September 2003 Archives

Karma In Effect

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From the Saginaw News (via about a pregame ritual that went over the top:

"One teenager spit on it.

The next Flint Northern High School football player kicked the black helmet scrawled with a yellow "S."

And so it went, on down the line, like a lazy firing squad, as the visiting team pelted the effigy Saginaw High School helmet in view of the Trojans' bench.


Referees did nothing as the makeshift helmet took a beating on the goal line of Laeding Field's south end zone during the 20-minute warm-up period before this year's gridiron opener Aug. 28."
The article then launches into a screed about how taunting is the worst thing in sports ever and needs to be stopped at any cost:
"Despite an onslaught of campaigns in recent years, coaches' and officials' failure to stop Flint Northern's systematic taunting may belie an athletic culture -- something like a war -- in which, too often, all's fair.

'The difficulty is if you don't win, you try other things to try to win, and some of the things are not ethical,' said James E. Hornak, chairman of the Physical Education and Sport Department at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. 'Sportsmanship is a difficult issue.'"
Sounds like my entire high school career. Our football team was a combined 4-32; we compensated by inventing some, um, earthy cheers (which decorum prevents me relating here). That was our coping mechanism, and it definitely met the Michigan High School Athletic Association's definition of taunting:
". . . any action or comment by coaches, players or spectators that is intended to bait, anger, embarrass, ridicule or demean others, whether or not the deeds or words are vulgar or racist."
I don't recall any of our -- OK, I'll call them taunts because that's what they were -- being racist, but they were most assuredly vulgar. But I digress.

The score? Saginaw won 42-0.

Quick! Two More Cups Of Coffee And Another B-12 Shot!

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Sometimes you can show up to work hung over and get away with it. That's exactly what Michigan did Saturday in beating Indiana 31-17. Poor Hoosiers. This is the third time in a row they've had to play Michigan with the Wolverines coming off an ugly loss. Anyway, the game wasn't that close. It was 31-3 with five minutes to go, and the first-team D gave up just those three points and well under 200 yards. Steve Breaston continued to impress with a punt-return TD and a TD catch, and 10 different receivers had catches. On the minus side, Navarre still didn't look all-the-way recovered from his problems against Oregon, and Chris Perry must have been wearing somebody else's hands--he fumbled again and had a pass go right through his hands for an interception. If they play like that against Iowa, they'll get pasted.

Navarre may hold a few Michigan career passing records (didja know that?), but until he can beat a ranked team on the road (and I mean more than just Florida in last year's Citrus Bowl), I'll still be unconvinced.

No Bias To See Here, Move Along...

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I saw this story on Drudge about a panel of prominent journalists discussing the question "Is the free press a fair press?" Think about this question for a minute. What's the implication of phrasing it that way instead of simply "Does America have a fair press?" To me, the connection of 'fair' to 'free' leads to a false dichotomy - either we do indeed have a fair press, and everybody who says 'liberal bias' ought to just shut the hell up, or we don't have a fair press, and the fact that it's 'free' is at least part of the problem:

"While journalists are often accused of having a liberal bias, 'most media are owned by Republican conservatives, so there is a healthy balance and tension' within the news operation, [AP CEO Tom] Curley said."
What the hell does that mean? The conservative owners insist on the GOP party line, and the intrepid journalists fight The Man on principle? Give me a break.

Maybe I'm reading too much into that, but there is one thing in particular I need to point out. In discussion of Fox News' "Fair And Balanced" slogan, CNN anchor Judy Woodruff said:

"Woodruff added that the motto should be unnecessary for any news organization. 'Fox is concerned about its news reputation. At CNN, we don't need to use those terms,' she said."
That's right, Judy. All CNN does is suppress stories for the sake of maintaining access to power (also here and here). Jackasses.

I Went To A Charity Dinner And A Rugby Match Broke Out

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The Evening Standard has this story about a charity dinner gone horribly wrong:

"A huge brawl erupted at a dinner attended by some of rugby's greatest names to raise money for former England player Alastair Hignell, who has multiple sclerosis."
According to one witness:
"'People were exchanging punches and there was a lot of screaming. They were mainly very well built amateur rugby types.' The violence broke out when England fans taunted Welsh comedian Max Boyce as he made an after-dinner speech.

Welsh fans clashed with the England fans on a neighbouring table as those on surrounding tables tried in vain to stop it."
Hell, I don't think that crowd is any tougher than Showtime At The Apollo...

Idiotarian Of The Day


(via Drudge) I saw this article about a bake sale intended to protest affirmative action:

"Southern Methodist University shut down a bake sale Wednesday in which cookies were offered for sale at different prices, depending on the buyer's race or gender.

The sale was organized by the Young Conservatives of Texas, who said it was intended as a protest of affirmative action.

A sign said white males had to pay $1 for a cookie. The price was 75 cents for white women, 50 cents for Hispanics and 25 cents for blacks.

Members of the conservative group said they meant no offense and were only trying to protest the use of race or gender as a factor in college admissions."

Wow. The idea was ballsy, harsh, and (IMO) just a little bit beyond the bounds of decorum, but they got their point across.

Or maybe not. Congratulations to Matt Houston, 19, a sophomore at SMU, who wins Idiotarian Of The Day for his response:

"They were arguing that affirmative action was solely based on race. It's not based on race. It's based on bringing a diverse community to a certain organization."

So tell me again exactly how that's done?

Which Founding Father Is Where?


Does anybody know what happened to the "Which Founding Father Are You?" quiz? It used to be hosted on but (as you'll see if you try the link) not anymore. Anyway, I took it a while ago, and it told me I was Alexander Hamilton (and that link's dead, too). At any rate, after reading this, I've decided I'm really Andrew Jackson (who, technically, wasn't a Founding Father, but never mind):

"No one has a right to tell the self-reliant Jacksonian what to say, do or think. Any infringement on equality will be met with defiance and resistance. Male or female, the Jacksonian is, and insists on remaining, independent of church, state, social hierarchy, political parties and labor unions."
"Suspicious of untrammeled federal power (Waco), skeptical about the prospects for domestic and foreign do-gooding (welfare at home, foreign aid abroad), opposed to federal taxes but obstinately fond of federal programs seen as primarily helping the middle class (Social Security and Medicare, mortgage interest subsidies), . . .."
Actually, I'm not terribly fond of any of those, but I recognize that tax money could be (and is!) spent in much worse ways. Also:
". . . both Jeffersonians and Jacksonians are civil libertarians, passionately attached to the Constitution and especially to the Bill of Rights, and deeply concerned to preserve the liberties of ordinary Americans. But while the Jeffersonians are most profoundly devoted to the First Amendment, protecting the freedom of speech and prohibiting a federal establishment of religion, Jacksonians see the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, as the citadel of liberty. Jeffersonians join the American Civil Liberties Union; Jacksonians join the National Rifle Association."
I'm kind of on the fence here as I feel both are equally important; however, I don't know many Jeffersonians who believe--as I do--that without the Second Amendment, the First is powerless. Also:
"The criminal who commits what, in the Jacksonian code, constitute unforgivable sins (cold-blooded murder, rape, the murder or sexual abuse of a child, murder or attempted murder of a peace officer) can justly be killed by the victims’ families, colleagues or by society at large—with or without the formalities of law. In many parts of the United States, juries will not convict police on almost any charge, nor will they condemn revenge killers in particularly outrageous cases. The right of the citizen to defend family and property with deadly force is a sacred one as well, a legacy from colonial and frontier times."
On the darker side:
"Every administration will be corrupt; every Congress and legislature will be, to some extent, the plaything of lobbyists. Career politicians are inherently untrustworthy; if it spends its life buzzing around the outhouse, it’s probably a fly. Jacksonians see corruption as human nature and, within certain ill-defined boundaries of reason and moderation, an inevitable by-product of government. "
We're getting close to the bottom line here:
"Jacksonians believe that international life is and will remain both anarchic and violent. The United States must be vigilant and strongly armed. Our diplomacy must be cunning, forceful and no more scrupulous than anybody else’s. At times, we must fight pre-emptive wars. There is absolutely nothing wrong with subverting foreign governments or assassinating foreign leaders whose bad intentions are clear. . ..

Jacksonians believe that there is an honor code in international life—as there was in clan warfare in the borderlands of England—and those who live by the code will be treated under it. But those who violate the code—who commit terrorist acts in peacetime, for example—forfeit its protection and deserve no consideration."

Duck Off

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What is it with my favorite sports teams and ducks of the Anaheim or Eugene variety? I still wasn't completely sold on the defense, even after the bagel it hung on the Domers (and after their performance against the Spartans, it looks like even less of an accomplishment), and last Saturday's loss to Oregon confirmed a couple of things I was worried about. First, they're vulnerable--even against the run--to teams that can spread the field. The long runs they gave up were almost exclusively in this situation. Second, mobile quarterbacks give them fits. This has been true for as long as I can remember, and I can remember back to Dennis Franklin. In general, pocket passers don't beat Michigan; guys who can move around long enough to bust a receiver loose can.

One positive for the defense--they got pushed up and down the field for 2 1/2 quarters and only gave up 17 points (although it would have been 28-0 (about which more later) at halftime without the blocked FG return), and they were playing as expected at the end. Don't argue that Oregon was just trying to bleed the clock by then; they were still going for points all the way until their take-a-knee possession.

I'd love for Michigan to get another crack at Oregon. I know it won't happen, since it would take both schools winning out and about ten other schools each to lose at least once (and some probably twice), but Michigan played as bad as I've seen them since last year's Iowa game, Oregon (at home) played nearly flawlessly, and U-M still only lost by four. And they had the ball with a real chance to win in the final minute.

About that potential 28-0 halftime score: yes, I think the officials blew the call and Clemens did cross the goal line with the ball, so the score should have been 7-0 Oregon at that point, not 6-0 Michigan two plays later. You know what? Too damn bad. Michigan has been overtly screwed by so many bad calls over the years (what other team has had two teams score touchdowns against them without the ball? (ND 2002) (1979 Rose Bowl)) that it would take one TD-reversing bad call per game for two years to even them out.

Other stuff:

This loss shouldn't affect their (outright) Big Ten championship chances - they should be 10-1 when aOSU comes to town, and the two teams they don't play (Penn State, Wisconsin) will almost certainly both have at least one conference loss.

Update: Michigan beat Florida in last year's Outback Bowl.

Now Known As "The Emmy Award-Winning...

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Just tickled pink that The Amazing Race won the Emmy for Outstanding Reality/Competition Program (actually, the Emmy was for last year's TAR 3, not the recently-completed TAR 4). This makes it a near-certainty that will be a TAR 5, which I was very concerned about. The show got good, but not great, ratings during the summer, and didn't always beat Friends reruns.

Maybe I misremember, but I'm pretty sure that early TV ads for Out Of Time seemed to leave unanswered the question of whether Denzel Washington's character committed the crime. Now, of course, the ads make it clear that he's been framed for it. Why would they do that? Seems to me that it'd be more interesting if they would leave the question of the character's innocence in doubt until, oh, I don't know, you actually go to see the movie!

Next: Advanced Collaborator Training

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At the very end of this story about how we captured Saddam's Defense Minister came this little gem:

"French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said in Berlin they could help train Iraqi soldiers and police, but France also insisted Washington hand power to an Iraqi government in 'months, not years.'"

First, this reminds me of an old joke:

In Heaven:
The French are the chefs,
the Italians are the lovers,
the Swiss are the bankers,
the Germans are the mechanics,
and the British are the police.

In Hell:
The British are the chefs,
the Swiss are the lovers,
the Italians are the bankers,
the French are the mechanics,
and the Germans are the police.

(variants here and here and here and, oh hell just do this)

Second, here's the parade ground at New Improved Iraqi Army basic training, as run by the French:

"Right shoulder... arms!
Order... arms!
Drop... arms!
Raise... hands!
To the rear... march!
Double time... march!"


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You all know what today is, right?

More from the Life Imitates Art department: I'm listening to Crisis Four by Andy McNab (who, incidentally, knows whereof he writes), and I'm just now at the part where the main character is doing a pirate cruise re-enactment with his ward. The reader (Clive Mantle) does an excellent job, and his characterization of the bosun is ideally suited to today.

Words That Don't Go Together

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Danish biker gangs? Car bombings in suburban Copenhagen? That's just messed up. The Independent has the story of how a biker got done in by his rivals, or maybe his buddies:

"Mickey Borgfjord Larsen, the victim, formerly a member of the notorious Bandidos motorcycle gang, was killed after a bomb was slipped under his car and exploded in the car park of the hospital about nine miles west of the capital, in the suburb of Glostrup."
It was feared this marked a restart of a biker gang war:
"For three years, a murderous war raged between the Hells Angels and Bandidos motorcycle gangs, leaving up to 12 dead. In a region not known for violent criminality the gangs used car bombs, anti-tank grenades and drive-by shootings to settle scores. At the peak of the biker war, one of the gangs fired a rocket-propelled grenade into a dance being held by a breakaway gang in central Copenhagen. In 1997, the two groups signed a truce, ending the so-called 'biker war' in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland."
But there's also thinking that the perps were from his own gang, in a 'the only way you leave this organization is in a coffin' kind of thing:
'We quickly knew it was related to the biker world so we decided not to evacuate the whole hospital,' Mr [Copenhagen Chief Constable Joergen]Bro told a news conference. 'We knew that the bomb was targeting him.' Larsen had been in 'bad standing' with the Bandidos for leaving the group in 2001, he added. 'That means that he is hunted game for people in biker circles. He was very unpopular and had many enemies.'"

And if that wasn't bad enough, somebody blew up the Little Mermaid!

"Although yesterday's car bomb came as a jolt to the country, it follows another explosion last week, which blasted the country's national icon, the Little Mermaid, off her foundations into Copenhagen harbour. For 90 years, the statue has looked out at the Baltic Sea from atop a rock. Copenhagen police have made some arrests during their investigation into the blast. The damage to the country's top tourist attraction is estimated at £12,000. Police investigating yesterday's killing are questioning insiders with knowledge of the biker gangs."
Upon further research, I shouldn't really be surprised. If the Little Mermaid statue is Denmark's national symbol, screwing around with it seems to be the national sport!

...where they're promptly grabbed by Coalition forces. The Evening Standard reports:

"The Foreign Office is investigating reports that US forces in Iraq have arrested two men who say they are British citizens.

The pair are being held with six other men, who claim to be US citizens, on suspicion of participating in attacks against coalition troops, a US officer told journalists in Iraq."
Although Rummy isn't so sure:
"At a Pentagon news briefing, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said: 'The folks that we have scooped up have, on a number of occasions, multiple identifications from different countries.

'They are quite skilled at confusing people as to what their real nationality is or where they came from and what they are doing.'"

No Escape From Sam

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Seen on the M4 between Swindon and Chippenham, a truck (articulated lorry):

"Asda... A Division Of Wal-Mart"

...Except The British Needed Automatic Weapons

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Back from the UK early with lots to catch up on, but I'd just like to take a moment to note the Grade-A pimp-slapping Michigan laid on Notre Dame. The last time the Irish got beat this bad, U2 wrote a song about it.

Travel Probability 100%

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Blogging will be iffy over the next two weeks, as I am now headed for the UK on business until the 20th. Specifically, I'll be working here on this with these folks. It's pretty likely that I'll have to work straight through the weekend; however, if I get free for some of that time, I'll go to London for a night. If by some miracle I get the whole weekend free, I'll probably hop a ferry to Dublin and do my own little pub crawl.

And that's a shame. Not because of the pub crawl; I think everybody who likes a beer now and then (and now and then, and now and then) should try one sometime. The shame is that I won't be taking the Chunnel, even though I think it's one of the coolest pieces of engineering ever and I've always wanted to ride the EuroStar through it. The problem, of course, is that on the other side is France. Given that France is no longer our ally and hasn't been for a long time. I'm not real big on boycotts, but I prefer not to spend my money in countries actively fighting our efforts to protect our interests.

The other possibility is taking the EuroStar to Belgium, but with their screwy war crimes laws, for all I know I'll be brought up on charges because my son accidentally shot a playmate in the hand earlier this week with a plastic BB gun. Thanks, but no thanks.

Too bad the EuroStar doesn't go all the way to Germany. All they did was tell us they opposed Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In Other News: Eggs At Risk Of Becoming Chickens

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CNN reports that a study done by Fight Crime: Invest In Kids (whose idea was that name? You need a snappy acronym nowadays, and 'FC:IIK' just doesn't cut it) shows that bullying

"spawns loneliness, depression and suicidal tendencies among its victims and foreshadows crime and violence by perpetrators."
60% of the bullies (and there's that labelling thing again - I thought labels were bad!) ended up convicted of at least one crime by age 24; 40% of them had three or more convictions by that age. But I think the real issue is a supply-and-demand problem:
"The report said for children in grades six through 10, nearly one in six, or 3.2 million, were victims of bullying each year and 3.7 million were bullies"
In order to get that one-to-one attention that real quality bullying requires, we need 500,000 more victims and we need them now! I know what you're thinking, but the Democratic National Convention is almost a year away and we can't afford to wait that long!

Son Of 'Head-Scratching Ads'

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Not long ago, I noted a few, um, interesting ads in my local free-ad paper. Well, the hits just keep on coming:

"Fast abs, slightly used, exc cond $25"
They must really have been fast abs if you're selling them 'slightly used!'
"3-n-1 Commode, guardian brand, adjustable height $40"
Hmm. I know what 'number 1' is, and I know what 'number 2' is, but what in the hell is 'number 3?'
"Strapless wht wedding dress (sz 8), never worn, veil & underskirt incl $400"
"Wedding gown, never worn, sz 12, long sleeves, lots of beading and long train $175 obo"
These always make me sad. I can easily picture a had-it-up-to-here woman saying "That's it! You get your {lying|cheating|drunk|whoring|gambling} ass out of here right now, and don't come back!


"Blind Minister needs gd. used Church Bus, cheap or free"
I looked for the companion ad, something like "Blind Minister needs gd. Church Bus driver", but to no avail. I sure hope he finds a driver.

Oh, yeah. The 'typing tape' ad is back, of course. I'm thinking of calling the guy up and offering him $1 to just shit-can the thing and stop running the ad.

Talk About Your "Buyer's Remorse"

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Apparently, according to this screed over at Information Clearing House, we own the UN:

"The UN has been drawn into being an arm of the US - a division of the state department"
Well, then Colin Powell has got some explaining to do, because how the hell did we let Syria on the Security Council, Libya chair the Human Rights Commission, and Iraq chair the disarmament conference?

It's bad enough that they think the US owns the UN, but the article specifies that the UN is the US' lapdog vis-a-vis Israel:

"The UN Security Council has been taken over and corrupted by the US and UK, particularly with regard to Iraq, Palestine and Israel."
How many UN Security Council resolutions (the binding ones, as opposed to the blowhard resolutions of the General Assembly, which (thank God) have no real power) have condemned Israel for one thing or another? 67 (numbers 1-19 don't count). How many condemn the splodeydopes? 3 (numbers 81, 82, and 85).

What Kind Of Weekend Did They Have?

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Spent most of the weekend at our neighbors' place on one of the lakes near the Michigan line (right about here). On the way there, we saw a hand-lettered sign as we got off the freeway:

"Rehab party --> "
flower_goddess and I got a kick out of that one. A couple of intersections later, we saw a second sign:
"Rehab party -->"
With an addition underneath:
"Free beer."


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