Wednesday, August 31, 2005

DVD Review - Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera... 

Finally got around to the Netflix pile over the weekend, and saw the movie version of Phantom of the Opera. You've heard the music probably, and either you like it or you don't. The film does a decent job with the music, particularly Emmy Rossum as Christine. The movie shows true daring, however, in the casting of a woman in the role of Raoul. The lesbian love affair adds a whole new layer to the Phantom's jealousy, as well as Christine's desire to keep the relationship secret. At the same time...



Raoul was a dude?


You sure?

Well, in that case, never mind. It wasn't that good.

Restore my faith in the jury system... 

OK, a guy arrested for drunk driving tries to foil the breath test by...let's just say, placing an organic compound in his mouth.

Now, even if he had managed to prevent the instrument from registering, would he have been terribly credible claiming he was perfectly safe to drive?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Atlanta weathermen suck... 

Seriously, the biggest bunch of chicken littles you'll ever come across. We had some pretty bad weather here in Atlanta last night, which was of course nothing compared to what people in Mississippi and Louisiana had to deal with. But did that stop our local news giants from acting like the hand of God himself was descending itself to smite us for continuing to pretend that the Hawks are really an NBA team?

It did not. This take on what we were told was coming is pretty much dead on. Sample of our local Dan Rather wannabe's attempt at manufactured emergency:
The media initially projected, as a conservative estimate, the destruction of all life in our solar system, beginning with Atlanta. I think the reason so many of us narrowly escaped with our lives is because the hurricane did not, technically, pass through here. It hit mostly two states to the West, which sounds really far away until you calculate the distance between the Earth and Pluto, in which case you realize what a close call we had, at least in astronomical terms.
And they weren't big states either, like Texas or Alaska. Sure, Alabama ain't small, but that's north to south. East to west, crossing Alabama's like crossing a street. Then it's just several hundred miles to the southwest and you're right there.

The price of not being able to catch the $%&*ing ball... 

Atlanta Falcons cut overpriced and inappropriately named receiver Peerless Price.

Price's last words on his way out of town? "I hate y'all."

The price of peace... 

Sharon's withdrawl from Gaza may get him unelected, as Benjamin Netanyahu has announced his plan to run for leadership of the Likud party.

Netanyahu is running on the principle that concessions to the Palestinians gain Israel nothing. Anyone want odds on the Palestinians doing anything to disprove Netanyahu's thesis?

Monday, August 29, 2005

Somebody send this guy to Camp Casey - pronto! 

El Salvadoran troops serving in Iraq believe in their cause, and are willing to return.

Ace of Spades has further comments.

You know whose fault this is? Reagan's. All that mucking about in Central America led to this, I say.

Vacation resort, for sale - cheap 

Former headquarters of Aryan Nations goes on the block.

You know who should buy it and use it for romantic getaways?

Mr. & Mrs. Tiger Woods.

Come on, tell me that wouldn't be poetic justice at its finest.

Still not controversial... 

Georgia's controversial voter ID bill was approved by the Justice Department. All that remains are the torrent of lawsuits from people who think true democracy in America only exists in Chicago.

Tip - Of the Mind.

The finest in Norwegian standup comedy... 

Tapped links to an interesting story about what may have been an attempt to silence a popular Norwegian comedienne. She's Muslim, and her act takes shots both at hardline mullahs who want to impose sharia by any means necessary, and the politically correct "halal hippies" (I love that term) whose devotion to multiculturalism prevents them from getting too worked up about it. Net result - death threats. (But never forget - biggest threat to dissent worldwide - Captain Unilateral.)

She also has a good sense of appropriate responses to criticism. Her response to being called a whore - pose naked in a magazine with her body painted in the colors of the Norwegian flag. (Don't worry - it's OK. She's hot.)

Also funny... 

Austria has a town with a name that's kind of funny to those of us who speak English.

The Austrians are less amused.

It's a real town, too. Check the online offers for additional hilarity.

Tip - Corner.

Line of the day... 

Courtesy of Grant*:
All I can say is you women had better stop complaining that you’re the only ones who can get pregnant. You should be glad you can reproduce, because from a medical standpoint you’re just not cost effective.
*Disclaimer - awarding the line of the day in no way implies support or acceptance of any viewpoint expressed in the line of the day, or any connected post. Thinking something is funny does not mean acceptance of underlying logic. All detailed refutations should be directed to the original author.

Why Pat Robertson is a jackass... 

That Pat Robertson is a jackass should, by now, be pretty much beyond dispute, and shouldn't even get into his most recent stupid thing. But besides the inherent, undeniable stupidity of the stupid thing, there's another problem.

People are trying to stand up to Chavez, who is borrowing from the Fidel Castro School of Dealing With Dissent. (The George Bush School of Dealing With Dissent, where you decline to meet with dissenters so they can call you a lying fascist murderer, was apparently too cruel for Chavez to countenance.)

You can see his point. This is far more humane.

Jesse Jackson, in town to support Chavez during this difficult time, apparently didn't notice. (Hey, it's a big country.) And except for a few bloggers keeping an eye on Chavez, neither did anyone else in the world, cause you know, a televangelist said something stupid.

Thanks, Pat.

On a related front, should anything happen to Chavez - somebody shoots him, he slips in the shower, his fantasy football draft sticks him with Kyle Orton and Joey Harrington as his starting QB's - he wants everyone to know in advance that it's all Bush's fault.

OK, that one ain't on Pat. Cause I'm pretty sure the Chavistas would have blamed Bush had anything happened to Fidel, Jr. even if Pat Robertson had the good sense to keep his yap shut.

But Pat should keep his yap shut anyway. Just to be on the safe side.

Why should go get your news off the internet... 

TV talking heads have spent hours of time and thousands of words trying to explain Hurricane Katrina.

A blogger says the same thing in four words.

It may not be original reporting, per se, but it's succinct and accurate.

Friday, August 26, 2005


Ray LaHood not running for Governor of Illinois, citing concerns from his district about who may replace him.

Illinois Republicans plan to deal with this by hoping against hope that Jim Edgar, who last held public office in 1998, will emerge from retirement.

Ah, Illinois - the wacky politics continues.

I'm a family man... 

Ricky Steamboat
You scored 92% in wrestlingosity, brother!
Technically one of the greatest performances, ever, just lacking that little something extra to take it into all-time level. This was a mat classic you've put on, and definitely something to take pride in. Pro-wrestling trivia enthusiasts will be studying your work for a while to come. Congratulations! (If you enjoyed this test, I would love the feedback! Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in the following: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: http://www.okcupid.com/tests/take?testid=17325897279428986557 Nerds, Geeks & Dorks: http://www.okcupid.com/tests/take?testid=9935030990046738815 Thanks Again!)

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on wrestlingosity
Link: The ULTIMATE Pro-Wrestling Trivia Test written by donathos on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Courtesy of Bob "Ric Flair" Morris - who should remember that every time Flair beat Steamboat, he cheated.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Reasonable compromise 

OK, so Britain is now trying to deport foreign preachers who incite hatred and terrorism, and said preachers are responding by acknowledging the cultural superiority of Great Britain to any country where their views are taken seriously:
The Egyptian, who fled to London more than a decade ago and is wanted in the U.S., said: 'I am not worried about expulsion. My legal team think it is impossible.'

The 42-year-old, who denies involvement in terrorism, added: 'Any judge here can take this agreement and throw it in the rubbish basket.

'I still trust the UK with human rights and, while Tony Blair may want to change the laws, there is still the Magna Carta.'
In case anyone was wondering:
Al-Siri, who faces execution in Egypt for the murder of a six-year-old girl in a terror bomb blast, said: 'I don't think any British judge can accept any agreement between the UK and any Middle East country like Egypt.'
In any event, the U.N. is totally on the case. On Britain's case, that is...
A senior UN representative last night threatened to cite the British government for violation of human rights over its planned deportations of alleged terrorist sympathisers.
Oh, what to do, what to do? I like this proposal from Andrew Stuttaford:
It would, I suppose, be malicious to suggest that, as a compromise to satisfy the folk at Turtle Bay, these radical preachers could be deported to any country that is a member of the UN's own commission on human rights, you know, places such as, oh, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Sudan.
You know who would totally make a proposal like that?

Stone Cold John Bolton, that's who.

And so it goes... 

Israel "provokes" violence by committing "murder" of armed members of Islamic Jihad who had previously directed suicide bombings in Israel.

Innocent, sunflower seed eating members of Islamic Jihad. No threat to nobody. Well, OK, they were a threat to Israelis, but that doesn't really count.

Go to hell, Rafael Palmeiro 

Baseball has spent most of the past decade or so trying to piss me off. Labor disputes, steroid scandals, general displays of boorish behavior...and that's just Barry Bonds.

But, every so often, you read something that reminds you why you actually once liked baseball. It usually involves the minor leagues. Like this story about Rick Short, who has spent 12 years in the minor leagues (and lives in my hometown of Peoria, IL), with a total of 2 major league at-bats to show for his efforts, who is currently chasing the magic .400 number, which is almost as rare in the minors as it is in the majors.

Now that the Cubs have safely blown it for another year, I think it'd be cool if Short got called up for the stretch run, and he helped put the Nationals in the playoffs. Probably won't happen, of course - the Nats are just one of five teams with a real shot at the wild card, and they lack the experience that some of their competitors have with playoff chases. But still, it'd be kind of cool.

Tip - Corner.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

We have a new champion... 

...in the "Biggest Dork to Marry a Hot Redhead Contest." It is no longer me.

It is Dennis Kucinich. Sean Penn was there, but he probably didn't have any fun. He never does.

Anyway, congratulations to the new Mrs. Kucinich, who can now look forward to the sort of comments my wife always gets when we go out together. Things like - "Blink twice if you're being held against your will."

Tip - Karol.

I like this... 

Check out this guy's proposed logo for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

Tip - Corner.

Because there's nothing else to do in Wisconsin. 

University of Wisconsin is the #1 party school in America.

How do you tell your wife you're a Jewish lesbian? 

Quiz found courtesy Dawn Summers, who's not actually, you know Dawn Summers, but is actually the demon cyborg Adam.

Willow Rosenberg
36% amorality, 54% passion, 63% spirituality, 45% selflessness
Likely you're stronger on the inside than most people would give you credit for: like Willow, you're a decent person with both passions and a spiritual side, sometimes struggling for control. Willow is one of the most beloved characters in the Buffy universe; Congratulations!

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 0% on morality

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 19% on repose

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 56% on spirituality

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 54% on selflessness
Link: The 4-Variable Buffy Personality Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid

Guess what - Uzbekistan still sucks. 

Not that people who live there aren't trying. Following a brutal government massacre of protestors in Andijan, for there to be any kind of public protest in Uzbekistan is pretty remarkable. In this case, it was protesting a Mugabe-esque rapid fire eviction/home demolition plan - more examples of Islam Karimov using his brutality to try and mask his incompetence.

Tip - Publius - who optimistically calls Karimov's days "numbered." I wish I shared his optimism. The simple truth of the matter is - Karimov is not going to be moved by public protest alone - he will simply go Tiananmen on everyone and dare the world to give a crap. The world will respond with sound and fury signifying nothing, possibly leading to a UN resolution that will ultimately be forgotten or ignored. I said it once before, I'll say it again:
If the dictator is willing to paint the streets with blood, democracy is coming from without, or not at all.
Still, public attention can't hurt - at some point maybe the army decides to back a different horse or something, affecting Karimov's willingness to massacre.

Monday, August 22, 2005

That's a problem all right... 

Quote from a filmmaker whose flick just got tagged with the dreaded NC-17 label:
I just heard the deciding factor could be thrusting. Apparently, anything over three thrusts and you're in trouble.
The film's producer says that cutting the extra thrusts would "render the mystery of the film incomprehensible."

Anybody wanna buy a house? 

If so, you're insane. Unless you want to buy mine, which is a lovely four bedroom with a fenced yard in a quiet, safe neighborhood...nah, I do that, I have to go through all this again.

It was Home Improvement Weekend at Casa De Crosblog, which did not, I was dismayed to learn, involve Tim Allen in any way. ("More power!" - heh heh) The reason for this - the spouse bought a chaise and we now needed a sitting room worthy of this piece of furniture.

"We never needed to redecorate for the sake of my furniture!" I said.

"Your furniture would look tacky in the garage."
Which is where much of the furniture I brought to this marriage currently sits, and I gotta admit, she's got a point. Although if I may interject something for the ladies, if the men in your lives come to understand that agreeing with you will cost them Saturday afternoons in the furniture section of Rich's-Macy's and hundreds of dollars in furniture purchases, agreement may be more difficult to come by in the future. I'm just saying, is all.

We're mostly painting, which you think would be simple, but we need like four different colors, and ceiling paint is different from wall paint which is different from trim paint, and there's like eighteen kinds of white and she wants to paint one wall gold which doesn't really mean "gold" it means "Carolina Brass" which sounds like a dixieland jazz band and we think we have all the tools we need, which means we only had to make three extra trips to Lowe's and/or Home Depot over the weekend, by which point I was ready to replace the whole brush/roller combo with paintball guns - only to be reminded by the spouse that I don't know how to shoot.
"And, in any event, they don't sell paintballs in Carolina Brass."
Personally, I think having a wall that looked like a Jackson Pollack painting would actually enhance our house's resale value, which says something about either the people who buy Jackson Pollack paintings, the people who buy houses, or me. (I'm not sure which.)

Anyway, assuming this stuff all looks good the next day, the room is now apparently worthy of the furniture we purchased to inhabit it. Unless my wife suddenly decides it would look better in the living room.

I'm all for people asserting their legal rights... 

That said, if I may say something to the band Slipknot, re: Your dispute with Burger King over their alleged gimmick infringement:
If you're concerned that people will confuse your act with a bunch of fast-food salesmen in chicken costumes - perhaps it's time to revise the act just a tad.
Just trying to help.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

I stand corrected... 

Before the summer movie season started, I listed the 40 Year Old Virgin as one of the movies I emphatically did not want to see. At the behest of the spouse, I went this weekend. The movie is hysterical. There are points where it gets painful enough to at least make you contemplate gouging out your own eyes, but it is very very funny. (I haven't see it, so I can't compare - but the spouse reports that restroom conversation said it was funnier than the Wedding Crashers.)

Also saw Four Brothers last week. Reasonably entertaining revenge flick. Not great, but good shut your brain off and enjoy the explosions kind of film.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Countrifying the spouse... 

You live in the South long enough, people are bound to change. And, apparently, "long enough" = just over four years. To wit - this cell phone conversation with the spouse:

Me: All right, I'll see you in a couple minutes. What are you doing?

Her: Just listening to Gretchen Wilson.

Me: Really?

Her: (singing) "...and I know all the words to every Charlie Daniels song!"
I doubt it, but maybe we'll get there someday.

And in any event, you've come a long way, baby.

Can't anybody in this town take the law into their own hands? 

North Carolina has approved a bill requiring courts to advise victims of domestic abuse about the process to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Some folks are agin' it...
"In my experience, if you've got a fire out there, I don't think you put it out by throwing gas on it," said Bart Rick, a Seattle-area sheriff who chairs the National Sheriffs' Association domestic violence committee. "When I read this ... I went 'Whoa.'"
And some are fer it...
"We're not interested in them shooting their abusers," said Paul Valone, president of Grass Roots North Carolina. "We're interested in delivering a message: When police can't protect these people, they are capable of protecting themselves."
I'm all right with it, but the truth is the law won't change much. I can't imagine people in North Carolina are under the impression it's hard to get a gun. Victims of abuse are supposed to be told of services available to them, such as your local domestic violence shelter. It's not uncommon for even the most severe abuse victims to remain, for a multitude of reasons.

It's not the number of options available. It's persuading victims to take them. More options is OK, but it's not the solution.

Things the good guys don't do... 

I get that the Gaza withdrawl is incredibly traumatic for the people being forced from their homes. It's hard on the people doing the forcing, too. I'll even grant there's a place in a civilized society like Israel for civil disobedience and non-violent resistance to make your point to the nation at large.

But there's a line, at least if you're the good guys. Bringing the conflict to a synogogue sounds very little like how the good guys act, and well...I've seen similar tactics elsewhere.

And this picture is especially heartbreaking...

Not so much for the woman's loss of her home, but for the fact that she's using her child as a shield. And the reason kids are being used is the same reason kids are used in conflicts over the world - hoping the other side won't move against you out of concern for their safety.

When your strategy depends on your opponents being better people than you are - you're wrong.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Why don't more leaders talk like this? 

Ariel Sharon on the reactions of displaced settlers:
"I'm appealing to everyone. Don't attack the men and women in uniform. Don't accuse them. Don't make it harder for them, don't harm them. Attack me. I am responsible for this. Attack me. Accuse me," Sharon said.
Tip - Karol.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I don't care where you're from, that's funny right there... 

Now that's comedy:
"After purchasing a Terrell Owens # 81 Eagles Jersey last year for $49.99, it has decided that it was way undervalued last year and if I want to wear it this year, I need to fork over another $150..."
Via Mithras - read the whole thing.

Conservative movies - oxymoron, or figment of your imagination... 

Ace of Spades links to a post nominating several films as "great conservative movies." They are Dirty Harry (agree), the Exorcist (disagree - religious does not necessarily equal conservative), the Lion King (agree), the Barbarian Invasions (didn't see it, but a good argument), and Baby Boy (disagree - not liberal does not equal conservative). Ace throws in a few of his own - Blast from the Past, Kate & Leopold, and Guarding Tess.

Plenty of worthy films, but left off is one of my favorite movies ever, and I think the best conservative film, easily of the last five years, possibly ever. The best part is, I don't think for one second the people who made this movie knew they were making a conservative movie, and I think they were surprised when that's how it was perceived. They were all probably aghast at the notion, but make no mistake about it - it's a conservative movie.

I am referring, of course, to Barbershop.

Where to begin? The appreciation of responsibility and family? The refusal of the character with the criminal record to blame society for his legal problems? The fact that the one clearly liberal character - Jimmy (Sean Patrick Thomas) - is a self-righteous jerk for pretty much the whole movie? Or is it as simple as three little words...

"F*** Jesse Jackson."

The Corner went nuts about this movie when it came out, and Rod Dreher sang the praises of the film in print - although a fair amount of this was schadenfreude as Jackson being told to cram it.

For anyone to intentionally make a conservative movie in Hollywood is going to take awhile - there just aren't enough people there who'd want to who could do a good job of it. Therefore, the best conservative movies will be the ones that unintentionally spread the word - Barbershop did it better than anyone.

And even if you don't agree with the movie's message or my take on it, it's still damn funny. Go watch it.

It's been awhile since the last Montoya Award... 

Zaid Meerwali was an Iraqi who had lived in Canada for the last ten years. He went back to Iraq to start a business, and participate in the attempt to build a country. This got him kidnapped and murdered by thieves. The headline?

"Canadian Executed in Iraq"

To execute: "To put to death, especially by carrying out a lawful sentence."
Inigo, anything to say to our headline writers?

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

The Norks make nice... 

"You politically illiterate human scum, we will transform your country into a sea of fire!" (Your venom may vary.)

Er, what we mean is...
"The thing that stands in the way of our unification is the U.S. military, and our workers must stop this. This sash reading 'Withdraw USFK', handed to me by the vanguard of unification, gives great strength to the laborers of North and South who wish for the withdrawal of the U.S. military."
So a North Korean delegation is making the rounds of South Korea, swearing that life would be hunky-dory if the U.S. and Japan would just politely die in a sea of fire. Whether out of politeness, fear, or stupidity, many South Koreans is giving the sense that they're buying it. Best moment of unintentional comedy:
KCTU secretary-general Lee Soo-ho told protesters the U.S. was “the principal offender behind civilian massacres, the usurpation of power and the liquidation of democracy" around the globe.
He then went on to say that Phil Mickelson is the Dear Leader's bitch.

Department of Wishful Thinking... 

Example #1 - Wishing the withdrawl away...Israelis resisting the Gaza withdrawl have clashed physically with Israeli soldiers, leading to upwards of 50 arrests and who knows how many injuries.

Example #2 - Believing in the good will of the "international community" - Israel's U.N. Ambassador (is there a more thankless job on planet Earth?) hopes the withdrawl will lead to an end of a U.N. that continually lines up to blame Israel for every slight, real or imagined.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Ever wonder what it'd be like to get insulted by Kim Jong Il? 

Wonder no more.

I got called a "swollen-headed traitor", which kind of sounds dirty.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

It begins... 

The Israeli withdrawl from Gaza is going forward. Knowing in advance this withdrawl will earn them no good will overseas, where it will merely be considered a "good first step" towards future withdrawls, also without return concession. Knowing that terrorist groups are spinning this as a military victory caused by their acts, which means they should definitely keep it up. Starting today, the Israeli army will act against their own people to facilitate the handing over of land to a group that still refuses to let go of their dream of Israel's destruction.

Why? Because, however legitimate Israel's claim to that bit of land may be (and Israel believes that claim to be very strong) - their presence there is provocative and the settlements are difficult to defend. They have not recieved any concrete actions in return for this from the other side, and none loom on the horizon. Still, one hopes a plan that creates more secure borders for Israel will keep their citizens safe. And while one hopes that the Palestinians can create something stable and productive in their new territory - history does not make one optimistic.

And, you still gotta get the settlers out first, and they're planning to resist, both physically and psychologically:
Their leaders also advised on ways to attack the morale of soldiers carrying out the evictions, the Yediot Ahronot daily reported. Settlers were told to give children's drawings to the troops and to take pictures of the soldiers, telling them history will remember them for their crimes, Yediot said.
However much one may sympathize with the settlers, who are, after all, being forcibly removed from their homes, surely we can all agree that to replace rational debate with base emotional manipulation is a terrible way to change national policy?

Actually, I guess we can't all agree on that, can we?

If you want to play fantasy football, but don't have a league yet... 

Feel free to take on me and the crazy redhead. We play at CBS Sportsline, and we're signed up at the Gold level. If you wanna join, look for us in Public leagues, automated draft happening 9/4. League is named the RMFL, dedicated to the legend of Ron Mexico.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

My life is a never ending thrill ride... 

Interspersed with very long lines, of course.

If you've never been to Cedar Point, you should go. It is the roller coaster capital of planet earth. We were able to ride, among others, the Raptor - all the while displaying the courage that will one day, become legend...

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Also on the agenda was the Top Thrill Dragster - 0 to 120 in 4 seconds, 420 feet high. As I said to my brother-in-law shortly before launch - riding this thing was his idea - "This may be the last time I'm ever willing to speak to you." Spouse wouldn't ride this one - she said it just looked like it shouldn't be possible.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

It was, but it's not like that was a sure thing. And I'm still speaking to my brother in law.

Some people, of course, look good anywhere. Check the spouse out on the Magnum.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Kick all those damn kids out of the park, and you have the makings of a perfect vacation.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Well, it's a lot of money... 

Someone, I believe it was George Bernard Shaw, is reputed to have asked a woman if she would go to bed with him for a million pounds. The woman replied she probably would. Shaw then asked if she would go to bed with him for sixpence. The woman, aghast, accused Shaw of calling her a whore.

"We've already established that you're a whore, madam," Shaw is reported to have said. "All we're doing now is setting a price."

Virginia Tech University took $246,0000 from King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia for a faculty development program. To ease delicate Saudi sensitivies - the boys and the girls were segregated. VTU now realized, "Oh yeah, we oppose stuff like that."

One quote I can source:

"Everybody has a price."

Coulda knocked me over with a feather... 

Islamic Jihad promises to continue terrorist attacks on Israel after Gaza withdrawl.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

My wife is a lucky, lucky woman... 

Actual statement just uttered to me by a friend and co-worker:

"Oh, by the way, remind me when we get home tonight that tonight is my anniversary, and I have to stop at Publix and pick up some flowers."
I'll miss him.

Thanks for the advice... 

The ever helpful Cuban government offers advice to the U.S. on how to proceed in its case against five Cuban spies.

Cause when you're thinking "leniency and respect for the rights of accused criminals opposed to the government" Fidel Castro is the first name that jumps out at you.

Whatever this says about me... 

Using dogs as living explosives bugs me more than suicide bombers. Suicide bombers usually make the decision themselves, though of course, given these missions are conceived by assholes, there are exceptions.

Using dogs, however, the bomb-maker acknowledges not only their own bankruptcy, but the moral superiority of the other side. They're betting on their targets' kindness towards animals to allow the dog close enough for the bomb to do damage. And, despite the predisposition against dogs in Islam, Iraqis of all stripes and all positions on the U.S. presence are repulsed.

Tip - Dan Savage - blogging at Sully's place.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Actually, that's about right... 

Fun facts about Georgia.

A modest proposal. 

So the NCAA has finally done it. They have issued an order barring the use of "hostile and abusive racial/ethnic/national origin mascots, nicknames or imagery at any of the 88 NCAA championships." No more will the nation have to endure shameful stereotypes like the one displayed by the University of Notre Dame.

What? The list only includes schools with teams named for Native American tribes or symbols? Well, I'm sure they'll catch up. Seriously, check this dude out. Definitely violent, quite possibly drunk, surely the NCAA's new rule means this outdated stereotype is not long for this world.

Or not. The new rule may not extend to the football bowl games, since whether the NCAA's dedication to diversity and respect extends towards jeopardizing the barrels of money Nokia shells out to put their tag on a bowl game. Anyhow, the gang at Southern Appeal are on this decision like a Colorado recruit on a stripper.

Me, I don't know. I grew up in Peoria, home of the Bradley Braves, and I married a woman who has a degree from the University of Illinois (home of the Fighting Illini), and she voted for Bill Clinton (twice), Al Gore, and John Kerry. By defintion, as a Democrat, she is far, far more sensitive than I about such matters. Yet she owns a "Save the Chief" T-shirt. People don't name teams after things and groups that they dislike or disrespect. To understand this sentiment, imagine yourself cheering "Go, Ignorant Criminal Bastards!" To most of us, that doesn't make sense. To the rest of you, well, congratulations. You're a Yankees fan.

That said, when people celebrate their team, they generally don't give much thought to the real people who belong to the same group their team allegedly commemorates. The "tomahawk chop", popularized by Florida State, is often seen here in Atlanta, as Braves fans try to stave off yet another post-season collapse. It pretty much never works, which ought to tell you something right there. Still, while it's safe to say the choppers probably mean no disrespect, it's also true that they really aren't thinking about it, and if they are causing offense to reasonable people, they should cut it the hell out. While a person may have the right to be a dick, common courtesy requires that you decline to exercise said right.

This leaves us in a quandry. Decent, God-fearing college sports fans in need symbols and mascots they can cheer enthusiastically, while still respecting the sensitivies of others, even if those others happen to think the Nokia Sugar Bowl is a gift you get if you sign up for two years of cell phone service.

In short, we need a symbol that will never prompt a complaint of racism from the left, no matter how the fans choose to express their support.

And, in light of all the fuss surrounding a recent humorous blog post, I think I've got it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you - The Fighting Malkins.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Monday, August 08, 2005

What part of "I own this country" are you not getting? 

Robert Mugabe mocks calls for talks with opposition, as his country has now gotten so bad even South Africa has noticed.

Mugabe was quoted as saying "When I want the opposition to say something, I will have them beaten until they say it."

2, 4, 6, 8...tell the cops his license plate! 

Cheerleaders make up cheer about the tag number of a guy who left the scene of an accident, leading the police to his door.

Cheerleaders - is there anything they can't do?

Besides guys in the drama club, I mean.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

You might be an anti-Semite if... 

A while back, I took a quick shot at London mayor "Red Ken" Livingstone that prompted the claim of casually assuming anti-Semitism in place of recognizing legitimate criticism of Israeli policy. (Actually, the word I used to describe Red Kenny was "douchebag", which I fully stand behind, but what the hey, Livingstone and those like him are anti-Semites. Now that I've said it - onward.)

For insight as to why this is so, read this article. It's about divestment.

"But divestment from who?" And really, couldn't it be anyone? The government of Zimbabwe is razing the homes of civilians, and these aren't people who support suicide bombers - all they did was vote for the other party. If you think what Israel is doing is bad, and you think it for reasons that don't involve Judiasm - then what Mugabe is doing is worse. Uzbekistan had an genuine massacre a couple months back, not the fake kind like they had in Jenin. Why a public campaign in Israel and not Uzbekistan? Latter have too many syllables?

Perhaps the claim is sure, other countries offend too. But Israel is unique, not because they're Jews - perish the thought - but because as a reasonably prosperous country, divestment has a chance at having an impact. Yeah, that sounds good.

Bullshit, but it sounds good.

The point of divestment is not to actually cost money through the divestment itself - the Presbyterian church's refusal to spend money on Caterpillar isn't going to touch the bottom line. The publicity, however - a church finds Israel too much of a human rights abuser to associated themselves with - that might have an impact. Divestment is a public statement, the same way a letter writing campaign is, the same way a protest march is, the same way all sorts of high-visibility efforts to call attention to human rights abuses are - that for some reason, only seem to manifest themselves in one particular situation. Sure, everyone opposes - "all violence, from any quarter", or whatever. Read this telling paragraph -
In an effort to appear even-handed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the church committee also included Citigroup on its list of targets, alleging it had a connection to a bank accused of having a role in funneling money from Islamic charities to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. The church said it included Citigroup because it was mentioned in an article in The Wall Street Journal.
The journalist's words, not the Presbyterian church's, sure. But she gets the impression that a potential funder of Palestinian terrorism, suicide bombs where the targets are deliberately selected as women, children, and the elderly, are included to appear even handed - not because they were an original source of any outrage.

That's anti-Semitic.

The only alternative is the church, Livingstone, and everyone else who singles out Israel is racism - racism against the Arabs. They are especially hard on the Jews because only the Jews can be expected to behave like civilized people. The other side - civilized behavior is just asking too much.

The Presbyterian Church, Red Kenny, any number of people - they claim their motivation is their outrage at the killing of innocents. But, while all innocent victims are surely equal, some are more equal than others. Some don't prompt entire churches to stand up and reject their killers. Some victims only get a cursory condemnation, cause you know, you gotta say something. And it is only when one side takes action that loud, vocal, active condemnation comes forward. This condemnation takes no notice of whether or not the action was necessary for the defense of a nation's very existence. It does not care that the targets are trained killers, not children. What moves a church, a mayor, to take to the streets with loud, unqualified, vehement condemnation. Only Israel. Always Israel.

It's anti-Semitic. And Robert Mugabe - and every other tyrant who made the sound career move of not being Jewish - couldn't be happier to see it.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Fair game? 

The New York Times has a fairly petulant defense of it's "initial inquiries about the adoptions," of Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' children, which they did "with
great care, understanding the sensitivity of the issue." Furthermore, they "have not pursued the issue after the initial inquiries, which detected nothing irregular about the adoptions." As a member of an adoptive family myself, let me just ask...

The hell?

What could you potentially have learned that would help answer the question of what kind of Justice Roberts would make? Was the guy making calls about that also they guy that could have been investigating, say Roberts' previous work on cases heard by the Supreme Court? Cause you know, that stuff is kind of important. The other thing? Not so much, unless you're a shameless bunch of hacks on a dirt hunt.

Dammit, blogger... 

I lost a long post earlier today about Dawn's post regarding the use of the Confederate flag in the Dukes of Hazzard movie. Short version - the Confederate flag is quite possibly the dumbest possible symbol of that which is good about the South, and the flag should be scrapped. On the other hand, those folks who place their "right to respect their ancestors" above the simple good manners that would require shelving the damn thing would probably make an even bigger stink if the General Lee were changed, and please oh please oh please can we not center any kind of political debate around Stifler and the guy from Jackass?

In short - the producers were in quite a pickle. And since getting out of said pickle would have required an original script with an original story, rather than updating a potentially dated TV show, which is beyond the capability of anyone in Hollywood these days, they were screwed.

Oh, and I'm going to start referring to my car as the General Sherman. Is that over the top for a 2001 Hyundai Elantra?

Back now... 

Just returned from vacation, spent at beautiful Cedar Point amusement park, located in slightly less-beautiful Sandusky, Ohio. Pictures to be attached once my wife gets through showing them off at work.

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