Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Return of Lucky Ducky

Remember back when the Wall Street Journal's editorial board called the poor "lucky duckies" because they didn't have to pay much in taxes, what with being dead broke and all? (And, while you're remembering, remember the excellent Tom the Dancing Bug cartoons as well.)

Well, it looks like the Lucky Ducky theme is back again, as seen by Jonah Goldberg's utter display of stupidity over at The Corner:


Several readers complain that it's in fact true that the hurricane will disproportionately affect poor people. I don't really dispute that in the sense most mean it. Yes, the poor will have special hardships. Obviously so. But what I objected to, and still object to, is the reflexive playing of the class card. Is it really true that some middle class retirees who heeded the advice of the government to leave town, only to watch their homes be looted after a lifetime of hardwork for a better life are suffering less than a poor person who lost his rented apartment? What's the metric for measuring this sort of suffering? What about the small businessman who worked his entire life to build something he's proud of? What about the families who lost loved ones, but had the poor taste to make more money than the poverty line?

Whatever happened to the idea that unity in the face of a calamity is an important value? We're all in it together, I guess, except for the poor who are extra-special.
Wow. It's hard to believe he crammed so much stupidity and condescension in a single post. But then again, this is the guy who manages to get his own doughy pantload into his Husky-sized Dockers every single morning.

Where to begin? Maybe we should start with his comment -- typed with a hanky clutched to his chest, no doubt -- that there should be some kind of "unity in the face of a calamity." That's a great ideal, I'll agree. But why does Goldberg define "unity" as the poor sucking it up and nobly suffering on their own, and not think that the other classes have a duty to help them out? I mean, were the country club set offering rides to the homeless on their way out of town? No? Then cram it with walnuts, ugly.

The real stupidity of Goldberg's comment is the fact that he's so wrapped up in his own world (as usual) that he doesn't understand that things really are different if you're poor. In the privileged, pampered world of Jonah Goldberg, I suppose these people only exist to fight your pipe dreams abroad and do your dirty work at home. There's no real appreciation of their needs and their circumstances, and how they might be different from the world where you get your wealth and job because of your mommy.

And make no mistake, during a natural disaster, the poor suffer disproportionately. They didn't have the cars and the credit cards to make a hasty retreat as the hurricane advanced. And now, in its wake, the poor will doubtlessly suffer tremendously because of the lack of adequate housing, food, or medical care, all things that the middle class and rich will have no problem accessing. Their suffering will be actual suffering -- not, "heavens, the carpet is damp now" suffering.

It's quite likely that many people will die. Many "extra-special" people.

Come Out, We Have the House Surrounded

My fellow Americans, it looks like Operation Yellow Elephant has marched on Washington.

Well, whaddya know?

It was all about the oil.
President Bush answered growing antiwar protests yesterday with a fresh reason for US troops to continue fighting in Iraq: protection of the country's vast oil fields, which he said would otherwise fall under the control of terrorist extremists.

Same as It Ever Was

The Onion has unveiled a new look this week, but it's still bringing the funny.

Reading is Fundamentally Disturbing

Q: In a comparison of the novels by Bill O'Reilly and Pamela Anderson, who winds up winning?

A: Nobody.

Nero fiddled

Good New Orleans info can be found at this blog or this one.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Democracy Inaction

This story is priceless:

BAGHDAD - Iraq's parliament proposed a law on Monday to sack members of the National Assembly who repeatedly failed to turn up for work -- but the decision was put on hold because too many were absent to hold a vote.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Communication Breakdown

For those of you who've been taking part in the ongoing LLatPoN office pool over which CNN personality would be the first to follow the bold example of Novakula and have an on-air breakdown, I'm pleased to announce that we have a winner.

Sadly, none of the bloggers here have won.

Studio Dave thought it was going to be Lou Dobbs who snapped first, wrapping a bandana around his head, raising a rifle and calling on all his viewers to join him at the Arizona border to stop the deluge of illegal aliens and Islamofascists rolling over and heading towards suburban Tempe. But it wasn't Lou.

Thrillhous put his money on Daryn Kagan. Given the fact that she's dating Rush Limbaugh and has, in all likelihood, not only seen him completely naked but also actually consummated the relationship, well, a mental breakdown seemed a good bet. But, no, not her.

Inanimate Carbon Rod thought it might be Larry King. Apparently, Larry does nothing else during commercial breaks but break wind, so he's already shunned the normal rules of decorum. Could you really blame him for losing it during his 109th episode on the Natalee Holloway case? And yet, it wasn't him.

As for me, I had my money on Wolf Blitzer. I thought the pressure of the Situation Room and all the responsibilities that come with such an imaginary playground might just cause him to snap. But then again, Wolf hasn't been making sense, or acting like a journalist, for years now. How would we tell?

In the end, despite these excellent candidates -- and more! -- the winner of the CNN On-Air Breakdown is actually a bit player, Weatherman Chad Myers. As seen in this clip from Crooks and Liars, Myers has a bit of a hissy fit while giving the weather, shouting at the anchor to let him finish and even throwing his papers to the ground.

It's both hilarious and sad, like the suicide of a clown.

Anyway, if you're holding a claim ticket for the tattered remains of Chad Myers, please let us know. Once we've confirmed the claim, we'll quickly send along your Grand Prize -- a tour of Mr. and Mrs. Thrillhous's unfinished basement and a year's supply of Turtle Wax.

Slain by an Elf

We must fight the notion that only nerds hang out at libraries.

P.S. I actually wish this kind of thing existed when I was younger. Then I may have had some more friends. (sniff)

P.P.S. "What do you mean more friends?"

Nobody Beats the Biz!

I'm going to shamelessly steal an idea from Norbizness, who stole the idea from generations before him, who stole it from their forefathers, who had the idea handed down to them by God Himself, along with details and photographs of Him drawing up the plans for Intelligent Design.

The idea? Mocking the music that dominated the charts the year you graduated from high school. As luck would have it, all four of us here at LLatPoN graduated in the magical year of 1990. (Well, technically, I-Rod never really graduated from a high school. But his GED was signed that year, so same thing.)

How bad was that year? Here are just the top 20 singles from 1990:
1. Hold On, Wilson Phillips
2. It Must Have Been Love, Roxette
3. Nothing Compares 2 U, Sinead O'Connor
4. Poison, Bell Biv Devoe
5. Vogue, Madonna
6. Vision Of Love, Mariah Carey
7. Another Day In Paradise, Phil Collins
8. Hold On, En Vogue
9. Cradle Of Love, Billy Idol
10. Blaze Of Glory, Jon Bon Jovi
11. Do Me!, Bell Biv Devoe
12. How Am I Supposed To Live Without You, Michael Bolton
13. Pump Up The Jam, Technotronic
14. Opposites Attract, Paula Abdul
15. Escapade, Janet Jackson
16. All I Wanna Do Is Make Love To You, Heart
17. Close To You, Maxi Priest
18. Black Velvet, Alannah Myles
19. Release Me, Wilson Phillips
20. Don't Know Much, Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville
I've got to say that half of those songs are ones I don't even recognize, and the other half are ones that, until now, I'd managed to block from my memory through a combination of psychiatric therapy, hard liquor, and some pills I found in a gas station men's room. My thorough embrace of indie rock during college is making a lot of sense now.

Looking over the full list -- and take a look for yourself, because the carnage continues -- I'd say there are probably only two songs out of the entire 100 that I could listen to today without screaming. And which classics are these? Down at #63, Digital Underground's "The Humpty Dance" and then at #94, Biz Markie's "Just a Friend." One hundred hits to choose from, and the only things that are still digestible are novelty rap songs. The rest of it is just Michael Bolton and Skid Row as far as the eye can see.

The horror, the horror...

Sunday, August 28, 2005

"Jesus wasn't poor."

So there's this guy in Atlanta named "Bishop" Eddie Long who takes a bunch of money from gullible folks.
In 1995, Bishop Eddie Long established a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity to help the needy and spread the gospel.

But it was Long, leader of the largest church congregation in Georgia, who became the charity's biggest beneficiary.
Surely it wan't much, right? This is probably a small charity.
The charity's compensation to Long over that four-year period included:
  • A $1.4 million six-bedroom, nine-bath home on 20 acres in Lithonia.
  • Use of a $350,000 luxury Bentley automobile.
  • More than $1 million in salary, including $494,000 in 2000.
I hate to say this, but I really don't feel sorry for anyone who gave their money to this guy. Here's some free advice: If someone shows up at your house looking for a donation to help the less privledged in this world, take a look at his car. If he's driving a frigging Bentley, keep the money in your pocket.

And the expose in Sunday's AJC couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Thousands of African Americans marched Saturday to denounce same-sex marriage, invoking the name of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King to the anger of many gays and lesbians.

The march was organized by Bishop Eddie Long whose New Birth Missionary Baptist Church is one of the biggest black churches in the country.

Yeah, that was the march where Mr. Long lit a torch from Martin Luther King Jr.'s monument and led a march which supported a constitutional amendment making a certain segment of the United States second-class citizens.

Friendly Fire

Now that all the pro-war forces have rushed down to Crawford to let the world know that Cindy Sheehan is nothing more than a treasonous, back-stabbing, pinko commie, baby-aborting, tax-hiking, flip-flopping pederast, people have worried that things might heat up and violence would erupt. Sadly, it has:
Across town in Crawford, other parents of soldiers who are serving or have died in Iraq countered Sheehan with their own raucous rally that started with a prayer.

The pro-Bush caravan was coordinated by Move America Forward, a group led by former California Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian and Republican strategist Sal Russo.

Organizer Howard Kaloogian accused Sheehan of "giving hope and encouragement to our enemies."

The crowd, which organizers said topped 3,000 but appeared closer to 1,500, chanted "Cindy, Go Home" and compared her to Jane Fonda, whose visit to a North Vietnamese gun site in 1972 earned her the nickname "Hanoi Jane."

"Cindy-Hanoi Jane," read one of the signs at the rally.

In one heated moment, members of the pro-Bush crowd turned on what they mistakenly thought were a group of anti-war protesters, cursing them, threatening them and tearing down their signs. A police officer rushed the group to safety.

The group who was mistaken for anti-war protesters? A conservative group that boldly calls itself the Protest Warriors. If you've never heard of the Protest Warriors before, you must possess something resembling a life. They're a group of young Republicans who infiltrate flocks of dirty hippies, mock them with their patented blend of fourth-grade sarcasm and third-grade smarts, and then flee to tell the tales! They're the kind of people who think "Michael Moore is fat" represents a pithy rebuttal to criticisms of the administration's misadventures in the Middle East.

Oh, and here is their very manly, not-at-all-homoerotic logo:
More often than not, the Protest Warriors' activities come crashing down around them, like when they showed up at the last presidential inauguration to counterprotest some anarchists, and the anarchists responded by kicking the living crap out of them. Maybe you should stick with the aging hippies, boys.

So getting attacked for their stupidity is nothing new, but usually it comes from the left. The Protest Warriors like to brag that they provide the "ammo that strikes at the intellectual solar plexus of the left" -- like I said, those fancy word thingys aren't their strong suit -- but now they've mistakenly struck the pituitary gland of the right, and had their own duodenum punctured in return.

All in all, I don't know what's sadder here -- that the larger pro-war group obviously lacked the reading comprehension and sarcasm skills to know that the PW folks were actually on their side, or that the valiant Protest Warriors got their asses whipped by a bunch of goddamn nerds. Again.

(Hat tip to TBogg and Adams College's Football Coach Harris.)

If Any Of You Homos Touch Me -- I'll Kill You

Gays don't scare me. Not in the least. Not their catty criticisms of my flannel shirts, my hair style (sans styling gel), my music with guitars and not techno beats, and my six-pack abs resembling a pony keg.

I guess they don't scare me because I'm NOT GAY. You can call me gay - won't make me gay. You can mock me for owning a Robbie Williams album - won't make me gay. I can hang out with gays, dance with them, work with them, play on a softball team with them. Still straight. Still boring, but still straight.

So, I have no frame of reference for how angrily anti-gay people can act. It makes no sense to me. I understand believing people can commit sins and may be doomed to Hell. But if this is your litmus test for protests, public speaking rallies, and allowing anger and fear to shape your opinion of your fellow man - adultery is a much clearer issue to rally around. Adultery is not dictated by your genetic code - clearly a personal / moral choice; adultery directly hurts loved ones and has a severely damaging impact to society; and adultery is actually one of the 10 Commandments.

So, if we have all this collective energy, time, and money to right the wrongs facing modern America - here are some different thoughts to consider: (1) start protesting outside divorce lawyers' offices with pictures of children crying all alone; (2) make divorce no longer recognized as a legal option (doesn't need to be outlawed, because this movement doesn't hate the sinner); and (3) threaten to held back Federal dollars to states which support divorce with family counseling, abuse shelters, and Boys/Girls Clubs.

Of course, you know, another option would be to love thy neighbor as thyself and put nothing ahead of worshiping your true God. Some dark-skinned, middle easterner with a criminal record once said that - so it's probably terrorist propaganda.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday Random Ten

The image above is a rare find, the cover to our very own Studio Dave's smash solo album from 1985. (This was back when he still toured the country, before he locked himself inside the recording studio, only opening the door to allow his helper monkey in to change the urine jars and restock the beef jerky.) Back in the day, Studio Dave -- or, as he was known then, Devastatin' Dave the Turntable Slave -- was the hottest thing on the Newark hiphop scene. Big. Gabby Hayes big.

Alright, back to business. It's Friday, and that means it's once again time for the Friday Random Ten. Take out your iPod or imitationPod, set it on random, and give us the first ten songs that pop up. If you think you can handle it, go ahead and add on the Coolness Self-Audit. (No, you won't go blind if you self-audit.)

Here's my set:

1. Ike and Tina Turner, "Funkier Than a Mosquito's Tweeter" -- Truth be told, it's not that great a song. It drags in a few spots, and there's a lot of spoken lyrics. But with a title like that, in the hands of Ike and Tina? Please. 7/10

2. Common, "The Hustle" -- Like virtually every song on Common's sophomore effort, this one starts slow and finds its groove near the middle. Well worth the wait. 7/10

3. The Gourds, "Miss You" -- A bluegrass band, live in concert at the Bluebird in Nashville, and they close their set with two brilliant cover songs -- their amazing version of Snoop's "Gin and Juice" and this nice cover of the Stones' "Miss You." Fairly good work, though I especially love the opening accordion. 6/10

4. Wilco, "Heavy Metal Drummer" -- A surprisingly sunny song on an otherwise dark and sweet Wilco CD. Not their best, and certainly not unknown. But with lines like "playing KISS covers, beautiful and stoned," you're a winner in my book, and you're a winner in Ace Frehley's book too. 7/10

5. TV on the Radio, "Staring at the Sun" -- Did you ever wish that they'd uncover a long-lost Peter Gabriel album from 1982? Well, Nerdlinger, they did. But they released it as something "new" under this band's name. I don't care what you call it, this song kicks your ass, my ass, and an ass to be named later. 10/10

6. Muddy Waters, "Can't Get No Grindin'" -- One of many classic Muddy Waters blues tunes about his inability to get his mojo working. Seriously, he must have three or four songs about that topic. It's a great song, with a funky backbeat, but I'm really surprised this hasn't wound up in an ad for erectile dysfunction by now. 8/10

7. Cibo Matto, "Spoon" -- Either you like Japanese Women's Alternapop or you don't. I happen to like. Can't handle that? Suck it. 8/10

8. Tegan and Sara, "Walking with a Ghost" -- This sounds like something that would appear during a breakup montage during "The O.C." A catchy-as-hell, nice little powerpop strutter. I'm a sucker for American Women's Alternapop, too. 8/10

9. Dead Kennedys, "Kill the Poor" -- I'm not entirely sure, but I think Jello Biafra might have been using sarcasm in the song. Hard to say. I'm going to catch grief for this rating, but this DK song always struck me as too easy. You're better than this, Jello. And you know it. Now hit the showers. 6/10

10. Mos Def, "Close Edge" -- An amazing song that floods the zone with coolness. First, it's stark minimalist hiphop, with very little in the way of beats and just a semi-sample of Grandmaster Flash's "The Message." Second, it was performed on the last season of "Chappelle's Show" as Mos Def and Chappelle drove around New York and, using just a CD recording as backup, Mos Def sang the whole thing from the passenger seat. Third, it's Mos Def. And, fourth, it's Mos Def. 10/10

Well, that gives me a 7.7 average. According to the Cool-o-Meter, that puts me somewhere between Jay-Z and the ghost of Jam Master Jay. Nice.

Alright, you know the drill. Drop your own Friday Random Ten in the comments below, with or without the Coolness Self-Audit.

Until next time, keep your feet on the ground and keep reachin' for the stars.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Like Dick Cheney, I Have Other Priorities

There are some things in life that you can put aside in order to make time for blogging. Family, friends, work, elective surgery, etc. But as we all know, preparing for a fantasy football draft is not one of them.

If you're looking for wit and wisdom, first of all, I'm stunned you came here. But if that's what you're looking for, go bask in the splendor of the Poor Man and Kung Fu Monkey.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Do Not Adjust Your Set

No need to be alarmed. The acid has not, in fact, already kicked in. We're just tinkering with some design changes for the blog.

Remember the Ladies

Remember this woman? She's Safia Taleb al-Souhail, a leading advocate for women's rights in Iraq. The photo above shows her being trotted out as Exhibit A in Bush's 2005 State of the Union Address. Bush had this to say:
"One of Iraq's leading democracy and human rights advocates is Safia Taleb al-Souhail . . . Three days ago in Baghdad, Safia was finally able to vote for the leaders of her country -- and we are honored that she is with us tonight."
And now that the Iraqi Constitution appears to be shutting the door on women's rights and, oh, secular democracy in general, she has this to say:
"When we came back from exile, we thought we were going to improve rights and the position of women. But look what has happened -- we have lost all the gains we made over the last 30 years. It's a big disappointment."
I think if she were in the balcony again, she might turn that victory sign around and give Bush a nice little U.K. F.U.

(Links through Billmon.)

Hooked on Propaganda

It's never too early to think about the young people in your life, and how you can help them resist the evil thought control techniques of the Brain Slugs the Liberal Menace:
This full-color illustrated book is a fun way for parents to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism. Written in simple text, readers can follow along with Tommy and Lou as they open a lemonade stand to earn money for a swing set. But when liberals start demanding that Tommy and Lou pay half their money in taxes, take down their picture of Jesus, and serve broccoli with every glass of lemonade, the young brothers experience the downside to living in Liberaland.

You can check out some sample pages of the book at the Amazon website, provided you have either a strong constitution or the intelligence of a small rock. You'll be horrified by the antics of Mayor Leach and Congresswoman Clunkton! You'll be amazed at the incredibly implausible things that liberals do! You'll be swayed by the endorsement from noted children's literature expert Grover Norquist!


It's hard for me to make fun of this. Honestly, I thought the right wasn't that crazy.

The article is chock full of great quotes from David Horowitz.

Blast Bucket

Newsflash: the Humvee sucks against IEDs. Therefore, we need new Urban Assault Vehicles. The Pentagon is speeding up production. They'll be ready to defend our troops in Iraq by 2008.

Again: 2008 is the target date for rolling out the new vehicle. Anyone remember the good ol' days?
It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.
At least this model will pay attention to one thing that we can't ask of civilians.
[The new vehicle will have] lower fuel consumption, to reduce the need for supply convoys that have been targets of insurgents.

Love it or leave it, baby.

Iraq rolls a 3 for its constitution.

"This is the future of the new Iraqi government - it will be in the hands of the clerics," said Dr. Raja Kuzai, a secular Shiite member of the Assembly. "I wanted Iraqi women to be free, to be able to talk freely and to able to move around."

"I am not going to stay here," said Dr. Kuzai, an obstetrician and women's leader who met President Bush in the White House in November 2003.

But hey, if the bar has been lowered to the "America of 1776" standard, then owning slaves is progress, right?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Abstinence Only

Courtesy of Daily Kos, a reminder that you should always wear protection:
The photo ran alongside an article in Canada's National Post, with this caption:
Bill Moyer, 73, wears a "Bullshit Protector" flap over his ear while President George W. Bush addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
While it's nice to see people waking up and appreciating the administration's frantic spin for what it is -- bullshit -- I think the American people should take a page from the administration's approach to sex education. A condom isn't enough. You have to abstain from listening to Bush's insanity entirely.

Great Moments in Douchebaggery

It appears that the Ari Fleischer Gene does, in fact, skip a generation. While the current press secretary, Scott McClellan, tends to specialize in flop sweat and his patented Jackie Gleason homina-homina-homina!, the guy below him on the totem pole appears to be all douchebag, all the time:
Meeting briefly with reporters Monday aboard Air Force One, Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman subbing for Scott McClellan, said that President Bush believes that those who want the U.S. to begin to change course in Iraq do not want America to win the overall "war on terror."
Yes, that's right. If you dare to point out the obvious and utter incompetence of this administration's prosecution of the war in Iraq, then you must want the terrorists to win.

What would Jesus drink?

Apparently he would shill an age-defying shake. Tax-free, of course.

The First Shall Be Last

A study just came out which compares a nation's churchiness with its generosity.
Nations where fewer people attend church tend to be more generous in their support for development in poor countries than those where church attendance is much greater, according to the third annual edition of the "Commitment to Development Index (CDI)", published this week in Foreign Policy magazine.
Denmark received the highest Index rating, yet only three percent of Danes attend church at least once a week -- the lowest attendance rate of all 21 donor nations. While church attendance rose to 14 percent in second-place Netherlands, Sweden (3), Norway (5), and Finland (6) all had church attendance rates well below 10 percent.

Meanwhile, the most religiously observant country, Ireland -- where nearly two-thirds of the population attend church at least once a week -- ranked 19 in the Index, while the next two most-observant nations, the United States and Italy, ranked 12 and 18, respectively.

"It's often said that one should love they neighbour as one lives oneself," according to Foreign Policy, which noted in reference to the Index findings, however, that "where there is more preaching, there is less practicing."
What about the tsunami? Wasn't the US supergood on that front?
It noted, for example, that the U.S. Treasury last year imposed nearly two billion dollars in tariffs on imports from the four countries that were most affected by the tsunami -- India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand -- twice the 900 million dollars in relief aid approved by the U.S. Congress for the same countries last May.
They didn't measure Jeebus-approved "Homosexuals are Evil" platform, but something tells me that the results would be very similar.

Cool Like Lemonade

So do you want to be a mixmaster, but all your friends are talentless hacks who can't rhyme? Well, let me introduce you to my friends the Beastie Boys who will post one a cappella track (vocals only for you Anglophiles) every Friday "for the next little while." You can download it and do your own remix.

I feel like Steve McQueen...

Monday, August 22, 2005

Who Would Jesus Assassinate?

Courtesy of Media Matters, we're happy to present the latest installment of Pat Robertson's Ongoing Breakdown™.

For those of you who enjoyed past chapters -- such as his claim that his prayers averted Hurricane Gloria or his joint suggestion with Jerry Falwell that the responsibility for 9/11 lay with "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU," etc. -- you'll be glad to know that Pat is doing his best to top all that with his Craziest Comment Ever.

Courtesy of Media Matters, which has a nice video clip here:
ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

Just to recap, that's Reverend Pat Robertson -- a man who claims to be following the example of Jesus Christ -- advocating the cold-blooded assassination of an elected political leader, just so this country can get its hands on some cheap gasoline.

It's at times like these that I like to recall the simple country wisdom of Billy Carter. As he said, "Some Christians deserve to get eaten by lions."

The Last Throes of Novakula

With the wooden stake poised over his cold, dead, reptilian heart, Robert Novak has really started spitting out the vampire bile. His latest? "War Protestors Sleeping with the Enemy."

Yes, the man who outed a CIA agent is lecturing others on how their actions aid the enemy. Priceless.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bedtime for Gonzo

Well, at long last, the loved ones of Hunter S. Thompson have said farewell to the great writer in a manner fitting with his sense of decorum.
WOODY CREEK, Colorado (AP) -- With a deafening boom, the ashes of Hunter S. Thompson were blown into the sky amid fireworks late Saturday as relatives and a star-studded crowd bid an irreverent farewell to the founder of "gonzo journalism".

As the ashes erupted from a tower, red, white, blue and green fireworks lit up the sky over Thompson's home near Aspen.


The private celebration included actors Bill Murray and Johnny Depp, rock bands, blowup dolls and plenty of liquor to honor Thompson, who killed himself six months ago at the age of 67.

It seems Hunter S. Thompson and I had similar desires for our memorial services. He wanted to be shot into the sky, while I've requested that my body be shot from a cannon into Bill O'Reilly's crotch. Repeatedly.

Bottom of the Pitcher

Apparently, the Bush administration's supply of Konservative Kool-Aid has started to run dry. All over the map, conservative pundits are making some very public breaks with the administration.

Over at the Corner, Andy McCarthy has announced "this is where I get off the bus."

Likewise, Stephen Bainbridge notes, "It's time for us conservatives to face facts. George W. Bush has pissed away the conservative moment by pursuing a war of choice via policies that border on the criminally incompetent."

Coupled with the sanity coming from conservatives like the Cunning Realist and John Cole, it seems that, contrary to all appearances, not everyone on the right is insane.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Vacation, All I Ever Wanted...

Well, through his sheer grit and determination, George W. Bush has just surpassed his hero Ronald Reagan in one important regard. Bush now holds the presidential record for the most vacation days: 336. What's more impressive is that while it took Reagan eight years to log that much sloth and lollygagging, Bush did it in about half the time.

Lord knows it wasn't easy. There were a lot of important issues he had to avoid to break the record -- the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, terrorist attacks, the economy, Social Security, etc. etc. -- but by God he did it.

Impressive. Most impressive.

Update: Encouraged by Norbizness's call to create Red Red Meat comics, here's one for this post.

Friday Random Ten

Alright, folks, it's Friday. You know the drill.

1. The Replacements, "Cruella de Ville" -- There's something perverse about the Mats covering a Disney song. 7/10

2. Black Keys, "Have Love, Will Travel" -- Yeah, yeah, it's been used in a bad truck commercial. But still an excellent song. 8/10

3. The Arcade Fire, "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" -- Just saw Death Cab for Cutie in NYC tonight. Man, I'd love to catch Arcade Fire too. Phenomenal work. 9/10

4. William Shatner, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" -- The beauty of this song is that Captain Kirk is apparently on LSD as he records this. 8/10

5. Irma Thomas, "Time is on My Side" -- Beautiful, beautiful cover. I can't listen to the Stones version anymore, this soul twist is so great. 9/10

6. De La Soul, "Keepin' the Faith" -- One of my favorite hiphop bands, but one of their lesser works. 6/10

7. Wanda Jackson, "Riot in Cell Block #9" -- Great old rockabilly song about a riot in a women's prison. Jackson later appeared in Budweiser ads with Brian Setzer as the "Guitar Granny." 9/10

8. Ramones, "Happy Birthday, Mr. Burns!" -- Just 23 seconds long, but a nice little Simpsons clip. 6/10

9. The Velvet Underground, "Who Loves the Sun" -- Sounds nothing like the rest of their work, and it somehow still works. 8/10

10. Urge Overkill, "Positive Bleeding" -- An old favorite band of mine, with a late recording. Nice, embrace-the-irony rock. 8/10

Alright, that gives me a straight 8.0 on the coolness meter, right between Floyd the Barber and Pink Floyd.

Please feel free to drop your own random ten in the comments, with or without the coolness self-audit.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Electric Boogaloo

So I return from my two week vacation and my Tivo has died. My initial reaction was that it is bad news because of all the hours of TV I have missed, especially the last two episodes of Battlestar Galactica -- that really hurt. (Aside: why does the SciFi Channel rerun the crappiest stuff they have 400 times a week and the great stuff never?)

DirecTV is blaming Bellsouth for a power surge up my phone line, and the phone company is acting like Eddie Murphy caught red-handed: "It wasn't me." Anyhoo, for reasons I cannot fathom DirecTV has to mail me a new Tivo unit and I'll be lucky if it arrives before the weekend.

In the meantime, I've found that all my lost recordings are the least of my problems. I have apparently forgotten how to work a TV. In the year I have had a Tivo, I have forgotten which station is which number. What's worse, I have no idea when most of the shows I like come on. Six Feet Under, now that used to be Sunday, right? But they changed it to Monday. Or is it vice versa?

I've made some futile attempts at watching television over the past few days, but I find sitting through commercials insufferable. How do people put up with those things? And if I miss something I can't rewind it? If the phone rings I can't pause it? What kind of nightmarish Dark Ages have I wormholed to?

I think I'm getting a better understanding of what it's like to be addicted to heroin.

Looks Like I Picked the Wrong Week to Quit Sniffing Glue

Images of a plane being struck by lightning, courtesy of Kung Fu Monkey.

For the kid who has nothing

I really should have started drinking earlier.
Kidsbeer, a nonalcoholic brew aimed at children, is catching on with young drinkers and is posting monthly shipments of 75,000 bottles, according to maker Tomomasu Co.
via boingboing

Intelligent Falling

Late to the game, but The Onion does it pretty well.

"Things fall not because they are acted upon by some gravitational force, but because a higher intelligence, 'God' if you will, is pushing them down," said Gabriel Burdett, who holds degrees in education, applied Scripture, and physics from Oral Roberts University.

Burdett added: "Gravity—which is taught to our children as a law—is founded on great gaps in understanding. The laws predict the mutual force between all bodies of mass, but they cannot explain that force. Isaac Newton himself said, 'I suspect that my theories may all depend upon a force for which philosophers have searched all of nature in vain.' Of course, he is alluding to a higher power."

The Old Negro Space Program

I'd forgotten about this movie until the Poor Man posted on it today.

If you've never seen it, do yourself a favor and learn all about the history of the Old Negro Space Program.

No, Mister Bond, I Expect You to Die!

In other global news:
NEW YORK (AP) — A single, surprising phone call and it was over. That's how Pierce Brosnan says he learned that his services as James Bond would no longer be required.

"One phone call, that's all it took!" the 52-year-old actor tells Entertainment Weekly magazine in its Aug. 19 issue.
Well, I guess we saw this coming. I thought Brosnan did a great job with the role, and helped the franchise regain its footing.

Connery will always be the gold standard for me. Moore was always too much of a priss, believable more as a maitre'd than a master spy. Dalton was an abomination, all furrowed and furry brows. And the one shot Lazenby had just never worked. Maybe it was the fact that he was running around in a kilt with the Sandra Day O'Connor bib, maybe it was the fact that he buckled under and got married. Hard to say.

No idea on who they'll get to replace him. I've heard rumors about Clive Owen, who I think would be great. There have been other rumors about Daniel Craig from the excellent Layer Cake. He's got the attitude down, but he seems a little too rough around the edges. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Rush to Judgment

The conservative insanity over the Cindy Sheehan protest just keeps getting more and more bizarre. The latest comes from Rush Limbaugh who, from the sound of things, is not just back on the hillbilly heroin, but also taking horse tranquilizers and a full case of children's Robitussin.

From Media Matters:
LIMBAUGH: I mean, Cindy Sheehan is just Bill Burkett. Her story is nothing more than forged documents. There's nothing about it that's real, including the mainstream media's glomming onto it. It's not real. It's nothing more than an attempt. It's the latest effort made by the coordinated left.
Jesus, that's so surreal I don't even know where to begin. Nothing about the protest is real? What does that even mean? Does he think Casey Sheehan wasn't actually killed in Iraq, that he's hiding out in the attic like George Bluth? Forged documents? Does he think Cindy Sheehan forged the death certificate, or ... what? The posters at the rally?

Also, as the lovely and wise Malibu Stacy just pointed out to me, if Limbaugh thinks the left is "coordinated," then he's definitely back on the Oxycontin. The left these days is about as coordinated as Bambi on the frozen pond.

Of course, that doesn't stop Limbaugh from wanting to strike back against the powerful left that currently controls the White House, the Senate, the House, the federal courts, the business world, the Upper West Side. Limbaugh recently spoke out in favor of adopting a new standard for American citizenship:

LIMBAUGH: We just had Stephen Breyer saying, oh, yeah, totally appropriate, we must import what they're doing around the world in other democracies, it will help buttress their attempt to establish the rule of law, and we might learn something, too. Well, here's something I'd like to import. I'd like to import the ability that the Brits are doing to export and deport a bunch of hate-rhetoric filled mullahs and imams that are stoking anti-American sentiment. Wouldn't it be great if anybody who speaks out against this country, to kick them out of the country? Anybody that threatens this country, kick 'em out. We'd get rid of Michael Moore, we'd get rid of half the Democratic Party if we would just import that law. That would be fabulous. The Supreme Court ought to look into this. Absolutely brilliant idea out there.
Only half the Democratic Party? Huh. Must have been on a reduced dose that day.

Don't Mess With Texas

Naturally, the Cindy Sheehan protest outside the Neverland Ranch has brought out some reasoned rebuttals by those who support the war and the president's skilled prosecution of it.

For instance, consider the socratic method brought to the debate by this man:
CRAWFORD, Texas - A man fired a shotgun into the air as about 60 anti-war protesters held a religious service on the road to President Bush’s ranch.

Sheriff’s deputies and Secret Service agents in the area of the demonstration site Sunday rushed to the home of Larry Mattlage after the shots were fired but did not arrest him.

“I ain’t threatening nobody, and I ain’t pointing a gun at nobody,” Mattlage said. “This is Texas.”

A shotgun blast? Ah, le mot juste!

Not to be left out of the salon discussions, another local man decided to offer a witty rejoinder of his own:
CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) - A pickup truck tore through rows of white crosses last night near President Bush's ranch, where a woman has been protesting the Iraq war.

The crosses stretched along the road at the Crawford, Texas, camp, bore the names of fallen U-S soldiers. No one was hurt.

Right, if you want to express your opposition to an antiwar protest and make it clear you really, really support the troops, well, running over rows of white crosses with the names of dead soldiers is certainly a great way to get that point across.

In a nice coincidence, Norbizness reminds us that Texas is currently dead-last among all the states in high school graduation rates. To quote Texan legend Bill Hicks, "Who'd a thunk it?"

(Ten-gallon hat-tip to Tbogg.)

Monday, August 15, 2005

Sweep the Leg, Johnny!

Courtesy of Patton Oswalt, one of my favorite comedians, the disturbingly true story and cautionary tale of Johnny Lawrence.

George and Dick's Excellent Adventure

Say what you will about the Sheehan protest, but it does seem to be working, in that a lot of people have suddenly pulled back to reconsider the war in its entirety.

If you haven't read it yet, be sure to check out Frank Rich's brilliant op-ed from this weekend. The Editors of the Poor Man have a great contribution as well. And, a little more obscurely, is this post from the Liferaft of Love, with nice bits like this:

In fact, the entire run-up to the war was nothing but eight or nine months of degrading political theater. Speech after speech after speech, interview after interview after interview hyped the threat, warned of mushroom clouds over American cities, and turned Saddam into the next Tojo looking for a chance to unleash his swarm of balsa-wood gliders armed with canisters of nerve gas to poison Emporia, Kansas.

Alright, that's enough assigned reading. Get cracking. Class dismissed.

(The disturbing bronze bust of Bush -- available for just under $2,000! -- is courtesy of Dependable Renegade.)

Justice Sunday II: The Wrath of Dobson

(Image stolen shamelessly from PERRspectives.)

As we noted previously, the fine people who brought us the original "Justice Sunday" back in April have followed up that smash success with an encore performance held this past weekend. From the looks of this piece in the Washington Post, everyone brought their A-game to this Torquemada Memorial Tournament:
James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, told the 2,200 mostly white people in Two Rivers Baptist Church: "It doesn't matter what we think. The court rules." The Supreme Court, he said in a video broadcast, has created "an oligarchy. It's the government by the few."

Rejected Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork warned that the high court has defined homosexuality as "a constitutional right . . . and once homosexuality is defined as a constitutional right, there is nothing the states can do about it, nothing the people can do about it."


House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said "activist courts" are imposing "state-sanctioned same-sex marriage" and "partial-birth abortion" and are "ridding the public square of any mention of our nation's religious heritage" in what amounts to "judicial supremacy, judicial autocracy."


Miller criticized the court because it "removed prayer from our public schools . . . legalized the barbaric killing of unborn babies, and it is ready to discard like an outdated hula hoop the universal institution of marriage between a man and a woman."

Speakers compared the civil rights movement of the 1960s to demands now by Christian groups for restoration of traditional morality. "It's time we move to the front of the bus and that we take command of the wheel," said William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League.

Apparently, this was some sort of crazy, conservative Christian version of You Got Served. First Dobson comes out and complains that the courts have the nerve to operate on constitutional authority and not on public opinion. Nice start. A little crazy, but not frothing. Then Bork comes over and gets all up in his grill with the real issue at hand. "Gay cooties, gay cooties everywhere!" Then Tom DeLay rocks back in with a combination move. It's about the gay cooties and the arrogant government. (Yes, Tom DeLay, of all people, complained about a power-mad government.) Next up, the Emperor Zell Miller comes in and, once again, throws everyone for a loop with his equation of the sacrament of marriage and the hula hoop. And then for a finale, William Donohue compares himself to Rosa Parks and other people who faced actual oppression, and then, at the end, he gets up and nails himself right to the cross. Just amazing.

I don't know what's worse about all this -- the fact that for these "Christians," the religion is somehow all about hating the gays, or the fact that they constantly complain about how persecuted they are when, in reality, they control the freaking country. Sorry, but when you're the House Majority Leader, you don't get to "speak truth to power." You are the power and, in DeLay's case, you have a deathly allergy to anything resembling the truth.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Now Watch This Drive!

Worst. Excuse. Ever.
CRAWFORD, Texas - President Bush, noting that lots of people want to talk to the president and "it's also important for me to go on with my life," on Saturday defended his decision not to meet with the grieving mom of a soldier killed in Iraq.

Bush said he is aware of the anti-war sentiments of Cindy Sheehan and others who have joined her protest near the Bush ranch.

"But whether it be here or in Washington or anywhere else, there's somebody who has got something to say to the president, that's part of the job," Bush said on the ranch. "And I think it's important for me to be thoughtful and sensitive to those who have got something to say."

"But," he added, "I think it's also important for me to go on with my life, to keep a balanced life." ... "I think the people want the president to be in a position to make good, crisp decisions and to stay healthy," he said when asked about bike riding while a grieving mom wanted to speak with him. "And part of my being is to be outside exercising."

Not many people know this, but Lincoln could only deliver the Gettysburg Address after spending several hours in the White House weightroom blasting his quads. And do you know why Franklin Roosevelt wasn't able to lead us to victory in World War II? Turns out he was a big ol' cripple. What nerve!

More and more, Bush reminds me of Brigidier General Jack D. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove. You know, the batshit crazy base commander who was so obsessed with his physical fitness (and the Soviet plot to pollute our precious bodily fluids) that he decided to pre-emptively launch World War III? Now that I think about it, Bush even looks like him:

At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if Bush announced we needed to invade Iran next because they were sitting on a strategic stockpile of New Balance running shoes.

The Soft Bigotry of Lowered Expectations

According to today's Washington Post, the administration has decided to lower the bar for what can and can't be accomplished in Iraq.

The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.

The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground," said a senior official involved in policy since the 2003 invasion. "We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning."

After firing Gen. Eric Shinseki for correctly predicting how many troops we'd need and forcing out Larry Lindsey for correctly predicting how much this would cost and destroying Richard Clarke for correctly noting how flawed their assumptions were and generally branding as a "traitor" anyone who pointed out how off-base they were, the war planners have finally realized they were operating in an "unreality"?

Hey, no problem. That's why pencils have erasers. I mean, it's not like anyone got hurt.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

What Would Santorum Say?

Mrs. Thrillhous and I are having an argument, and if there's one thing I've learned about marital disputes,it's that wives love it when you discuss the issue with as many people as possible. I figure, why not make it public to the millions of readers of the LLATPON blog phenomenon? Yeah, that'll be great.

Here's the deal. Mrs. T saw a license plate on Thursday night that she thinks contains an obscene message. So obscene, in fact, that she felt compelled to contact the Virginia DMV. You see, she's a big fan of The Smoking Gun's license plate expose, where they print various prohibited license plates, such as "DMSHT" and "BANGN". She just wants to do her civic duty, yo.

I, on the other hand, think she's nuts. I see what she sees, but I don't think it's all that obvious, and it seems to me that anyone who discerns the obscenity has already got a pretty dirtied up mind. Kinda like those guys at Focus on the Family who watch hour after hour of MTV and Girls Gone Wild videos to document the vulgar acts. Of course, those guys are watching it to protect the kids, right?

Without further ado, here's the plate (generate your own at the VA DMV's site). What do you think?

Friday, August 12, 2005

Friday Random Ten

Alright, folks, it's once again time for the Friday Random Ten. I've been criticized lately for grading my own picks a little too harshly, but I'm happy to say that through the power of Dianetics, I've thankfully overcome that problem for good. Here's this week's ten as proof.

1. A Tribe Called Quest, "Find a Way" -- Even with timeless lines like "Teasing me, just like Tisha did Martin," this is still a nice little Tribe tune. 6/10

2. The Decemberists, "16 Military Wives" -- Phenomenal song, given a coolness boost by its brilliant, Rushmore-themed video that spoofed the Bush administration's approach to foreign policy. (Trust me, it worked. Video available here.) 9/10

3. Huevos Rancheros, "Drive-Through at Molly's Beach" -- What's better than a great surf guitar instrumental? Naming it after a delicious breakfast. Muy picante! 8/10

4. Astrud Gilberto and RJD2, "The Gentle Rain (RJD2 remix)" -- Brilliant techno remix of an amazing Brazilian torch song. From one of the excellent Verve Remixed CDs. Can't imagine much that's better. 10/10

5. Johnny Cash, "25 Minutes to Go" -- A dark Cash tune. It's from the Columbia Records era, but the black tone and topic (a convict waiting for his own execution) make it sound like it's off an American Recordings album. 7/10

6. Reverend Horton Heat, "Where in the Hell Did You Go with My Toothbrush?" -- Not the typical RHH blistering, speed-on-brother, hell-ain't-half-full rockabilly, but a slower break-up song that's still catchy as hell. 8/10

7. The's, "Edie is a Sweet Candy" -- Man, a big day for surf and rockabilly. The's are a unique one, though -- a trio of Japanese women who dress in cavegirl outfits and play songs about James Bond and, apparently, a sweet candy named Edie. 9/10

8. The Avalanches, "Flight Tonight" -- From the Australian group's all-samples Since I Left You. I alternate between loving and ignoring this CD with the sort of ambivalence hipster dudes show to their ladyfriends. Guess that's so cool it doesn't care about coolness at all. 9/10

9. Camper Van Beethoven, "Pictures of Matchstick Men" -- A nice cover of the classic Status Quo tune. Not spectacular, but not too bad. 6/10

10. Jimmy Castor Bunch, "Say Leroy (The Creature from the Black Lagoon is Your Father)" -- Wow, did I stick the landing, or what? A phenomenal, 6 and 1/2 minute funk grinder, by a criminally underappreciated funk band and with a title like that? 10/10

All in all, that's an 8.2 average. Right between Bill Clinton and George Clinton. Sweet!

Please drop your own random ten in the comments, folks, with or without the coolness self-audit.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Wolcott Punks Out Conservobloggers

Here's a taste:

Roger L. Simon I don't consider a liberal hawk. Because he isn't. He isn't much of a liberal of any kind. Instead, he typifies a subset of bloggers who day-in, day-out bash the UN (particularly over the "oil-for-food" scandal") while saying damn near nothing about the billions of reconstruction money lost or stolen in Iraq and the sweetheart deals for companies like, yes, Halliburton; who dump scorn regularly on the ACLU and minimize the brutalities at Abu Ghraib; who pull that "I didn't leave the Democratic Party, it left me" shtick (or its cousin, "When I was young, liberalism meant this [fill in blank with noble cause], and now it means this [fill in blank with outrage du jour]; who accuse those who don't share their righteous urgency of "not getting it" or having "a pre-9/11 mentality;" who trash Juan Cole but never make a peep about Daniel Pipes or David Horowitz; the sort of blogger who even at this late date kvetches that the MSM is withholding the "good news" about Iraq...well, you get the idea.

Destro 2008

GOP Presidential Candidate Destro and potential running-mate
Cobra Commander campaigning at an area Sbarro's

If you weren't already looking forward to the 2008 presidential race, here are a few things that ought to get your motor running.

First, Bob Woodward is speculating that it's "highly likely" that we'll see Dick Cheney run in 2008 in order to carry on the administration's excellent adventure. Not only would a Cheney candidacy keep voters focused on the last throes of the current administration's screw-ups, but it would also prevent the White House from rallying around a more appealing candidate -- say, someone who does not resemble Destro from the old "G.I. Joe" cartoons in both appearance and attitude.

Second, Jerry Falwell has sounded the early notes of a jihad, urging his lemmings followers to "vote Christian" in 2008. If Falwell keeps it up, we can be assured that the other luminaries of the Religious Right will enter the fray too, just to keep up, and in so doing, put the spotlight on their control of the GOP. Their involvement should also help a loony like Santorum make headway in the primaries.

Taken together, we have the likelihood of chaos in the GOP primaries, resulting in a bruising final battle between Cheney and Santorum. Not only would that be hilarious to watch, it could also spell trouble for the party as a whole. Which politician best represents the heart of the Republican Party? The cranky, old, corporate money, chickenhawk asshole? Or the crazy, pompous religious freak? The door to the Democratic Party is open to anyone who'd rather not be part of that Big Tent circus.

Update: Thanks to Yossarian in the comments, I've just been reminded that Cobra Commander has already laid the groundwork for the 2008 campaign with his own ads from 2004. Click here to take a look.

The Atlanta Hawks Suck

Atlanta is in the middle of a rebuilding year which resembles more of a dynasty of ineptitude than a "rebuilding." "Rebuilding" sounds more like the blocks were knocked down in the school yard and it's time to roll up your sleeves. The Hawks are dealing with more of fart in church - but the doors are locked and someone had spicy pickles - there is no sign of improvement, just awkward stares and wondering if this is really happening.

I did enjoy their advertising campaign for 2003 with the theme "Playoff Bound." Although this may have worked well to rally some glimmer of hope, when they had less than 9 wins midway through the season, the Metro buses driving around town with the team's pictures and the "Playoff Bound" slogan seemed a little ... out of touch.

In the latest news, one of the owners refuses to sign off on a trade for some hopeless soul who, for some reason, is willing to work in Atlanta. I can only assume his mother lives here and is sick.

Jay Mohr adds insult to injury in this weeks SI.:

The Atlanta Hawks have the best team Web site I've come across. It features 3-D imaging of where your seats will be. The problem with such a feature is that the photo of the empty Philips Arena featured on the site looks eerily similar to the empty Philips Arena seen during SportsCenter. There's nothing like watching Josh Childress break away for a dunk and come crashing to the floor in front of empty seats. Maybe the fans in those seats have taken the slogan "Rise Up!" from the Hawks Web site literally. If you click on the link for the Hawks' gift shop, you'll find a golf towel you can purchase for eight bucks. I wonder if the Atlanta players get discounts? We all know come playoff time they will be playing plenty of golf.

Team Web sites will have you believe that mascots are superstars in their own right. Harry the Hawk has his own biography page, which features the jarring headline, "Hold on to your popcorn! Hang on to your seats! It's Harry the Hawk!" Thanks for the warning. The last thing I need at a Hawks game is some creepy guy in a bright red bird outfit trying to get me pumped up to watch 10 guys who won't be in the building come the trade deadline. Harry the Hawk's bio, by the way, has such gems as "Position: Center (of attention!)." Oh, the hilarity. Center of attention, get it? All I know is if you are running around a half-empty stadium in a giant red bird costume you probably should be the center of attention. What else am I going to watch? The Hawks?

The rest of the article is a good read as well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Madden '06: More Hype than Gabbo

Ah, the Fall is coming. How do I know? Madden Day, of course.

The clever marketing folks at EA (Electronic Arts) have pushed the idea of the Madden Football release as "Happy Madden Day". Back in the day of rolling with my homies and gang banging, I would buy each year's new Madden and marvel at the leaps in technology. Remember, I grew up with Pong and thought Asteroids was amazing - and don't get me started with that Knock Out and Dragon's Lair.

Anywho, after being completely underwhelmed with the game improvements over the last 3 years, I have wisely started renting. Thus, this Madden Day I rented the Donovan McNabb 06 edition. Again, some changes but nothing to justify $50.

For those who don't follow the business side of these games (you may, for example, have a social life), this game is the cornerstone for much of the multi-billion dollar games industry. When a rival (989 software) licensed ESPN's name and sold a similar quality game for $25, it sent shockwaves through the industry. So like any good, big company would do, they killed the competition by signing exclusives with ESPN, the NFL and the Players' Union -- and kept the price at $50.

Why did they do it? Well, for all of Madden's sales, EA's licensing costs essentially makes the game a break even business case. If they lose money (like with competition in 2004), the whole company begins to unravel.

Unless EA delivers big with "The Godfather," we may of another example of how large businesses can't survive if creativity is their lifeblood.

We Got a Great Big Convoy...

It looks like the '70s nostalgia is reaching new heights. Not only do we have people pissed off about gas prices, but they're forming a good, old-fashioned convoy to make their anger known.
MIAMI -- More than 600 truckers gathered in their big rigs Wednesday to protest the rising gas prices in South Florida, NBC 6's Hank Tester reported.

The trucks, which included tractor-trailers, dump trucks and box trucks, gathered at the intersection of Okeechobee Road and the Florida Turnpike in Miami-Dade County.

Traffic in the area was at a standstill as the trucks started a caravan headed toward Miami City Hall.

Somewhere, the ghost of C.W. McCall is smiling.

Like School on Saturday

It's nice when the leading minds of the conservative commentariat get together to see who can be a bigger moron. Recently, Bill "Falafel" O'Reilly welcomed Michelle "Internment Roolz!" Malkin onto his show to discuss the case of Cindy Sheehan, the gold-star mother who's camping outside Bush's Crawford ranch seeking an explanation from the president about why her son was killed in Iraq.

O'Reilly starts out strong, calling this mother who sacrificed her son for her country "treasonous." But then Malkin comes back hard, using her uncanny ability to get inside the minds of the dead and disabled (see Schiavo, Terri) to tell us that Cindy Sheehan's son would've certainly been disappointed in his mother's grieving.

Which is the lower blow? You've betrayed your country, or you've betrayed your dead son? Tough call. Thank God we have the moral compass of Fox News to help us sort this all out.

You can listen here, or watch it here.

Update: Even better and more thorough clips here.

White Sox Calling Kettle Black

"I've never seen anything like that before," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. "I think that's New York, you know, anything can happen.'"

New York City may not be the set from "Leave it to Beaver," but wasn't a Chicago White Sox game the site of 2 drunk, shirtless fans beating a First Base Coach during a game?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Who Mocked "The Family Circus"? Not Me!

My invocation of Jeffy in the post below reminded me of this site. It's not the original and brilliant Dysfunctional Family Circus -- that went belly-up after some legal action, I think -- but it has a few moments.

Maybe You Are All Homosexuals

This article has made it all over the internets, but it's too good not to raise here. The piece in question is from James Dobson's Focus on the Family, titled "Is My Child a Homosexual?" (Because as the president would say: rarely is the question asked, "Is our children learning to be gay?")

Anyway, here are the signs to watch for:
Evidences of gender confusion or doubt in boys ages 5 to 11 may include:

1. A strong feeling that they are “different” from other boys.

Conform, young ones! Conform!!!
2. A tendency to cry easily, be less athletic, and dislike the roughhousing that other boys enjoy.

Yes, any 5-year-old boy who cries after a good beating is definitely gay. Christ. Take it like a man, Jeffy.
3. A persistent preference to play female roles in make-believe play.

4. A strong preference to spend time in the company of girls and participate in their games and other pastimes.

Sure, I'm flattered. Maybe even a little curious. But the answer is no.
5. A susceptibility to be bullied by other boys, who may tease them unmercifully and call them “queer,” “fag” and “gay.”

Yes, if the other children call you a name, then it certainly has to be true. Gaydar is incredibly strong at the younger ages -- much like the ability to pick up a foreign language. (Warning: If the foreign language your child has learned is French, then he is also gay.)

Seriously, I remember when I was a kid, we would play a game in which we tossed a football to each other to determine the sexuality of our friends. The one who caught the divine football was instantly identified as "queer" and the rest of us then had an honor-bound duty to "smear" said queer. It was scientifically proven. Unlike evolution.
6. A tendency to walk, talk, dress and even “think” effeminately.

Yes, James Dobson has perfected mind-reading techniques, and he will use them to rule the world. Kneel before Zod!
7. A repeatedly stated desire to be — or insistence that he is — a girl.

Tell me about it. My little brother insisted he was a dog for a week. Realizing that he knew his true nature, we took him to the vet and had him put down.

If your child is experiencing several signs of gender confusion, professional help is available. It’s best to seek that help before your child reaches puberty.

“By the time the adolescent hormones kick in during early adolescence, a full-blown gender identity crisis threatens to overwhelm the teenager,” warns psychologist Dr. James Dobson. To compound the problem, many of these teens experience “great waves of guilt accompanied by secret fears of divine retribution.”

Gee, why would the gay children whose parents actually listen to James Dobson and his kind for advice -- why would they experience guilt and fears of divine retribution? That's a real puzzler.

Take This Job and Restaff It

The Virginia gubernatorial race of Jerry Kilgore (R) , whose Shaolim name is “He Who Coos Like the Pigeons,” has been listing for weeks. The most recent polling numbers, from the end of June, showed that Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine (D) had erased Kilgore’s once-formidable lead, and Kilgore just can’t seem to get anyone to pay attention to him. Of course, the fact that he appears in public about as often as Punxsutawney Phil hasn’t helped him too much either. Kilgore’s got two options: quit ducking Tim Kaine’s repeated challenges to debates and engage on the issues affecting Virginia voters, such as transportation and education, or bigfoot into some local issue that he can use to get votes in other parts of the state. I think you know which option he’s taking.

Jerry K has decided to take on those juggernauts of money, power, and political influence: immigrants. Fairfax county, the rapidly growing, most economically productive county in the commonwealth, has decided to spend about $400,000 on services for day laborers. Most of that money would go to building and operating a small day laborer center in the town of Herndon, which is densely populated with recent immigrants. Right now, more than a hundred day laborers gather in a 7-11 parking lot each morning, hoping they’ll get picked up for a really crappy job. Some of these workers are illegal aliens, but many of them are here legally and just want to work. The present arrangement is unsafe for the workers, hopelessly disorganized for employers, and uncomfortable for the shop’s customers (how would you like a hundred guys to press in on you for a job when all you wanted was a Bavarian crème?). The new center would get these laborers out of parking lots and into a safe, controlled location where they can find employment without freaking out local residents. Well, “into” might be too strong a word, as the plan is for a trailer and some outdoor covered seating. Inside the trailer the laborers will be able to take some classes (primarily ESL). They’d also be able to register their names and skills, so that prospective employers can more easily get the men and women they need.

Now, some folks might say that providing safety, dignity, and employment opportunities is a good thing, but Kilgore will have none of it:

"We face a fundamental decision in Virginia," Kilgore told reporters in a conference call. "Will we reward illegal behavior with hard-earned dollars from law-abiding citizens? I say the answer to this question should be an easy one: No."

[ed. note: Am I the only one who giggles when a Republican in the Rove/Delay mold says we shouldn’t give tax dollars to criminals? I kinda thought that’s what they were all about.]

Indicting all day laborers as illegal immigrants is bad enough, but that’s just Jerry being Jerry. In addition to his desire to prevent a locality from fixing its own problems with its own money, he wants to order the police to enforce immigration laws that traditionally are the domain of the feds (i.e., the INS). Maybe things are different down where Jerry chills, but ‘round these parts the cops have plenty enough to take care of already. Unfunded mandates from Richmond are not welcome.

Kilgore doesn’t really care about Herndon. He knows that many people in Virginia have vague but often negative feelings about immigrants and immigration. We all know what an easy group they are to scapegoat. Kilgore can tap into those feelings on a statewide level by dragging this local issue around with him on his campaign.

If I could ever actually get Kilgore to appear in public (fat chance) and actually get him to answer a question (even fatter chance), I’d like to ask him why he doesn’t want to go after those who employ illegal aliens. Checking immigration status is already the responsibility of employers (not cops); all that needs doing is to make sure employers do their part. As the gun people say, we don’t need more gun laws, we just need strict enforcement of the ones that are already on the books.

Jerry claims he doesn’t want to reward illegal behavior, but something tells me that he might not be as tough on businesses as he is on day laborers. Funny how that works with the GOP.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I Call the Big One "Bitey"

When Willie Nelson ran into tax problems a couple years back, he was forced to whore himself out and write some jingles for Taco Bell. Sad, but understandable. The amount of money he has to spend on ponytail braiding alone must be astronomical.

Now it seems Mike Tyson is in a similar bind. But Mike, being the straightforward thinker he always has been, has taken the phrase "whoring himself out" quite literally:
Tyson said that representatives for porn star Jenna Jameson have approached him about starring in an adult film, according to reports.

"Reality TV doesn't pay enough," said Tyson, who still owes millions to the IRS. "I need the money up front."

Be careful, Jenna. He took part of Holyfield's ear off, but there's no telling what he might sink his teeth into if he gets scared around you.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Award Tour

We all know the Bush administration likes to give honors to people who screw up. George "Slam Dunk" Tenet and Paul "Boondoggle" Bremer were each given the Presidential Medal of Freedom for their botched handling of Iraq. Condi Rice was rewarded for ignoring the Bin Laden threat by being kicked upstairs to Secretary of State, and John Bolton proved that if you're a big enough screw-up, the UN ambassadorship can be yours.

Given this track record, I guess we shouldn't be surprised at this development:
A spokesman for the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation said that neither the council nor Bush had any way of knowing that the person they were honoring was a condemned multiple murderer.

Outstanding. I'm starting to wonder just what unspeakable act Supreme Court nominee John Roberts has committed. For an honor like that, it's got to be gruesome.

(Courtesy of the non-evil Roger Ailes)

What Do You Mean "We," White Man?

The NCAA has announced that, starting next February, it will no longer allow teams with ethnically "hostile" or "abusive" nicknames to feature such nicknames, logos or mascots in any postseason play. Not surprisingly, teams like the Florida State Seminoles replied that the NCAA can have their Tomahawk Chop foam fingers only when they pry them from their cold, dead hands!
"That the NCAA would now label our close bond with the Seminole people as culturally 'hostile and abusive' is both outrageous and insulting," Florida State president T.K. Wetherell said in a statement.

"I intend to pursue all legal avenues to ensure that this unacceptable decision is overturned, and that this university will forever be associated with the 'unconquered' spirit of the Seminole Tribe of Florida," he added.
Actually, as this photo reveals, Florida State fans seem intent on making sure their university is forever associated with the "fabulous" spirit of Studio 54 of New York.

To be sure, this is a complicated issue. There are, I think, some team names in sports that are long due for a changing. The Washington Redskins are a pretty obvious one. Not exactly a name cherishing the culture, right? It'd be like having a team named the Dallas Darkies or the San Francisco Slanteyes. Those are offensive as hell, but "Redskins" isn't? And don't get me started on the Hogettes. Yeesh.

While not nearly as offensive as the Redskins, the Cleveland Indians aren't far behind. Again, think of the equivalents. It's hard to imagine we'd still have a major league team with a name like the Nashville Negroes or the California Chinamen. It's even harder to believe that such a team would also have a racially-stereotyped mascot like the grinnin'-and-jivin' Chief Wahoo. "And hey, Buck, here's our beloved Uncle Tom to lead the seventh-inning stretch!"

Other pro teams come close, I suppose, like the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Chiefs, though I find it harder to get worked up about them. And then another level down the scale, there are college nicknames based on specific Native American nations, like the Illinois Illini or the FSU Seminoles. Admittedly, it's probably insulting to have a drunken 19-year-old white-bread suburbanite named Trevor doing a poor imitation of your ancestral dance at halftime. But in the grand scheme of things, it's probably not the worst thing they've ever experienced.

Or maybe it is. Hard to tell.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Rancho Relaxo

As we all know, presidenting is "hard work." Luckily, President Bush has once again been able to find refuge down at his Crawford Ranch (est. 1999, "Ask About Our Authentic Old West Heritage!"). Not only is this his 50th vacation since becoming president, it's also set to be the single longest presidential vacation in over 36 years.

While some of you -- communists, mostly -- might mock the president for spending one out of every five days of his presidency on vacation, I think it's important to remember that the man has problems. According to this AP-Ipsos poll, Bush's approval ratings are in the toilet. 47% approve of his handling of Iraq, 41% of his handling of the economy, and 37% on domestic issues. His overall approval-disapproval ratings are 42%-55%. (For comparison, at this point in their second terms, Reagan and Clinton were both about 25 points higher in the approval ratings.)

And things are only likely to get worse. The death tolls in Iraq have reached tragic proportions. Gas prices are soaring and the housing bubble is about to burst. And if the meltdown of Novakula on CNN is any indication, Rovegate is reaching a boiling point.

So I say, Mr. President, enjoy your time down at the ranch. Take a bubble bath, have a hot fudge sundae, get that masseur who flunked out of Mexcian med school -- whatever. As I said to Dolores Montenegro in Calling All Quakers, "Have it your way, Baby!"

Friday Random Ten

It's Friday, and the workweek is almost done. In no time at all, you'll move from working for the weekend to just plain working the weekend. Time for the Friday Random Ten, our little recognition that the light at the end of the tunnel is a cigarette dangling from Keith Richards' leathery lips.

You know the drill by now -- take out your precious iPod or iKnockoff, put it on random, and give us the first ten songs that pop up. And if you're ready for the advanced program, add a Coolness Self-Audit, too.

Here's mine:

1. Funkadelic, "(not just) Knee Deep" -- Fifteen minutes of funk, so thickly layered it would later be excavated endlessly by hiphop artists. (De La Soul's "Me, Myself and I" steals ruthlessly from this one.) I love this song for many reasons, though I'll always know it as the song I'd play on my radio program whenever I needed to take a leak. 8/10

2. Django Reinhardt, "Saint Louis Blues" -- If Belgium had only given us Django and not the tasty waffles and fries, we'd still be forever in their debt. I'm amazed anyone could play a guitar like this gypsy freak of nature. 7/10

3. Neil Young, "Like a Hurricane" -- It's about as long a song as Dylan's "Hurricane" but not quite as great. Hence, like a Hurricane. Young will always be my Canadian rocker, a status that's roughly equal to being my favorite Yugoslavian center in the NBA. 6/10

4. Laika and the Cosmonauts, "Get Carter" -- A band named after the Russian space program ("Ask about our dog killing!") performs the title song from a great Michael Caine movie and a mediocre Sylvester Stallone remake. Phenomenal stuff. 9/10

5. Minnie Ripperton, "Les Fleur" -- Just a great soul song, recently used as the backing track for Jurassic 5's "Thin Line." That alone is a ticket to coolness, but the screeching chorus puts it over the top. 8/10

6. Isley Brothers, "Work to Do" -- So much potential here, with a great rhythm and funky beat, but in the end it's all about having to punch a time clock. Eh. 6/10

7. Aimee Mann, "One" -- A song off the "Magnolia" soundtrack, but a fairly straightforward cover of a Three Dog Night song. A Three Dog Night song written by emasculated folk singer Harry Nilsson. Double eh. 5/10

8. Homer Simpson, "It Was a Very Good Beer" -- Hey, it's music and it's on my iTunes, so it's fair game. (Taken from Simpson Crazy, if you're interested.) Still, it's a short tune, so I suppose it can't do too much coolness-wise. 5/10

9. Earth, Wind and Fire, "September" -- Guaranteed to be the one song I'll like at every wedding I attend. This band is pretty damn cool (except for whichever one is Fire, I suppose), but the knowledge that bridesmaids everywhere can sing this song has to kneecap it a bit. 6/10

10. Cibo Matto, "Flowers" -- Great Japanese alternapop, a band that answers the question, If Hello Kitty put out a punk band, what would it sound like? This song is made all the cooler by the fact that I can't understand half the lyrics. 7/10

Well, all said, that's an average of 6.7, which puts me somewhere between the Reverend Horton Heat and the Reverend Al Green. I can live with that.

Alright, you know the routine: Drop your own Random Ten in the comments, with or without the Coolness Self-Audit.