Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Dog Ate My Friday Random Simpsons

My trip to Honk Kong happens one day sooner than I thought, so no time to grace you with my witty insights. It's fan participation week! That's right, you tell me how good these episodes are.

P.S. I am not a crackpot.

1. Strong Arms of the Ma.

2. Burns' Heir.

3. Brother from the Same Planet.

4. Bart the Lover.

5. The Last Temptation of Homer.

6. Marge on the Lam.

7. G.I. (Annoyed Grunt).

8. Marge's Son Poisoning.

9. A Streetcar Named Marge.

10. Like Father, Like Clown.

There's some classics in there. Burns' Heir is one of my favorites. Get to it!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

You know what I love?

Air travel. It's just great. There's nothing that happens in an airport that can make me frown. Why is that? Because if I look unhappy, I may be arrested.
“Specially trained security personnel” will be watching passengers for “micro-expressions” that will reveal treacherous agendas and insidious intentions at airports around the country. These agents, who may literally hold your fate in their hands have been given a lofty, Orwellian name: "Behavior Detection Officers."

TFA does a good job running down how idiotic this is, and points out one of the BDO's strategeries:
Here’s where it gets really absurd. Apparently, these Behavior Detection Officers work in pairs. One scenario is that an officer might move in to “help” a passenger retrieve their belongings after they’ve been screened. And then the officer will ask where the passenger is headed. If the passenger’s reaction sets off alarm bells in the officer’s well-trained mind, another officer will move in and detain them.

Yeah, after standing an an hour long line to get through security some stranger comes up and grabs my bag and asks where I'm going. How could you do anything but smile and answer honestly?

Are you sitting down?

Sometimes you see something pop up on Google news that completely shocks you.
Blame the National Enquirer for the big bombshell of the century, the Vegas big cat act of Siegfried and Roy have finally announced they are gay.

I don't think I've been this surprised since KD Lang came out.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Random Simpsons: YouTube Edition

Now, I haven’t been the best Jew. But I did rent Fiddler on the Roofs, and I will watch it! Until then, have some Simpsons.

I had so much fun using the Canyonero video last week that I decided to do all YouTubes this week. Sure, it's probably illegal, but Rupert's a cool guy, right? He'll get it.

1. The Itchy and Scratch and Poochie Show. My knob tastes funny. 7/10

2. Bart on the Road. Ah, the classic spring break episode. 9/10

3. And Maggie Makes Three. Story of Marge getting pregnant with Maggie. Good show, but not as good as the others from the sixth season. 8/10

4. Homer and Ned’s Hail Mary Pass. N/A

5. Tennis the Menace. N/A

6. Treehouse of Horror VIII. Damned French. I knew it was them. 6/10
7. A Tale of Two Springfields. I did see this one. Wish I hadn’t. 2/10

8. Homer the Heretic. Awesomely awesome. I predict it will make this guys’ Top 5. 11/10

9. A Star Is Torn. N/A

10. Marge in Chains. Another classic. Good Troy action. 11/10

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Respect the streak

A moment of rememberance, please. Fifty years ago on this day was one of baseball's greatest moments:
During an August 17, 1957 game, Ashburn hit a foul ball into the stands that struck spectator Alice Roth, wife of Philadelphia Bulletin sports editor Earl Roth, breaking her nose. When play resumed, Ashburn fouled off another ball that struck Roth while she was being carried off in a stretcher.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Random Simpsons

Hullo? Anybody still there? What’s wrong with you, man? Well, if you bothered to show up, the least I can do is Simpsonify your Friday, in a somewhat random fashion. To the Bee Mobile!

1. The Simpsons’ 138th Episode Spectacular. Probably the best clip show of any show ever, considering it was hosted by Troy McClure and featured several unaired clips. One of the deleted scenes was Krusty trying to get a spot on a hemorrhoid infomercial: “How about one of the "after" guys? Aah. Ohh, that's better. I can ride a bike again!” I use that line all the time. 8/10

2. Skinner’s Sense of Snow. Craptacular Christmas episode from 2000. A freak blizzard hits Springfield, trapping some kids along with Skinner and Willy at the school. Homer and Ned set out to rescue the kids, but in pretty much the only funny part of the show, they hit a fire hydrant and become completely encased in ice (“Stupid ice! I knew I’d die encased in something.”). They then start to hallucinate on the carbon monoxide fumes entering the car. 4/10

3. Faith Off. The chalkboard says “I will stop phoning it in,” which really feels like what they did for this episode. Bart becomes a faith healer (and sings an awful, awful song), and Homer kinda sorta goes back to hang with the nerds from the University. Boo. 2/10

4. Marge Simpson In “Screaming Yellow Honkers.” Another 10th season clunker. Marge gets a Canyonero SUV, becomes a road rager, etc. But man do I love that Canyonero. At least I love the commercial for it, which was in a different episode. 3/10

5. The Homer They Fall. Here we go. Homer discovers his thick skull prevents him from being able to be knocked out. Turn out Moe used to be a boxer (“They used to call me Kid Georgeous. Then they called me Kid Presentable. Then Kid Gruesome. Finally, Kid Moe”), and he convinces Homer to become a boxer (“Homer, of all the crazy ideas you've had, this one ranks somewhere in the middle.”). Lots of great Moe stuff here, way way better than the episode where he gets a face lift. 7/10

6. Homer Simpson, This is Your Wife. Wow, it took all the way til no. 6 before we got an episode I haven’t seen. N/A

7. Treehouse of Horror XVIII. Another no-see. I didn’t even know roman numerals went that high. N/A

8. Treehouse of Horror III. Perhaps the best ToH ever, and that’s with me mostly not caring for the second story. First story: A take-off on a Twilight Zone episode in which a doll comes to life with the aim of killing the guy who bought it, Homer buys a Krusty doll for Bart and, well, you get it. So many good lines. We’ve got “It comes with a free frogurt!”, “My baloney has a first name, it’s H-O-M-E-R,” and Patty’s illuminating line, “There goes the last thread of my heterosexuality.” Second story: King Kong, with Homer as the ape and Marge as the lady whose name I always forget. Kinda dumb, kinda lame, not many good lines. Third story: Definitely the best ToH segment ever. Bart finds a book in the Occult section of the public library and tries to bring back Snowball I, but instead he brings back all the town’s dead as zombies. “Is this the end of zombie Shakespeare?” “Dad, you killed zombie Flanders!”/”That was a zombie?” 10/10

9. The President Wore Pearls. I thought this one was going to be the one where we see into the future, and Lisa is the president and Bart is her Billy Carter-esque brother. I was wrong. N/A

10. The Principal and the Pauper. Well, at least I seen it. Turns out that Skinner’s an impostor; the real Skinner was supposedly blown up in Vietnam, and our man (real name Armin Tamzarian) took up his identity. As is often the case with the 8 through now seasons, there are lots of little bright spots, but just not enough to string it all together. One of the good moments is Skinner/Tamzarian’s new job, trying to get guys to go in to see a nudie show: “Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Capital City's nakedest ladies. They're not even wearing a smile. Nod suggestively. Yes, six, count 'em, six gorgeous ladies just dying...for your leers and cat calls. Yowsa, yowsa.” 4/10

That’s what we got. Feel free to tell me in the comments how much you agree with me about ToH 3. You got a better choice?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Eight Simple Rules for Dating Myself

Mr. Furious has shamed us about our recent lack of posting, and as punishment tagged us with the latest annoying blog meme -- "Eight Random Things You Probably Don't Know About Me."

I'm tempted to answer on behalf of the group, but a lot of those secrets I've sworn to take to the grave. So I'll address myself and let the others bare their troubled souls themselves. (A warning to parents: I-Rod's admissions should not be read by anyone under the age of 18.)

Here goes:

1. My first job was as a fry cook at Burger King at the ripe old age of 15. My co-workers liked to call me "the white kid."

2. I once had real aptitude and ability in mathematics, but it bored the hell out of me and I never explored it further than I had to for my college requirements. These days, I'm lucky if I can balance a checkbook correctly.

3. I'm a lifelong Chiefs fan, which means that I haven't experienced the thrill of victory since 1969, three years before I was born. When "Hank Stram" embodies your team's highlights, that's a sad, sad thing. On the bright side, courtesy of HBO's Hard Knocks series, I'm now getting valuable insight into the Chiefs training camp and an up close look at the impending disappointments of this season.

4. I'm the best parallel parker on the planet. I've had strangers roll down their windows to congratulate me on getting into an impossible spot. Jealous?

5. I had a string of car accidents as a teen -- t-boned by a pickup truck into a parking lot; hydroplaned into a fire hydrant; spun out on an icy patch on a back road, etc. etc. Like my namesake says, though, "Fifteen accidents and not a single fatality!"

6. I've probably seen a couple thousand rock concerts in my time, and as a result, I'm really looking forward to some awesome Pete Townsend style tinnitus when I grow older.

7. I'm a crossword junkie. I can do a Monday crossword from the New York Times in about four minutes, and the wife and I do the Sunday puzzle in pen every week. We usually wind up Googling for the opera clues, but other than that, we're unstoppable.

8. To explain the recent lack of blogging activity, we're expecting our first child -- a little girl -- in two months. We're thrilled, of course, but a lot of my time lately has been spent bracing for the impact. That unassembled baby crib isn't going to curse at itself, people!

Alright, I know I'm supposed to tag other people, but I'm lazy -- see #8 above -- and I'm just going to tap my co-bloggers. You're up, boys!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Friday Random Simpsons

It’s that time of the week again, when everyone’s thoughts turn to our favorite yellow friends. Don’t agree with my ratings? Deal with it! Or let me know about it in the comments.

1. Treehouse of Horror XVII. I generally love these episodes. Somehow, in college we turned these episodes into an excuse to drink. Wait, we did that every night. Anyway, this one is from last year; didn’t see it. N/A.

2. A Star Is Born-Again. Pretty good episode from 2003. Flanders starts dating a Hollywood starlet, and the homophobia and Hollywood jokes fly. “I’ve never met a man like you. You’re sensitive, in great shape, have a mustache, but you’re not gay”/”Oh, no way! I won’t even eat vegetables over 2 inches long!” 6/10

3. I Am Furious Yellow. Another decent outing from the blue years, this one from ’02. Bart starts writing a new comic book, “Angry Dude,” based on you know who. Whenever something makes Homer mad, such as when “When Dinosaurs Get Drunk” was cancelled and replaced with “The Boring World of Niels Bohr,” Bart animates it and sells it down at the comic book store. It ends up working pretty well as far as recent episodes go. And there’s nothing wrong with a little Stan Lee cameo. 6/10

4. Treehouse of Horror XI. Okay, I saw this one, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. Part 1, Homer dies and has to perform a good act to get into heaven. Part 2, retelling of Hanzel and Gretel, with Bart and Lisa performing to craptacular results. Part 3, Lisa discovers that dolphins are very intelligent and also aggressive, and they start chomping on Springfieldians in an attempt to take over the world. This may just be my least favorite ToH. 3/10

5. Bart the Fink. Bart gets Krusty arrested for tax fraud, so Krusty fakes his own death by crashing in his plane (named “I’m on a rolla gay”). Lisa and Bart track him down and convince him to come back. Best line: “What good is respect without the moolah to back it up. Everywhere I go I see teachers driving Ferraris, research scientists drinking champagne. I tried to drink a Coke on the bus, and they took away my pass!” As Krusty might say, meh. 5/10

6. Regarding Margie. From last May. No clue. N/A.

7. Lisa the Greek. Lordy, a classic from the third season, which is when I think the Simpsons really started hitting on all cylinders. Lisa wants Homer’s attention, so she helps him bet on football games. When she realizes that that’s all he cares about, she stops helping him right before the “big game.” So many great lines in this one. “Well, folks, when you're right 52% of the time, you're wrong 48% of the time.”/”Why didn't you say that before!!” “an I watch football with you again next Sunday?”/”Sure! You'll find it gets rid of the unpleasant aftertaste of church.” “... and when the doctor said I didn't have worms any more, that was the happiest day of my life.”/”Thank you, Ralph, very graphic.” 9/10

8. Lisa’s Rival. Wow, another Lisa episode, this time with an assist from Edgar A. Poe. A girl moves to town who is Lisa’s age but is a little bit better than her at everything. To make her look bad, Bart sabotages her science fare diorama of The Tell-Tale Heart by replacing it with a real cow’s heart. Ralph’s display of mint-condition Star Wars toys wins first prize. “Pre-packaged "Star Wars" characters, still in their display box? Are those the limited-edition action figures? It's Luke, and Obi-Wan, and my favorite, Chewie!” But show-stealer of this episode is the Homer plot, wherein he gets a haul of sugar from a jack-knifed sugar truck and hoards it in his back yard. “Homer, I really appreciate you making dinner, but this food tastes a little strange.”/”That's because I've loaded it with sugar!” But then Homer’s pile is swarmed by honey bees, causing the local beekeepers to come running, Adam West stylings and all. “You see, bees usually make a lot of noise. No noise -- suggests no bees!” 10/10

9. Behind the Laughter. Kinda cute mockup of one of those behind the scene shows, where the characters talk about the problems on the set of the Simpsons. Kinda cute, but not really cute. 6/10

10. Bart the Murderer. Another great one from year 3. Bart starts tending bar for Fat Tony. Bart tells Tony that Skinner is a problem, and the next thing you know Skinner’s gone missing. The government gets Tony to squeal, and the judge is just about to sentence Bart to death when Skinner appears. He had been trapped under a pile of newspapers in his garage (which some call a car hold). Like I said, great show, but would you look at the time? I’m all out. Score this baby yourself!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Why the internet is great: Bacon Edition

I love bacon, but not nearly as much as this lady.

She has taught me much. For example, did you know there was a resistance movement against the Baconator?

There is such a thing as bacon cotton candy? Good thing I ended my boycott of South Carolina because I'm smelling a road trip.

Now that I think of it, there are so many things that can be improved with bacon.

Newt: Low-Income Children Not Worth $1.00

It doesn’t exactly get top billing on CNN, especially when Lindsay Lohan might be drunk somewhere, but the house and senate are looking at bills to expand the Children’s Insurance Program (CHIP), a state-federal program to provide health insurance for the kids of families that are too poor to afford private health care but too “rich” to be on Medicaid (i.e., 200% of the poverty level). The house is suggesting a $50 billion expansion over 5 years; the senate says $35 B over 5 years (right now we’re spending about $5 billion a year on it, and it helps insure 6.6 million kids). Both bills would pay for the increase primarily with an increase in cigarette taxes, though the house also includes a reduction in Medicare payouts to private health care providers.

I know you’re not going to believe this, but the party of family values is dead set against the expansion. Oh, I’m sorry, they’re not against expansion: the president has graciously proposed an extra $5 billion over 5 years. The Congressional Budget Office predicts it’ll cost $14.4 billion just to keep CHIP funded at its current level, what with constant skyrocketing health care costs, so W’s basically offering a massive cut to the program.

But he’s an idiot, you say, no reasonable person is going to oppose a little funding to insure poor kids. Certainly no one who ever wants to win an election again (like Medicare and Social Security, the CHIP program is hugely popular with regular people). Well, you’re half right: enter the Newt!

This effort makes the left's intentions exceedingly clear: Through tax increases, political payoffs, and a slow bleeding of private health insurance, they seek to push the American people into Washington-controlled bureaucratic health care.

Yeah, that Washington-based health care, that stuff sucks. I mean, nothing that Washington does about health care is ever good. And I knew the left was behind it.

H.R. 3162 masquerades as a children's health insurance bill, but it actually sows the seeds of eliminating private insurance as we know it. And it begins by driving the private sector and all its innovations out of Medicare.

Okay, so one tiny exception to the Washington-based-health-care-is-crap thing: Medicare. Medicare isn’t totally awful.

If the budget cuts alone are not enough to drive private insurers out of Medicare, the policy changes to the program will surely be. One prohibits private insurers from offering alternative plan designs from traditional Medicare, meaning that many if not all the benefits outlined above would be illegal. But the left does not stop with Medicare.

Hmm. Sounds like Newt is saying that not only is Medicare tolerable, but it must be protected at all costs. And is Newt saying he’s against budget cuts? Dude, you’re off the reservation here.

But Newt doesn’t stop there. He warns us that this house bill contains a massive tax increase for all Americans, not just the smokers (who, by the way, cost us buttloads in health care costs). Perhaps the largest tax increase in history, right, Newt?

The left will say that this new tax increase amounts to little more than $1 on every senior and insured American and is hardly worth complaining about. But have you ever heard of a tax that wasn't increased? Remember that the top income tax bracket was only 1% at its inception. It reached 94 percent during the 1940s and stayed at 91 percent until the mid 1960s.

What the hell? You’re bitching about a $1.00 tax to insure millions of poor kids? That is freaking sick, man, sick. But at least you’re back on the reservation. And great job with the taxes-only-increase example. If the top income bracket was 91% in the 60s, it must be around 150% by now, right? Except that it’s 35%. Another homerun, Newtie.

Let's get real. CHIP is a massively popular program that helps millions of kids get the health care they need. A relatively small increase in funding would insure millions more. Of course it's not a perfect program, but revisions over the years have made it better and better. You'd have to be a heartless jackass who hates children to be against this bill. I wonder how the voting will turn out. . .

Update! The house passed the bill, largely on a party-line vote. Dig it:

But in the end, the Democrats had weapons that were just too powerful -- a promise to insure 5 million more children who otherwise would have no access to health care, adding to the 6 million children already covered -- and the backing of Republican and Democratic governors, the American Medical Association, AARP, the March of Dimes, the Catholic Health Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and even cyclist Lance Armstrong. And the prospects are good in the Senate, where a key Republican, Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), said, "It's difficult for me to understand how anyone wouldn't want to do this."
So pretty much everybody but the house republicans supports it. Oh wait, there's one other guy who's got their back. President 26% has threatened to veto it. Very compassionate of him.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Bridge to Indictment

The man who told us the internet is a series of tubes could have to worry about his own tube pretty soon:
Agents from the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service yesterday raided the Alaska home of Sen. Ted Stevens (R), as part of a broad federal investigation of political corruption in the state that has also swept up his son and one of his closest financial backers, officials said.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Random Simpsons

Okay, we've got a few real winners this week, so let's get to the action!

1. Last Exit to Springfield. Wow, pretend this is baseball and hit us a homer! One of the best episodes; actually picked the best Simpsons episode ever by Entertainment weekly. Clearly they haven’t seen Lisa the Vegetarian. But this one really is awesome. Homer becomes the head of the union at the power plant, mainly because Lisa needed braces (“Dental plan!! Lisa needs braces. Dental plan!! Lisa needs braces”); without the plan, she’ll have to get braces that you’re not allowed to get wet. Burns’ opening offer of a beer keg instead of a dental plan is tempting, but Homer forces him to negotiate. Homer thinks Mr. Burns’ negotiating language is laden with homo come-ons, and he says “Sorry Mr. Burns, but I don’t go in for any backdoor shenanigans. Sure I’m flattered, maybe a little curious, but the answer is no.” Meanwhile, the dentist breaks Ralph’s spirit by forcing him to look at the Big Book of British Smiles, Homer pees in one of Burns’ rooms, Burns falls out of a helicopter, Lisa plays “Classical Gas,” Homer screams when interviewed by Kent Brockman, and Monty quotes Ahab. And let’s not forget this show has the all-time Grandpa scene, the “onion on my belt, which was the style at the time” scene. “Gimme five bees for a quarter!” All this in less than 23 minutes. Incredible. 11/10

2. Bart of War. From the highest highs to the lowest lows. 14th season. Haven’t seen it. N/A.

3. Krusty Gets Kancelled. Okay, back in my wheelhouse. Gabbo takes the town by storm (“Look, Smithers, it’s Gahbo”). At first Krusty is nonchalant (“Oh yeah, I slaughtered the Special Olympics”), then he gets worried and starts offering kids $40 checks to watch his show (“checks will not be honored”), and next thing you know he’s off the air. Homer then tells us what we all know, that two wrongs make a right, and Bart and Lisa plan a Krusty komeback special. Bette Midler, the Chili Peppers, Liz Taylor, Johnny Carson all get a piece. Great episode, but I’m not remembering as many quotes as I’d like. Lil’ help? 9/10

4. My Sister, My Sitter. A so-so episode from one of the dark years, season 8. Lisa starts a babysitting business, and one night Homer and Marge hire her to babysit Bart. There’s some good moments, like when Rod and Todd get scared of the moths, Chief Wiggum discovers that instead of Bob Seeger tickets he bought Bob Sagget tickets, and Snake tells Doc Riviera that he “fell” on a bullet. But not that great a show. 5/10

5. Homerazzi. This season. Add it to the Netflix cue, I guess. N/A

6. Hungry Hungry Homer. Not too shabby, despite its ’01 vintage. The Simpsons go to Blockoland, where Homer constructs himself a healthy apple (Lisa: “You made that apple out of ham cubes”). After helping Lisa get a missing piece for her Blocko Eiffel tower, he decides he’s going to spend more time helping out the little guys. He convinces a girl to go out w/ Bart (“Bart has inner beauty, like you’d find in a rodent”), helps Marge get a free hair dye (“$400 a month for loafer lightener?”), and tries to get Lenny’s money back on a ticket for the Isotopes. He discovers the Topes are moving to Albuquerque, so he stages a hunger strike. The rest of the episode is him starving at the stadium, singing made up songs to get by: “I’m kinda like Jesus, but not in a sacrilegious way.” Lots of Duff man, which always helps. 6/10

7. Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish. Season 2, everyone loves it. Me, I’m not so high on it. For me, it was season 3 when the Simpsons really took off. The characters are just too raw, the drawings too primitive for me. Still, a really good episode, better than most (but not all) of the stuff after season 7. Burns decides to run for governor so he can relax the regulations on nuclear power plants after his attempt at bribing inspectors fails (“Mr. Burns, if I didn’t know better I’d say you were trying to bribe me”/ “Is there some confusion about this? Take it! Take it!”). Problem is, he’s got a 98% disapproval rating, aka Dubya territory. So in the great tradition of Lee Atwater, he decides to go negative on the state’s beloved governor. The night before the election he has dinner w/ the Simpsons, Marge serves a three-eyed fish, bla bla bla. 7/10

8. Rome-Oh and Julie-Eh. This season. Even the name isn’t funny. N/A

9. Homer the Smithers. Man, do I love this episode. Burns sends Smithers on a vacation. Homer is his assistant in the interim (“One of your organ banks from sector 7-G”). Homer has a rough couple days (“um, can you repeat the part of the stuff where you said all about the . . . things?”), and finally Homer punches Burns out. Burns is terrified and tries to call Smithers, but gets Moe, who says: “I’m gonna rip out your eyes and shove ‘em down your pants, so you can watch me kick the crap out of you.” Sweet. Really, this is another of those episodes where so much hilarious stuff happens, you just can’t fit it all in one paragraph. My favorite bit is when Homer reads Mr. Burns his phone messages: “You have 30 minutes to move your car; you have 10 minutes; your car has been impounded; your car has been crushed into a cube; you have 30 minutes to remove your cube.” The phone rings and Homer answers. Mr. Burns asks “Is it about my cube?” 10/10

10. When You Dish upon a Star. So, we finish with a suckfest (not the good kind). Alec Baldwin, Kim Bassinger, Ron Howard guest star. Nuff said. 3/10

Sure, the usual klunkers showed up, but so did some of my favorites. This might be the best FRS so far. Dig it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Are you ready for some football?

I mean, do you have a bucket and loaf of bread?
A couple who admitted locking a 7-year-old boy in his room with a bucket for a toilet while they watched Packers games at a casino received jail sentences Monday. Circuit Judge Jeffrey Wagner called the couple's actions "abhorrent" and ordered them to undergo psychological screening.

"What both of you did certainly shocks the conscience of the community," Wagner said.

Scott Scherer, 39, and Melanie Hardrath, 30, admitted locking Hardrath's son in his room with a loaf of bread, peanut butter and jelly, and a bucket that he would have to clean when they returned.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tetris + Geography = Stateris

If you think that naming all 50 states is a piece of cake, why not a real challenge: putting them in place Tetris-style.

The easy version has the names and rotation in place. The hard setting is just an unnamed spinning statelet.

Is That the Good Kind of "Poker"?

A headline that makes me want to be law abiding.

Prisoner Poker Could Crack Cold Cases

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Friday Random Simpsons - Extra Half-Assed Edition

I know how much all two of you look forward to the FRS, but I’m afraid the usual 10 has been downsized to 5, at least for this week. Maybe it’s the war in Iraq, maybe it’s the state of Social Security, maybe it’s the trade deficit, but something’s got me down. Oh wait, it’s because I ran over my laptop today. Technically, Mrs. T ran over it, but that’s because I left it leaning against the car. Yeah, I’m smart like that. On to the fabulous five!

1. Mayored to the Mob. From the 10th season, memorable mainly for featuring Mark Hamill in a dinner stage show, performing “Luke be a Jedi Tonight.” (“Homer! Use the for . . .”/ “The Force?”/ “No, the forks!”) Homer ends up being Quimby’s bodyguard, and he learns that the mayor is mobbed up. One thing Fat Tony is doing is selling milk from rats to the schools. The image of a thousand rats being milked has not left my brain to this day. 6/10

2. Hurricane Neddy. This one is all Ned, all the time, and it’s sweet (unlike those weird episodes after Maude’s death.) A hurricane destroys Flander’s house but leaves Homer’s intact, and then the town gets together to build them a house even worse than something Haliburton would build. It crumbles, Ned snaps, and then he’s admitted to a sanitarium. There we learn (through hilarious flashbacks to when he was the child of beatniks) that as a boy Flanders was subjected to a series of treatments at the Spankalogical Institute. Repeated spankings made him the annoying goody two shoes we all know and love, but repressing all his anger has made him nuts. So the docs try to unleash his anger by having Homer talk to him. Classic lines: “Past instances in which I professed to like you were fraudulent.”/” Ned Flanders, I mock your value system.”/”I engaged in intercourse with your spouse or significant other – Now that’s psychiatry!” I could go on. 8/10

3. Lisa the Beauty Queen. Classic stuff, here. Lisa realizes she’s ugly, so Homer gives up his free ticket for a blimp ride (“Hey, there, blimpy boy, flyin’ through the sky so fancy free”) to enter her in a beauty contest. Lots of good stuff here, but my favorite bit is Homer explaining to Bart why it’s good to compliment females: “When it comes to compliments, women are ravenous blood-sucking monsters, always wanting more, more, MORE!” 9/10

4. Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? From the second season, when things were starting to heat up. Still, not a great episode. Homer discovers he has a half brother, Herb. Herb is a auto tycoon, and he brings the Simpsons to Detroit to visit. He hires Homer to design a car, the car flops, the company goes bankrupt, and I don’t laugh much. Danny Devito as Homer’s half brother? No thanks. 3/10

5. The Great Louse Detective. Whew, that was a close call. I thought I was going to have a whole five straight episodes that I’d actually seen. This one, I have no clue. And it’s a Sideshow Bob episode. I usually love those. The summary sure don’t sound good, though. N/A.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Get Out the Forks

Mrs. Thrillhous, a Va Tech grad and big-time Hokie sports fan, e-mailed to ask me why I haven't posted about Michael Vick, aka Ron Mexico, aka Ookie, aka "That Bong Is Also a Water Bottle." I don't know, maybe it's because I'm busy raising our daughter??? Snap.

But the kid is doing something she rarely ever does right now, that is, nap. So let's talk Ookie. The dude is done. Career over. No more endorsements (except maybe from a cattle prod company).

In case you haven't heard (and if you haven't, then you must be in some undisclosed location w/ no TV, radio, internet, or Morse code device), Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick was indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury for dog fighting. While dog fighting itself is Pulp Fiction gross, the details provided in the indictment are Faces of Death gross. Dogs that didn't fight well were executed, sometimes by gunshot, but sometimes by hanging, electrocuting, or slamming their bodies on the ground.

Ah yes, that last bit is what ends Ookie's career. Dog fighting is bad, but it could count as bad-boy behavior, something he's learned from and is a better person for, bla bla bla. Executing dogs by gunshot might be survivable, if he cried and hugged some dogs and cried some more (and took the Falcons to the Super Bowl). But the electrocution and hanging and slamming? Can't come back from that.

Now, Vick wasn't the only one indicted. Three other guys are named, and it could be those guys who did the gruesome stuff. But it doesn't matter. Once folks hear the descriptions of the killings and then hear the name Michael Vick somewhere in the same story, they'll set their phasers to Outrage and let Vick have it. Besides, who's going to get any gratification from villifying P-Funk?

Messing with people's favorite animals is like messing with their emotions. And unless your name is Mitt Romney, you're probably going to be calling for Vick's head.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Business Time

If you haven't experienced the wonders of HBO's new comedy series "Flight of the Conchords," here's a clip of New Zealand's 4th most popular folk duo doing a song that was featured on Sunday's show. Enjoy.

In Which StudioDave's Real Identity Is Revealed

Sorry dude, but you really deserve it this time.

LARGO, Fla. (AP) - A 38-year-old man was arrested after he called 911 and told a dispatcher he was surrounded by police officers and needed help, authorities said.

Police officers met Dana Farrell Shelton after being called to investigate a disturbance at a bar on Sunday but had found no problems and told him to move along.
Shelton, who officers said appeared intoxicated, then called 911 to report he was "surrounded by Largo police," according to an arrest affidavit.

"Appears intoxicated" was Studio's yearbook quote in college.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday Random Simpsons

It's that time of the week again, when we're all looking for a way to run out the clock while appearing to be busy. Simpsons, take us away!

1. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Marge. Even though this is from the 11th season, I liked this one. It features the one and only Otto Man who, it turns, out, has a girlfriend, Becky. He proposes to her (with “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” playing), and the Simpsons host the weddings. You can’t ever have enough Poison, so Otto hires a Poison cover band to do the wedding. Becky admits she hates heavy metal (gasp!), Otto runs off, and the Simpsons are stuck w/ Becky. From here on the show isn’t as hot, and there’s definitely a lot less Poison. 5/10

2. Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase. This ep has three spin-offs that somehow never made it past the pilot. Two are hilarious, one makes me want to stick forks in my eyes. The first is Chief Wiggum’s own show, where he’s a private detective in New Orleans (pre-Brownie). Lots of great bits: the warning gator (its teeth were corked); the Chief’s description of Ralph (“caucasian male, between the ages of six and ten, thinning hair”); Ralph’s bedwetting problem: “These rubber pants are making me hot”/”You wear ‘em til you learn, son.” The next show is Grandpa Simpson as the love tester in Moe’s bar. Kinda campy, kinda corny, but some good Grandpa and Moe action: “’Go near Moe.’ I’d say that’s a pretty strong endorsement”; “Fact is, I invented kissing. It was during World War 1, and they were looking for a new way to spread germs . . .”; “I've suffered so long, why can't I die?” The third show was a variety show. It was awful, every moment of it. Really good episode until that clunker of a variety show. 7/10

3. The Way We Weren't. Fifteenth season. Didn’t see it, don’t know nothing. N/A

4. Milhouse Of Sand And Fog. Seventeenth season. See number 3. N/A

5. All Singing, All Dancing. As the title suggests, this was a musical episode. I truly loathe the Simpsons singing episodes. Nothing good to say about any of them. Okay, I liked the Lee Marvin – Clint Eastwood “Paint your Wagon” bit, just a little. 2/10

6. The Regina Monologues. See nos. 3 and 4. N/A

7. Bart vs. Lisa vs. The Third Grade. I am just now realizing how little Simpsons I”ve watched the last few years. N/A

8. Two Bad Neighbors. Hell YES!!!!11!!!! One of my very favorite episodes. Bush Sr. and Bar move in across the street from the Simpsons, and hilarity ensues. Bart and Homer hate Bush, while Ned Flanders and Sr. become the best of friends. Every moment of this episode is so great I could stick forks in my eyes. Like the opening scene, where there’s a neighborhood yard sale and Homer starts singing about Table 5 to the tune of “Stayin’ Alive.” Some great lines: “Having accomplished all my goals in one term, there was no need for another”; “It’s all in the Bible, son. It’s the prankster’s Bible”; Big deal! When I was a pup, we got spanked by Presidents till the cows came home. Grover Cleveland spanked me on two nonconsecutive occasions.” I could watch this one over and over. 11/10

9. Crook and Ladder. And, the crap is back. 18th season. boo. N/A

10. Homer Badman. What a way to finish! Back to the sweet zone. This episode kicks off with Homer and Marge going to a candy con, where Homer steals the uber-rare Gummy de Milo. When he’s taking the babysitter home he sees that the gummy is stuck to the babysitter’s butt; he tries to peal it off, she claims sexual harassment. Looks even worse when the TV mag “Rock Bottom” does an expose of him, where they rearrange some audio clips of Homer to make him say “ Then I noticed she was sitting on [splice] her sweet [splice] can. [splice] -- o I grab her -- [splice] sweet can. Oh, just thinking about [splice] her [splice] can [splice] I just wish I had he -- [splice] sweet [splice] sweet [splice] s-s-sweet [splice] can.” (stolen directly from the Simpsons archive) But that’s not the only classic line: “It’s hard not to listen to the TV. It’s spent so much more time raising us than you have”; “Marge, they can't carry enough candy! They have puny little muscles, not big ropy ones like you.” Comedy gold. 10/10

Well, there were some real duds in there, but it got better at the end. Kind of the reverse of most of my Friday nights. Feel free to drop good memories (or bad) in the comments.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I guess that explains the moustache

Now this sounds like a rough neighborhood.
As a child of 11, guitarist Kirk Hammett watched in horror as his pet dog Tippy was penetrated by the guy next door. That's just one of many jaw-dropping facts we learn about ultimate rock monsters METALLICA in the new issue of British magazine Q.

Hammett explains: "I went to my neighbor's. The guy took down his pants and started having sex with the dog! I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. When he got up, I just took the dog and left. She was still wagging her tail."

Discrimination v Discrimination

This club is exclusive, so don't tell them that you're Jewish.
A Christian fraternity alleging discrimination is taking the University of Florida to court.

Beta Upsilon Chi's lawsuit says the university refuses to recognize it as a registered student group.

According to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Gainesville, school officials told the group it can't be registered because only Christian men are eligible for membership.

The organization that governs the university's Greek system prohibits religious discrimination.

Sounds like a job for the ACLU.

Chertoff's Guts

A few days ago, Homeland Security boss Michael Chertoff told the Chicago Tribune that he had no real reason to suspect a terrorist attack, but he had a "gut feeling" one was coming. This comment has gotten all sorts of people hepped up. What could be giving him this feeling, if he doesn't have any actual evidence?

My guess: he's talked to enough people in this administration to realize just how incompetent they are:
Undercover congressional investigators posing as West Virginia businessmen obtained a license with almost no scrutiny from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that enabled them to buy enough radioactive material from U.S. suppliers to build a "dirty bomb," a new government report says.
I don't know who the Bush crony is that's running the NRC, but I think he or she is due for a "heckuva job" call.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What a wookiee

Looks like we'll get a chance to see the actual Chewbacca defense:
A Chewbacca impersonator is accused of sexually assaulting a Marilyn Monroe impersonator in front of the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood in June. The wookie then reportedly evaded arrest, police said.

This article includes a sentence that rivals this one in entertainment value.
Chewbacca, whose real name was not available, fled before police arrived.

Trivia: did you know that the language spoken by wookiees is Shyriiwook?

Monday, July 09, 2007

Enter Taleban

I think somebody ran into a Napster fan.
James Hetfield, frontman of US metal rockers Metallica, was detained at a British Airport before his appearance at London's Live Earth gig on Saturday.

Seven Wonders My Ass

As you may have heard, some jerks recently composed a list of the 7 new wonders of the world. Here they are: the Great Wall of China, the Colosseum, the Chichen Itza pyramid, some statue in Brazil, Machu Pichu, and the ancient city of Petra. That's right, an entire city made the list.

These things are all OLD. They had their shot at the original list of 7 wonders of the ancient world, and they muffed it. We need a real 7 wonders list for the modern world. I will accept no list that doesn't begin, and perhaps end, with this.

That's 10,660 beer cans. Just try to tell me it doesn't bring a tear to your eye. Other wonders on my list would be the Daytona International Speedway, the Las Vegas Strip, and the water tower in South Carolina off I-85 that's supposed to look like a peach but mostly looks like a gigantic ass.

Okay, so I can't think of seven, and all but one of mine are in the states. Lemme see you do better.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Friday Random Simpsons

Otto Man's busy taking care of some legal business today (he swears he thought the cop was a prostitute), so I'm stepping in to talk Simpsons. The mighty Simpsons randomizer (hat tip to the lovely and threatening Mrs. T for its creation) has produced a list with some big hits and some big misses, so lets get swingin'!

1) Thank God It's Doomsday. Oy, not how I wanted to start. This one's from a couple years ago, when my Simpsons watching was inconsistent at best. I have seen bits of it, though. Basically, Homer sees the movie "Left Below," a rip on the "Left Behind" series, and thinks the end of time is coming. That's pretty much all I got. If anyone liked this one, or can remember, like, one line, lemme know. 2/10

2) I'm with Cupid. Slightly better, but only slightly. Manjula's mad at Apu for being a workaholic, so Apu does a series of romantic things to make her happy (yeah, like that works in real life). The other men in Springfield decide he's making them look bad, so they try to sabotage his plans. There are a few good lines, of course. Apu covers his and Manjula's bed with wild flowers, which amazes Marge. Manjula asks if Homer's done anything like that, and she says "sometimes I find a pickle in the sheets." Sounds familiar. 4/10

3) Homerpalooza. Oh yeah, here's the good stuff. Homer is shocked to discover he's no longer cool ("You guys don't know Grand Funk?"), so he takes the kids to Hullabalooza, where he gets shot in the belly with a cannonball. Everyone loves it, so he goes on tour with the show. Cypress Hill, Peter Frampton, and the Smashing Pumpkins ("hi, we're Smashing Pumpkins"/"I'm Homer Simpsons, smiling politely") star. Flashbacks to Homer's youth are icing on the cake. 7/10

4) Please Homer, Don't Hammer 'Em. From this season. No clue. Can't even rate it.

5) Lisa The Vegetarian. Jackpot!! This may be my favorite episode of all time. Lisa becomes disgusted with the idea of eating meat and goes veg. Homer plans a huge BBBBQ ("that extra B's a typo"). Lisa suggests he serves salad, to which he replies "You can't win friends with salad." Those are words I live by, my friends. There's also the great bit where Homer asks Lisa if she'll ever eat ham, bacon, or pork chops, and she tells him they're all from the same animal. Homer says "Right Lisa, a wonderful, magical animal." I really really love this episode. 10/10

6) Bart's Comet. Another great episode. The main plot is about a comet that's about to hit Springfield, but my favorite part is the beginning, where Skinner is trying to launch a weather balloon. Bart gets his hands on it and alters it to look like Skinner's buttocks, and he attaches a big sign that says "Hi, I'm Big Butt Skinner." That just kills me. Anyway, congress is about to vote on a bill to authorize a big military mission to divert the comet, but at the last minute someone tries to tack on a provision giving money to the "perverted arts." Sweet. 7/10

7) The Dad Who Knew Too Little. From '03, and you can tell the vintage. Good one-liners, but not enough to string together a whole show. Lisa realizes Homer knows almost nothing about her, so he hires a private detective to find help him learn about her. Yeah, it kind of feels like they do this show every three years or so. 4/10

8) The Wife Aquatic. This one aired in January. No clue, yet again. I read the synopsis at snpp.com, and it sounds pretty lousy. No rating.

9) Lady Bouvier's Lover. A classic Abe Simpson episode from season 5. Abe falls for Marge's mom, and before you know it they're an item. But then Mr. Burns woos her away from him and almost marries her. In the end she doesn't want to marry anyone, she just wants to watch Matlock. Which is fine with Abe, and they ride off into the sunset (going in the direction of the retirement home). A favorite line from this episode comes when Marge gets mad at Homer for not doing a good job frosting her birthday cake: "You mean it's not Maggagie's birthday?" 8/10

10) Pray Anything. Not a great ending to the list. Another Homer-God one, and nowhere near as good as the one where Homer decides he doesn't have to go to church on Sundays anymore. It is kinda cool that the Lovejoys have to live with the Flanders, but that only gets you so far. 3/10

Now let's all have some salad.

Miracles of choice

Quick, how many people are running for President of the United States? About 20, you say? You are so wrong. Try more than 100.

If you aren't satisfied with the current frontrunners, then why not shop around?

My favorite might be this guy.
Jackson Kirk Grimes — 56, a single pagan with a GED who once portrayed Hitler on "Star Trek," this director of the United Fascist Union (which promotes the economic theories and political ideologies of Benito Mussolini and Saddam Hussein) and two-time presidential candidate promises to abolish paper money and create a global government if elected.

However, I am intrigued by Yaphet Kotto's "vibration politics." Yes, that Yaphet Kotto. If it has anything to do with Frank Pembleton getting Dick Cheny in the box, I'm all for it.

Death is not funny

But really, the first sentence of this article comes pretty close.
Exposure to methane gas led to the deaths of four family members and a farmhand, but whether they suffocated from the fumes or drowned in 18 inches of liquefied cow manure may never be known, authorities said.

The History Boys

In the latest issue of Vanity Fair, David Halberstam has reached out from beyond the grave to smack the taste right out of the president's mouth.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

With relish

We may be losing the democracy war at home, but we can now add the belt of hot dog eating champ around our gigantic waists.
Joey "Jaws" Chestnut unseated the six-time defending champion in Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest on Wednesday, eating 66 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes.

Six-time winner Takeru Kobayashi of Japan, nursing a sore jaw after wisdom tooth surgery, scarfed down 63 hot dogs. Last year, he edged out Chestnut by nearly two dogs, eating a then-record 53 and three-quarters to Chestnut's 52.

Chestnut, who hails from San Jose, California, set a record with Wednesday's feat of eating 66 hot dogs, the event's organizers said.

Not since Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali in the 1971 bout coined the "Fight of the Century" have two contestants battled so hard. Perhaps.

At one point, Kobayashi expelled some of his half-mashed hot dogs from his mouth; those did not count in his total.

Chestnut toiled beside him, a vein throbbing in his forehead and his face bright red.

The Madness of King George

In light of today's commemoration of the movement for American independence, I thought we might take the time to compare and contrast the list of complaints we had back then about King George III and the complaints we have today against King George IV.

Here they are in full. Complaints about the old monarch in italics; comparisons for the new one are, fittingly, in a regular-folks font you'd like to have a beer with. They start off slow and small, but pick up some nice momentum midway through the list.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

Refused his assent to laws? Well, the current king has done that both in whole and, more frustrating, in part. Check!

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

The language is a little arcane, but I think this series of events qualifies. Check!

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

Denying representation for a "large district of people"? Check.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

Unusual, uncomfortable, and distant? Sounds like the Crawford "ranch" to me. Check.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

We haven't had the Reichstag fire moment. Yet.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

Well, on this one, King George IV has actually been encouraging more immigration, but his usual incompetence has ensured the issue won't be resolved for years now. We'll call this one a push.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

Obstruction of justice? Why does that sound familiar? Check.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

Well, the judges are certainly dependent on his will, but sadly, they haven't been bent to his will as much as other supposedly independent agents of the law. Check!

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

Multitude of new offices? Check. Harrassing our people? Oh, hell yes. Check.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

On this one, King George IV is in the clear.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

A rift between civilian leaders and military heads? Check.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

His assent to acts of pretended legislation? That sounds familiar. Check!

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

Well, sure. Not really a complaint anymore, but check.

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

Yeah, I think the current monarch is in the clear on this count.

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

He hasn't cut off trade with the rest of the world, but he's certainly made it harder to do business there and ensured our dollar won't go as far. Check!

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

This is clearly one sin that King George IV has not committed.

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

Pfft. Trial by jury? How about depriving us of the writ of habeas corpus? Check!

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

Well, it's not exactly "us," but it's being done in our name, which is worse. Check.

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

Abolishing our system of laws in a neighboring land? Check!

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

Altering fundamentally the forms of our government? So many places to cover with this one, but I think I'll settle with this small change. Check!

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

Hmmm. He hasn't exactly suspended the legislature, but he does tend to pull off some sneaky moves when the legislature is in recess. Check!

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

Abdicated government? Left us on our own? Check!

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

Ravaged coast? Burnt town? Lives destroyed? Heckuva job, kingy! Check!

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

Let's see. We have the armies of mercenaries and we have the use of foreigners for cruelty & perfidy. Check and check!

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

Hmm. It's not exactly shanghai'ing travelers, but we do have soldiers and sailors kept in the service long past their terms and against their will. Check!

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

At first I didn't think this applied to King George IV at all, but on closer inspection, he has been working with the Indians and making them mad. Check!

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Ignored the people? Ignored their representatives? Check and check.

In the end, it looks like our King George matches up on 22 of the 27 charges against the last King George. That's more than an 80% match, and remember, that's simply judging the current monarch by the crimes of the last one. There's tons of shady stuff that King George IV has pulled off that King George III couldn't even comprehend, and we've barely even scratched the surface of Iraq, Enron, Halliburton, and all the rest.

So keep your chin up, George. You may have no way to escape your status as our Worst President Ever, but you could trade up to Most Hated Monarch if you really put your heart into it.

Mark Twain on George W. Bush

Ed.: Reposted to honor the meaning of Independence Day

Mark Twain is, without contest, my favorite author of all time.

More than any writer before or since, Twain somehow managed to combine excellent story-telling, first-class sarcasm, and biting social commentary in a nice tight package. I've always loved him for the first two traits, but the more and more this country comes under the sway of the Banana Republicans, I'm really appreciating his clear-eyed take on patriotism and democracy.

For instance, take this passage from The Papers of the Adams Family:
Against our traditions we are now entering upon an unjust and trivial war, a war against a helpless people, and for a base object — robbery. At first our citizens spoke out against this thing, by an impulse natural to their training. Today they have turned, and their voice is the other way.

What caused the change? Merely a politician's trick — a high-sounding phrase, a blood-stirring phrase which turned their uncritical heads: Our Country, right or wrong! An empty phrase, a silly phrase. It was shouted by every newspaper, it was thundered from the pulpit, the Superintendent of Public Instruction placarded it in every schoolhouse in the land, the War Department inscribed it upon the flag.

And every man who failed to shout it or who was silent, was proclaimed a traitor — none but those others were patriots. To be a patriot, one had to say, and keep on saying, "Our Country, right or wrong," and urge on the little war. Have you not perceived that that phrase is an insult to the nation?

For in a republic, who is "the Country"? Is it the Government which is for the moment in the saddle? Why, the Government is merely a servant — merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them. Who, then, is "the country?" Is it the newspaper? Is it the pulpit? Is it the school-superintendent? Why, these are mere parts of the country, not the whole of it; they have not command, they have only their little share in the command. They are but one in the thousand; it is in the thousand that command is lodged; they must determine what is right and what is wrong; they must decide who is a patriot and who isn’t.

In a monarchy, the king and his family are the country; in a republic it is the common voice of the people. Each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own responsibility, must speak. And it is a solemn and weighty responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government, or the empty catch-phrases of politicians. Each must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may. If you alone of all the nation shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country — hold up your head! You have nothing to be ashamed of.

Only when a republic's life is in danger should a man uphold his government when it is in the wrong. There is no other time.

This Republic's life is not in peril. The nation has sold its honor for a phrase. It has swung itself loose from its safe anchorage and is drifting, its helm is in pirate hands.
"The nation has sold its honor for a phrase." I can't think of a better single-sentence condemnation of the Bush Administration's empty slogans and dead hearts.

I want my goddamn country back. I only hope there's enough of it left to salvage once the Bush gang gets done stripping it for parts.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Commute Button

I'm watching the White House press briefing over the Scooter Libby commutation, and fifteen minutes in, I can't believe the referee hasn't stopped the fight. After nearly seven years of bullshit, the press corps finally seems to have gotten angry. Tony Snow is getting the everloving shit kicked out of him, and it looks like even he doesn't believe the nonsense coming out of his mouth.

I'm reminded of that old Faith No More video that ends with the fish flopping on the floor until it dies. Except Tony looks even worse.

Update: This was such a laugher of a press briefing, I knew Crooks and Liars would have the video up as quick as they could. They haven't disappointed, and the full assault on Tony Snow is now available here.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bush to Rule of Law: Drop Dead!

Paris Hilton did more time behind bars than Scooter Libby will.

U-S-A. U-S-A.

Life Imitates Bart

Finally, a reason to go to 7-Eleven besides their wonderful selection of Skoal products.

Over the weekend, 7-Eleven Inc. turned a dozen stores into Kwik-E-Marts, the fictional convenience stores of "The Simpsons" fame, in the latest example of marketers making life imitate art.

Those stores and most of the 6,000-plus other 7-Elevens in North America will sell items that until now existed only on television: Buzz Cola, KrustyO's cereal and Squishees, the slushy drink knockoff of Slurpees.

Happy Fourth Anniversary!

That's right, it was four years ago today that these words of wisdom fell from the lips of the Decider:
There are some who feel like -- that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is: Bring 'em on. We've got the force necessary to deal with the security situation.
When the authoritative histories of this administration are written, scholars will have quite literally thousands of dumb lines from C-Plus Augustus to illustrate the insanity (and inanity) of these days. But this one will likely merit a chapter of its own.

(Thanks to Atrios for reminding us of the moment.)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Booty Recall

Hey baby, I was eating this raw chicken and was thinking about you.
A popular snack food sold nationwide is being recalled because of concerns about contamination. All lots and sizes of Veggie Booty Snack Food are being recalled, the company said, following a report of 51 cases of salmonella poisoning that may be associated with the product.

I have nothing to add, I just came up with the headline and had to use it.

Friday Random Simpsons

Alright, let's do this thing.

1. "$pringfield (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)" -- This is a classic episode, centered around Mr. Burns' building a casino (and quickly going Howard Hughes crazy), Bart setting up a rival casino in his treehouse, and Marge succumbing to the awesome might of Gamblor and his neon claws. Tons of terrific lines here: "Smithers, I've designed a new plane. I call it the 'Spruce Goose,' and it will carry two hundred passengers from New York's Idlewild Airport to the Belgian Congo in seventeen minutes!" "I'm afraid Robert Goulet hasn't arrived yet, sir." "Very well; begin the thawing of Jim Nabors." "You made her cry. Then I cried. Then Maggie laughed -- she's such a little trooper." Pretty damn good. 9/10

2. "Lemon of Troy" -- I know a lot of people love this episode from the sixth season about the Springfield-Shelbyville fight over the town's lemon tree, but I tend to run a little hot and cold with it. It did, however, contain an exchange between Bart and Martin that led to a name for my fantasy football team: "Milhouse, you and me will be Omega Team. Todd, you and Data are Team Strike Force. Nelson, that leaves you and Martin." "Team Discovery Channel!" Plus, a classic moment where Milhous meets his doppelganger: "So this is what it feels like ... when doves cry!" 7/10

3. "Dog of Death" -- This is a third-season episode, where the family has to scrimp and save for an operation for Santa's Little Helper. Some nice bits, especially this exchange:
Smithers: People like dogs, Mr. Burns.
Burns: Nonsense, dogs are idiots. Think about it Smithers, if I came into your room and started sniffing at your crotch and slobbering all over your face, what would you say?
Smithers: Umm...if you did it, sir?
They're still finding their way here, but a solid one. 6/10

4. "Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington" -- A classic episode, when Lisa ... uh ... goes to Washington, to compete in a patriotic essay contest, only to have her faith in democracy shattered when she learns her congressman is corrupt. A coherent plot, with some nice lines. Since Trong won the essay contest, I'll let him have the honor here too: "When my family arrived in this country four months ago, we spoke no English and had no money in our pockets. Today, we own a nationwide chain of wheel-balancing centers. Where else but in America, or possibly Canada, could our family find such opportunity? That's why, whenever I see the Stars and Stripes, I will always be reminded of that wonderful word: flag!" U-S-A! U-S-A! 8/10

5. "There's No Disgrace Like Home" -- According to this series of tubes I'm on, this was the fourth episode of the show ever aired. It focuses directly on the family's dysfunctions, with them seeking treatment at the hands of the never-popular Dr. Marvin Monroe, which leads them to a group electroshock therapy session. The episode is fairly weak by later standards, but it is noticeable for featuring what I'd assume would be Mr. Burns' first threat to release the hounds. 4/10

6. "Wild Barts Can't Be Broken" -- The one where the town imposes a curfew for all children, and the kids respond by broadcasting all the adults' secrets. Some nice lines: "Well if kids are so innocent, why is everything bad named after them? Acting childish, kidnapping, child abuse ..." "We gotta spread this stuff around. Let's put it on the internet!" "No! We have to reach people whose opinions actually matter!" Not bad, not great. 6/10

7. "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore" -- A fairly recent episode that fuses together two completely different storylines -- one in which Patty and Selma meet Richard Dean Anderson, the actor who played MacGyver, and another in which the power plant is moved to India and Homer rules over the world of outsourced labor. I don't remember liking this one at all, and looking it over, couldn't even find a decent quote. Pfft. 2/10

8. "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" -- One from the fifth season, when Bart witnesses the Freddy Quimby incident but is unable to attest to his innocence because it would mean admitting he skipped school. Lots and lots of terrific lines here. "Please excuse my handwriting, I busted whichever hand it is I write with. Signed, Mrs. Simpson." "Why, there are no children here at the four-H club, either! Am I so out of touch...? No. No, it's the children who are wrong." "Happy birthday, Freddy! And may all your disgraces be private." "Now, it's illegal to televise court proceedings in this state, so ... [whispers] we'll have to be quiet." "I know you can read my thoughts, Bart. Just a little reminder: if I found out you cut class, your ass is mine. Yes, you heard me. I think words I would never say." "... where we'll get a free room, free food, free swimming pool, free HBO -- Ooh! 'Free Willy'!" "This is an outrage! I am not a clumsy Clouseau-esque waiter." Solid all the way through. 9/10

9. "Bonfire of the Manatees" -- A recent one, where Homer's gambling debts lead him to let Fat Tony film pornos at his house, which leads Marge to a crush on a marine biologist. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I never saw this. Anyone? N/A

10. "Barting Over" -- This was the 300th episode of the show, but a fairly lame one. Bart gets a "divorce" from his family and moves into a downtown loft apartment where Tony Hawk is his neighbor. I did see this one, but I'm still drawing a blank on anything really worth remembering. Little help? 2/10

Man, I was all over the place today. Some great stuff, and some real dreck. Have at them.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Quote of the day

Courtesy ex-ex-gay:
"God's love and forgiveness does indeed change people," said Bussee, who remains an evangelical Christian. "It changed me. It just didn't make me straight."

Mushy hearts, mushy heads

Look, the kids are all right.
Young Americans are more likely than the general public to favor a government-run universal health care insurance system, an open-door policy on immigration and the legalization of gay marriage, according to a New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll.

With an army of youth like this, we can accompish anything. What's that you say?
The poll also found that they are more likely to say the war in Iraq is heading to a successful conclusion.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Belatedly Yours

I just realized we spaced on our two-year anniversary, which was this past Sunday. So, uh ... hooray for us!

A special thanks to the 88,000 visitors who presumably wound up here through a Google search gone horribly, horribly wrong.

As a token of our appreciation, feel free to get drunk and stroll through the archives.

"Poor Little Fella...."

Courtesy of Time's Swampland blog, i'm happy to pass along this anecdote that confirms my suspicion that Willard Mitt Romney is a deeply weird man.
Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family's hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon's roof rack. He'd built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.


As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ''Dad!'' he yelled. ''Gross!'' A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who'd been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.

As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.
Yeah, I'll buy "emotion-free" as the right adjective. Sure, "heartless" and "robotic" might have been better words for a man who strapped the family dog to the roof of the car and then headed onto the highway. But "emotion-free" gets there.