that, Ted. Most of them still live in mom's basement and bag groceries on the weekends for extra cash. The rest of them manage to get published in places besides papers that only would-be anarchists read.

So a world divided between idea people and art people has become a world divvied up between smart people who can't draw and dumb people who can. Bee-utiful.

Rall overestimates himself here, and truly underestimates Spiegelman. Even Art's hard-cover comics for kids show more originality and humor and intelligence than Rall could come up with even if he sat on his ass for three days straight while simultaneously channeling Einstein and the seven muses.


mother nature is a beast

As I was driving home from work today, I had to struggle at some points to keep my car - my two ton SUV - in its lane. The wind was strong enough to bend large trees and fierce enough to knock a few down.

It looks like that wind is to blame for a deadly accident involving a Staten Island Ferry:

A ferry filled with New York commuters was involved in an accident Wednesday afternoon as it approached the Staten Island terminal.

At least 12 people were feared dead and more than 20 were severely injured, officials said, The Associated Press reported.

Witnesses say that the ferry was traveling in an erratic manner before the accident, and that wind was gusting at great speeds at the time.

game time

There will be no game time voodoo today. No Ted's head. No pin cushions.

I don't want to be blamed should something go very wrong and the Yankees lose and the fans are looking for someone to blame and suddenly my picture is featured at Smoking Gun and a million people are all clamoring to tie me to a horse and drag me around town.

Well, a million more people, anyhow.

Go Yanks!

[By the way, the winds are gusting at about 45 mph right now. Could make the game interesting]

for ted, from the maniac

Ted Rall on why he doesn't have comments on his blog:

what happens in reality is that a bunch of right-wing maniacs link to your blog and encourage their right-wing maniac friends, all of whom should be in Gitmo rather than running free, to post insults in the comments section.

Yes, there are people for whom the highlight of their day is to post "Ted Rall is a commie asshole" on the Internet. Those people are welcome to post such illuminating messages on their own blogs.

Hey, you know what?

Ted Rall is a commie asshole!

Mature, I know.

And, you can always send him an email.

kill bill revisited: my, what big morals you have!

Judging from my mail, some people have an issue with my drooling, fanboy-like admiration for not only this film, but for Tarantino, violence, the degradation of society, blood, gore and the downfall of civilization as we know it.

Yes, the movie is ultra-violent. But every single person gunned down, chopped up or otherwise maimed in this movie is a villian. An assassin. A bad guy.

Also, the violence and blood are so over-the-top it may as well be comic. Saving Private Ryan was more disturbing than Kill Bill, yet I don't see anyone complaining about the violence in that movie - and that's about real violence. Real death. Real blood.

Yet people find the time to bemoan the loss of my morals because I like to see movies with fictional characters getting their fictional hands chopped off and spurting fictional blood. It's theater, people. Entertainment. We are all entertained by different things and let me tell you, I find it exhilarating when I can sit in a movie theater for almost two hours and laugh and grin and applaud some sword fighting and martial arts and death of bad guys, because coming home and turning on the news and seeing the real thing just fucking makes me cry.

And this is all besides the fact that it's just a great piece of film making. But I already gushed over that.

take the rock quiz

I got a perfect score my first time.

I knew that owning a Shellac CD would come in handy one day.

I'm going to try again and wager big this time.

what if god was one of us?


The devout Christian says she has permission from God to wear sexy clothes and strip on stage but not to have a girl-on-girl snog. In an interview with the Sun, she reckons the church has no problem with her shaking her booty in hot pants. But she draws the line at the antics of stars like Madonna and Britney Spears, who recently shared a full-on kiss at the MTV Awards. She says: "I have standards. There are things I will not do....I always carry myself like a lady. I don't feel like I ever do anything raunchy." And she adds: "It's entertainment and I believe God is OK with that.

Nope nothing to see here. No raunchiness here at all. Standards, such standards.


3 American die in a bombing in Gaza.

So, let's spin the wheel of blame, shall we?


Round and round and round it goes, it won't stop til the whole thing blows.

Oh, and look at those innocent Palestinians. Throwing rocks at investigators at the bombing scene. How sweet.

UPDATE: Meryl thinks it may have been al Qaida. She also points to this BBC story:

But our correspondent says there have been reports of jubilation among Palestinians in a nearby refugee camp - as they get increasingly angry at what they perceive as Washington's one-sided approach to the Mid-East crisis.

Celebrate good times, come on! It's a celebration... Peaceful people, indeed.

attention cubs fans

This guy did not lose the game for the Cubs. Mark Prior lost the game.

Leave the poor guy alone. It's not his fault the Cubs blew a 3-0 lead so late in the game.

for the children(tm): bush's support of the right's marriage movement is wrong

This one goes out to all of you who say I am never in opposition to Bush.

Let's talk Marriage Protection Week, (MPW) a movement that has been endorsed by our president.

The sacred institution of marriage is under attack. There are those who want to redefine marriage to include two men, or two women, or a group of any size or mix of sexes: One man and four women, one woman and two men, etc. If they fail to secure legal protection classifying these arrangements as 'marriage,' they want to include all these mixtures under the definition of 'civil union,' giving them identical standing with the marriage of one man and one woman.

At first glance, one might think something named Marriage Protection Week would be about more than keeping gays from being married. Perhaps they should have just called it No Gay Marriage Week, that would have been more honest.

Sure, there are some other issues at stake here, according to the website. Does our president understand what he is endorsing? The site links to some talking points for MPW (Oh, how prescient of me. The talking points page is called No Gay Marriage):

Marriage is the union of the only type of couple capable of natural reproduction of the human raceóa man and a woman. Children need both mothers and fathers, and marriage is societyís way of obtaining them.

And that's the main sticking point here. They believe that marriage is not about love; it's not about two people committing to each other to love, honor and treasure. No, it's about procreating.

But even childless marriages are a social anchor for children, who observe adults as role models. Besides, childless couples can be ďsurprisedĒ by an unexpected pregnancy, and they can adopt, giving a child a mother-and-father-based family. Single parents can eventually marry. And marriage is a stabilizing force for all. Even when a couple is past the age of reproduction, the marital commitment may keep an older man from fathering a child with a younger woman outside wedlock.

In other words, even if you are infertile, even if you have medical problems that keep you from reproducing, don't worry. There's still hope for you, hope that you may not be rendered meaningless in the eyes of these people after all. And guys, if you get to be that age where you are thinking about hooking up with a younger chick, just marry someone your age. Sort of makes a marriage borne of that like a condom blessed by a priest.

Another link on the MPW website brings us to the Weekly Standard:

"Research clearly demonstrates that family structure matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage. Children in single-parent families, children born to unmarried mothers, and children in stepfamilies or cohabiting relationships face higher risks of poor outcomes. . . . There is thus value for children in promoting strong, stable marriages between biological parents."

As someone whose children are being raised in a "stepfamily," I can say without prejudice that they actually have a better chance of a good outcome than they would have had I stayed in my Bush-approved traditional family. What about strong, stable marriages between one biological parent and one step-parent? What about strong, stable relationships between two biological parents who are cohabiting? What about two people of the same sex who have a strong, stable relationship?

I'm really trying to figure out how Marriage Protection Week is not just an anti-gay agenda. Every article about this movement will throw in a few keywords about divorce or single parents but, to a great extent, they are all about keeping marriage from gays.

Why not be honest about it? Why doesn't Bush stand up and say "I am now endorsing something that is specifically geared towards excluding gays from marriage and the people with whom I have aligned myself on this matter are clearly those who think that gay people all have a hidden agenda to turn your children into sexual deviants and they must be destroyed."

Yet everywhere, in isolated mountain valleys, parched deserts, jungle thickets, and broad plains, people have come up with some version of this thing called marriage. Why?...Because sex between men and women makes babies, that's why.

So, what of couples who are childless by choice? Are they villified as much as gay couples who want children? What about couples who make babies that are neglected or abused? Are they still better people somehow than the couple who turns nature on its head by not having children?

I still find it astonishing that Bush has committed himself to this organization that is so blatant with its propaganda it puts the Moral Majority to shame.

But Bush knows what he is doing. He has simply stated that he is endorsing National Marriage Protection Week, which sounds so family oriented and downright cuddly when taken at face value. How many people are going to search beyond that face value to discover what this movement is really all about? It's not just an anti-gay movement. They are anti anything that doesn't adhere to their strict, religious sense of being. No single parents, no divorcees, no childless couples are welcome in this coalition.

If you look at the fine print on the bottom of the MPW website, it says the site is copyright American Family Association. They, in turn, are in a tight coalition with Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, and The Family Research Council.
These are all "faith based" groups, if your idea of faith is demeaning and pointing fingers at those who aren't march-step with your ideology.

At CWFA, I found this telling statement:

Children need both a mother and a father; and they need them to be married and in a stable, committed, loving relationship. The absence of marriage in a childís life is a gaping wound. That wound is gaping because no one is obligated ĖĖ by duty and love ĖĖ to care for the child. You canít delegate love through a program. You canít ensure vigilance through a program. A child knows when he is no oneís treasure ĖĖ no oneís special joy!

If I am reading this correctly, I think what the author is saying is that only married parents have a duty and obligation to love their children. Single parents, divorced parents, gay parents; just give up now. Turn your kids in. Obviously, you don't love your children because...well, I can't figure that part out. I do think that they are saying - let me see if I can read between the lines here - that when I got divorced, I lost my dutiful and loving obligation to care for my children. Spare me.

Marriage is a sacred institution ĖĖ a covenant between a man and a woman and God ĖĖ that is honored by people across the faith traditions.

News flash: Atheists and agnostics get married, too. My [second] marriage is a covenant between my husband and I. There was no god involved. Does that make it any less of a marriage? In the eyes of the church, I suppose it does. In the eyes of my family, my children and my husband and myself - no. In fact, this marriage is more stable, more committed, more loving than my first marriage - to the biological father of my children - was.

But that's not what the proponents of Marriage Protection Week - Bush included - want to hear. They want disaster stories. They want tales of homesexual abuse by parents, tales of step-children turning to drugs and crime, they want moral depravity and shoddy parenting. They don't want the success stories because that would just prove their points as fallacies.

I'm disappointed in President Bush for supporting all of the mentioined organizations and all of the lies and propganda put forth by them, which he does by promoting Marriage Protection Week.

October 14, 2003


And in case you didn't notice, the Yankees won, thankyouverymuch.

Tomorrow. 4pm. Pettite.

kill bill: review

The only thing that first came to mind when the movie ended was: Holy Shit.

Kill Bill is, without a doubt and without any hyperbole at all, the most brilliant piece of film making I have ever seen. Tarantino is a genius, a savior, a god among directors.

The plot doesn't matter, so I won't even tell you about it. The acting is secondary, so I won't even get into that except to say that Uma Thurman was born to play this part.

Kill Bill defies genre. It's everything. It's everywhere. It's the whole damn history of directing in one fell swoop. If anyone else had attempted to cram so many styles into one movie, it would be a failure of the grandest kind. But Tarantino works magic with this film, layering the pieces and fitting them into a sequence that works even though by all rights it shouldn't.

It's Pulp Fiction and Dead Alive and 70's action and serious anime and every samurai movie you've ever seen. It's lightning fast and film noir slow. It's ballet with swords and gang fights set to Stomp.

It's the bloodiest thing you will see this side of horror movies. The blood is not just a display of cuts and death; it's an actor with a part. It's over-the-top and spurts like a water fountain at every turn and you find yourself stunned by the beauty and magic of all that gore. There's flying limbs and exposed brains and and a dangerously beautiful teenager who would cut off your arms just to watch you bleed to death.

Never have I witnessed such sheer amounts of death and grinned all the way through it. It wasn't a grin of blood lust, it was the smile that comes with watching a job well done, a job completed to perfection by the true main stars of this film, the faces that are never seen; Tarantino, editor Sally Menke, and RZA, who scored all the original music.

If I had to sum this movie up in two words they would be, simply: Holy. Shit.

2004 can't get here fast enough.

Kill Bill website.

[attention: there was a comment with a spoiler in here. I edited it. Next person that does that will get a serious taste of my rage]

date night with quentin

The choice:

Drop the kids off at mom's after work and head out for some shopping, a movie and dinner with my husband.


Stay home and watch the Yankee game, most likely getting worked up and aggravated.

Did I mention the movie is Kill Bill?

The hell with the Yankees. I am getting quality alone time with my husband, and I am seeing a movie that has rendered usually sane people speechless with its awesomeness. We may sit through it twice if it lives up to the hype. We may sit through it twice even if it sucks just so we can stay out longer.

Target, Quentin and a big, juicy diner burger and no kids. Baseball - even Yankee playoff baseball - cannot hold a candle to that lineup.

crossing lines with john edward

The fraud with the tv show, not the politician.

I thought of the man yesterday, as I was driving through town and passed by a house that had so overdone the Halloween thing with larger than life plastic blow-up spirits and ghosts gathered all over the yard, that I commented - to myself, as I was the only in the car - that it looked like John Edward was having a yard sale. Cracked myself up, I did.

And - stay with me here, because the two things really do tie in together - The Supreme Court said Tuesday it will decide whether the Pledge of Allegiance recited by generations of American schoolchildren is an unconstitutional blending of church and state.

Which leads me to this: John Edward can once and for all end this entire controversy over church and state; he can end the fight between atheists and agnostics and believers; he can end religious wars and jihads and put a finish to creationism v. evolution and possibly bring about world peace.

See, here is what I always wondered about Edward and others who claim to speak to the dead: Why aren't they telling us anything important?

Why waste time talking about Aunt Maude's garden when there are so many other things to be learned from the dead? Surely, just one of those spirits that has been contacted is dying, pardon the pun, to tell us something about the afterlife.

If I was on that show and that huckster pointed to me and asked my some vague question designed to get me to say that yes, you are certainly right that I once knew someone whose name started with the letter A and is now dead and it could be a dozen or so different uncles but yes, oh miracle of miracles you must be real Mr. Edward because my grandfather did die of heart failure, you are a pure genius because it's not like grandfathers die of heart failure every day, right? Right? And then he would say something like well, your grandpa wants you to know he's doing ok and I would stand up and say, now wait just a minute, John Edward. Here's what I want to know, not what you want to tell me.

And I would ask grandpa about the mysteries of life. What happens when you die? Is there real life out there? Is there a heaven? A hell? Purgatory? Was there a God waiting for you? If so, which god was it? Greek? Jewish? Was it Buddah? Or is it the Catholic god? Do you get to see people who are still alive? Do you spy on us? Was that you at grandma's funeral who knocked down the flowers?

And thus, grandpa would solve everything. He would tell us which god, if any, was the ruler of the afterlife. He would tell us what death is like.

So, why doesn't John Edward do this? Why doesn't he use his powers to speak to the dead for a greater purpose than his cash flow?

Well of course, he can't. And that's too bad, because if he could then the Supreme Court wouldn't even have to decide on this issue because grandpa would tell the name and demonation of the god that exists in heaven and we could all join hands and sing our praises and worship the same entity and peace shall be unto us, amen. Or he would just tell us that no, there is no god, it's just total chaos and anarchy in the afterlife with ghosts and spirits running around creating havoc, going through ex-girlfriends' underwears drawers when they are sleeping and making mischief so they can see the results of their pranks on the cover of the Weekly World News. Crop circles, indeed. That was just your Uncle Henry having fun.

But we'll never know if someone out there wants to tell us the truth because the only thing John Edward knows how to do is read between the lines of people's emotions. Until someone with better skills than he has steps up and proves what lies in the great beyond, we'll still have days like today when a couple of people in robes are going to decide the fate of the pledge.


My sister had a garage sale this weekend and I took it as an opportunity to rid my closets of clutter. My kids would man the tables in my sister's driveway; they would keep 3/4 of whatever sold. The other 1/4 was for me, and would be spent on those disposable heating pads that my back would need once I got done in the closets.

Oh, what was waiting for me under the boxes and rolls of wrapping paper and other assorted junk. I had two large Hefty bags at my side; one for things that would go to the sale, one for garbage. My motto would be, what I can't sell, toss. Kill the packrat. Exorcize her. Go for broke.

A tower of VHS tapes, all of them recordings of Saturday Night Live, back in the very early 90's when it went through a rare funny stage. Gone. In the bag marked G. That was enough weight to fill the bag to the breaking point so I put it by the door and opened another.

More video tapes. A stack of children's shows, recorded from the television or other tapes, in the days before anyone would sue you for doing such a thing. Baby Songs. Oh, I remember that one. The Mommy Comes Back song.

Mommy comes back
She always comes back
She always comes back to get me
Mommy comes back
She always comes back
She never would forget me

I sang this to my daughter as a toddler, when I went guiltily back to work. I cried each time I sang it. I don't remember if I cried because I was so sorry to leave her for a few hours or if I was so damn happy to be getting out of the house to converse with adults again.

I do remember thinking a terrible thought one day while singing the Mommy song. What if mommy didn't come back? What if mommy met with a runaway car, a falling tree, a fired employee gone postal? My daughter would grow up thinking I was a liar. A dead liar. She would be in therapy for years, working out her negative feelings toward her long deceased mommy. Mommy, who never came back.

So I stared at those kids videos yesterday and thought about all the other lies and misconceptions that were wound on those little white reels. Well, no honey. Trains don't really talk. No one lives in your garbage can. There's no such place called Sillyville. Yes, I know I led you to believe that it was really Mickey and not some desperate-for-money college student that danced with you on your fourth birthday. But hey, mommy came back, right? That much was true.

I thought about keeping all those videos, giving them to my nephew, who will be three next month and is ripe for all those cute little kids singing and dancing in the world of make believe. Tossed them in the bag marked for garbage. Purge, rinse, repeat. Face the pile of your ex-husband's albums and pictures you thought you burned. Purge, garbage.

In the end, there's nothing left but Christmas and Halloween decorations. I piled them neatly in the corner of the closet and beamed at my open space, free of bad memories, half finished craft projects and games with several missing pieces.

I looked at the bags that were destined for my sister's driveway and would be taken, in exchange for a very small amount of cash, to someone else's home. Would they take good care of the Legos? Would they actually do the puzzles or play the games or watch the videos?

And if they did watch that Baby Songs video, would they also wonder what would happen if mommy didn't come back, if she were abducted by aliens or arrested for prostitution?

Probably not.

die, comment spammers, die and other blogging stuff

Thank you to Kevin who installed the new MT Blacklist plug-in last night, thus giving me free reign to kick some comment spammer ass. Thanks to Jay Allen for putting so much effort into this. Kevin has more on the plug-in and how to use it - including an extensive list of spammers to block - here.

Hey! Bill Quick is back!

talkin' baseball

So, umm....

How about those Rams?

And a big thank you to those who hit the tip jar and wishlist last night. Individual emails forthcoming.

October 13, 2003

cash money ho

I was thinking today about money and time and how time is money. So I thought to myself, self, it's been a while since since you did a little blog begging. And my self answered, well then. Just do it.

Yea, it's begging time again. And no, I don't feel bad about doing this. It's not like I'm forcing people to give. I'm not going to take down my website if no one throws some cash in my bucket. But the fact is, I put a lot of time and effort into this place and if you feel like giving me something, that's real sweet of you. And if you don't or just can't, well I still love you. Really.

You may ask, just what would I do with that money I "earn" from begging? Maybe I'll put it towards a laptop, so I could spend more time working on my writing.

Just imagine the rewards you would all reap when you get signed, numbered copies of the next Great American Novel, and when I mention every one of you by name when I'm on Letterman.

Maybe I'll just leave it in the Paypal account until one day when I decide to run away to some tropical island where I will spend my time sipping fancy drinks and snapping my fingers at the cabana boy.

Maybe I'll buy a Game Cube. Maybe I'll pay a bill or two. Maybe I'll blow it all on Slurpees and chocolate covered Oreos. Maybe I'll take you out to dinner or go on a spending spree at Border's or finally pay that hitman to....

Nevermind about that.

This isn't a weeklong pledge-a-thon thing. I'm not going to sing and dance for you. I'm just going to ask politey and continue on with what I was doing and maybe feel a little weird later on that I actually asked people for money, but then I'll remind myself that plenty of bloggers do this without feeling weird at all and they make plenty of money and maybe that's my problem, is that I'm so passive aggressive about this.

Perhaps I should just say, Donate or Die!

Ok, nevermind.

If cash isn't your thing, you could always buy me something.

And if you are torn between thinking that I'm whoring myself for cash and that you'd like to be my next customer, but can't bring yourself to feel dirty over it, then just give a few bucks to Magen David Adom to redeem your guilty conscience.

baseball family feud

I just disowned my father.

He pulled up in front of my house while I was standing outside. Just sat there, idling in his car and grinning like the proverbial chesire cat. I peeked inside the car.

He was wearing a Boston Red Sox cap.

My father is a Met fan, which is bad enough to begin with. Now, he's taking up the side of the enemy and I have no choice but to abandon him.

Tonight's voodoo machine is revved up. One hour until game time.

they sure do make 'em big these days

What the hell are they feeding to teenagers these days?

My daughter has a few friends over. They are huge. Not just the guys, but the girls, too. They tower over me. They are wide and big and could all be linebackers.

Seriously, they did not make 13 year olds like this when I was young.

I just dyed all of their hair blue (parent's permission, of course). It's like being in a house with five of Babe the Blue Ox.

I'm gonna go put a deadbolt on the fridge now.

mepham: placing blame where it doesn't belong

[previous Mepham stories here]

So, why did those kids from Mepham commit those horrible acts upon their team mates?

According to one Jen Shroder, it's all about that nasty sex education.
I often rail against the liberalization of our schools, but this is just ridiculous.

Did class lessons instructing students that sodomy is an appropriate choice pave the road to acceptability of their plight? What happened was a form of rape, not to be compared to a matrimonial union between man and wife, but you can bet that the introduction of sodomy in high school introduced a whole world of sexual perversions because sodomy is, in and of itself, a sexual perversion.

It's a complete fallacy, not to mention a broad exageration, that current sex education in schools is to blame for poor morality, the prevelance of oral sex and the acceptance of sodomy.

I've had one kid go through the sex ed program already, and one currently participating. There is nothing in there that would seem to condone sodomy or oral sex or any kind of perversion. It's health, it's facts and yes, it's safe sex. But there is also a lot of ground covered on acceptable behavior, saying no, and what it means when your partner says no. The curriculum also encourages abstinence, while not being so naive as to not cover sexual protection.

I can't see how one can derive that today's sex ed lessons would lead to a bunch of football players raping their buddies with broomsticks.

Of course, the author fails to realize that rape and the type of sodomy that happened with the Mepham boys is about power, not sex. It had more to do aggression and strength than with anything they learned in a sex ed class. In fact, those traits that led the accused to do what they did were probably learned at home and on the football field.

But that doesn't matter to someone with an agenda, I suppose.


In other Mepham news, a third member of the community has come forward to say that he also received a threatening letter in response to his standing up for the victims (previous story here).

UPDATE: I didn't mean to imply that oral sex is perverted. Doesn't anyone remember Steak and BJ Day?

out and about

I'll be out most of the day today. There are several things you can do while you sit by your computer anxiously awaiting my return (humor me, ok?).

You can go to my NaNoWriMo blog (Nationa Novel Writing Month; see sidebar) and make some suggestions for my preparation soundtrack.

You can go play with Kelley's sac. Which is not nearly as nasty as it sounds. In fact, it's downright sensual.

You can find out what's being done to combat comment spammers, which are different than trolls, but just as bad.

You can check out the newest carnival to hit the 'sphere: Carnival of the Capitalists, which is good for all of us capitalist pigs.

You can cast your vote in the Limerick Contest.

Or you can ignore me completely and just go about your business. Do so at your own peril.

Enjoy your Columbus Day and don't let the loonies bite, which is to say that I'm not going to go into a long rant about Columbus or his day or his discoveries, and even if I did they wouldn't be nearly as far-fetched and distorted as some others, but that today is a Monday and I don't have to work and that, in and of itself, is what makes a holiday special. And you're all special too.

And not in that helmet sort of way. Mostly.

bitchslap ted rall day, volume infinity: the daily rall

Bitchslap Ted Rall Day has just gotten a more frequent schedule.

Ted Rall blogs.

I didn't know this and I'm kind of sorry that I know now. Instead of reading his drivel just on Fridays, I will be forcing myself to wade through his dung-infested swamp of words nearly every day.

The blog is called Search and Destroy, but it's subtitle should be I am still obsessed with the 2001 election.

Sample entry:

Next year's Republican National Convention, held late to coincide with the 3rd anniversary festivities surrounding the 9/11/01 attacks and held in New York City despite the fact that every single New Yorker despises Bush and all that he stands for to an extent that can't be expressed by words, promises to put the 1968 Chicago riots to shame.I'm already stocking up bottled water and canned food for the endtimes. And I've got THE most bitching T-shirt designs ready for attendees... [emphasis added]

Wow. Ted is a mind reader as well as a flaming asshole. Every. Single. New Yorker. I would sure like Mr. Rall to prove that statement to be true. Of course, he couldn't. Because it's not.

As far as his belief that New York City will erupt in riots next September - well, that might be true. Because when people like Rall and his Indymedia friends get together to protest something, chaos always ensues. There's no such thing as a peaceful protest with this bunch. It's smash and burn, all the way. Is it me or does Rall seem just a tad too excited at the prospect of it all going to hell next year?

Rall also engages in some audience participation. He wants his readers to name his next book:

Thanks to those of you who have sent in suggestions for book titles of my 2004 collection of cartoons and columns about Bush and the goings on in his illegitimate administration. Unfortunately, there are no winners...yet.

Many respondents seem to be after some kind of "Bush Sucks" or "Why Bush Sucks" angle, but book titles have to be a little more subtle, yet straightforward at the same time, than that. So the challenge remains: name the book and you get the original artwork for one of my syndicated cartoons for your wall.

I think you know what to do. Email your suggestions to chet@rall.com. See Rall's orginal entry on the contest here.

I'm thinking perhaps: Return of Hitler. Or, Night of the Living Hitler. Or, Bush Drools, Chomsky Rules. Or....you get the idea.

October 12, 2003


While I have your attention, go down to this post, tally up some points based on whatever arbitrary calculating system you come up with and come back to this post, leaving your favorite limerick and the amount of points it scored.

You don't have to say how or why you got your total. That's the beauty of a voting system that starts out as a sham and does not purport to be anything else.

Seriously, go read the limericks, and come back here and vote. That's here. This post. Don't be putting your votes in the original post or a) they won't count and b) I'll have to smack you upside the head.

The future winner thanks you.

an ode to jason, my blogroll dealer


Well, not really an ode, as odes are usually poetic. And this - this is just pathetic.

The last 24 hours have been hell. I was like a crack addict looking for a fix, hunting down blogs that don't use blogrolling and using their links list like a cheap whore hitting on someone's husband.

I was a mess, I tell you. Empty, void, blackened. I penned dark, somber songs and wrote epic poetry by candlelight all dedicated to my blogrolls. I was Poe, my link list was Annabel Lee.

Today I wandered around the blogosphere aimlessly, wildly typing in URLs by hand - URLs I thought I knew by heart - and realizing I had no idea how to spell Pejmanesque or Du Toit or that the Penny Arcade URL had a dash in the middle. I was frantic, out of my mind. I dove into Instapundit's link list, sniffing out the blogs I had missed out on today, wondering when their last update was. The emptiness that lived inside me, not knowing who was pinging at that very moment, it's something I never want to feel again. There's not enough methadone in the world to see me through another withdrawal.

Blogrolling has spoiled me; it's made my mind lazy and my fingers out of practice. Click, click, click, is all I know. And yet, I missed it so. I crave it, love, cannot live without it.

Jason, thank you for bringing my crack back to me, and thank you for the best invention since the vibrator.



Well, at least it will give a few players the night off so they cut a check to MLB.

Bob Watson, baseball's vice president in charge of discipline, did not announce specifically why the four were being fined...

Must be the dreaded Asswipe Fine. Yea, all of them.

the world is not ready for this

So, I go into the kitchen, where the kids' computer is. Natalie is typing away. I take a look at the screen and there, right before my eyes, is the Blogger template.

Yes, she has started a blog.

No, I'm not giving you the URL.

But I will let tell you that her blog description puts Morrisey and Robert Smith to shame.

I am so incredibly proud.

no voodoo today

Today, we work with the good. Zim's namesake brings his special brand of powerful alien magic to the rescue.

Do not mess with The Zim.

[click for superpowerful image]

a red sox fan speaks

However, in all my years of watching Red Sox baseball, nothing prepared me for the deep hurt inflicted yesterday. While other games may have wounded my heart, this one blackened my soul.

--- Edward Cossette at Fox Sports New England.

The game was a disgrace to all of baseball. Though Martinez is surely to blame for the events that transpired, the ugliness was just amplified by Zimmer, Nelson and Garcia.

By the way: A Boston police spokeswoman has backed off previous statements that the two Yankees would be charged. She now says the incident will be investigated.
The reason I blame Martinez is not for his cowardly reaction to a 72 year old man coming after him; it's for this action, which set the tone:



orange.jpgIt was one year ago.

EVERYONE looks the same when they're on fire. This is something I learned searching for my brother Mitchell in the first minutes after the Sari Club exploded a year ago on Sunday.

~~Guilt Lies Only With The Killers by Jake Ryan

VICTORIANS are being encouraged to wear orange ribbons on October 12 to mark the first anniversary of the Bali blasts which killed 88 Australians.

This non-Victorian blog is wearing one as well.

October 11, 2003

where's terry o'reilly when you need him?

I'm a lot of things, but a hypocrite is not one of them.

If this account of what happened in the Red Sox bullpen is true, then Jeff Nelson and Karim Garcia should be painted with the same brush as Pedro Martinez. Yes, the employee was an asshat for waving the rally flag inside of the Yank's pen, but a beating was uncalled for.

No matter what, that was one ugly game.

And I still think Pedro is a punkass.

dare i dream?

Sam Raimi - 'I would love to do the 4th Evil Dead film!'

cowboy down!

Ah, Fenway. Gotta love that place.

Nice move, with the fan jumping into the Yankee bullpen. Classy. And people say New York fans are rowdy.

About Pedro: The guy all but hung a billboard saying he was going to throw at someone's head. Dude, you do not throw at heads. Throw inside, throw tight, throw to knock them out of the plate. But you do not aim for a person's head with a fastball. That's just not kosher.

So Zimmer, who was once hit in the head back when he was a player and still has the metal plate souviener, was more than a bit pissed off at Pedro. Yes, he ran at him, maybe even threw a fist at him. But come on. The guy is 72. With a freaking plate in his head. And he's built like a Weeble. Pedro is an ass, he was before this even happened.

Yankees win. Red Sox and their fans lose.

Game over.

[If anyone has a screen grab of Martinez making that "I"m gonna knock your head off" motion, please send it to me]

And Bozzy? You're an asshole. [see comments here for reference]

UPDATE: It wasn't a fan that went into the Yanks bullpen; it was a Boston grounskeeper. Nice manners, babe.

Oh, and ferrets have better manners.

pedro is a punkass

And this is what it looks like when a sniveling punk beats up an old man:

[click for bigger pictures/images from Newsday.com]

pedro martinez beats up old men!

That is just wrong.

Zimmer? He takes on 72 year old Zimmer? What a dick.

UPDATE: Ok, I was at the Taco Bell drive-thru when this happened. All I heard was that Pedro knocked down Zimmer.

Someone clue me in on what led up to that?

game time voodoo

The game starts in half an hour and I almost forgot to put up my black magic Bosox Voodoo!


Whew. That was close. Hope I didn't blow it.

Now, to turn my shirt inside out and circle the living room couch three times while chanting "I love the Yankees more than I hate Roger Clemens!" Hey, we all have our pre-game rituals.


saturday's edition of "presented without commentary" - the hate festival begins

Signs at the Rutgers hatefest/support terrorism rally:


And this one with images from the noted anti-Semite and death to American troops supporter Latuff:


And if you look closely at this one, you can see it says Israel Inspires Terror.


This hatefest is supported by such wonderful organizations as ANSWER, The NYC Free Mumia Coalition and the Workers World Party.

The organizers of this event, The Student Divestment Conference on Palestine, have a mission statement which reads, in part:

As a solidarity movement, it is not our place to dictate the strategies or tactics adopted by the Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.

Hey, there's Cynthia McKinney at one of their rallies!

The commentary today is all yours.

take my toys, please

My sister is having a garage sale today, so we've been cleaning out closets and rummaging under the bed, stuffing all of our extraneous stuff into bags and boxes to be sold to the lowest bidder.

The kids get to keep all the money we earn from our garbage, which will go towards the purchase of tickets to see Good Charlotte next Friday.

I'm finally getting rid of so much stuff I had collected for who knows what reason. I hate being a pack rat. Everything..going once, going twice, in the box. No time to look, no time to get nostalgic over old books or games or toys.

But wait, what's this? Oh no. No way. I will part with my entire collection of Saturday Night Live videotapes. I will sell my old albums and the kids' Beanie Babies and CDs I was embarassed to own.

But I will not, under any circumstances, sell my Ewok treehouse. Or my Slave 1. Or the Darth Vader action figure case. I just won't.

there once was a....

Limerick contest which is only staying open until 5pm this evening before judging begins.

Get going.

Mepham update: the week in mepham news

[previous stories can be found here]

During the week, one of the accused players and all of the coaches met with the DA's office in Pennsylvania.

That was basically all that happened in this case until this morning, when it was revealed that two Mepham parents who have spoken out against the football players received a threatening letter.

Anonymous letters were sent this week warning two parents who have spoken out about the Mepham High School football hazing case that they would be sodomized with broomsticks if they don't keep silent, police and one of the people who received the letters said yesterday.

"It said, 'Keep your mouth shut and nothing will happen to you or your family,'" said Jim Rullo of Merrick, who received one of the letters.

Rullo was the lone person who stood up at the board meeting in early October and spoke for the victims. The letter arrived a few days after he spoke at that meeting.

"The first thing I did after reading it was cringe," Rullo said. "Then I was like, 'No -- -- way' because people bullied those kids at camp to be quiet and then people bullied parents to keep quiet and fear is running rampant in this community. If I bail out, then I'm a jerk," he said. "What message am I sending to my family? The only thing I've done is respond to a friend in need."

Rullo has been my hero since the night he stood up in front of a crowded room filled with selfish, shortsighted people who think the real victims in this case are the football team and the school. Rullo knows who the victims really are and he stood up for them when no one else would. And, even in the face of threats and more belligerence from the community, he is fiercely standing his ground because he knows what's right.

If only the other parents of the Bellmore community would think about the message they are sending, not only to their own children and the surrounding communities, but to the rest of the country, who are watching this story unfold.

This letter that Rullo and another unidentified parent received only serves to give evidence to the people who are saying that the whole Bellmore community is stained by this, not just the school.

Rullo should be getting letters of commendation, not threats. And it wouldn't surprise me in the least to discover that it was an adult who wrote this letter and not a student.

america's pastimes: baseball and boobies

Robyn and the boobiethon participants have raises over $6,000 for the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation.

I finally gave mine up for the cause.

I also left a good luck charm for the Yankees in my picture.

I know you will go look, but donate a few bucks while you're there, ok? It's all for the healthy boobies.

October 10, 2003

things they say

"Mom, did you know that pampons can kill you?"

Pampons. Took me a minute to figure out what he was talking about.

Guess you had to be there.

raise your cup and let's propose a toast


500 years old. That's a lot of martinis.

Got a favorite vodka drink recipe?

i thought lefties were compassionate?*

Unless you have ever been an addict or have loved an addict, you have no idea and you should just shut up and stop passing judgment, even if you hate the guy.

I'm not saying this because Rush is a right-winger. In fact, I have no use for the man's politics, beliefs or radio show. I'm saying this because he's a human being. Dancing with glee at someone's admission that they have a problem that's been known to wreck lives and families is really disgusting.

[and before you leftwingnuts get all high and mighty on me, yes I know that the nuts at freeper would behave the same way if it were a democrat "spokesperson" in the situation. you're both frightening, ok?]

song for the deaf

Bad day at black rock.

That's what I've titled today. Work related angst and other matters have me very unhappy. And I realized that more than half of my stress the past few weeks has been self-made, by taking on too many things at one time and by letting people have their way with me, so to speak.

I've given a lot of myself over the past year or so. Now, it's time to give to myself. I am dropping out of any group blogs (not including Command Post) I am participating in or have promised to participate in. I am no longer taking on charity work. I am going to hand the reigns of Four Color Hell over to Jason if he wants it.

When you do things for a cause or for some altruistic reason, you don't do it to get anything in return. You do it because it's right, because you can't spend all your time talking about the unfairness of the world if you don't try to battle that unfairness yourself.

But there really comes a point where you have to say, enough. Doing out of the goodness of your heart is one thing; being taken advantage of because you have a good heart is another. Everyone has a boiling point and I've reached mine.

Today was the proverbial straw. Something happened at work that set me off, and it just went downhill from there. I needed to dump all the extra weight on my shoulders. I did that and I'm still doing it. There was an awful lot of weight there, a lot of it self-imposed.

Please don't ask me, at least for a while, to participate in any kind of blog drive or charity or group effort. I have this problem where I don't know how to say no, so make it easy on me and don't ask at all.

nanowrimo2003_participant_icon.jpeAnyhow, I won't have time for anything. I've decided to take on something that is for me and me only. I'm going to participate in National Novel Writing Month. I'm pretty much clearing my calendar until that's over.

It's just me, this blog, and my novel in progress which will be posted here eventually. Everything else has been dumped into the recycle bin and I'm about to click empty.

And this story about an emotional punch having the same effect as a physical punch? It's true.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that I will be submitting a short version of my upcoming novel to David and Val's Sudden Fiction project. Deadline is October 20, publication date is Halloween. This is a good warm up exercise for those participating in NaNoWriMo.

I will also be posting excerpts and such in the group NaNoWriMo blog Blovel, founded by Andy of World Wide Rant fame.

talkin' football

My picks for this week's office pool have to be in in an hour. I haven't done them yet and I don't have time to make educated picks.

So, who wants to make my picks and have a chance to split a 400 dollar point pool with me? Point spreads count.

you say it's your....

Blog birthday!

Not for nothing, Vicky, but when people are linking to you because you are celebrating the anniversary of your blog, those following the link might be put off by that Erectile Chicken Dysfunction headline.

Then again, maybe not.

Many more, Vicky.

Oh look at this, it's Bill's anniversary, too. Go tell him he's a dick congratulations.

UPDATE: I forgot to say that Bill's blog does not have oozing facial sores and it is not fat and ugly. In fact, Bill is the one with the canker sores and extra 300 pounds, not the blog. His blog is damn beautiful, so damn entertaining, so incredibly perfect in every way, that you have a hard time believing that a guy who is so ugly, so fearsome, so bitter and nasty, could have not only a dazzling blog, but a beautiful, smart wife.

who is alexa and what is she saying to me?

First, I'd like to thank you all for your generous comments and emails regarding my navel gazing post. I will respond to all emails today.

[click for bigger image]In one of those emails, someone sent me a link to my Alexa rankings. I don't think I ever looked at this before and frankly, I'm unsure what it means. How do they determine these statistics? If I am reading them correctly, they are very, very different from the Extreme Tracking stats, and different from the stats my host provides.

Stats aren't important in the long run, but I would certainly like to know the size of my readership (is that a word?) so I can have a suitable panic attack when I realize that I haven't been writing for a small group of friends and acquaintances every day like I thought.

I do like the compare feature on Alexa. I've been staging a little blogger match-off and it's fun to see whose ego is ten times larger than their stats, and vice versa.

Anyhow, thanks to everyone for reading. I like to just say that once in a while. And a reminder: it's Friday, so I'm going to try to stay away from covering the news today. Fridays are for fun. Hey, limericks!

ted rall takes me to bizarro world

Someone get me a drink. Or a handful of aspirin. Something. My head is suddenly swimming, my brain has gone fuzzy, the world has just turned upside down.

Ted Rall has an almost meaningful column today. I swear. Really.

Well, yes, he still takes the time to point out how awful this administration is, how they weren't really elected and are evil, terrible warmongers, but still. Rall actually makes some coherent points about the left.

On the recall: Unfortunately, Democrats didn't focus on the recall itself or the good reasons to oppose their Republican opponent. It was easier to just dig up dirt from his past.

On the L.A. Times calling Arnold a nazi-lover: So silly. So stupid. Historians have marveled at Hitler's rise from homelessness to absolute dictator, as well as his oratorical skills. That hardly makes them Nazis.

On Limbaugh's McNabb controversy: Limbaugh, after all, was just being himself. Here was a chance to document right-wing bias in corporate media, but Dems blew it to go after one man.

On Limbaugh's drug problem: Had the same story appeared about Michael Moore, they'd express sympathy and urge him to enter rehab. But compassion goes out the window while trashing your nemesis.

I am speechless. Sure, Rall takes all his usual swipes, nailing three out of the four standard Rall Hates Bush statements (not outright, but they are there between the lines), but the point, the major thesis of this column was not how Bush stole the election, it was not about an Iraqi quagmire or the crushing of dissent; it was about what the left is doing wrong.

And I agree with him on all those points.

Relax, this doesn't mean I've actually taking a liking to Rall. It's not like I'm going to start writing him fan letters. After all, his perfect woman would probably want to start a revolution, while my perfect man can do a great imitation of Eddie Van Halen.

Welcome to Bizarro Friday.

even steven

Apparently, Ted's head reversed the curse that reversed the curse on Wednesday night.

Saturday: Clemens v. Martinez. Gotta polish up Ted's jar for that one.

Well, this wasn't how I wanted to start off the hockey season. But still, it's nice to see the drop of the puck again.

October 09, 2003

there once was a contest so great,

The limerick contest is going swimmingly. Contest is open until the weekend, so have at it.

The Yanks are up 3-1. Ted's head may be just what the witch doctor ordered.

Who wants to help me judge the limerick contest and count up the points? Remember, there are no real steadfast rules. You can play fast and hard with this one if you decide to help me out.

And who doesn't like to play fast and hard?

attention baltimore!

Copy and pasted from Dean:

Baltimore: Chief Wiggles Needs Your Help!

We are continuing forward with sending materials to Iraq (see this message here for the latest on the shipping woes; the military is shutting down the APOs for Operationg Give). We have been working on alternate shipping methods to get stuff to Chief Wiggles in Iraq.

We have warehouse space set up in Baltimore. Now we need someone--a retiree, or someone with spare time--to accept delivery and get stuff stored in our warehouse. We also have shippers lined up, so we can get it from Baltimore to where the Chief can pick it up. We just need someone to help coordinate, to accept delivery and get it shipped back out via the arrangements we've made.

Can anyone out there help? If you can't, do you know someone who can?

Any help would be appreciated. Just leave us a comment here or drop us a line at info@operationgive.org.


I now know what went wrong with last night's attempt at voodoo. There wasn't enough vindictivness in it. In order to make the magic of the dark side work properly, there has to be a certain level of nastiness surrounding your voodoo doll. I think I've got it right this time. I've combined the wonders of cryogenics, the dark spirits and a Boston icon to come up with this thing. I also have some of the magic pixie dust I took from the pitchers' mound at Yankee Stadium when I worked there. I've been saving it for a special occassion. Now, stand back while I cast my spell...


credit for the image of ted's frozen head goes to brokennewz, where i swiped it from


Kevin of Wizbang fame got so fed up with his hosting problems that he switched over to the Official Host of A Small Victory and all of its Partnering Sites, Hosting Matters.

You can now find Kevin over here.

Also, I was remiss in not linking to the Carnival of the Vanities yesterday, so I'll do it today; head over to Shanti's place for all your Carnival needs.

limerick time: the Poetry Day Incestous Blogging Contest

Apparently it's National Poetry Day over in Jolly Old England. The BBC Magazine has a lovely little limerick contest going on, where they give you the first lines and you complete the limerick for fun, prizes and posterity.

I don't like their choices, of course, so I'll rip off their idea and hold the first annual National British Poetry Day Limerick at an American Blog.

The rules are simple:

  • Your limerick must contain the names/site names of at least one blogger.
  • Mentions of multiple bloggers (preferably with links) in your limerick will score you more points.
  • Putting the mentioned bloggers in a comprimising or scandalous position in your limerick gets points, as long as it is done so in a humurous manner, and not meant to intentionally hurt someone.
  • Posting the limerick on your blog and linking back to this post will score points.
  • Getting the blogger(s) you mention in your limerick to link to you gets more points (you must leave a comment here with the link).
  • If you are not a blogger, but participating, you can get handicap points.
  • Mentioning anyone running in the presidential race, or anyone who is thinking about running in the presidential race of 2004 is forbidden.
  • You cannot mention me in your limerick.
  • Extra points if you can squeeze in a reference to any of the following: donuts, the Yankees, hockey, Radiohead, menstrual cramps, Hello Kitty, PETA, Jonah Goldberg, NPR, The Village Voice, Google or Fark (that was a very random list, culled from walking through my blogroll and has no meaning, so don't look for it).
  • If you don't follow the standard limerick form, you are disqualified.

Post the limericks here and on your blog if you have one. Leave a link in the comments if you are participating.

A panel of judges will be formed out of a list of people who owe me favors. Scoring will be arbitrary, random, biased and unfair. There will be no recalls, no do-overs and no complaints taken. There is no prize except for the glory that comes with winning a really stupid limerick contest and maybe rhyming pundit with bunt it. Contest open until Saturday evening, unless I change my mind, which I am prone to do, or if no one is really interested in entering, and then this post will disappear to save me the embarassment of running a contest where nobody entered.

the red sox are satan's playthings

It's official. Those evil Red Sox saved Arafat's life.

How can you Bostonians live with yourselves?

UPDATE: And another thing, while I'm a baseball roll: I hate Tim McCarver more I have ever loathed any sports figure in my entire life, including Ed Hospodar, Alan Iverson, Deion Sanders and the entire 1986 Mets team. It took only two innings (which took a freaking hour to play) for me to hit the mute button last night. Tonight, I'm going to put on some cheesy 80's new wave while I watch the game and not even bother giving that drunken, blowhard asshat a chance.

Yassar Yassar, why won't you pass...err..

Well, that was an attempt at death poetry. Seeing as that my Red Sox voodoo doll didn't quite work out last night, I guess I'll skip making one for Ol Dirty Arafat.

Meryl has a new death watch post and links to a story which says that Arafat has some kind of liver disease, brought on by Israelis poisoning him.

Yes, it's the Joooooooos!

So, Meryl's taking dates for the Death Watch and I want October 13, even though I think he's dead already and Andrew McCarthy is acting the part of understudy. Weekend at Yassie's! And if that isn't enough to make you shake your head in disbelief, Damian Penny writes today about Arafat's loose bowels.

Sorry if you were eating watery refried beans when you read that.

psa to red sox fans

Cowboy Up will go down in history, along with rally monkeys and the Tomahawk Chop, as a Stupid Moment in Baseball Playoff History: Fan Hysteria Section.

Attention Mr. Smarter Cop: Stop baiting me. You'll be sorry. My voodoo dolls don't always fail, you know.

those wacky catholics!

The Catholic Church is telling people in countries stricken by Aids not to use condoms because they have tiny holes in them through which the HIV virus can pass - potentially exposing thousands of people to risk.

The church is making the claims across four continents despite a widespread scientific consensus that condoms are impermeable to the HIV virus.

In other news, the Pope is the frontrunner to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Because protesting the war negates all that nasty stuff about protecting child molesters and hating gays.

latuff strikes again

Latuff says: In the tradition of the Soviet agit-prop posters, I made this copyright-free artwork which you may use for graphic and other applications. Illustration supports brave Iraqi resistance and their struggle against U.S. occupation.

Yes, how brave those fighters are, planting bombs and taking lives while the people they are killing are trying to bring about freedom and peace. How noble, how brave one must be to pay homage to his former dictator/tyrant/leader by murdering those that deposed him. Call them resistance fighters, because it sounds so much braver than murderer or terrorist.

Come on, Iraqi people, cheer on these brave fighters at they systematically shoot down your hope and dreams of freedom. Applaud them as they try to bring Iraq back to the way it was under Saddam. Whistle and hoot and holler as they kill soldiers who are trying to protect you.

And to all you Americans who encourage Latuff and his art, who praise and admire him, raise your hands. Raise your hands now and show us who you are, so we can recognize those who chant for the death of our soldiers, who crave homicide bombings in Baghdad, who want to see failure on every level so you can point to your protest placards and say you were right.

How many of you admire Latuff and all of his work? How many of you think like him, act like him, yet are different from him because you are Americans and he is not. Does that make a difference? In some ways, yes. By taking this poster to heart, by standing shoulder to shoulder with this Brazilian bastard, you wish death upon your neighbors, the sons and daughters of your neighbors, maybe even your relatives. While you stand in the street and shout obscenities at police and smash windows and plead for the troops to leave Iraq, just leave them in a lurch, men and women from your neighborhood are over there, fighting and saving and rebuilding.

Have any of you asked the Iraqi people what they want? And I don't mean the resistance fighters you worship. I mean the regular people; the mother, the teacher, the child, the father? Have you asked those who no longer live in fear what they want? Do you feel at all that there is something wrong when you are in the streets laughing at our soldiers being killed while the Iraqi people - those without bombs strapped to their bodies - embrace those same soldiers?

But of course, you are the same people who praise Palestinian "freedom fighters" and cheer those who protect the homes of terrorists. What can one really expect from someone like that?

Bravery is something you will never know. Not you, Latuff. Not any of you who follow him, not any of you who cheer the American body count in Iraq. You are cowards, you are despicable.

[You say you want to help the Iraqi people, that you feel for them, that even though you are anti-war you still want the best for the citizens of Iraq? Then put your money where your mouth is: Operation Give]

talkin' baseball

So, umm....

Hey, the Islanders open their season tonight!

October 08, 2003

game time

I hereby beseech the overseers of Bambino's Curse to do that voodoo that they do so well.


a musical interlude

From Damn Yankees

yankees.jpgYou've gotta have heart
All you really need is heart
When the odds are sayin' you'll never win
That's when the grin should start
You've gotta have hope
Mustn't sit around and mope
Nothin's half as bad as it may appear
Wait'll next year and hope
When your luck is battin' zero
Get your chin up off the floor
Mister you can be a hero
You can open any door, there's nothin' to it but to do it
You've gotta have heart
Miles 'n miles n' miles of heart
Oh, it's fine to be a genius of course
But keep that old horse
Before the cart
First you've gotta have heart

Jason has offered up some sacrifices to the gods that watch over Bambino's Curse.

fairy tales can come true, they can happen to you...

Meryl reports that Charles reports that someone else reports that Arafat may be dead.

I had a thought late last night, after I ran out of sheep to count. Arafat is dead. He's been dead. The Pallies are just playing a whole Weekend At Bernie's prank on us. They prop up Arafat's preserved body, stick him at a table next to his beloved box of baby wipes (which are scented, to keep the stench of death at bay) and Andrew McCarthy hides underneath those robes and waves the limbs of the corpse around.

Well, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's true. Dancing on the grave of the near-dead if not already dead? You bet.

talkin' trash in flash

Jeter Swallow

Lame, crude, juvenile and kinda funny. See, Yankee fans do have a sense of humor.

via Cam.

Now Scott is calling me out. He's baiting me.

About two hours until game time. I can still find my smack-talking hat if I want.

the october issue of navel gazing monthly. free issue!

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things....

Iíve been thinking; what is the end purpose of this blog? Is there one? I thought it might be a springboard to a writing career, but as the blog world multiplies, so does the amount of good writers on the web. Plenty of bloggers have deservedly gone on to bigger and better; theyíve been picked up by big media or publishing companies and Iím happy for them. This doesnít happen overnight, though. And you need to be connected to the big guns somehow; they notice you, they link you, they pass your writing along and before you know it youíre being hired by the Wall Street Journal.

See, I know what keeps me from ever becoming big. I donít have a niche. I donít write about just politics or just war or just nanotechnology or music or science. I pepper my political rhetoric with obscenities. Iím callous. Iím rude. And in between my rants on the Middle East and homeland security and Ted Rall, I write about things that people who are big, people who are snapped up by bigger jaws than other bloggers don't write about. Kids. Shopping. Comic books. I post silly contests and song lyrics. I make idiotic statements about Red Sox fans and wax nostalgic about hockey fights.

I have blogging ADD. I donít know how to write on one thing, how to concentrate on a specific topic. I donít even know how to keep my tone even. One moment Iím indignant and righteous and then I post something an hour later and Iím being a self-deprecating asshole. I write two sentence posts and five page essays. I canít keep still. I hunt down the demons of Indymedia and sift through the dry rot of Mark Morfordís writing so I can say a few funny things about them while still trying to make a point.

And what is that point? See, there is none. There is no point whatsoever to what I do here. There are words, and those words form sentences and people read those sentences and sometimes comment on them and then a day later, the words are scrolled off the page and they are never commented on or seen again except by people who want me to grow a bigger penis or want to convince me that Courtney killed Kurt.

Iím torn between wanting to write about whatever strikes me and wanting to write what will get me noticed. In the end, I always choose my muse and it may be the wrong choice if I want to end up on the path lined with gold and honey. But itís the only way I can write. I canít narrow myself down to one field, to one subject or even one specific tone. I write on the fly. I donít prepare any of my posts ahead of time. I sit down at about six in the morning with my cup of coffee; itís the only time the house is quiet enough to think. I take a quick look at the news and then I write. I donít edit, I donít think it out, I just write. Sometimes I write a ten paragraph post in about three minutes. Of course, thatís probably why I will never be asked to write an opinion column anywhere; the writing here is not clean, itís not professional. Itís raw and unfocused and filled with typos.

And I go back now to the my original question. What is the purpose of this blog? And when I have no answer I ask myself, does there have to be a purpose? Does there have to be some kind of end result in order to make myself feel satisfied with what I do here? Or am I justifying the time I spend putting my words here, telling stories, making people laugh or pissing people off or boring someone to death with my incessant navel gazing? What is the redeeming feature of keeping this blog? What is about the past two and half years of maintaining this site that keeps me bringing up the New Entry page every day, several times a day?Is it worth it to spend so many hours writing and researching and expending my emotions to total strangers and a few good friends and acquaintances?

Yea, it is. I canít give you a good explanation why it is worth it, it just is. So I can stop forcing myself to write about the in thing, to get on the same soapbox as the big guys in the hopes that I can be one of the big guys, and just write for the simple fact that I enjoy it.

And thereís my reason, my explanation and justification all rolled in one. Simply put, I enjoy it.

you could have chosen a guy named thunder

The vote results from the California recall election are frightening.

Larry Flynt 15,053
Gary Coleman 12,488

Will someone in California please round up the 27,451 people who cast these votes so I can bitchslap them?

And only 1,056 people voted for Trek Thunder Kelly. Where are your priorities at? Who wouldn't love a governor named Trek Thunder?


Running very, very late today. The blog entry I had planned to write containing all the secrets to the mysteries of all life, answering all your unanswered questions and explaining exactly how many licks it does take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop will have to wait. You should see this post; it's got Arnold and Arafat and saving the chldren of the world, plus the sexual revolotion all wrapped around war, peace, PETA, gun control, Brtiney's boobs, the decline and fall of rock and roll, Street Fighter, my takeover of Marvel comics and more. Wow. Took me twelve hours to write and research it. It may win me a Pulitzer. Or a Nobel.

But, like I said, you'll have to wait until later.

Meanwhile, I will just repeat my mantra from last night.


October 07, 2003

ready, aim, fire

Drudge is calling Arnold the winner. The folks at DU are all ready to file lawsuits.

Citizen Smash fired someone today.

CalBlog has all the California Craziness you are so craving.

Me, I'm just worried about tomorrow night.


I think I lost my blogging mojo.

Has anyone seen it?


The first shipments of toys have arrived in Iraq and Chief Wiggles has the pictures. Go see the slideshow.

Operation Give.

gag order


my slippery soapbox

Why am I the last to know everything? I found this out by going to the website of the local news channel:

East Meadow parents on edge after officials warn of child predator

There's concern as East Meadow parents send their children to school Monday, after parents found out that a child predator may be in the area.

Officials have warned parents that a Spanish speaking man tried to lure a fifth grade girl into his car a week ago. Police say the girl ran away from the car that has been described as gray with black striping.

Parents in the district say they are upset after finding out school officials knew about this man four days before they were notified.

Police say they have increased patrols in the area.

A child predator may be in the area. And he may not be. So I'm not going to get all spastic about this and start locking my children in the house and giving them pepper spray to carry around.

I didn't get a notice home about this. Usually, we get a nice little letter when something like this happens, saying that the school and the police have the situation under control but, in the words of the Overlord of Homeland Security, stay vigilant.

It's my job as a parent to be vigilant. I don't need a strange man in a car or a copy of a mass mailing to tell me to keep my kids safe and teach them how to look out for themselves.

So, if the parents found out about this today, today being Tuesday, that means school officials knew about it on Friday. Obviously, it happened too late to send a note home Friday. Saturday and Sunday, well, I'm sure the school secretary isn't going to come in on her day off to type up a notice that yes, a nasty man was out and about in his car yesterday and he's probably gone by now but, you know, just keep an eye out for Spanish speaking men in black cars. Monday was a school holiday. Meaning, the only day that parent could have been notified was today.

I hate when parents get all indignant and crazed about the wrong things. There's a million things to complain to this school district about, but something that was completely out of their control is not one of them.

Some people just like to play the part of the pissed-off person.

And not for nothing, and maybe I'm engaging in a bit of blame-the-victim's-parents, but perhaps some of these parents should be more concerned that their daughters look and dress like they are twenty year old whores instead of fifth grade girls. Maybe older guys wouldn't be leering at the girls all the time if the girls actually looked their age.

That's my soapbox and I'm stepping down off of it before I get hurt.

Second tin foil hat award of the day

Now I don't know who to give the coveted tin foil hat award to, the DU conspiracy theorists or this guy .

Apparently, the Bush Cabal of Evil Overlords and Evil Overlord Wannabees that plotted and planned 9/11 many, many years ago was led by Rupert Murdoch and, included in this sinister plan were Melanie Griffith, David Duchovny and the movie Working Girl.

David Duchovny's first screen role was in "Working Girl," a movie that featured the World Trade Center heavily. Duchovny's role was to hide in a closet and shout "happy birthday" at the main character. In the movie "Working Girl," the words "happy" and "birthday" are said a total of 13 and 10 times each. The TV shows "The X-Files" and "The Lone Gunmen" were produced by a company called Ten Thirteen.

And it only gets better. But is it better than thinking Marvin Bush killed his babysitter?

all in one place

I've finally gathered all the Mepham posts - 19 so far - in one place and numbered. Blogrolling makes life so much easier.

california bloggin'

On such an autumn day....[couldn't resist].

CalBlog will be handling all of your recall election needs today. If anyone else is blogging the election from CA, drop a link in the comments.

tin foil award for today goes to

The folks on this thread at Democratic Underground.

Marvin Bush's babysitter dies in a freak accident when she gets crushed by her own car. These things happen, you read about them over at Fark or Obscure Store all the time.

But, because this involves someone in the Bush family, it must be a [insert eerie organ music here]....conspiracy!

See, Marvin has dealings with a WTC security firm. And the babysitter, well she probably overheard someone say that 9/11 was actually a planned demolition, set in motion by the Bush Cabal of Evil Overlords and Evil Overlord Wannabees.

The speculation and theories on that thread will make your head spin. Wear protective clothing before reading.

let the games begin

rivals.gifThis is supposed to be what October is all about. The intense rivalry. The anticipation of the games. This is when you sit in front of your television on a chilly night, biting your nails and letting your kid stay up way too late on a school night. You keep your own scorecard. Your curse at the tv, you curse at the managers, you pump your fist in the air when things go right.

It's not even the World Series. It's just the ALCS. But it's everything, because the biggest rivalries lie within the league, within the divisions. You spend all season gloating and ribbing and betting and teasing and now, now it means more than just a game, just another W or L in the boxscore.

You engage in what amounts to a staring down contest with the fans of the other team. You are rival gangs ready for a rumble. Crips and Bloods. Davis and Schwarzenegger. DC and Marvel.

This is baseball. This is October. So why do I feel so nauseous?

The series will begin so close to the anniversary of that famous one-game playoff between the Yanks and the Sox. Who will be the Bucky Dent of this series and who will be the Mike Torrez?

October 06, 2003

how blogging makes the world smaller

Go read this. Now. An amazing, bittersweet story.

Mepham update and a question

The victims parents made the following statement today after the DA announced that he would seek to try the accused students as adults"

This is a statement from the victims and their families, released by their three attorneys.

"The following statement is a response from the victims of the Mepham High School hazing incident to the Wayne County DA's decision to treat all juveniles charged in the assaults as adults:

We have been informed today, after a telephone conference early this morning with the Wayne County DA, that he intends to prosecute as adults all three youths charged in this terrible assault. We would like to express our full support for the decision made and express our complete confidence in the judgement of Mr. Zimmer's office in making this decision.

We are pleased that these investigations are going forward and look toward the day when we can begin to try to put this horrible event behind us.

We are deeply saddened and disappointed that these events were allowed to take place at all. We also feel that the time is right for Bellmore-Merrick Central High School Disrict to shoulder their responsibility in this matter. The principal and coaches who had an opportunity to prevent this attack should acknowledge their responsibility."

Now, the question, which some people have already been debating in the preceding post. Do you think they should be tried as adults? Feel free to expand on your answer.

in sickness and health

I'm sick.

Not sick in any definable way;it's not a cold or a flu or anything like that. I'm exhausted all the time, so much so that doing something like food shopping makes me crash on the couch for at least an hour afterwards. My bones hurt; a simple task like sweeping the floor has me reaching for the Motrin.

Have I been to the doctor? No, of course not. If my kids run even the slightest fever we are at the doctor's in no time at all. But with me, I tend to try to let things run their course before I make the call. And I'm still not ready yet. Sometimes you just don't want to know what's wrong with you, you know?

Posting may be light or non existant for the remainder of the day. Please head over to Operation Give if you've got a minute. Thanks.

Mepham update: big development

previous entries on this story can be found here

All three Mepham High School football players charged with sexually assaulting younger teammates in a hazing incident should be tried as adults, a Pennsylvania prosecutor said today.

In a news conference at the Wayne County Courthouse in Honesdale, Pa., District Attorney Mark Zimmer said he will ask a judge to move all three cases to adult court because "the crimes themelves are so horrific."

This is good news. It was revealed two days ago that the boys brought the broomsticks from home, meaning the "hazing" was premeditated, and not just some silly school pranks gone awry, as some have claimed.

In Pennsylvania, anyone under 18 is considered a juvenile. A prosecutor can directly charge a juvenile as an adult when the suspect is accused of certain felonies committed with a deadly weapon, or if they have been convicted of a serious crime before.

You can see the news conference here.

I'll add my thoughts in a bit.

This is halloween: wanna read something really scary?

[Part 3. Now I'm three days behind]

itclown.gifIn the past few years of doing this (this is my third blogging Halloween), I covered scary songs and scary movies. This year, let's make a list of scary stories. I don't mean Stephen King novels. I mean the home made, based-on-a-true-story, urban legend tales. The one legged man climbing up the stairs. The razor blade in the apple. The disappearing hitchhiker. You know them all. Share them, and the I'll add them all to the Bucket O' Blood page I'm making for Halloween.

You can write or copy and paste an entire story in the comments if you want, or link to an online version or put it up at your blog and link to it. But don't be a wimp. I don't want any stories with fake endings that turn out to be not so scary at all. I want you to cause everyone who reads your story to sleep with the lights on.

Scary urban legends
Scary Flash stories
Ghost and horror stories
Halloween ghost stories
Scary tales of the American South

give until you make someone smile

Operation Give

Look at it, read it, link it, spread the word. It's about doing something good.

Dean and everyone else who worked on getting this site going; Matt, Plunge and Romney: Thank you. I hope I was able to put your vision into website form.

The site is as ready as it will be for today. We will be adding things as the days -even hours - go on, so keep checking back. Then go visit Chief Wiggles and thank him for having the biggest heart in the world - this project is his baby.

Operation Give.

Dear U.N.

To: The members of the United Nations Security Council

Dear Sirs:

I am seeking a condemnation of Syria for harboring, aiding and abetting Palestinian terrorists and mass murderers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I will not, however, hold my breath.

And thank you, John Negroponte.


It was in the 30's when I got up this morning. There was a thick layer of frost on my car, thick enough that I could make a faux snowball with it. This is October 6th on Long Island. It shouldn't be this cold.

And now, the leaves are going straight from summer green to shitty brown. If this weather keeps up, the beauty of fall foilage will escape me.

Global warming, my ass.


If anyone out there is an online subscriber to the Wall Street Journal and would like to email me a copy of Dinesh D'Souza's piece on atheists today, I would appreciate it.

UPDATE: Got it. Thanks to everyone who sent a copy!

Andy responded to the article, so I don't have to.

October 05, 2003

Mepham update

Sort of.

I let the story go for the weekend, as there were no new developments.

Tomorrow, the DA will announce whether or not he will ask for the accused teens to be tried as adults.

Steve Jacobson writes about the community of Bellmore sharing the shame of this incident.

The New York Times compares the Mepham hazing to the well-documented Glen Ridge case.

And one of the accused boys will have his court date for tomorrow adjourned, as his father died today.

I'll get back on my Mepham soapbox tomorrow. Previous posts on the subject are listed here.

Back to work for me.

Oh, yay Cubbies!

a double scoop of Oh yea

One scoop of NFL please.

And one scoop of MLB. ACLS ALCS, here we come.

damn my typos and damn the people who spot them

the day the music died

Radiohead named World's Greatest Band.

Readers of Q had selected Radiohead over Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Blur.

That selection proves that rock is dead and the readers of Q should be arrested for murder.

what's wrong with this picture?

Hamas vows retaliation against Israel

The armed wing of Hamas voiced indignation over the Israeli raid and said it amounted to attacking all Palestinians.

"Any assault on any Arab and Muslim country is an assault on the Palestinian people, part of the Arab and Muslim nation," the statement said.

"After the Haifa martyrdom attack, the criminal enemy has attempted to export its internal crisis caused by the Palestinian resistance so they launched an air attack on Syria targeting places for Palestinian refugees."

The title of this post is not rhetorical.

apparently bush is just the man behind the curtain

Holy Moonbats, Batman.

Apparently, Israel has struck Syria not because there are Palestinian terror camps there, but because.....oh, do I really have to say it? You should know the drill by now.

Well, it's all a ploy, you see. A big conspiracy involving Bush Sr., Russia, WWIII, armageddon, a plan to suspend the 2004 elections and I think something to do with who shot Kennedy.

It just couldn't be about self-preservation, could it? And where are all the people condemning the fact that Syria is hosting Palestinian terror camps? No, these jackasses would rather sit around and playing Clue and looking for the hidden meaning behind every single move Israel makes, always looking for a way to finish off their thoughts by calling Bush the anti-christ.

Bush is not blameless for the shredded road map, but come on people. Call what you see, not what you think in that deranged, tin-foil clad mind of yours. Someone over at DU or Indymedia or any of those wingnut sites please prove me wrong and condemn Arafat, condemn terrorist attacks, condemn the Palestinian terrorist organizations and stop twisting everything around so that somehow, some way, it's all about Bush making distractions during his attempt to take over the world.

On a related note, Laurence is one pissed off Jew today and I don't think he's going to spend Yom Kippur atoning.

Operation Give

I'm sure you are wondering (humor me, ok?) why there's been such a dearth of posts the past few days.

You can blame it all on Chief Wiggles and an offhanded remark he made about giving a stuffed animal to an Iraqi girl. Somehow, that little story he told has blossomed into Operation Give.

It has been like Christmas here in October for all of us on my team who have been opening your packages as we attempt to sort the items to insure the right kids get your gifts. It is so much fun going through the boxes, evening playing with the toy dinosaurs as I had flash backs from my own childhood. I am so thrilled with the items you have sent for these kids.

I took out the first toys and school supplies to a family we visited with tonight, treasuring each smile and sparkle in the childrenís eyes as I handed them the specially selected items. You are making so many great things possible here in this land of trouble. This is just so magical.

I don't even remember how I got involved with this project, I'm just glad I did. For the past few days, I have been doing nothing but creating a website for Operation Give and you, my dear and loyal and generous readers, get a sneak preview of a site that's almost there, but not quite ready for prime time.

You can link it if you want; all of the basic information is there. We will be tweaking and adding content and news as the days go on.

[I'm engaging in a bit of that sin called pride right now. This is the first website I ever made from scratch, without using a ready-made template.]

So, go see what Operation Give is all about. Find out how you can help, or just spread the word. And remember, this is just a sneak preview of the site; we have not officially launched yet and some of the links go nowhere.

Operation Give

sunday edition of "presented without commentary"

[ed. note to self: so much for your weekend free from posting about news, eh? ed. answers self: well, maybe if the news would stop happening, i could stop bitching. ed: hah.]

Merde in France, my source for all the news about the French that could make your hair turn gray, reports on the latest head-scratching developments from the country that hates us:

Paris mayor Bertrand DelanoŽ has bestowed honorary French citizenship on Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted cop killer, who is on Pennsylvania death row. In an anti-American hatefest, speakers present at the ceremony bleated out support for Mumia and condemned American unilateralism, the US military presence in Iraq, and the use of the death penalty in the US.

Like I said, without commentary.

this is the war that never ends

A 20 year old woman walks into a crowded family restaurant and proceeds to blow herself up, taking the lives of nineteen innocent people.

You may wonder what makes a young woman -or a young man, for that matter - do such a thing. It's simple, really. It's their culture.

The terrorist's name was Hanadi Jarahat. She was a law student who was only a short time away from being certified as a lawyer. Hanadi apparently took great offense when Israeli police killed her brother and cousin, both of whom were members of the terrorist group Islamic Jihad.

Hanadi's surviving brother, Thahir, is hardly broken up about his sister's death:

"But we are receiving congratulations from people," Thahir said.

"Why should we cry? It's like her wedding today, the happiest day for her," he said.

What can we expect from a people who raise their children to believe that murder is honorable? Sadly, we can only expect more Hanadi Jarahats to rise from the despicable culture of death that pervades the Palestinians and the hateful mentality of those who support them; Americans like Adam Shapiro who are running to protect terrorism-enabler Arafat.

Now, Israle retaliates by going after terrorist camps.

The moonbats and anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists all huddle together, their dirty little cabal creating stories and lies and innuendos to place the blame anywhere but where it belongs and they come up with a winner:

It's a plot by the Americans. It's a pretext to war. This has been planned for ages so Israel could attack Syria or kill Arafat or do other dirty work for the nasty American government, which will do anything to distract the voting American public.

Yom Kippur begins tonight, a time of atonement for Jews. But how many Jews will be able to let go of the anger and rage that has welled up anew in the past 24 hours?

....I may have severe problems atoning sincerely enough for the sin of anger.

I doubt I will be alone in that.

The U.N. and Bush and Powell will continue to appease Arafat and his henchmen. And this will go on forever. And the anger and the rage will never die and I, for one, do not think anyone should have to atone for such a natural response to hateful, brutal murder.

October 04, 2003

if the voting age was ten..

Every Monday in school, DJ's teacher makes them watch a tape of the Sunday news. They talk about it all week and on Friday they write a few paragraphs about what they learned.

In addition to his observances on fat ballerinas (how could someone lift them?) and Israel (make that fence out of steel), DJ wrote a rather lengthy paragraph on presidential debates, the 2004 election, the plethora of Democratic candidates and how, if the election were held tomorrow and if the voting age was ten, he would vote for Dean.

I'm reserving comment on that for a few more months.

the decline and fall of practically everybody*

pebble.jpgWilliam Steig has died.

Steig was the author of Shrek, made famous by the wonderful movie based on the story.

His lesser known books are just as magical. My favorite is Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, a wonderful tale that I read to Natalie every day when she was a baby.

Other fanastic Steig books include The Amazing Bone, Dr. Desoto, Brave Irene and Gorky Rises.

He also illustrated books for other authors and for compilations, like Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.

I just don't have the time to write one of my lengthy blogging obitutiaries. Sorry, William.

*See here

too much coffee man

The boy was born to play a coffee cup.

It was as if an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force had come to life. Perhaps Master Shake has a long lost brother named Master Coffee.

[click images for grande latte size]

I heard Natalie say "You're goin' down, Coffee Boy!"

And down he went.

In the end, the superheros always get the girls.

don't worry, have donuts

As part of my worry-free weekend that has been imposed on me by David, I am going to just direct you to Meryl. I can be certain that whatever outrage and distress I am feeling over the terrorist attack in Israel today, Meryl will cover that same ground I would have had I been allowed to write about it.

Now, I am taking Nat and several of her friends to the grand opening of the third Dunkin' Donuts store in East Meadow, all owned by a friend of mine. We are not going strictly for the donuts, however. See, Natalie's best friend happens to be the nephew of my donut-owning friend and, in a case of family obligations stretched just a bit too far, Nat's friend will be dressed up like a giant coffee cup and waving down traffic on the eight lane thoroughfare that the donut shop resides on.

Nat says they are not going to make fun of him or mock him, yet she insists on bringing the camera. Me, I'm bringing my chocolate craving.

[Insert daily rant about everything under the sun here]

the best laid plans

So much for my Worry-Free/News-Free/Anger-Free weekend.

Hamas: Security Fence Won't Stop Homicide Bombers

Explosion Wounds 20 in Israeli Restaurant [UPDATE: At least ten 18 dead and thirty injured]

It's not even 9am yet.

Ok, so I don't have to get all emotional and blustery over everything. I can just link, without commentary.

Citizen Smash: French missiles in Iraq?

Maybe it's just me, but one would think that people dying in a terrorist attack is bigger news than a magician being mauled by a lion. A quick click through the news channels proves otherwise.

October 03, 2003

gone bitchin'


back tomorrow, when i'm feeling less like attila the hun

Go read this, Stephen's poetic take on my Electioneering post. He has a much nicer way with words than I do. I don't think he mentioned Hitler and dildos in the same sentence even once.

mepham update: commentary free

No time to editorialize on this one, time to pack up my desk and head home for a three day weekend.

AP Story

Feel free to read and comment. Links to previous stories of mine here.

I'm seriously giving thought to driving over to Mepham right now to see if I can score an interview with some of the kids.

controversy free since....now!

Val's feeling the itch, as well. You know, the itch that gets under your skin and you scratch and scratch until you're left with a bloody mess and you say hey, what the hell did I scratch that thing for?

I'm taking a vacation from scratching that damn itch. No, I'm not going to stop blogging. Like that would ever happen. I just mean that for the rest of the weekend - to drag a metaphor on and on - I'm going to apply some fresh ointment and powder to the itch and...oh, forget it.

I'm just going to stay away from politics and religion and sports and possibly even the Krispy Kreme v. Dunkin' Donuts controversy and the whole Crips v. Bloods thing. No Red Sox fan baiting, no war talk, no election blogging, nothing.

Instead you will get Halloween and a few contests and maybe a long overdue episode of When Action Figures Come Alive.

I'll follow up on the Mepham case as necessary, because it's my own private mission.

But for now, this is a controversy free zone. Now go read Val, who does not use disgusting metaphors to me make a point.

And now, your moment of zen.


Everyone stop. Nobody write another word on Arnold and his touchy-feely hands. Nobody write another paragraph on Plame or Dean or muddy politics or dirty laundry. I don't want to hear anything else about who said what ten years ago or who did what last week. I don't want to read another magazine article with pictures that are so old they were chiseled in stone, showing one candidate or another wearing a beret of the wrong color or saluting in such a manner that deams him a socialist or showing too much leg or a hand in the wrong pocket.

Let's settle this right here. They are all pigs. Every last one of them. Why compare Arnold and Clinton? Why give Arianna the time of day? Why bother digging up dirt on anyone when someone is going to turn around and dig up darker and chunkier dirt in the next minute?

Everyone is a pig. Everyone is a philanderer. Everyone is a dirty, disgusting, lying, cheating, conniving, scheming, backstabbing, drunk driving, epitaph uttering, Hitler loving, porn watching, inhaling, draft dodging, body burying freak. There. You're all on the same page now.

We get it. We see the skeletons tumbling out of the closets. We have seen your dirty laundry hanging on the line. We know. Everyone has the bones and soiled underwear. Everyone. And one person's dirty boxers is another's buried hooker.

Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Moonies, Commies, whatever you are, put down your pens and pencils and microphones and secret spy cameras. Put down the microfiche copies of twenty year old New Yorkers.

And you, all of you election followers, all of you future and past voters and all of you media watchers. Why? Why do you care? What does it matter? When are you going to start asking the important questions instead of asking for bedroom secrets and compromising photographs?

Somebody please tell me what all these blathering, screaming children stand for. I know who they are against. I know who they hate and who they deride and I know exactly what their opponents have done in the past to make their current reputations suspect.

But I don't know one god damned thing you people stand for. I don't know what you want to do about education and taxes and crime and frankly, I don't care if you stuck a dildo up Hitler's ass in a past life or if your cleaning lady services you every weekend or if you were once a member of the Crips or Bloods. Just tell me about now. And don't tell about your opponent. Tell me about you. What are you going to do for me besides frustrate and bore me with bawdy tales of your enemy's back office schemes? What are you going to do about homeland security besides bitch about it? What are you going to do about the Mid East besides complain about what's not being done?

You're on my time here, folks. Unless you are going to say something about your platform, just shut up and stop playing Encyclopedia Brown with your opponent's background. Otherwise I'm going to stick my fingers in my ears and shout LALALALA I can't hear you until I find a candidate -from any party - who is willing to say something of substance.

Election Day can't come and go soon enough.

Friday Fun with Ted Rall

It's Friday, which means a new Ted Rall column.

Rall is closely following the four-trick pony route I laid out last time. I'm happy to see that Ted is being so compliant in proving my theory true.

Today's word of the day at TedRall.com is: Quagmire.

No, he doesn't actually say it, but that's ok, because by now we know exactly what Ted means.

Whether or not Teddy makes a valid issue here is not the case. That has ceased to be the topic of discussion during Bitchslap Ted Rall Day a long time ago. The issue is how often Ted recycles his thought. Sure, they look like brand new thoughts, all wrapped up in that shiny recyled packaging and anyone with a lesser IQ than you or I may think, Oh, Ted strikes again, another great column! But look closely folks, it's not another great column. It's the same quagmire essay that he's been trotting out since March.

Today he gives it a shiny new coat by presenting it in the voice of George Bush, as if Bush is being all apologetic and contrite and asking for help and forgiveness.

"On behalf of my Administration and the people of the United States, I am truly sorry. If I could go back to March of this year, I would. I wish I could bring back the 300 American servicemen and the thousands of Iraqis who died as the result of our horrible mistake. But what's done is done. No one can change history.

Well, Ted forgot the part where Bush says "And I'm sorry for getting rid of Saddam and his sons. I'm sorry that you are no longer being tortured by them. I'm sorry your daughters aren't being raped by them and your money isn't being taken and I'm really, really sorry that you are free to practice whatever form of religion you choose and that we are trying our hardest to get a democracy going here." But that's neither here nor there.

Ted does get to the part where George resigns and takes his cabinet with him and offers himself up for prosecution of war crimes.

Well, if Ted can repeat words and phrases in every single column, so can I, right?

But I bet when he's in his room alone at night, Ted Rall lies in bed and fantasizes about a media frenzy bringing the 2000 election back into the limelight Bush resigning and being tried for war crimes. And what will Rall be muttering under the covers? To quote the dear Captain Murphy, My nipples are hard just thinking about it.

[That would be Ted's nipples, not mine you perverts]

And thank Jeebus, the world is right again. Mark Morford, after three columns without mentioning Bush, finally comes back to his own brand of reality.

speaking of low class

The office of U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., said Thursday that Bond's chief spokesman, Ernie Blazar, was responsible for setting up the anti-Democrat website named N8354N, the number on the tail of the plane that crashed killing former Gov. Mel Carnahan, his son, Randy, and campaign aid Chris Sifford.

The Blogger Formerly Known As Juan Gato (TBFKAJG) has more on this.

like a bad penny

Courtney Love, this decade's.....Courtney Love.

this is halloween: 2

jacktoy.jpg[Day 3 of 31 Days of Halloween: I forgot to post yesterday's so I'll post two today]

Lynn of Tastes Like Burning was the first one to take the plunge into the Halloween Lists of Five. Her list:

Five things that have no right to be given as treats:

(Based on my actual childhood traumas)
1. Oranges.
2. Peanuts in the shell.
3. Last year's Christmas candy.
4. McDonald's gift certificates.
5. Melted chocolate bars.

I'm sure you all have something to add to Lynn's list. Me, I only have one thing to add. A Jack Chick religious tract.

Nothing says "Happy Halloween" like a cute little comic book with pictures of cute little kids in cute little Halloween costumes, and one of those kids gets hit by a car and dies, all because he liked to go to haunted houses and get free candy.

There are many other ways to be come the scourge of the neighborhood on Halloween. None of them are as bad as handing out Chick tracts, but at least the kids could get a laugh out of those.

There is nothing funny about hard-boiled eggs in your Halloween bag. Nor boogers:

The worst thing I've ever gotten was a tissue with boogers in it. I was so disgusted. I washed my hand for twenty minutes.Ē

Of course, there's always the razors in the apples. That's gotta hurt.

Mepham update

[previous stories on this topic: [previous stories on this topic: here, here, here, ,here here, here, here here here here here, here, here and here]

We drove past Mepham High School last night on our way home from dropping off the friends we went to dinner with. It's the same route I always take from their house; I've driven past this school thousands of times.

Last night there were tv vans camped outside the school. It was late, too late for anything to be going on inside the building. Long poles and wires snaked out from the vans. Bright lights came from within. I suppose they were just waiting. Waiting for some kids to walk past the school, waiting for morning to come and fresh interviews to be had.

I've discovered that a lot of people are coming here to find updates; this surprises me, I thought you all would be bored with this by now. And then I am double surprised when I do a Google News search for "Mepham" to catch up on the latest and I see it's not just all over the country, but in the UK as well. It makes me feel almost as if I have to defend the local communities, defend Long Island. Just keep in mind that this has happened in one town, in one high school. Other local school districts are standing back and watching carefully; some have sent home letters stating that their administration has already taken the necessary precautions and no, don't worry, your child is safe with us.

I think I've interjected enough of my opinion into my posts on this subject so you know exactly how I feel on every aspect of this case. For now, I just present the new developments, without extraneous commentary:

The criminal charges filed against the three football players:

* Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse- Felony 1st Degree
* Aggravated Assault- Felony 1st Degree
* Kidnapping- Felony First Degree
* Unlawful Restraint- Felony 2nd Degree
* False Imprisonment- Felony 2nd Degree
* Terroristic Threats- Misdemeanor 1st Degree
* Criminal Coercion- Misdemeanor 2nd Degree
* Simple Assault- Misdemeanor 2nd Degree
* Reckless Endangering of Another Person- Misdemeanor 2nd Degree
* Ethnic Intimmidation- Misdemeanor 3rd Degree
* And multiple counts of Criminal Conspiracy to commit many of the above crimes

If the ethnic intimidation charge has been filed already, then the revelation last night that there were racial overtones to a portion of the assualt is sadly true.

the friday edition of "presented without commentary"



October 02, 2003

Mepham update

Today's developments:

An attorney for the victims says a fourth victim has come foward. This boy, a black freshman, allegedly had his civil right violated.

The attorney was quoted as saying that the violations against this boy were "horrific," like something out of the 20's or 30's in the south.

Stay tuned.

portrait time

I thought it was time for a picture update of the kids.

Taken at Applebee's earlier tonight where we spotted a man walking around with a huge "Mepham Pride" button on.

[click for larger images]

I don't think DJ was aware that he had pizza sauce on his face when he asked the waitress for her phone number (Call me, babe. We'll do lunch).

And yes, those are safety pins on Natalie's home-made bracelet. And her nails are painted black. We've moved on from American Idol, folks. New year, new phase.

fred durst must be stopped

I just heard the most revolting, disgusting, wretched thing ever. I think my ears are bleeding.

Limp Bizkit's has remade The Who's Behind Blue Eyes.

Fred Durst, that whining, self-pitying, no-talent excuse for a man has ruined a beautiful, emotional song. It's complete with his trademark moaning and groaning plus a retarded Speak and Spell inspired bridge in the middle.

Now, a million disaffected teenagers will be singing Behind Blue Eyes as if it were the most meaningful song ever because - wow, man. Fred really speaks to me, he knows how I feel, I just want to cry when that song comes on the radio and they won't know. They'll think it's a Limp Bizkit song. They probably never even heard of The Who.

And now he's sucking face with Halle Berry. How does such a sad specimen of man end up with Storm?

Rock is dead.

toys for iraq update

The first boxes of toys have arrived in Iraq. Chief Wiggles has more on that.

Stay tuned for some exciting moments in the Toys for Iraq news. Its own domain, a new website (coming very, very soon), a big sponsor and more. Soon.

it's my blog and i'll write what i want to

Not for nothing, but am not obligated to cover what you want me to. So you can stop emailing and asking where my posts are about Karl Rove and the CIA and the rest of the Limbaugh story and whatever else you think I owe you a story on.

Fact is, I'm not in the mood today. I don't want to discuss Rush's pill problem or North Korea or quagmires or anything that might be on the front page of CNN. And until you pay me every day what you pay to buy a newspaper or magazine, then save your letters to the editor regarding the news coverage for those media outlets.

I direct you now to last night's Halloween post. There's your chance to participate in the blog making progress. It only happens when I let you do it, so take advantage. And stop pestering me about the California race. I don't care. At least not today, I don't.

[And I swear I had no idea until three seconds ago that Pejman wrote about this very thing and titled his post the same exact thing. Though I do like Pejman's idea about charging certain fees for certain stories]

UPDATE: Speaking of being in a pissy mood, I will kindly thank anyone who wants to call in any further bomb scares to my office building to do so at a later time in the afternoon so it would make sense to just get in my car and go home instead of having to hang around the parking lot for half an hour. Ten a.m. is just an inconvenient time for a bomb scare, ok?

weasel awards

Vote for the freshest weasels of 2003.

In the best weasel tradition, this poll is exuberantly, unapologetically unscientific. Last year a conservative group rallied its troops to bias the poll to serve its own agenda. We applaud that behavior and find it to be in the true spirit of weaseldom.

You heard the man, go vote. And remember: being a weasel isn't the same as being evil.

Mepham update

If you read or see anything about the Mepham case, you'll invariably catch someone making a statement that the whole school "feels" for the victims and supports them.

I just got off the phone with an unnamed, reliable source from within the school, who says that at least one of the victims has returned to classes. And every day, he is taunted with the name "Broomstick Boy."

How's that for support and compassion?

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania DA, true to his word, has filed juvenile charges against the three attackers:

The Wayne County District Attorney filed juvenile deliquency petitions this morning against three Mepham High School varsity football players accused of sexually abusing three younger teammates at a training camp near Scranton, Pa., in August.

Yesterday Pennsylvania State police released a statement saying they had petitioned Wayne County District Attorney Mark Zimmer to charge the three players at the Bellmore school, ages 15, 16, and 17 at the time of the alleged attacks, with crimes that include at least three first-degree felonies.

The charges are being filed in juvenile court, but it has been said that the prosecutors might move to have the players tried as adults.

[Most recent post and other links to this story here]

it must be october


that's for all those who gloated over the yanks' loss to the twins

rush limbaugh is a...nevermind

To everyone who left a comment or sent barely coherent mail yelling at me for posting that Drudge link about Limbaugh last night: react much?

I didn't even make a commentary. I just posted a link and put a question mark at the end of my statement.

For the record, I hate Rush Limbaugh. I think he is a blowhard. Doesn't mean I wish scandal upon the guy. But seriously, folks, the way you came out and defended him (talking mostly about emailers here) gave me a good laugh this morning. I didn't even make an accusation and you went off ranting and screaming at me. Imagine if I really said what I feel.

As for his leaving ESPN, does anyone really care? Are there still people who leave the sound on while watching sports on tv?

Oh, the Daily News picked that drug story. Rush will hold a press conference later today.

Mepham Hazing: entering that slippery slope of morality

[See extended entry for links to all the previous coverage of this story. This is another long one, but worth reading (I think) for the latest developments. Basically, that Bellmore is one town that is serious lacking in the moral development department.]

I thought that after a while the media coverage would die down. I thought that things would return as close to normal as possible and the Mepham hazing would become another page 12 story, past headlines forgotten.

I was wrong, and I'm glad I was wrong. I'm happy to see that - especially after last night's stomach-turning performance at the school board meeting - the national media is still covering this story.

Let's deal with this story in two parts today.

The Charges

First, let's deal with the good news:

Pennsylvania State Police Wednesday night recommended filing nine juvenile charges each against three Mepham High School varsity football players accused of sexually abusing three younger teammates at a training camp near Scranton, Pa., in August.

The nine charges are:
* Aggravated Assault
* Simple Assault
* Reckless Endangering of Another Person
* Unlawful Restraint
* Kidnapping
* Criminal Coercion
* Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse
* Aggravated Indecent Assault
* Criminal Conspiracy to all the above crimes

If you've been keeping up with this story, you know already what went on that night. Or do you?

"These acts involved the use of threats, beatings and then sexual assaults, which included the use of foreign objects with mineral ice on them," state police said.

The mineral ice was not mentioned before this. It may seem trivial at this point, but it's not. It brings the abuse up a level. Let's call it torture.

One of the accused players is a 17-year-old senior, the other two are juniors, both who are now 16.

Players and other sources say the senior is considered a leader on the team who hoped to use his football skills as an offensive/defensive tackle to earn a college scholarship. He is a Boy Scout and his family is active in the Theodore Roosevelt Boy Scout Council.

The more this story goes on, the more we know about the accused players. We know that they are good boys, good leaders, they love their parents and their community and they spend their weekends reading to orphans. The longer this saga drags on, the more we will hear how these boys are really just the pillar of the community. Surely, this "hazing" was just a little game gone wrong.

And what did the superintendent of schools have to say about the forthcoming charges?

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Caramore said he was pleased that charges appear imminent. "I'm glad," he said Wednesday night near the end of a three-hour raucous board meeting. "I'm pleased that it seems the process is moving towards a conclusion."

Translated: Let's get this damn thing over and done with before any more damage is done to the school's repuation.

The Board Meeting

I was trying to cover this story as a reporter would. If I did my homework I would have known there was a school board meeting last night in Bellmore and I would have taken my camera and my notebook and went over there.

I'm glad I didn't. And this is why I would never make a good member of the mainstream media: I get too emtional. Had I been present last night, I probably would have started a brawl.

A few days ago I made a comment, in reference to this OpEd in the Cornell University newspaper, that the Bellmore community as a whole should not be taken to task over this incident.

However, what I saw on the news last night, what I heard from some in attendance, and what I've been reading today has changed my mind. Bellmore is a community that has lost all sense of priorities.

In a 700-seat auditorium with media flanking the aisles, the board heard angry demands from some parents that Principal John Didden and the five football coaches be fired, and heard impassioned speeches from former players and students supporting them.

A misleading statement. The crowd was overwhelmingly in support of the coaches. Only one person - that's right, just one person - spoke up for any of the victims:

While most of the speakers supported the school's administration, one the more emotional moments of the night came when a family friend read a statement from one of the victims and his mother.

"My son is just as upset with the coaches as with the perpetrators," Jim Rullo of North Merrick said, quoting the boy's mother."I kept thinking they were coming to help me," Rullo said, speaking for the victim, "but they never came.

If someone only had the power to put a gag order on the town of Bellmore, perhaps they could salvage what is left of the community's reputation. As long as people keep talking, the reputation gets worse:

...[S]everal former players rallied around the man they call "Coach Mac" last night, saying he has changed students' lives.

"Your son or daughter will be a better person for having been taught or coached by Coach McElroy," said Brian Mulligan, 27, a 1994 Mepham graduate.

Well, Brian, your statement has retroactively been proved worthless. You have three boys, the victims, who are not better people for having been taught by Coach Mac. You have three boys -the accused - who are not better people for it. You have fifteen players - the witnesses who said or did nothing - who are not better people because of Coach Mac.

Two senior girls stood outside the auditorium handing out green ribbons to all those who entered. The ribbons are part of a school effort to show support for the victims.

Now, that's sweet. Someone cares, right?

[School principal]Didden "is the one person who really takes time to get to know all of the students," said one of the girls, who did not want to be identified.

So much for supporting the victims.

To get the real feel for what went on at this meeting, we turn to Newsday's Paul Vitello. He writes of standing ovations from the overfill audience at last night's meeting. The man who cried "Ethics begins at home!" The parents who stood up and blasted the media, the Superintendent of schools who said that responsibility for the attacks should be shared - thunderous standing ovations, all of them.

And when Jim Rullo, the only one who spoke for the victims, stood up to give his little speech, stood in front of that crowd and said that the boys had lost trust in the system, and the parents of the boys feel their children were left unprotected -

The people in the crowd applauded. They applauded firmly.

They did not offer Rullo, however, one of the standing ovations that they reserved for defenders of everything at Mepham that had nothing to do with those three abused children.

After all this time, there is noone, save Jim Rullo, who is speaking out for the victims. While the kids of the school act the part of concerned fellow students and hand out little green ribbons showing their support, they are then turning their backs on the very kids they claim to be showing support for by doing this:

Meanwhile, some students are trying to save the principal's job. They are gathering signatures on a petition. So far, more than 700 people have signed.

No, the principal did not assault those students. But he is guilty as charged. He is guilty for letting this get out of hand. He is guilty of protecting his coaching staff, who should not have been afforded that protection. He is guilty of letting the silence go on. He is guilty of abandonment, by protecting his school and his staff at all costs and leaving the victims out in the cold, thus adding to their misery. He is guilty of running a school that produces students who rally around the criminals instead of the victims.

The longer this story goes on, the more my anger turns to loathing, the more my sadness turns to rage.

These people are my neighbors. I go to the same pediatrician as them, shop in the same supermarkets, eat in the same restaurants. I am ashamed of them, ashamed of their attitudes.

The parents, the students, the coaches, the administration from top to bottom; they have all forgotten the reason that criminal charges are going to be filed. There was a crime - several crimes - committed.

I dont' see any rallies on behalf of the victims. I don't see any rallies against the administration. I just see parents who are teaching their children all the wrong things, all the wrong moral standards. I see no future for a community that is being raised by such people. I see no hope for a school whose administration is so selfish, so into self-protectionism that they forget they are responsible for children. I see only mob mentality and the shocking revelation that my next-town neighbors are seriously lacking in the morality department.

[previous stories on this topic: [previous stories on this topic: Most recent, ,herehere, here, here here here here here, here, here and here]

October 01, 2003

rush limbaugh is a big fat

drug dealer abuser?

this is halloween: 1

[post one of at least 31 halloween posts in 31 days]

jacktoy.jpgThose of you who have been around here since time began (that would be February 2001) may remember the Lists of Five. There were random little lists that people would send me (before I had comments) and I would post them. Five Songs to Have Sex to; Five Things You Should Never Name Your Children, etc.

Going through old blog stuff is hell on the brain.

Anyhow, I'm bringing back the lists for a Halloween theme. Every day until October 31 I will make at least one Halloween related post. In order to help me along, and to guide me towards what interests you (because this is all about you, you know), I am going to begin a Spooky, Creepy, Crawly Lists of Five.

They can be five of anything: five favorite monsters, five scariest stories, five haunted houses, five halloween costumes that suck, five things not to be in a trick or treat bag, five movies with vampires, five cartoon Halloween episodes, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

I've given you enough ideas so that the theme is slightly vague (to get a wide variety of responses) and slightly specific (so that no one would submit, say, five vegetables that go good with beer). You're all smart, no need to explain in great detail.

So, there you have it. I will check this post every day for new lists appearing and will point back to it often to remind you that it is your duty to participate in every single dumb poll type thing I force upon you.

But who doesn't love Halloween? Who doesn't love a chance to spread stories of mutated corpses and urban legends around? Oh yes, the legends. That's to get you started if you can't think of your own topic. Five favorite urban legends.

Links helpful where applicable; don't be afraid to expound on your lists and choices.

everybody dance like there's ants in your pants!

Happy second birthday to Achewood.

Here's hoping the terrible twos are just as cranky, offbeat, deranged and funny as the previous years.


The wednesday edition of "Presented without commentary"

I think Iíll do one of these a day. This one should be fun, as it invovles my favorite psychotic, homophobic reality-deprived shrew.

Husbands need sex, and it's a wife's job to provide it - as much as he wants, whenever he wants it. So contends Laura Schlessinger better known as Dr. Laura, the ever-provocative radio-show shrink - in "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands."

In a galley of her book, coming out in January, Schlessinger describes what she calls "loving obligation" - that is, a spouse's duty to do something whether or not he or she feels like it.

If husbands are expected to "go to work and earn money" and visit relatives they don't like, she argues, why can't their wives put out on demand?

She also describes other ways a woman can make her marriage flourish: by making her husband her No. 1 priority; by not nagging, nitpicking or whining ("Be honest, girls, this is what we do") and by seeing her husband for what he is: "a gift from God," and respecting him accordingly.

Out of touch pscyho or the revival of the happy housewife? You be the judge.

hello, has anyone seen my quagmire?


[Via Samizdatat]

When you're done with that, read this.

on the menu

Today's lunch will consist of three Midols, all crushed up to a fine powder and chased down with a chocolate egg cream. That will be followed by a bacon cheeseburger deluxe, diner style, with big, fat onion rings that leak more oil than my car and tomatoes sliced to a five inch thickness and the middle of the burger just a bit pink and sizzling with drippy grease. There will be french fries the size of a linebacker's fingers and they will be drenched with brown gravy and covered in salt. The cheese on the burger will be swiss, because it melts the best and droops down the side of the bun so the burger looks exactly like it does in the ten page, five pound menu that the waitress drops on your table. I will end the lunch with a mug of hot tea, a huge bowl of hot bread pudding (with raisins, please) and three more Midols and possibly a Tums and an Excedrin Migraine. And then I will go back to work and fight to keep myself from either falling asleep or throwing up or both, but hopefully not both at the same time, lest I end up like Jimi Hendrix, yet less famous for it. But the cramps will be gone and that's all that matters.

inside the School of "militant" activism

I wonder if all "militants" go to the same school. I bet that somewhere, in the dark underground of this world, there is a dingy classroom where a course in Violent Activism 101 takes place and a room filled with members of ALF, ELF, Hamas and other "activist" organizations are busy writing a two-page essay on how to put nails into bombs.

The teacher, a man with a long gray ponytail who was arrested over 100 times in the late 60's, addresses the class. He holds a newspaper. "Which one of you," he says, "is responsible for this?" He reads to the class:

A militant animal rights group that claimed it bombed an Emeryville biotechnology firm in August is taking responsibility for Friday's explosion at Shaklee Inc.'s offices in Pleasanton -- warning that next time the bombs will be bigger and more damaging.

In an anonymous e-mail sent to fellow activists across the country early Tuesday morning, Revolutionary Cells described the explosive used at Shaklee, a company that sells health, beauty and household products, as a 10-pound ammonium nitrate bomb "strapped with nails."

A small, wiry boy who goes by the name Joey the Flash raises his hand. "Me, sir," he says. "It's part of the my final project for this class."

Joey the Flash stands up to recite the statement he left for the owners of biotech company.

"All customers and their families are considered legitimate targets. "We have given all the collaborators a chance to withdraw from their relations from (Huntingdon). We will now be doubling the size of every device we make. Today it is 10 pounds, tomorrow 20. Until your buildings are nothing more than rubble. It is time for this war to truly have two sides. No more will all of the killing be done by the oppressors, now the oppressed will strike back.

The Hamas members whistle and cheer. "We must remember that," one says, "for the next Jewish holiday." "The ALF and ELF contingent in the classroom break out into wild applause. The teacher grins. "We must all emulate this young man, his group and their efforts. I like how he took the nail idea from Hamas and incorporated it with ELF and ALF tactics." He takes a diploma from his desk and hands it to Joey the Flash.

"Congratulations, Joey. You have graduated from the School of Militant Activism. You've earned credits in painting slogans, vandalizing SUVs, freeing animals from farms and laboratories and setting fires to unoccupied buildings. And now, you've put fear into the heart of biotech firms. I wish you look as you move on to your graduate studies in Killing Innocent People For Your Cause."

The spritual leader of Hamas offers a prayer and the ELF and ALF gang break out the tofu and herbal tea and they slap each other on the back and party until class is dismissed.

he's back

That's what you get for making fun of my orange sippee cups that were up here this morning.

But still, does this background make me look fat?

so much news, so little time

I've got an A list of stories to blog about today. Ok, maybe B list. Or C. Let's just say I have a lot on my mind today.

Of course, getting to work on time takes precedent over everything.

Meanwhile, you have the Carnival of the Vanities to peruse, as well as some boobies.

Hey....Carnival of Boobies, anyone?

Don't forget Frank the Monkey's worthy project, Frontline Voices.

Ok, To Do list for today: More Mepham coverage, the Plame thing, 9/11 anger management, Halloween stuff, political correctness gone awry, and trying to figure out why Mark Morford hasn't written about Bush since three columns ago.

Does this background make me look fat?

the time of the season

October 1st. I hold out my arms in welcome.

My calendar is divided into two sections; October, and everything else. I spend eleven months out of the year wishing it was October, wishing that it would rush forward or come back, depending on the month I'm stuck in.

It's hard to explain an obsession with a month without coming off as someone who is, well, one month short of a calendar, if you know what I mean.

But here it is, October 1st and I move into another realm of living. My adrenaline kicks in. My energy level bursts forth. My desire to get things done, to start new projects and complete old ones, to write, create, and just live all fire their jets at the same time and I am a rocket ready to take off.

It's 48 degrees right now. It's still dark out at this hour of the morning; normally the stars would still be slightly visible and the moon would be giving a silvery glow to the autumn clouds moving in. Today, there is an extra dose of darkness. Rain clouds hover. The trees make noise in the wind, like the rustling of paper, and when the leaves move the birds move with them; crows and doves and gulls taking flight, spreading their wings against the threatening sky.

A few leaves fall to the ground; they are tinged with the first yellows of autumn. The dark yellows come first and its just on the edges of the leaves, as if the weather didn't have enough time to full work its magic before these early leaves became victim to the season. Soon, the reds will appear, then the browns and oranges and the trees will look like a forest fire, all those burnging colors set against the grayish morning skies of October.

The trip to the nursery comes soon enough. Pumpkins, bales of hay, mums in colors that mimic the trees, a few scarecrows and a wooden black cat complete the package. I used to have a small, plastic cauldron filled to the brim with gourds of ridiculous shapes and sizes, but the squirrels would come and have a feast, leaving my cauldron overturned as if a beggar witch had come in the evening looking for scraps. Now, I just buy a few gourds and throw them right under the oak tree. The squirrels thank me by leaving my pumpkins alone.

Everything gets set up on the lawn in a precise formation. It is my homage to the time of the season. To the crisp air, the incredible colors, the creepy fall moon, the witches and goblins that haunt the neighborhood on the last day of the month, the readiness.

And what am I ready for? For everything. For trading in my tank tops for sweatshirts, for taking the air conditioners out and putting the storm windows in. For putting the cover on the pool and the summer toys in the shed and dragging out the fake spiderwebs and well-worn scarecrows. For the anticipation of everything that comes after October; apple pies, family gatherings, hay rides, Christmas lists, the shopping and the secrecy and peeking into closets to stare at the wrapped presents. The last of the leaves finally letting go of the trees, leaving them looking like bony fingers pointing at dull grey skies, until one of those fingers pokes a hole in the clouds and the snow comes down, bringing with it winter and hot chocolate and warm fires.

It is October. My calendar does not have to tell me this. When I walk outside and the wind is an old, dangerous witch whispering secrets in my ear, cold and ticklish, it's time. I feel my first goose-bump shiver of fall. The anticipation of spending an entire month soaking up the finest artwork nature has to offer, backdropped with a barely audible, but fully present, crackle and hiss of electricty in the air; this is what being alive, being in the here and now is all about.

It is October and I am fully alive.