December 2003 Archives

Imagine If She'd Stiffed Her


A woman dissatisfied with the Christmas present her ex-stepmother gave her tried to kill her with a Molotov cocktail:

"Brandi Nicole Nason, 20, and her boyfriend, Marshal Abram Penna, 24, of Citrus Heights, allegedly tossed a lighted bottle of gasoline through the glass front door of Nason's former stepmother's home about 9 p.m. on Christmas Day, said Hermosa Beach Police Sgt. Paul Wolcott.

'A bottle comes flying through her door and immediately lights up her living room,' Wolcott said. 'She was barely able to escape with her life.'

Wolcott said Nason was upset because she thought her former stepmother's Christmas present was inadequate."
OK, this is just so completely stupid I can't even be civil about it. Brandi, you are a complete imbecile. You and your shit-for-brains boyfriend are so utterly stupid that your continued combined existence is an insult to regular stupid people everywhere. If brains exerted air pressure, the vacuums between your ears would make your heads implode! Your combined IQ can't possibly hit triple digits; frankly, I'm surprised that you knew how to make a molotov cocktail and amazed that you managed to light and throw it without becoming a Darwin Award nominee. The fact that you continue to breathe my air makes me physically ill. I fervently hope that you are also too stupid to know how to reproduce, but I fear that you are merely too stupid to understand contraception. The only thing I see here which matches your idiocy is your greed. You tried to kill your ex-stepmother because you didn't like her gift?!? She's your ex-stepmother! She didn't owe you jack shit!

One last thing, and I'm sure this will surprise you as much as it did me:

"Drug paraphernalia was found during a search of Nason's car, police said."

Excuses, Excuses

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I'm a pretty good fantasy football GM (we're not players; we're just geeks who like to pretend), at least by the standards of the league we have at work. This is the tenth year we've done a fantasy football league; I finished in the money eight of the previous nine years. I don't have the numbers handy, but I'm pretty sure I entered this season second on the total money list. Historically, I do not make good drop/add decisions during the season, so I have to draft well to do well. Of the fourteen guys in our league, there may be two other people who prepare for the draft as hard as I do.

I've always said you can't win the league in the first two rounds of the draft, but you sure can lose it. I think this will tell you everything I need to know about how I did this year:

  • First round, deciding between Ahman Green and Travis Henry. I picked Henry.
  • Second round, deciding between Jamal Lewis and Curtis Martin. I picked Martin.

I Don't Think So, Don

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Speaking about the growing international flavor of the NBA in this week's ESPN magazine,

"This year, 21 foreign-born players were drafted; five years ago, that number was nine. 'We're the one league where you can see the best players in the world every night,' says Donnie Nelson of the Mavs."
--ESPN - The Magazine, January 5, 2004, p. 54
No. And again, no.

Last week I made a brief reference to the Arab world's general refusal to accept that the Americans could have gotten their hero (their Nasser v2.0, if you will) without Treachery being involved ("Mr. bin-Kettle? Mr. al-Pot on line one for you"). I can't decide whether I think this is due to a general 'blame everybody else' mindset or to treachery being what they seem to understand best. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail; when all you have is a poisoned stiletto, you approach everybody from behind. But I digress. What I'm trying to get to is that the yarn-spinners are now out in force. MEMRI has compiled a collection of some of the better ones.

First, we have 'The Americans Have Had Him All Along:'

"The Saudi daily Al-Riyadh believes that it is evident that there was a conspiracy. It wrote: ' . . . it can be thought that Saddam was in the hands of the Americans, and that his public exposure was a show produced with the aim of neutralizing the explosive situation, so that it would be possible to ease the emotional and military pressure by the American forces and give new momentum to the American president just when he needs this kind of event . . ..'"
Never mind that there's really no 'explosive situation' that needed to be neutralized at the time. Now if, say, somebody had broken a story that the President was getting knobbers from an intern in the Oval Office, now that would be an explosive situation. But that'd never, ever happen, would it?

Next, 'Never Ever Trust An Ex-Wife:'

"[Saudi daily newspaper] Okaz's theory is allegedly supported by an interview with [Saddam's second wife] Samira Al-Shahbanar which fortuitously appeared in the Sunday Times of London on December 14 and appeared the subsequent day in the London-based Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat . [6] According to Al-Shabandar, Saddam has been in touch with her via phone approximately once per week. Okaz suspects that the conversations were tapped by the U.S. intelligence, and said that the last conversation was prolonged by Al-Shahbandar to give the Americans added time to pinpoint Saddam's hiding place. [7]"
And the Wahabbists are saying, "See, S-Dog, this is why you got to keep your bitches in line!" I know, I know, technically she's the second of his four wives, but having two more wives added after you kinda has to make you feel a little like an ex-wife. Seriously, though, it sure looked like the Mossad figured out Samira's secret identity and actual location (apparently she's living in Lebanon under the Ba'athist version of the Witness Protection Program) and tapped her phone. No treachery on her part required.

How about 'The U.S. Owns Saddam?'

"An editorial in the Iraqi daily Al-Shira' titled: "The Servant has Fallen in the Master's Cage" surveys Saddam's policies from 1963 until his capture, and suggests that he implemented these policies at the behest of his American masters. . ..

'The last service provided by this "super servant" was to surrender as 'a free service to America, and Bush in particular, in disgraceful pictures that would be used as stickers in the election campaign….'"
Now Saddam's the fall guy for everything, including, it would appear, parachute pants, New Coke, Vanilla Ice, the Macarena, and Magic Johnson's talk show! Damn, not even we hate him that much! One other thing - if I were staging Saddam's capture for election reasons, I'd do it on the first day of the Democratic convention.

But the big one, the one that makes the rest of the tinfoil-hat-brigade look meekly down and mumble "Ah, I don't know. Dude is just out there." is this beauty, courtesy of Abd Al-Bari Atwan, the Editor-in-Chief of the London-based Arabic daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi:

"First, the pictures distributed by the Americans about Saddam's hideout show a palm tree behind the soldier who uncovered the hole where Saddam was hiding. The palm tree carried a cluster of pre-ripened yellow dates, which might suggest that Saddam was arrested at least three months earlier, because dates ripen in the summer months when they turn into their natural black or brown color. Atwan concludes that the arrest was "a staged show and the place of arrest [was] completely elsewhere."
Anybody else read this and think 'The moonwalk pictures were faked because you can't see stars in the background?" Like the lack of stars, there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for this:
"An agricultural expert told the London-based Arabic daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that there are some types of dates which mature in the winter months after rainfalls (December 17, 2003)."
"Second, if there were two rooms connected with the hole in which Saddam was captured, what explains the fact, asks Atwan, that Saddam 'appeared filthy and looked like a man who did not bathe in weeks, if not in months.'"
Because he just got there after a long taxi ride! The taxi was right there in the yard - for all we know, the meter was still running!
"Third, statements about Saddam's alleged cooperation were contradictory. Ambassador Paul Bremer said that Saddam was cooperating, while Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that he was not."
I'm pretty sure that Bremer was referring to Saddam cooperating with his 'booking,' while Rumsfeld was referring to him not cooperating with his interrogation.
"Fourth, Atwan alleges that there were bruises on Saddam's face and over his brow. In addition, Saddam behaved like a robot while he was being examined. The videos showed Saddam touching his cheeks but Atwan was able to surmise that Saddam was probing his face "as if he just woken up from coma.""
There are reports that Saddam spit at one of the soldiers who captured him and got buttstroked for his trouble. He was probably checking to see if he still had all his teeth. I'm OK with that.
"This led Atwan to suggest that the probing may be due to the use of nerve gas while Saddam's hideout was being raided, not unlike the gas used by the Russians against the Chechen rebels who took over the Bolshoi Palace [theatre] and which paralyzed them for hours. The alleged use of gas may explain why Saddam did not resist, and hence there is a need for "impartial experts…to analyze the dirt in the hideout and the surrounding area to reveal the truth.""
Why am I thinking that an 'impartial expert' wouldn't be satisfactory to Atwan and vice versa? And speaking of Atwan:
"Abd Al-Bari Atwan has been a consistent and vocal supporter of Saddam's regime as well as of what he still refers to as "Sheikh" [a religious leader] Osama bin Laden. The relationship between Atwan's newspaper and its sources of funding are not known. What is known for certain is that his newspaper, which is a commercial paper, does not accept advertisements, and questions have always been raised in the Arab press as to how a paper with a relatively small circulation can afford offices in a big building in London without accepting advertisements. "
The Palestinian splodeydopes' OPTEMPO dropped significantly after we shut off the Saddam money spigot; it'll be interesting to see what happens to Atwan's rag.

My, We Love Ourselves, Don't We?

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I'm getting pretty tired of USC coach Pete Carroll reminding everybody that USC is the #1 team and that he considers the Rose Bowl the championship game every time he opens his piehole. Like this USA Today story:

"'The Rose Bowl is the national championship game,' head coach Pete Carroll told reporters. 'There's no question about it in our minds. It's not going to be talked about on TV by the other bowl game that way. That's the marketing aspect of it.

Logic tells you we're the No. 1 team in the country, and if we play a great game and win, we're going to take a trophy home with us.'"
About once every ten soundbites, he remembers that he actually has to win the Rose Bowl to back up his mouth, and he throws out some platitudes about playing a great Michigan team and blah blah blah. If I were Lloyd Carr, I'd have a 'Best Of Pete Carroll' compilation playing on continuous loop in the U-M team room.

Anyway, I got to thinking about this. If U-M pastes USC in the Rose Bowl, and the Sugar Bowl ends up begin an ugly, error-filled mess, would there be a chance Michigan could jump past the Sugar Bowl winner to finish #1 in the AP? I thought that was overly optimistic, even for a diehard like me, but I've now seen that possibility mentioned online in a source more neutral than The Detroit News - ESPN's Trev Alberts. Alberts, a former Nebraska player and no fan of U-M, said

"The USC-Michigan matchup in the Rose Bowl is intriguing not only because it pits two great teams against one another, but because of the other problems it could cause for the BCS. Say, for instance, the Wolverines crush the Trojans USC while LSU and Oklahoma play a sloppy, low-scoring game after a long layoff. If that happens, there is a real chance the Wolverines could jump to No. 1 in the AP poll and heap on more controversy. "

So far, Alberts seems to be the only one who's saying this. SportsTicker:

"A victory for Michigan would make things far easier for the BCS since it would set up a consensus national title game between Oklahoma and LSU in the Sugar Bowl."
AP's Josh Dubow:
"Michigan can make it all moot by beating USC in the Rose Bowl. A Wolverines' win would guarantee an undisputed title for the Sugar Bowl winner, letting the BCS once again escape controversy."
Although Colorado coach Gary Barnett recognizes the possibility - sort of - later in the same article:
"'Everyone is leaving Michigan out of this and creating a huge clamor about what might happen,' Colorado coach Gary Barnett said. 'Michigan's a good team. They might win. Let's wait and see what happens.'"
Fox Sports' Randy Hill:
"As several big thinkers have pointed out, Perry and the Wolverines could silence much of the caterwauling with a Rose Bowl victory over USC."
And those are just the folks who give Michigan half a chance in this game - most places I looked at had it as a foregone conclusion that USC was going to win. Tomorrow I'll go into why I don't think that's nearly as much a done deal as they do.

The Mother Of All Roller Coasters

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Eat your heart out, Top Thrill Dragster! LLNL is designing a hypersonic aircraft that will be able to fly between any two places on Earth in less than two hours:

"A HyperSoar aircraft would boost into space, then coast back to the surface of the Earth's atmosphere, where it would refire its engines and skip back into space. Twenty-five such skips [emphasis added] would take the craft from the midwestern U.S. to Japan in 90 minutes, designers estimate."
That's twenty-five first-hill-type drops, folks. Hell, I'd pay cash money to ride that even if I just ended up where I started!

Update: The original reference is here. I wouldn't get too excited just yet - the article is from 1998, and I haven't heard anything about it since then.

By now, you've probably heard about the "Lingerie Bowl," where two teams of scantily-clad women will play tackle football during halftime of the Super Bowl as a pay-per-view event. You may have heard by now that DaimlerChrysler has dropped its sponsorship of the game:

"A source close to Chrysler said conservative lobbying groups had flooded the company's e-mail system with complaints about the upcoming spectacle.

"You've got at some point just to decide 'OK, maybe we made a mistake, let's pull the plug,'" the source said."
Have no fear, since it looks like the game is still on:
"A spokeswoman for Horizon Productions Inc., the Lingerie Bowl's producer, said it was "disappointed" that Dodge had withdrawn its sponsorship, but that the game would go on."

That's good, but they still need a sponsor. So who do you get to sponsor an event that's under attack by conservative lobbying groups? Somebody who doesn't care about the criticism of conservative lobbying groups, that's who. The candidates are liberal groups, porn companies, and beer companies. Liberal groups are out - some crybabies are whining that the Lingerie Bowl is sexist (I can't for the life of me understand why). Porn companies? That's a possibility (in particular, I think it's something Larry Flynt would do). I think a better fit would be...

Beer Bowl 2004, sponsored by Coors and Miller (who already air commercials featuring 'The Twins' and hot chicks in wet T-shirts, respectively)! There's just one twist (hat tip to my friend Joe) that would make this absolutely riveting PPV: every time a team scores, the other team has to remove one item of clothing.

That I would pay cash money to see.

Oh, Sure, Now They Want To Help...

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Just so I have this straight - the same people who didn't want any part of the Iraq war now want us to hand Saddam Hussein over to an international court? Put another way, they trust the Iraqi people enough to demand that the US hand power over to them sooner than is wise, but they don't trust them enough to properly try Saddam? Nice.

His daughter has weighed in favoring the international court:

"Raghad Saddam Hussein -- who is living with her sister in Jordan, where they were given asylum in July -- suggested her father could not get a fair trial from Iraqi officials.

Raghad said the family wants 'a fair and legal trial' -- not one held by the Governing Council, which was 'appointed by the occupier.'"
I'm sure that it's got nothing to do with the fact that the international court will not impose the death penalty.

And what small victory over Arab fascism would be complete without excuse-making? Saddam's daughter, elsewhere in the same article:

"[Raghad] insists U.S. forces drugged her father before capturing him, saying, 'I'm sure that they couldn't have captured him otherwise.'"
There's also this from the San Francisco Chronicle:
"One verse in the Islamic holy book is being heard at mosques around the world. Chapter 3, Verse 26 says of Allah, the Muslim God: 'You take away the power from whosoever You will; You exalt whom you please and debase whom You will.'

[President of the Islamic Society of San Francisco Souleiman]Ghali said that verse helped Muslims deal with the shame of Hussein's demise and explain why the once-mighty leader had been caught in a rat- infested hole.

'Saddam has been humbled and disgraced,' Ghali said, 'because he put himself above God.'"
That's funny. I could have sworn that Saddam was humbled and disgraced because 300,000 heavily armed and highly motivated Americans made it their mission to do so. I'll have to ask Allah if he did it.

The Netherlands Must Be A Wonderful Place To Live


I mean, the crime rate must be fantastically low if the police have time to arrest guys for whistling at women or refusing to carry a shopping basket.

Most People In Retail Are Morons

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OK, not really, but sometimes it seems like that. Take today: my son and I went to the local [names changed, a bit, to protect the stupid] 'GameInsane' store (you know, the one that's connected to 'CapitalOfTheMovieBiz Video') to trade in his old DreamCast. I had a hard time letting it go, since I was halfway through an undefeated season for Michigan on NCAA 2K1. But I digress. Anyway, we get there at about 10:30, and the place is already pretty busy. We get the thing traded in and get ready to leave, then my son decides he wants to get something at the store right then. I'm not in a hurry, so I say OK. We have to get back to the end of the line, of course, but there's only four people in front of us so I figure 5-10 minutes, tops.

Fifteen minutes later, there are still three people in front of us. I wasn't paying attention before (as in 'why the hell did it take 15 minutes to take care of one person?'), but I start listening now. These Einsteins can't decide which creaky old system to buy - an original PlayStation or an original GameBoy. This is revealed through a detailed conversation with the lone counterdroid, interrupted by occasional phone calls which the counterdroid answers and fully processes - despite the fact that there are now two more people behind us!

Five minutes after that, the guy behind me gives up and leaves. I was trying to decide whether to leave or just throw $20 at Mrs. Mobile Home and say "Jesus H. Break-Dancing Christ, woman, here! Buy them both! But for the love of God, let's move this freaking line along!" Right about then, another salesdroid comes in. Now I'm thinking "Great. He'll fire up the other cash register and deal with the people who aren't actually brain-damaged and know what they want to buy." No such luck - salesdroid #2 heads right into the back of the store to do, hell, I don't know what, but it sure ain't helping us any.

Now, I've never worked in retail, but there are some things that I believe are self-evident:

  • First, if I'm the only guy in the store, and I'm faced with line of six customers, I don't take any phone calls longer than "Our store hours are 10 AM to 9 PM." Anything longer than that gets a "please hold." Potential customers are on the phone. Actual customers are in line right now, waiting patiently to give you money!
  • Second, If I show up at work and my buddy has a line of six customers waiting, I should conclude that nothing I might do in the back room is of higher priority than, you know, actually servicing customers!
  • OK, let's assume that the second register didn't actually work. How about getting Mr. Late Arrival to help your cheap-ass indecisive lady while you take our money?
Neither of them figured that one out. So we left.

Did He Even Realize He Fell Off?


I was on the stairclimber this morning about 6:25 when I saw Ozzy Osbourne doing the perp walk on CNN! I couldn't read the caption across the workout room, and the TV doesn't have any sound (because it disturbs the guys working in the lab on the other side of the wall). What's up with that?

Update: I guess I should always make sure I Google before I blog - turns out he was in an ATV accident, and the CNN footage showed him shuffling into the hospital. Accordingly, the title has been updated from My Guess Is He Was Arrested For Crimes Against Enunciation to Did He Even Realize He Fell Off?

Strange Bedfellows Redux

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This was originally supposed to post on November 25. I don't know what happened.

First things first: Michigan smoked aOSU (with the exception of a bit of fourth-quarter drama, it was a dominating performance from start to finish for the Wolverines), saving the BCS from the indignity of having a team with essentially no offense make it to the national championship game. On the other hand, news flash: Ohio State Discovers Forward Pass, Scores Three Touchdowns In One Game. So you never know. But let's assume aOSU had won. The major argument against the Buckeyes (yes, I'm calling them the Buckeyes in this hypothetical situation; after all, they would have earned it) was that they were ranked lower than both LSU and USC by the humans. Wasn't the BCS designed to not rely on the human polls? But I digress.

About that whole 'saving the BCS' thing. Sure, it looks like LSU or USC will end up in the Sooner slaughterhouse, but will they? Let's look at another set of hypotheticals (since my scenario for last Saturday played out so well):

  • USC loses to 7-4 Oregon St. on December 6. Everything else hinges on this. A second loss would probably drop them below Michigan for both the humans and the computers.
  • LSU loses to 8-3 Arkansas, and Ole Miss beats Mississippi State. This would put Eli & Co. in the SEC Championship game, where they would have to beat Georgia or Tennessee to help Michigan...
  • ...but they wouldn't have to beat Florida. Actually, Florida winning the SEC title over LSU would work just as well for Michigan. The entire SEC East race is nuttier than Chinese chicken salad, anyway - check back next week.

Other thoughts:

  • Answer the question, Lloyd: When Michigan took a knee to close out the first half, with good field position and all three time outs, and aOSU's defense still unable to solve them, ABC sideline reporter Todd Harris asked the logical question: 'Why?' Carr's response was less than diplomatic. To his credit, Carr apologized later, but I for one would have wanted to know the answer in the first place!
  • Lots of little things that could have either turned the game around or made it even more of a blowout:
    • Breaston's fumble on the punt just happened to bounce right to a teammate.
    • Navarre's 30-yard third-down pass to Tyler Ecker would have been picked off if Donte Whitner had just turned his head.
    • There were at least two more tipped balls that missed being aOSU interceptions by aboutthismuch.
    • A stupendous 87-yard TD bomb to Edwards negated by an iffy holding penalty - which was just a couple of yards from being in the end zone, which would have been a safety.
    • As far as I could tell, Nate Salley made at least two touchdown-saving tackles... but he couldn't wrap up Braylon Edwards, who broke loose for his first TD. (Salley reminds me of Antoine Winfield - he punches way above his weight. Too bad he's only a sophomore - I'd really like to not have to face him anymore.)
  • I wasn't the only person to think maybe Keith Jackson has lost just a little bit of what made him the greatest football announcer of all time. Just for grins, watch any old game he did on ESPN Classic and compare it to any game he calls now - I swear his southern accent is thicker than it used to be.


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