Friday, December 30, 2005

Walking dead

I got maybe a few minutes of sleep last night. No matter which way I tossed and turned, no matter how hard I shut my eyes, I. Just. Could. Not. Get. To. Sleep.

Please, pardon any crankiness or lack of posting today. I'm useless without sleep.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Those family reunions might be a bit...awkward

64-year-old William Alfred "Al" Ginglen was sentenced to 40 years in prison after committing a string of seven bank robberies in Illinois.

The formerly upstanding Ginglen robbed the banks after losing a couple of jobs. He supposedly did so to support a crack habit, a girlfriend, and the local prostitution industry.

How did this criminal mastermind end up in the pokey? Well...
Ginglen's double life began to unravel in 2004, when one of his sons, Peoria police officer Jared Ginglen, recognized his father on bank surveillance videos posted on a law enforcement Web site.
Jared and his two brothers, Clay and Garrett, turned their father in, saying that their dad had "taught them to always do the right thing." In hindsight, perhaps he shouldn't have been such a decent father.

Now, Al has to pay more than fifty grand in restitution for his crimes, and he probably didn't have much free time to do any Christmas shopping this year, but if he'd had the time and money, I can't help but wonder if the Ginglin boys might have found a few of these under the tree.

World simultaneously wonders, "Why didn't I think of that?"

A 21-year-old guy in the UK has figured out a way to pay for college (and then some) with an internet marketing scheme:
Selling porn? Dealing prescription drugs? Nope. All he sells are pixels, the tiny dots on the screen that appear when you call up his home page...

The idea: turn his home page into a billboard made up of a million dots, and sell them for a dollar a dot to anyone who wants to put up their logo. A 10 by 10 dot square, roughly the size of a letter of type, costs $100.

He sold a few to his brothers and some friends, and when he had made $1,000, he issued a press release.

That was picked up by the news media, spread around the Internet, and soon advertisers for everything from dating sites to casinos to real estate agents to The Times of London were putting up real cash for pixels, with links to their own sites.
He's sold more than 911,000 pixels so far, bought himself a car, and is getting job offers from internet companies. Good for him.

You can check out his website, called "The Million Dollar Homepage" here. It's a bit...busy, you might say.

Incivility is my weapon and humanity is my victim

Hoo-boy, it looks like the LA Times got caught with its pants down (do newspapers wear pants?), printing a quote from a phony news release in a front page story the other day.

I'll go ahead and just wait here while you click on the link and read all about it.

You're back? Heh. That was worth a chuckle, right?

WRONG!!!

You see, for pointing something like that out, I'm worse than Osama bin Laden. Well, maybe not worse, but according to Kathleen Parker, I'm "one of our new enemies."

You see, Ms. Parker laments that people like me lack "decency, humanity and civility," before basically calling me an idiot man-child, "bereft of adult supervision." Civil, no?

This is all offered as a contrast to the mainstream media--and especially newspapers--of whom Ms. Parker seems somewhat enamoured:
Say what you will about the so-called mainstream media, but no industry agonizes more about how to improve its product, police its own members and better serve its communities. Newspapers are filled with carpal-tunneled wretches, overworked and underpaid, who suffer near-pathological allegiance to getting it right.
Ms. Parker is a "popular syndicated columnist," but I'm sure that the fact that she makes her living mainly through the publication of her columns in newspapers has little or nothing to do with her admiration for media figures and the contempt with which she seems to hold bloggers, especially those who go after the "carpal-tunneled wretches" who despite their "near-pathological allegiance to getting it right," seem to often get it wrong:
When a mainstream journalist stumbles, they pile on like so many savages, hoisting his or her head on a bloody stick as Golding's children did the fly-covered head of a butchered sow.
In case you missed it, that's more of Ms. Parker's civility showing. Here's a little more:
We can't silence them, but for civilization's sake - and the integrity of information by which we all live or die - we can and should ignore them.
Won't somebody please think of The Children?™

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to play hyperlink "tag team" with Ace, who had this last night, and who I will call "important" if he'll do the same for me.

Related: The always "important" Hugh Hewitt hoists some more severed heads.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Time to Make the Funeral Arrangements

Michael Vale, who played "Fred the Baker" in commercials for Dunkin' Donuts for 15 years is dead at 83 of complications from diabetes.

EU follies

So, just days before Austria is set to take over the rotating presidency of the European Union, posters have shown up around Vienna depicting nude models wearing masks of George W. Bush, Jacques Chirac and the Queen of England, posing as if they're having sex with each other. One of Austria's most popular tabloid newspapers has called for the posters to be removed, and apparently some politicians aren't too happy with them, either.

According to Reuters, the posters are part of a series created by "artists" from each of the EU's 25 member countries. Some art project called "25peaces" commissioned the posters, which somehow supposedly "reflect on the different social, historical and political developements in Europe." Uh, okay...sure.

Anyway, get ready for the least surprising part of the story:
25peaces received 1 million euros ($1.2 million) of funding from the Austrian government for the works.
Like you didn't see that coming.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Whatever happened to collecting baseball cards?

Via the AP, I found this strange story of a man who...well, just read it:
A Nebraska man has been arrested in central Iowa for allegedly delivering some unwanted Christmas gifts. Reno Tobler, 54, was arrested Thursday in Clive after police caught him lobbing urine bottles into backyards.
Now, Tobler is a truck driver, so you might think that this is an ordinary story about a guy who isn't always able to pull over and find a restroom, right? And then he just chucks out his pee bottles, right? Wrong.
Tobler told police that it was a longtime hobby of his to deliver the bottles. Police searched his vehicle and found several other urine-filled bottles ready for delivery.
Somehow, words fail me.

Did you ever wonder...

...what Star Trek would've been like if the crew had been Scottish?

You didn't? Huh. Me neither. But apparently, somebody else did. Go figure.

H/T: Andy

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The perfect gift for the guy who has everything

Well, everything except for a really creepy Randy Moss mask.

Because, really, if he's already got one, he'd just have to exchange the second one.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

To be fair...

...I don't really think I'd want to spend Christmas with a bunch of Germans, either. Now, Hanukkah, on the other hand...

Uh, no. Probably not.

Oh! Canada

Like most Americans, I imagine Canada as a colder, somewhat more boring version of our own country, filled with polite and industrious people who strive in vain to find ways to distinguish their country from ours other than the fact that they sort of pronounce the word "out" like "oot." Having never bothered to actually, you know, visit Canada, I am well aware that these generalizations may be just a shade unfair.

And now I come to find out that they're a bunch of dirty, dirty perverts:
Group sex between consenting adults is neither prostitution nor a threat to society, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Wednesday, dismissing arguments that the sometimes raucous activities of so-called "swingers" clubs were dangerous.
Canada has "raucous" swingers clubs? Who knew? I mean, this sort of thing makes my dear, dirty hometown, Los Angeles, look staid and stodgy by comparison!
"Consensual conduct behind code-locked doors can hardly be supposed to jeopardize a society as vigorous and tolerant as Canadian society," said the opinion of the seven-to-two majority, written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.
That's a dirty girl, Bev! By the way, have you met Pat O'Brien?
The court was reviewing an appeal by Jean-Paul Labaye, who ran the L'Orage (Thunderstorm) club. He had been convicted of running a "bawdy house" -- defined as a place where prostitution or acts of public indecency could take place.
Okay, the whole "bawdy house" thing is a bit Victorian-sounding, but hey, it was overturned. So go crazy, Canadian style!

Just remember, folks, what happens in Moose Jaw stays in Moose Jaw!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

They forgot "punchline"

Guess which anti-semitic dupe of the pro-fascist crowd made Time magazine's list of "People Who Mattered" as the "spiritual leader of the antiwar camp" and "a folksy celebrity: a hero to some and a villain to others"?

Need a hint?

Via Michelle Malkin, who notes some pretty heavy irony.

Also of possible interest: A certain super-secret double naught spy in her jammies!

What's the frequency, Colleen?

Some crazy lady in New Mexico has won a restraining order against David Letterman, who she says "used code words to show that he wanted to marry her and train her as his co-host."

Letterman's attorneys are fighting to overturn the restraining order, which forces him to stay at least three yards away from the weirdo, one Colleen Nestler, at all times. Somehow, I don't think that's going to be a problem.
Nestler's application for a restraining order was accompanied by a six-page typed letter in which she said Letterman used code words, gestures and "eye expressions" to convey his desires for her.

She wrote that she began sending Letterman "thoughts of love" after his show began in 1993, and that he responded in code words and gestures, asking her to come East.

She said he asked her to be his wife during a televised "teaser" for his show by saying, "Marry me, Oprah." Her letter said Oprah was the first of many code names for her, and that the coded vocabulary increased and changed with time.
I can see how that could be confusing. I mean, "Oprah" has to be some sort of code word, and that would explain Letterman's puzzling "Uma, Oprah" joke at the Oscars several years back. Nobody got that one.

In completely unrelated news, I've asked my attorney to look into whether or not Jessica Alba's repeated use of the word "yes" in several recent films and television appearances constitutes a legally binding agreement to my many telepathically-delivered marriage proposals, which I've typically focused on during commercials for the DVD release of The Fantastic Four.

Be sure to check back here frequently for news on where we're registered!

Don't they have people for this kind of thing?

While I was eating breakfast this morning, I was watching one of the network morning shows (embarrass your kid and your dog by dressing them up in matching holiday outfits!) and when they cut to a commercial break, they showed a commercial for Spielberg's new guaranteed-to-piss-almost-everybody-off movie, Munich, followed immediately by an ad promoting tourism in...Israel.

Awkward.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Message received?

Thousands of people packed a church in South Central Los Angeles today for the funeral of Nobel Peace Prize nominee executed unrepentant multiple murderer and vicious street gang co-founder Stanley "Tookie" Williams. Snoop Dog even read a poem. How sweet.

Anyway, the LA Times reported that the services included a special message from Tookie, recorded before he was finally punished for the slaughter of four innocent people. Quoth Tookie:
"The war within me is over. I battled my demons and I was triumphant," Williams said on the tape, in which he asked listeners to spread a message to loved ones.

"Teach them how to avoid our destructive footsteps. Teach them to strive for higher education. Teach them to promote peace and teach them to focus on rebuilding the neighborhoods that you, others and I helped to destroy."
Of course, Tookie's supporters claimed that he'd redeemed himself by writing a number of books that warned kids to stay away from the gang life that he'd participated in. They asserted that Tookie's anti-gang message had saved innumerable kids from lives of crime and violence.

Somehow, I don't think the message got through to everyone, though:
Several dozen gang members wearing blue attire associated with Crips gangs watched the funeral in the parking lot. One, who identified himself as "Killowatt the Third," age 33, estimated there were 20 to 30 Crips "sets" there to honor Williams.

"That's my role model, man. That's the CEO of the Crips," he said.
Great job there, Tookie. Great. Job.

Meet Kotooshu


This is Kotooshu, who has apparently become a Sumo-wrestling sensation in Japan.

The Bulgarian-born wrestler, whose original name is Mahlyanov Kaloyan Stefanov, became the first European to reach the sport's second-highest rank of "ozeki" in the sport's 2000 year history. He's also become quite popular with the ladies since he took up the sport.

The weird thing is, I feel like I've seen Kotooshu somewhere before, but I just can't place him. Hmmmm...


Oh. Nevermind.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Crazy Aunt Mary

NewsBusters writes that Mary Mapes is "Still Clueless," pointing to a letter she wrote to the New York Times Book Review.

Mapes writes that the "bogus questions about typeface used to 'discredit' CBS's Bush/Guard story were a fraud." Um, no. The "memos" were a fraud. The best defense of them that anybody is still clinging to is that they were "fake but accurate."

Anybody but Mary, that is. She insists that, "In fact, ALL the evidence supported the documents' genuineness and that holds true today."

This isn't a woman who's just clueless. She's delusional. She's Ahab, and the Bush Guard story is her White Whale.

Seriously, something like this can't be too far off.

Clothing drive

Dave at Garfield Ridge has a good idea regarding those "Stop Snitching" t-shirts. Although, I think "I'm with stupid" shirts might be a bit more suitable for those in the New York Times newsroom. Especially if they have a desk anywhere near Maureen Dowd.

"Is this what you want your life to be like, Dave?"

I don't know how old this is, but it's an interesting site with a rather implausible conspiracy theory about how a cabal of wealthy and influential black people (and George Lucas!) conspired to run "Chappelle's Show" into the ground.

A word to the wise, though. If you're susceptible to having nightmares about Al Sharpton breaking into your home at night and menacing your family, "The Chappelle Theory" might not be for you. Trust me on this one.

My favorite part? That's easy--when Oprah somehow beams a private message to Dave Chappelle through his TV while he's watching her show. How, you might ask, did Oprah know he'd be watching her show at that exact instant? Because she's Oprah, bitches. That's how.

h/t Andy.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Silly news gets sillier

Remember the people in New York who put up the homicidal Santa Claus display? Well, now the story has taken a silly new turn:
A doll's severed head in a gory "Bad Santa" holiday display has been snatched by dollnappers — who are holding it hostage until the owner writes, "I am sorry for being a bad boy" 1,000 times, according to the New York Post.

"The 7th Avenue Boys for a Merry Christmas," a Brooklyn-based group, stole the doll head Wednesday night, which Joel Krupnik and his family had set up in front of their Manhattan home as part of their bloody "Bad Santa" display.

[...]

Krupnik, 58, said he won't negotiate with the headnappers.
Stand firm, Joel; otherwise the thugs will have won!

Speaking of which, the kidnappers have issued their demands:
The "7th Avenue Boys" will keep holding the head hostage until Krupnik, who they call "this Grinch with a heart darker than Scrooge's," complies with one of two demands, "Dean" [a spokesman for the kidnappers] said:

— Take the "Bad Santa" display down and write: "I am sorry for being a bad boy. Next year I promise to be on top of Santa's good boy list!" 1,000 times.

— Or, take his family, including his three kids, to watch him sit in Santa's lap at Macy's in Herald Square while he tells him "what a bad boy he has been."
Insurgent kidnappings like this just go to show that the War on Christmas has become a quagmire. No blood for toys!

The traditional Christmas rampage

Are you upset over the commercialization of Christmas? If you are, I guess you could dress up in Victorian costumes and sing carols, put on a nativity play, or collect food and gifts for the poor. Or maybe you could do what these New Zealanders did:
A group of 40 people dressed in Santa Claus costumes, many of them drunk, rampaged through New Zealand's largest city, robbing stores and assaulting security guards, police said Sunday.

The rampage, dubbed "Santarchy" by local newspapers, began early Saturday afternoon when the men, wearing ill-fitting Santa costumes, threw beer bottles and urinated on cars from an Auckland overpass, said Auckland Central Police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty.
Classy, huh?

And something else about this makes me doubt the protestors' sincerity. Hmmmm...what was it?
The remaining Santas entered a downtown convenience store and carried off beer and soft drinks.

"They came in, said 'Merry Christmas' and then helped themselves," store owner Changa Manakynda said.
Sources say the milk and cookies were left untouched.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Guess who's crashing into dinner

This just seems like a really bad idea.

A season of sharing

Be sure to check your e-mail this holiday season, because someone may have, um, given you something:
E-mail sent through Web sites launched in Los Angeles and San Francisco is providing people with a free, sometimes anonymous, way to tell their casual sex partners that they might have picked up more than they bargained for.

[...]

The site allows users to choose one of six free e-cards to send to their sexual contacts, either unsigned or with a personal message that avoids awkward face-to-face disclosure.

"It's not what you brought to the party, it's what you left with," says one e-card featuring a picture of a bare-chested man. "I left with an STD. You might have one, too. Get checked out soon."
Might I suggest one of my own? How's about, "On the third day of Christmas it started burning when I pee, so you may want to get tested for an STD."

Catchy, no?

What's the difference?

I downloaded Firefox 1.5 a day or two ago, and it runs just fine. But so far I haven't noticed many differences between it and the previous version of Firefox that I was using (1.0.7, I think). I saw a lot of hype around the new version's release--can anybody clue me in as to why it's supposed to be such a big deal?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

My proudest blogging moment so far

This is so f'n cool!

Reindeer cause global warming

Hey, kids! Did you know that Santa Claus is raping Mother Earth? Well, a bunch of Aussie jagoffs seem to think so:
The report titled "The Hidden Cost of Christmas" calculated the environmental impact of spending on books, clothes, alcohol, electrical appliances and lollies during the festive season.
Lollies, for those of us who didn't grow up in the British Commonwealth, are apparently hard candies. But I digress...
Water that would approximately fill 42,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools was used in the production of Christmas drinks last December -- most was used to grow barley for beer and grapes for wine.
Like the Aussies wouldn't have drunk all of that beer and wine anyway. Riiight.
"If your bank account is straining under the pressure of Christmas shopping, spare a thought for our environment," Don Henry, the foundation's executive director, said in a statement.

"It's paying for our Christmas presents with water, land, air and resources. These costs are hidden in the products we buy."
Translation: don't buy anything. Capitalism = teh sux0rz!!1
"We can all tread more lightly on the earth this Christmas by eating, drinking and giving gifts in moderation, and by giving gifts with a low environmental cost, such as vouchers for services, tickets to entertainment, memberships to gyms, museums or sports clubs, and donations to charities," said Henry.
But those vouchers and tickets have to be printed on paper of some sort, and the printing process probably uses some electricity. The gyms, museums, and sports clubs were built on land that was probably the habitat for some sort of endangered dingo or poisionous kangaroo. And I bet some of the workers at those charities drive to their offices--some of them in non-hybrid cars, even!

No, it's probably best not to give anybody anything. Hell, abandon your possessions and go live in a hole in the outback if you want Gaia to have a merry Christmas. So long as the hole doesn't disturb the habitat of some sort of horrible bacteria, that is.

And as for the environmentalists, I'd suggest that they ought to get coal in their stockings, but...well, it's coal.

"I won't vote for Mr. Bush, but I'll take a bullet for him"

With high voter turnout and low levels of violence, it looks like the third round of elections in Iraq is going better so far than anyone expected.

With that in mind, this LA Times article about Lt. Ryan McGlothlin, the late Marine mentioned by President Bush in his last Iraq speech, shows that some things are far more important than politics:
Ryan McGlothlin was an interesting choice for the president's speechwriting team. When White House speechwriters contacted his parents Monday to ask for permission to mention him, they were told that McGlothlin had not voted for Bush in 2000 or 2004.

[...]

His father said McGlothlin was livid about the Sept. 11 attacks — "just furious that someone had attacked American citizens on our soil." Initially, he said, his son thought the U.S. should have focused its attention on rooting out Al Qaeda in Afghanistan — "cutting off the head of the beast and disabling the beast's ability to come back."

But after arriving in Iraq, Ryan McGlothlin became convinced that the fight had to be won there. In a letter he wrote five days before his death — and received by his family after his funeral — he outlined his views.

"I know this war is not the most popular one back home, but people must understand that to pull out before the Iraqi army is fully ready to assume responsibility for the security of their own country is not only irresponsible of us but would ensure the persistence of terrorism," Ryan wrote. "If you walk through these cities and see how terrified the Iraqi citizens are of the terrorists and how thankful they are that we finally came to their cities, you could not possibly consider doing this job incompletely."
The whole article is worth reading, especially the very un-Sheehan-like thoughts of the late Marine's father, also a Democrat.

Lt. McGlothlin was an amazing young man, and we're all poorer for having lost him. But turning tail and running away before the mission is done is no way to honor his memory.

God, Schmod. I want my monkey-man!

Since Peter Jackson's King Kong remake is about to become an international phenomenon, I may as well jump on the bandwagon by linking to this fascinating article on a now-forgotten incident that the author thinks may have influenced the making of the original:
In the mid-1920s, the culture wars were dominated - as they are today with "intelligent design" - by the debate between creationism and evolutionary thinking. In 1925, John T. Scopes had been found guilty of teaching that mankind arose from something other than divine creation. But the United States was not the only country passionate about the issue. The young Soviet Union, in its effort to stamp out religion, was determined to prove that men were descended from apes. In 1926, a Soviet scientist named Ilya Ivanov decided the most compelling way to do this would be to breed a humanzee: a human-chimpanzee hybrid.

Ivanov set off for a French research station in West Africa. There he inseminated three female chimpanzees with human sperm. Not his own, for he shared the colonial-era belief that the local people were more closely related to apes than he was. He stayed long enough to learn that his experiment had failed.

Next Ivanov wrote a Cuban heiress, Rosalia Abreu. Abreu was the first person to breed chimps in captivity and had a large menagerie outside Havana. Ivanov asked if any of her male chimpanzees might be available to inseminate a Russian volunteer known to posterity only as "G."
A extraordinary cast of characters (including the New York Times, the KKK, and, eventually, Stalin) ended up preventing Ivanov from ever pulling off the experiment--which we now know wouldn't have worked anyway--but it makes for an interesting story. Be sure to read the whole thing.

Anyway, the "culture war" aspect of the story seems to me to be a less interesting parallel to today's events than the kind of advances scientists have begun to make in splicing human DNA together with that of animals. I mean, we may yet see a "humanzee."

Oh, crap...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I hate puns

In this article, we find out that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and some other millionaire named David Samuel have invested in a company called Brondell Inc., maker of a toilet seat that washes your nether regions with a jet of warm water. As if that wasn't already bad enough, check out AP Business Writer Michael Liedtke's last paragraph:
Like Cuban, Samuel already is flush with money. Before he turned 30, Samuel sold his Internet music service, Spinner.com, to America Online Inc. for $320 million in 1999.
If any of you happen to know Liedtke, please kick him in the balls for me.

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

"These are not the brightest people"

Stealing a car: probably not a good idea.

Taking pictures of yourself with a disposable camera you find in the car: uhhhh...

Leaving the camera in the car for police to find: priceless.

'Tis the season...

...for a homicidal Santa with severed doll heads. Well, at least that seems to be the case for the owners of one New York home:
...the Krupniks think it has spirit. They've lived in the Gramercy Park brownstone for years. Their decorations, they say, is [sic] a way to protest the commercialization of Christmas.

Darla Krupnik, Created the Display: "People who don't like it, it's not really our problem. They just don't have to look at it. Just cross the street, and for kids, their mothers and dad just need to take them away, that's all."
Doesn't seem very festive, if you asked me, but it's on private property so there's really nothing anybody can do about it. Either way, I'd still rather have this across the street from me than that guy's Paris Hilton Christmas decorations.

While I'm harping on this, check out the following unintentionally hilarious bit from the New York article:
"Regina", Gramercy Park Resident: "Children that are walking by, it's the Christmas season, all the little kids that believe in Satan Claus [sic], what would they think when they see something like that? It's really shocking and disturbing."
Actually, "Regina," I don't think a gory display like that would really bother kids who believe in Satan Claus.

via Lee at Right-Thinking.

China lags behind on whole "stalking" concept

Actually, that title could be a little misleaing because if you're a stalker, you may find their attitude progressive and refreshing.

You see, according to this article, a court in Harbin let a guy off the hook after he'd broken into his female neighbor's apartment five times, getting caught by the cops one of those times (presumably the fifth, but the article doesn't say) sneaking off with one of her bras, her MP3 player, and some photos.

Now, here's where the story gets cute (or scary--again, it depends on your perspective):
But the court in Harbin, capital of northeastern Heilongjiang province, dismissed harassment charges against the burglar. It heard that on the times he entered the woman's apartment while she was out, he had washed her dishes, done her laundry, left her snacks and even fixed her computer...

He once planted a note in the apartment reading: "Don't panic. I hope you can understand my feelings for you."
Well, I'm sure that set her mind at ease. There's nothing like coming home to find that a stranger has left a note for you that begins "Don't panic." It's quite reassuring, actually.
He told the court he swiped the woman's MP3 player because it was in need of repair, but admitted he "took her bra and photos out of love for her."
There's no word in the article as to whether or not a wedding date has been set, but I hear Harbin is lovely in the springtime.

Vet's-eye view of Murtha

This opinion piece by an Iraq war veteran ain't all sunshine and lollipops (he mentions, for example, that Bronze Stars for valor are becoming almost "alarmingly" common--a measure of the intensity of combat) but it rips the Dems a new one for their defeatism.

The author, David Bellavia, is especially hard on Rep. John Murtha, the Pennsylvaina Democrat who upped turned up his rhetoric to the "Ted Kennedy" setting yesterday, saying, "There's no way we can win a war when you've lost not only the hearts and minds of the people (of Iraq), when you become the enemy."

Sez Bellavia:
Each day, the Iraqi war veteran grows closer to the embarrassing disrespect of the Vietnam warrior. Each day, legislators like Murtha move us closer to losing a winnable war and abandoning a worthy ally. Staying the course isn't a campaign slogan; it is a life support message to my peers. Like Vietnam, the American soldier cannot be defeated on the field of battle, only by the failure of the political class to stomach the hardships of combat.
You'd think Murtha, a Vietnam vet, would understand this. I guess you'd be wrong.

Like the man says, read the whole thing.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The people you see on the teevee

Huh. I was just watching an episode of this three part series about food on PBS, and who should I see but an old friend of mine, her husband, and her family, all participating in and talking about a Hindu fertility ceremony where the mother-in-law feeds her daughter's husband. Surprised the hell out of me. It's weird seeing people you know on TV when you're not expecting to.

(Confidential to Andy: Yeah, it was her.)

Nobody saw this coming

Colin Farrell is in rehab.

via The Superficial, who speculates that Farrell also overdosed on "a tremendous amount of drugs."

Too bad. So sad.

No clemency for Tookie:
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today rejected clemency for Stanley Tookie Williams, convicted murderer and one of the founders of the Crips.

The decision was announced moments after a federal appeals court in San Francisco turned down Williams's request for a stay of execution. Williams is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.

"Clemency cases are always difficult and this one is no exception," Schwarzenegger said in a prepared statement.

"After studying the evidence, searching the history, listening to the arguments and wrestling with the profound consequences, I could find no justification for granting clemency."

[...]

The governor's rejection of clemency was personally and politically difficult for Schwarzenegger, who has denied two pleas for clemency in other cases.
In one of those cases, Donald Beardslee, who was executed in January of this year, had actually confessed to the murders that put him on Death Row. Tookie has never taken responsibility for the four lives he snuffed out, although people have testified that he bragged about the murders in his own neighborhood, allegedly calling three of his Asian victims "Buddhaheads."

Look, I'm sure that the books Tookie wrote are swell and all that, but the man is a cold-blooded multiple murderer who has never shown the slightest bit of remorse for the people who he killed. It'll be interesting to see if he fesses up at the last minute, but I'm not holding my breath.

Iconic ass-bandit identified?


Scientists have used new imaging techniques that may help to identify who the sailor in this classic photo actually is:
Many, including Carl Muscardello, claimed to be the sailor. But George Mendonsa, an 82-year-old Navy vet and retired fisherman from Newport, R.I., gladly submitted to high-tech testing to prove he was the one in the famous photo.

"When I hear someone else trying to get credit for it, my blood boils," Mendonsa said. "I want that identification."

He approached the Naval War College Museum in Newport, which contacted the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories in Cambridge, Mass. The lab has a machine called "the dome" that takes thousands of photos of a person's head from different angles in just seconds. The photos are converted into a 3-D computer image that can be tilted at the exact same angle as the sailor's head in the 1945 photo.
They had to "de-age" the guy's head in the photos for comparison purposes, and the associate director of the lab admits that the scans don't offer "100 percent, irrefutable scientific evidence" that Mendosna is the sailor in the photo, but it's still kind of cool.

And besides, the nurse from the photo is still around, too:
There has been consensus for some time that Edith Shain, 87, is the nurse. But she says she has no idea who the sailor is because she had never seen him before that moment and never recognized him again.
She can finally nail the creep for sexual harassment. Hel-lo new Florida condo!

OMG murder, ROTFL!!!1!

I'm fairly new to the whole blogging thing, but I'm pretty sure that if you're a stupid teenager and you've committed some serious crimes, it's probably not a real good idea to go ahead and write about the details on your blog.

But then again, stupid teenagers don't tend to have many good ideas, do they?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Honoring the legacy of a Man of Peace™

Nobel Peace Prize nominee and convicted multiple-murderer Stanley "Tookie" Williams is set to die on Monday if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger does not grant him clemency--something no California Governor has done since 1967. If Tookie should get the hot shot he so richly deserves, plans are apparently already being made for a memorial tribute in his honor:
Authorities in Los Angeles are concerned about possible rioting if the co-founder of the Crips street gang, Stanley "Tookie" Williams, is executed as planned.

[...]

Fearing a repeat of the 1992 race riots in which 52 people died, police, schools and community groups have been told to prepare for violence if clemency is not granted.
Ah, extortion, violence, and mayhem. A fitting way to remember one of the founding members of the Crips.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Smells like...victory Vermont

For the second time this year, it seems New York City's usual stenches of urine, hobos, and bohemian pretentiousness were replaced by the sweet aroma of maple syrup:
...there's still no rational explanation for the maple syrup aroma that wafted Thursday across Manhattan, the second such olfactory incident since October. Calls to the city's 311 help line and the Fire Department reported the pleasant scent around 3:30 p.m. in neighborhoods from midtown to the upper East and West Sides.
Honestly, Ace--knock it off.

Lies, damn lies, and Cindy Sheehan

Apparently, Mother Sheehan has abandoned her efforts to pester President Bush for the time being, and is currently pestering pasty foreigners, instead. During an interview over in Old Blighty with a reporter from the UK Grauniad, she tossed out the following whopper:
"I get feedback from the troops all the time and 99.9% say, 'Keep on doing what you're doing because it's a nightmare here and we want to come home and it's only people like you in the peace movement that give us hope.'"
Riiiiiight, Cindy. The "journalist" she said this to does not give any indication that he challenged her on that figure in any way, shape, or form.

She goes on to recount how she supposedly told John Kerry that if he'd only articulated a clear cut-and-run platform during the 2004 election, he would have "won in a landslide." Then, in her very next breath, she mentions talking to Howard Dean, whose only notable idea during the 2004 campaign was that we should turn tail and surrender in Iraq...and we all know how that turned out. Not exactly a landslide, Cindy.

Moving on, we get this nugget:
Cindy's campaigning work leaves her no time for anything else, she says - something that her other children have had to adjust to. They have been very supportive, though, and recently went to dinner with her and Jane Fonda, another supporter, and Fonda's daughter. Joan Baez has been a frequent and supportive visitor to the camp, as have a surprising array of Republicans, she says.
Care to name any of those Republicans, Cindy? Of course not, because none of them are notable figures, if they exist at all outside of your warped little mind.
The non-stop campaigning has taken its toll, she says, and Cindy feels in need of a good massage: "I really feel I'm carrying the whole world on my shoulders," she says.
You'd be hearing the world's tiniest violin right now, but I'm too busy looking for a bucket--I think I'm gonna puke.

(via Tim Blair)

In space, no one can hear you heckling the umpire

Here's a pretty cool article that says zero-gravity sports may be possible in the near future:
An early look at space sports comes courtesy of the Zero-Gravity Corp. — a space entertainment and tourism company headquartered in Dania Beach, Fla.

Making use of a modified Boeing 727-200 aircraft, Zero-G provides thrill-seekers that free-fall feeling so enjoyed by astronauts. The firm’s "G-Force One" plane makes roller coaster-like maneuvers in the air with dives and pullouts repeated numbers of times for paying customers.

Zero-G has been looking at a variety of weightless sports, said Peter Diamandis, chairman and chief executive officer of the company. The group has been approached by a range of individuals and companies having an array of ideas for space sports, he said...

Onboard the company’s aircraft, passengers have already played weightless dodgeball and tag.
Now, before you go calling this Diamandis guy a genius or anything, the first thing that apparently popped into his head was how cool it would be to have pro wrestling in a zero-G environment. Ugh.

But the article goes on to mention that there's a company developing plans for a zero-G sports league, and that people are beginning to think of things like orbiting stadiums, to be built when passenger space travel becomes more affordable.

That's all well and good, but in the meantime I think we ought to be concentrating on other futuristic sports that can be played closer to home.

Christmas with Paris

No matter how annoying your neighbors' Christmas decorations are, be glad you don't live near this guy:
Blown-up images of [Paris] Hilton and strings of pink Christmas lights adorn the front lawn of a home in a middle-class neighborhood of this city, part of a head-turning holiday display that pays homage to the famed hotel heiress.
The display (complete with a "How to be a Hilton" list and a portrait of Paris' dog) is the work of 38-year-old Joe Moretti, who was arrested last year for trespassing on Martha Stewart's property.
This is the latest in a series of artistic lawn displays decorating Moretti's lawn. Last year, he paid tribute to Martha Stewart even as he and another man faced charges for sneaking on to the domestic maven's property. The charges were later dismissed...
Now, if he could just meet a nice girl at the office Christmas party and settle down, maybe he wouldn't be getting in that kind of scrape.
Moretti has made past tributes to Madonna, Princess Diana and Liberace.
Oh...uh...nevermind.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

That "pushback" might just be working

When the New York Times can't even be bothered to spin for the Dems on their problems with coming up with a coherent Iraq strategy, you know they're in trouble:
...with President Bush's popularity down, Democrats sense a good opportunity to pick up House and Senate seats next year. Although they take credit for injecting the idea of troop withdrawal in the debate, the idea of a quick pullout does not seem to be a winner with voters.

A new poll by The New York Times and CBS News finds that most Americans agreed there should be a timetable to withdraw troops. But 36 percent said that if their representative called for immediate withdrawal, they would be less inclined to vote to re-elect him in November. Twenty-one percent said such a request would make them more likely to vote for a candidate; 40 percent said it would have no effect.

Marshall Wittmann, a senior fellow at the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist group, said the rift over Iraq highlighted a long-running dilemma for Democrats, how to appear tough on national security while appealing to their antiwar base.

"Karl Rove couldn't have choreographed it any better," Mr. Wittmann said. "This is the dilemma that the Democrats see. Their base is inflamed against the war. The war is unpopular, and yet if they call for a precipitous withdrawal, they only play into the hands of the Republican Party, which wants to depict them as the party of retreat."
The article goes on to contrast Howard Dean's recent defeatism and Nancy Pelosi's support of the Murtha cut-and-run plan with a speech Joe Lieberman made on Tuesday, in which he made the rather sensible statement that "in matters of war we undermine the president's credibility at our nation's peril."

You can bet that went over reeeeeal well with some of the more, um, "reality-based" Dems:
...some of Mr. Lieberman's fellow Democrats were aghast.

"How dare he ask us to support the president of the United States who has literally bungled this war?" asked Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, who founded a group in the House called the Out of Iraq Caucus.
Hey, there's that good old "loyal" opposition for you. I mean, really, it's just beyond the pale to expect members of the party on the other side of the aisle to support the president of their own country during wartime. Tacky, if you asked me.

It's really a shame we didn't have Maxine's perspective during, say, the Battle of the Bulge, isn't it?

Meanwhile, back at West 43rd Street, we catch up with someone who apparently has an almost admirable disdain for the polls:
Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Democrats did not need a unified message on the war. Mr. Emanuel said Democrats would earn credit with voters simply for jump-starting the debate.
Hmmmmm...sounds familiar.

Ha Ha!


"Cookies on dowels!"

Sun rises again in east

In other news of the obvious, "tolerant" liberal protestors shouted down Ann Coulter as she was trying to make a speech on a college campus.
“We encourage diverse opinion at UConn, but this is blatant hate speech,” said Eric Knudsen, a 19-year-old sophomore journalism and social welfare major who heads campus group Students Against Hate.
Now, this is from an AP article without a byline, and I'm assuming Eric himself ain't the author, but I think it sure would be nice of whoever wrote the piece to get Eric to, you know, back up his assertion with an example or two. I guess we'll just have to take him at his word, though. Then again, why wouldn't you trust someone who's "Against Hate" on what's probably a semi-pro basis?

At least nobody threw any food at her this time. Not that the article mentions, anyway.

The "little death" and taxes

Italian legislators are apparently considering a 20% tax on porn to help pay down their national debt, among other things.

Which leads me to the following questions: Why do Italians pay for porn? I mean, don't they have the internets over there?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Sorry...

...for the lack of posting today. I had an assload of deadlines for actual, paying work that all ran together today. I'll try to find more stuff to post about tomorrow. Hopefully, some really dirty, feeeelthy stuff.

(I'm starting to get to know my audience, y'know.)

Infamy

Today was Pearl Harbor Day. World War II began for the United States, and for millions of (then) young men like my Grandfather 64 years ago. He's gone now, as are a greater and greater number of vets from that era every year. I hope that as they pass on, we won't forget the cause that they fought for--a cause that I find remarkably similar to the one our men and women in uniform are fighting for today.

Chim-chimeny chim-chim ch-Iraq?

An anonymous commenter hepped me to this Newsday article about anti-war protestors doing their protest-y thing outside of a Hillary! Clinton appearance in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Since Hillary! is one of the more "hawkish" Dems in the Senate where the GWOT is concerned, I didn't find most of the article very surprising. Most of it was about how the moonbats are threstening to vote for someone else the next time she runs, unless she falls in line with the Dean/Pelosi/Murtha/MoveOn/etc. cut and run strategy. Ho-hum.

But the following part of the article caught my eye:
Also protesting was Pete Looker, a chimney sweep from Saratoga Springs who was dressed as Santa Claus.

"I think she needs to join us and try peace," Looker said. "I think there's hope for her, then we won't have to put any more coal in her stocking."
Um...am I the only one who sees something weird going on here?

If I was a member of Hillary!'s Secret Service detail, I might be calling in Dick Van Dyke for some questioning.

I'm just saying, is all.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Words to live by

My Grandpa, who died a few years ago, lived in Indiana, so I didn't get to spend a whole lot of time with him. But he did give me some advice that I'll never forget.

"Sean," he told me, "if you're going to hire someone to kill a bunch of people, make sure that the man you hire to do the killin' is trustworthy." I nodded in agreement.

"And I can't stress just how important this is, so listen up, kid," he added, somewhat haltingly. I told him I was listening, and he continued: "You'd better make damn well sure that the cocaine you're planning to pay the hitman with is not--I repeat, not--actually a block of crumbly, white Mexican cheese."

Howard Dean: the gift that keeps on giving

So, the chairman of the Democrat party has decided to put his foot in his mouth once again, telling a Texas radio station that "the idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong."

I've got to hand it to Dean, because the man knows where his organically-grown bread is smeared with an Earth-friendly vegan butter substitute. It's like the Dems aren't even trying to sound serious about military issues anymore, which at least strikes me as more honest than their previous strategy of talking tough while winking and nodding at the "objectively pro-fascist" crowds of moonbat protestors calling on our troops to frag their officers.

And Bush is doing a lot better at responding to this nonsense in real time these days, too. "I know we're going to win, and our troops need to hear not only that they are supported but that we have got a strategy that will win," Reuters quotes Bush as saying. Nice contrast there.

Meanwhile, Dean was burnishing his credentials for the "Most Obvious Statement by a Liberal Baby Boomer" award, saying that what's going on in Iraq is "the same situation we had in Vietnam."

Hmmmmm...does that mean Dean did the interview via phone from Colorado?

see also: Jeff's thoughts on Dean and Dem strategy at protein wisdom.

Nietzche was right

I've come to the conclusion that God really is dead. If He was still alive, He wouldn't allow something like this to exist.

(via Dr. Reo Symes, who has more Walker clips at Ace's place.)

Monday, December 05, 2005

Why'd you have to go and make it creepy?

Nothing says sexy and fun like an erotic Bible calendar put together by a German Protestant youth group, right? Heck, I might go so far as to call the idea educational and inspirational as well.
Anne Rohmer, 21, poses on a doorstep in garters and stockings as the prostitute Rahab, who is mentioned in both New and Old Testaments. “We wanted to represent the Bible in a different way and to interest young people,” she told Reuters.

“Anyway, it doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that you are forbidden to show yourself nude.”
Testify, Sister Anne!

But just when you think this is going to be some good, um...clean fun, some pervy Euro-creep has to come along and wreck everything...
Bernd Grasser, pastor of the church in Nuremberg where the calendar is being sold, was enthusiastic about the project which is explained online at www.bibelkalender.de.

“It’s just wonderful when teenagers commit themselves with their hair and their skin to the Bible,” he said.
Ewwwww. Now I feel all dirty about it. Thanks a lot, Pastor Bernd.

*************************
The "please validate my existence" update: Welcome, Ace of Spades visitors! Please check out the rest of my pitiful blog. And would it kill you to leave some f'n comments? Really, you don't even have to be nice.

Jerks announce plan to bother people

Look, I'm not a religious guy, but I don't think of my self as an atheist, either. I don't really care what you choose to believe in or not believe in, so long as you're not thrusting it into my face constantly. I understand that some religious people do this a lot, but it seems to me like atheists do their fair share of the proselytizing these days.

For example, Instapundit linked today to a statement by Brian Fleming, a filmmaker whose most recent work is some sort of documentary that purports to show that Jesus never existed. That's fine, but check out what Fleming and his pals have in store for the holiday season:
Beyond Belief Media has formally declared war on Christmas, the December 25 holiday in which Christians celebrate the birth of the mythical figure Jesus Christ, the company announced today.

"Christian conservatives complain nonstop about the ‘War on Christmas,’ but there really isn’t any such war," said Beyond Belief Media president Brian Flemming , a former fundamentalist Christian who is now an atheist activist. "So we have decided to wage one, to demonstrate what it would look like if Jesus’ birthday were truly attacked."

As its opening salvo, Beyond Belief Media has purchased advertisements this week in the New York Times, USA Today and the New Yorker magazine. The company’s 300-member volunteer "street team" is also descending on Christmas-themed public events with random "guerilla giveaways" of Beyond Belief’s acclaimed DVD THE GOD WHO WASN'T THERE.

"No Christmas pageant or Nativity display is safe from our troops," said Flemming. "Wherever the mythical figure Jesus is celebrated as if he were real, we will be there with an information barrage. We will undercut the idea that there is any point at all to celebrating the ‘birth’ of a character in a fairy tale."
Gee, isn't that nice? And, really, what's the point here (other than an "edgy" publicity stunt)? They're certainly not going to win any friends or converts by doing this, and they're more than likely to piss any number of people off. People who were minding their own business and celebrating a holiday that has cultural as well as religious significance.

As James Taranto said today, "To the extent that there is such a thing as organized atheism, it seems to be about nothing other than getting in people's faces."

Happy Festivus, Brian Fleming. Leave me alone.

My solemn promise to you

You can rest assured while reading my blog that it is never, ever, NEVARR! updated from the bathroom. That's just how I roll.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

What a scoop!

The New York Times has figured out that [gasp!] you can't trust everything you read on the internets. (free registration required)

You'd better sit down before I go any further. The gist of the article is that some of the information found on Wikipedia may actually be incorrect or misleading! I bet you didn't see that coming, did you?

As if your core beliefs weren't already shaken to their very foundations, the article goes on to debunk the myth that librarians (even Harvard librarians!) aren't actually the all-knowing godlike beings we'd always assumed them to be:
Jessica Baumgart, a news researcher at Harvard University, wrote that there were librarians voluntarily working behind the scenes to check information on Wikipedia. "But, honestly," she added, "in some ways, we're just as fallible as everyone else in some areas because our own knowledge is limited and we can't possibly fact-check everything."
Say it ain't so, Jessica!

I don't know about the rest of you, but it's going to be very difficult for me to get to sleep tonight, having found out that librarians are actually fallible like the rest of us mere mortals. It's like the world is crumbling around me...

Friday, December 02, 2005

With Special Guest Star Cindy Sheehan!

Remember how funny Al Sharpton's presidential candidacy was? Well, it looks like CBS (the network that brought you last year's smash hit, "I Love Lucy Ramirez") thought it was a laugh-riot:
Al Sharpton is in talks to topline his own sitcom for CBS.

Paramount Network Television would produce the project, a family comedy dubbed "Al in the Family" in which Sharpton would play off his larger-than-life personality.
Hilarity ensues in the pilot episode when some of the neighborhood kids Al mentors down at the teen center take one of his "practical jokes" too far and end up setting fire to a clothing store, killing eight people.

Funny-sounding word of the day

Monegasque

Friday catblogging!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Rosa Parks what now?

Rosa Parks was a Civil Rights icon, and people gathered all around the country to commemorate her life today. And that's great, but I just wonder if they couldn't have come up with a name for the event that was a little less, well, confusing...
''We're trying to make sure that young people begin to carry the mantle of Rosa Parks, that they start to see hope and start to stand for dignity," said Tony Van Der Meer, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. Van Der Meer is co-organizer of the Rosa Parks National Day of Absence Against Poverty, Racism, and War, which is leading a rally and march from Dudley Square to Boston City Hall. ''We can only teach them by action."
Huh? Is the "absence" in the title meant to refer to the fact that Parks is gone, or are we talking about the participants being absent from their jobs and/or schools?

It seems I'm not the only one who's confused about how to celebrate Parks' legacy, either:
No one can agree on the right way to memorialize Parks, said Darnell Williams, president of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts. ''We really have to find what is the most strident way that her legacy will be not only remembered, but implemented in our time," said Williams, who plans to spend the day trying to raise more money for youth programs. ''Pointing a finger and name-calling is not what Rosa Parks did. Rosa Parks made a statement with her quiet stature and demeanor and sparked a revolution."
Um, maybe it's just me, but stridency seems a bit incongruous with a tribute befitting Parks' "quiet stature and demeanor," no?

Two men charged in Oakland liquor store case

And they're both asscoiated with [gasp!] Black Muslims.

The prosecutor in the case has filed hate crimes charges against the two, which I disagree with on general principles. The crimes they've been accused of were serious enough in the first place, so why make an issue out of what they were thinking at the time? But I'll leave my larger philosophy on hate crimes for another post.

There are still at least four other men at large, so perhaps they're the militant Mormons I've been speculating about.

Story time

Speaking of Europe, take a wild guess as to where a man got busted for reading kiddie porn stories to a group of six-year-olds?

Why, Sweden, of course!

Now, I know that I'm being all puritanical and everything, especially in light of the fact that this was part of an academic project, right? I mean, perhaps I'm protesting too much over a legitimate psychological study.

Well, sure...except for the fact that it was "part of a theater project on children's sexuality." [emphasis mine, of course]

Another mitigating factor was that the guy hadn't intended the stories to be seen as pornographic so, you know, I guess they ought to let him off the hook.

Now, I know that in certain areas here in the States, the statutes protecting kids from sex offenders leave a lot to be desired, but this scumbag got away from this with a fine, which he's appealing.

Forgive me if I'm not all that interested in the much-ballyhooed European sophistication.

Update: I checked around to find out just how big the fine this guy had been ordered to pay was, and according to this site, it's less than $300!

That touch of class

Ah, the Brits. So...uhhh...refined.

(via The Corner)