May 2004 Archives

Let Me Tell You About MY Weekend...

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With apologies to Douglas Adams, the following story is 60% 100-percent-true, 20% 50-percent-true, and 20% PIDOOMA. Names have been changed where necessary to protect the, well, nobody's really innocent in this story so let's refer to them as the 'less guilty.' With the legalities out of the way, let's proceed.

Have A Good Weekend

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Headed out of town for the weekend. See you Monday.

Today's Waste Of Time

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This, more or less, is me:
Chris as a South Park character

So who are you?

I forget where I saw this first. I'll credit it when I remember.

A Quick Lap Around My Blogosphere

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It appears that I have a few clusters of regular readers who know each other, but don't know each other. So instead of performing n! iterations of "A, this is B; B, A," I'll just do this instead.

  • Curmudgeonly & Skeptical fingers a Seattle moonbat with terminal BDS.
  • Dale Franks has a toughlove-type answer for those who say Abu Gharib was an egregious breach of the Geneva Conventions.
  • Spiced Sass notes one thing John F'in Kerry is consistent on.
  • American Digest presents a list of blogger 'thou shalt not's cleverly disguised as affirmations.
  • Feste looks at the world of 2050 without America as world policeman.
  • Cranial Cavity takes on The Day After Tomorrow.
  • Bill from INDC Journal differentiates between John F'in Kerry's Vietnam service and his conduct thereafter.
  • CavalierX lays it all out about the Sarin IED.
  • Azygos points out one of the hazards of living in Arizona.
  • mlah compares prostitution and pimping, arguing that the former should be legal.
  • Analog Mouse reviews a quick-access gun safe.
  • And we're all holding our breath pending the results of Neanderpundit's doctor visit.
I didn't get everybody - gotta save some for next time! Now... talk amongst yourselves!

Headline seen in today's edition of my son's soon-to-be high school newsletter (motto: "A Tradition of Excellence"): "Top 10 Studnets Announced."

Give Me Strength

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So Bill Whittle's stepped it up again, and Strength I and II are the result. Go read them right now. I'll wait. Hell, pack a lunch and make a day of it.

OK, what was your first thought on reading it? Mine was "My God, this should be required reading for everybody in America!" And that's what most of the comments basically said, too...

...until I saw one that said 'Nice job preaching to the converted. The rest of us remain unconvinced.' In other words, he thought Bill was wasting his time.

I think he missed the point. If you look at poll numbers from the start of OIF compared to now, there's a nontrivial percentage of people who have lost faith in what we are doing. Even if some of them weren't paying attention and thought it was all about the WMDs (despite the fact that A) it wasn't and B) what the hell was this, a can of Mace?), there are still a lot of people who have become disillusioned for other reasons, most notably the lack of apparent progress.

They are the people who have bought the negative media spin of everything that is happening in Iraq. They are the people who didn't hear President Bush say from the beginning that the task would be long and hard. They are the people who don't understand that to quit is to lose. Everything.

They are the people who need to read Strength. And they need to do it now.

You See What You Look For

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When we got our first Jeep back in 1998, I immediately noticed how many Jeeps were on the road. Clearly, they didn't suddenly materialize on the road the day after we got ours; they were there all along and I just never noticed before. The same thing happened when we upgraded Jeeps a few years later (interestingly, the opposite happened back in December when we traded the Jeep in on a Pacifica - we saw them all over the place before, but seemingly not so much now).

I was waiting to fly out from Fort Wayne last Tuesday when I saw (at a distance, and from behind) someone who looked so much like a co-worker I wanted to call out his name just to check. Maybe that put me in the appropriate frame of mind, because over the next several hours and two airports, I saw dead ringers for the following people:

  • My sister who lives in San Francisco (ironically, boarding a flight to SFO)
  • Amber from Survivor
  • Two other co-workers
  • Ronnie Lott
  • Caroline Kennedy (at age 21)
The kicker? I found out when I got back that the guy who started me down this path was indeed the co-worker I thought he might have been. There's probably some psychological theory that can neatly explain all of this.

I must have this car:

A Belgian motorist has been sent a speeding ticket for travelling at 2,100 mph.

The ticket claimed he'd been caught doing Mach 3 in his Mini in a Brussels city suburb.
Once the word got out, the Illuminati had to swoop in and sanitize the story:
Police have apologised for the mistake, and have blamed a faulty radar.

They said human error was to blame for sending out the ticket, even though it was clear the man's car couldn't have been travelling at three times the speed of sound.

Michael Moore Is A Lying Sack Of Shit

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Exhibit 42 - At Cannes last week, he said this:

Tarantino [chairman of the Palme D'Or jury] said: "I made a statement early on that I didn't want politics to be involved. "All that mattered was the reels of film. I told Michael Moore last night we all agreed that Fahrenheit 9/11 was the best feature in competition." Moore's response, according to Tarantino, was "that means more to me than anything. If I wanted to make political statements, I would have run for office. I want to make movies".

At last year's Oscars, he said this:

We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fictition [sic] of duct tape or fictition [sic] of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you.
If that's not a political statement, what is?

Teen Assaults Bike Officer:

Toledo police locked up a teenager for allegedly assaulting an officer. Police with the mountain bike unit say they pulled over the 16-year old suspect for playing loud music in his car. When one of the officers approached the car, the teen started driving at him and didn't stop until the officer drew a gun. After a struggle, the teenager was taken into custody.
What would possess a young man to behave in such a manner? Wait for it...
The officers say he also tried to dump two bags of marijuana. So far the teen's charged with felonious assault on an officer.
So he started with what would have been (at worst) a ticket for playing music too loud, and finished with an arrest for assault and possession. Niiiiiiice.

Because at the end of the night, when you're all liquored up and hormoned up, they can pretty much charge you whatever they want. And your options are limited:

Mitchell Blaser, who is the Chief Financial Officer of the Americas division of insurer Swiss Re, filed suit on Tuesday demanding that strip club Scores pay back the $28,000 because that does not accurately reflect his spending at the Manhattan nightspot.

But a Scores spokesman said that, during his December visit, Blaser ordered five magnums of the club's most expensive champagne, a 1990 Krug Clos du Mesnil, for $3,200 each. He also spent $7,000 for lap dances and the company of 12 girls who surrounded him for hours.

"Obviously, he's pouring the champagne for all the girls and playing superstar," Scores spokesman Lonnie Hanover said.
The guy's a CFO. He should really know better - particularly about when to use credit and when to pay cash on the barrelhead, so to speak. Unless, of course, he used to work for Enron, or maybe even Raytheon. As I've said before, men do strange things when motivated by pussy.

The most damning evidence, to me, is right here:

Hanover called the suit "frivolous" and said Scores has three signed receipts from Blaser over the course of the night. He said American Express investigated the matter and found the charges were valid and paid the $28,000. [emphasis added]
In my experience, American Express is the card most likely to take the cardholder's side in a dispute. That's one of the reasons I like them so much (and, incidentally, why a lot of small business owners don't take it). If they investigated and found no irregularities, then Mr. Blaser owes them 28 large.

OTOH, since it's a Manhattan strip club, it's probably Mob-owned. The Amex investigator could have come home from work one day and found a horse head in his bed...

Oh, Yeah. I'm Back.

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Got back from Camp Lejeune (memo to self: First Class rocks!). Fixed a double entry. Commented on comments on recent entries. More later.

How To Prepare For A Deployment To Iraq

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I have tremendous respect for our fighting men and women, particularly in Iraq, where they are doing a superb job in awful conditions. I also have tremendous respect for the folks we send into the field to support our system.

Although the following list isn't the official way to prepare for a deployment to Iraq, one of our field engineers assures me that it's dead on target.

Checking Out Of The Net?

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Headed here until Friday for some troubleshooting work. Maybe I'll have Net access, maybe not. In the meantime, here's a couple of quick hitters:

Sign Of The Times: I was out at lunch yesterday when I saw a police car pulled over and the officer standing in the door talking on his radio, but nothing else of obvious interest near him...

until I saw the (industrial-sized) compressed gas canister on the inside shoulder of the opposite lane...

not ten feet from where I was waiting for the light to change.

In a September 10 world, I don't give that a second thought.

I Used To Think This Was Dangerous Stupidity Until I Did It Myself:

Traffic was tied up early this afternoon after a roofing truck got stuck under the railroad underpass on Fairfield Avenue. It forced north and south traffic to alternate under the remaining opening. How do you remove a stuck truck? You can start by taking the air out of the tires. No injuries were reported in the accident.

In This Case, I'm Unclear On The Concept

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Bumper sticker seen on the way in to work today:

It's A Jeep Thing... You Wouldn't Understand
... on the back of a cement mixer.

He's right - despite the fact that two out of my last three vehicles were Jeeps, I don't understand!

Arizona Muslims? Well, It Is Mostly Desert...

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I'm sure the vast majority of Muslims in America are peace-loving, decent people who want nothing more than to live in harmony with their kaffir neighbors. And I'm sure they're going to get the Islamic Supremacists in their midst under control Real Soon Now. I mean, why else would CAIR hold a rally in Tempe to "stand for human rights and dignity?"

Let Azygos tell you why else:

In CAIR’s statement “Not In The Name Of Islam” they never actually condemn terrorism. They use words like “repudiate” and “dissociate ourselves… from any Muslim… commits such brutal and unIslamic acts.” This is different from using words like DENOUNCE, CONDEMN, ABHOR, or WRONG, EVIL, DISPICABLE, UNGODLY etc. To be fair CAIR does use the word condemn in their press release concerning the killing of Mr. Berg, but they never actually condemn terrorism. This is an important point.

. . .

On CAIR’s “CAIR Condemns Murder of American in Iraq” webpage they state:

“We condemn this cold-blooded murder and repudiate all those who commit such acts of mindless violence in the name of religion…”

Lets stop right here and address this.

“Name of Religion”

Which religion specifically are we talking about here? Is it the Catholics who are sawing the heads off of Americans? Do I need to worry if I travel to London that a radical group of Protestants are going to kidnap me, cut off my head and scream God is Great? What about the Lutherans? How many heads have they cut off recently? Then there are the Jews, but they don’t have time to cut off heads because they are busy cleaning up the skin, bones and blood of innocent women and children blown up by ROP.

No, the only animals currently sawing off heads are Muslims but you wouldn’t know that by reading the press release. No, they lump ALL Religions into the brutal category of the ROP. This statement is as genuine as me telling my dear wife how great her dress looks and how it is just wonderful what they can do with burlap these days.
RTWT.

People say regrettable things in their grief, which is why I'm willing to give Michael Berg a pass on what he's saying to the press now (even though his Bush-hating cred is fairly well established). If he's still saying this kind of thing in two weeks, though, I'll have to re-file this entry under Dangerous Stupidity:

"Nicholas Berg died for the sins of George Bush and (Defense Secretary) Donald Rumsfeld," Michael Berg, visibly upset, told ABC television.
I've heard of parents who worship their kids, but I think Michael just said Nick is the Second Coming. [Hey, I said I'd give him a pass. I didn't say I'd give him a free pass. I've got a full-blown rant on five-minute airborne alert if it becomes necessary.]
"The al-Qaeda people are probably just as bad as they are, but this administration did this," he said.
The proper response to this remark at this time is left as an exercise for the reader.
The al-Qaeda that killed my son didn't know what they were doing," Berg's father, Michael, told reporters camped outside his house Thursday. "They killed their best friend. Nick was there to build Iraq, not to tear it down. He was there to help people, not to hurt anyone."
...and that was why (in AQ's mind) he had to die. Nick Berg and the other people like him are AQ's worst enemy, because they show the Iraqi people that the U.S. is not the Crusader Empire AQ makes us out to be - that we're not in Iraq to steal their oil and pillage their antiquities.

There's a lot more I want to say, and if Michael Berg is still saying this kind of thing in two weeks, you'll hear about it.

Back when I was in high school, Slippery Rock (the coolest college name ever) and Shippensburg State played a football game. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, but the 1979 game was played at Michigan Stadium and had 61,143 in attendance, a DII record which stands to this day.

Now, Grand Valley State University (the closest DII school to my hometown) is gunning for that record:

DETROIT — Nearly 10,000 tickets already have been sold for what has been dubbed, “Bash at the Big House”, a potentially record-setting Division II college football game later this year at Michigan Stadium.

Michigan Tech will face two-time Division II national champion Grand Valley State in the schools’ final regular-season game at 1 p.m. Nov. 6 in Ann Arbor. Michigan Tech will use its share of funds generated from the game to help fund its football program, which was nearly dropped.

Officials from both schools, in Detroit on Wednesday to discuss the game at a Detroit Sports Broadcasters and Writers meeting, said they expect a crowd of approximately 70,000 at Michigan Stadium, which has a capacity of 107,501.

The Division II attendance record was set at Michigan Stadium in 1979, when 61,143 watched Slippery Rock play Shippensburg.

“This is a dream come true for all of us,” Grand Valley State Coach Chuck Martin said. “We’ve played in three straight national championship games and have had some great games and great memories, but for kids from the state of Michigan to be able to play a game in the Big House is something that’s going to be unbelievable.”

Tickets are $15 plus a $3 handling fee per ticket. Michigan, which keeps half of the profits of tickets it sells, already has sold about 2,000. Tickets can be purchased at www.bashatthebighouse.com or by calling (888) 642-4832.
I may actually go to that game - it'll probably be the only way I can afford to see a game at the Big House...

Seen on Drudge: L.A. Times and N.Y. Times investigating Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter:

Both the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times are working on major stories about whether Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter is using his close ties to Hollywood to benefit financially, the L.A. Weekly has learned.
With all due respect to Matt Drudge, I have to ask: this is news?
The Weekly has learned that last week, Cieply, while conducting one interview, claimed to have "six cases already" of Carter’s benefiting financially from his cozy relationship with Hollywood. Other sources say that one angle the LAT is pursuing is whether Carter benefits financially from who gets on the cover.
Of course he does! Again, why is this news to anybody?
The general consensus is that for some time, Vanity Fair’s coverage of Hollywood has changed dramatically, and not for the better. Sure, the celebrity cover stories have always been, and probably always will be, puff pieces. But at the start of Carter’s editorship, on June 30, 1992, and continuing until 2000, the magazine seemed intent on exhaustively reporting every twist and turn in the entertainment business.

. . .

But then came the February 2000 departure of deputy editor George Hodgman, who edited many of the toughest Hollywood articles. Kim Masters’ contract wasn’t renewed. Her apparent replacement, Ned Zeman, regularly writes entertainment-business articles with a decidedly positive spin to them and is now writing screenplays on the side. Today, the conventional wisdom is that VF won’t go after entertainment moguls, who often are Big Media moguls as well, as long as they keep their jobs.
And there's gambling going on at Rick's? I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked!

But the real question for the LAT and NYT to consider is whether the VF editor’s kinship with Hollywood is worse than, say, fellow Conde Nast personality and Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s hand-in-glove relationship with the fashion industry.
I thought of this, too, and it's not only because I recently read The Devil Wears Prada (hey, they tell aspiring writers to read outside of their genre, and I figure featherweight chick-lit is about as far away from my genre as I can get...). It's exactly the same thing, and why does anybody outside the Big Media funhouse give a rat's ass about any of it?

Apparently, I cared enough to give it 100 words and fifteen minutes of my time.

Yahoo!'s spam filters are pretty good - I only get about three false negatives per day and about two false positives per week. I was cleaning out the junk mail folder when I noticed this one:

From: *Citibank-Online* (bobstayton@m3xico.com)
To: "Parking" (parking_god@ya-etceteraetcetera-hoo.com)
Well, unless 'Bob Stayton' is the CEO or CIO, and he's running Citibank from Mexico, this is pretty clearly a scam. Just out of curiosity, I read the message - I wanted to see how good it looked (e.g., some of the fake PayPal and eBay "please go to this site and confirm your password" scam spams look pretty realistic).

All I can say is if you fall for this one, you pretty much deserve whatever you get:

_Dear_ _Citibank_ Card_holders,

_This EMAIL was ssent by t_he citi_bank _server to veerify _your E-MAIL addres. You must complete this process by clicking on_the_link _below_ and enntering in the smal _window_ your Citi-bank Atm_ Card number and _PIN_ that you use_ in local_Atm_Machine. This is donne for-your protection -Q- becourse some_of_our _members_ _no_longer have access to their email adresses and we must verify it.

www.yahoo.com/[string of random characters]

To verify _your E_Mail adress and accees _your Citibank_account, click on_the link below_.

yZcl vZZcfTB0T5w1g2DTfv ofTezDT5mn4zDXaGg

Stupid Website Tricks

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I know that publishing companies host more than one magazine on their web servers, but it's still funny to see evidence of it.

    Do this:
  1. Go to runnersworld.com.
  2. In the search box on the main page, search for "President Bush" (no quotes). You should get a results page with about 14 links.
  3. Change 'Match: Any' to 'Match: All' in the search parameters and search again.
  4. Look at the banner at the top of the (failed) results page.

The Black Knight Always Triumphs!

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So the Coalition arrested one of Moqtada al-Sadr's major henchmen and bombed the crap out of his Baghdad office. Apparently that's the signal for the Mahdi Army to move into 'Phase 2' of their resistance:

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr Monday ordered his Mehdi Army to launch a broad new offensive against U.S.-led occupying forces following a U.S. crackdown on his strongholds in Baghdad and across the south.

U.S. bombs flattened his office in the capital overnight.

"We have now entered a second phase of resistance," said Sadr's chief aide at his main base in the holy city of Najaf.
Apparently, this is the phase where the Coalition gets to kill them wholesale instead of retail.

Update: Yep, sure seems like it:

United States troops, backed by tanks and armoured vehicles, have killed up to 25 militiamen loyal to rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in fierce fighting in the holy Shiite city of Karbala, a senior US military officer said.

Locals said the fighting erupted on Tuesday evening (local time) and was still going on as dawn broke, with members of Sadr's Mehdi Army militia holed up in a mosque and surrounded by US forces.

I think the one lesson we can take from Survivor: All Stars is this: don't play a psychological game for a million dollars against your friends.

There's Just No Challenge Anymore

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I understand why the term 'fisking' came into being - Al-Guardian 'reporter' Robert Fisk is so frequently fact-challenged that even I can catch him out. Take for example this 'revelation':

The pictures are appalling, the words devastating. As a wounded Iraqi crawls from beneath a burning truck, an American helicopter pilot tells his commander that one of three men has survived his night air attack. "Someone wounded,' the pilot cries. Then he received the reply: "Hit him, hit the truck and him.' As the helicopter's gun camera captures the scene on video, the pilot fires a 30mm gun at the wounded man, vaporising him in a second.

. . .

American and British personnel have been trying for weeks to persuade Western television stations to show the video of the attack. Despite the efforts of reports in Baghdad and New York, most television controllers preferred to hide the evidence from viewers. Only Canal Plus in France, ABC television in the United States and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation have so far had the courage to show the shocking footage.

. . .

Coming only days after the appalling photographs of Iraqis being tortured and humiliated by US troops at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, the new pictures can only further inflame Arab opinion throughout the Middle East.
There's only one problem - ABC first aired this footage on January 9:
The footage Mr. MacDonald showed us isn't "new." It's old stuff the CBC dredged up to sex up the segment. On Wednesday, Peter Mansbridge admitted as much: "We want to clarify something from last night. Some viewers have pointed out that pictures in our item on the prisoner abuse, cockpit video of the shooting of some people on the ground, have been around for a while. Well, that is true. The pictures were used only because they've been getting new attention in the light of the abuses at the prison."

And I'm not just pointing this out because I have the ending They REALLY don't want you to see...

Obeying The Latest Trend

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Apparently, amongst the cool kids, Friday is for catblogging. OK, so be it. This is Shaggy, our 3yo Maine Coon:
Click for hideously big picture

If I Were Scripting The Survivor Finale...

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[Another Survivor post. You have been warned.]

It sure looks like Survivor: Amateur Hour has become a boat race (these Einsteins are the All-Stars? They sure aren't playing like it!); so much so that I'm prepared to call the finish order: Rupert bites the dust next, then Jenna, and Amber beats Boston Rob in the final by 5-2 or worse.

If I were Rupert, here's the endgame gambit I would try. If nothing else, it would allow him to recapture the pirate mentality he embraced in the first episode of Survivor: Pearl Islands. I call it 'Rupert Gone Wild:'

  • Get up early one morning, while everybody else's lazy ass is still in bed. Take the tools and throw them in the well.
  • Go fishing as usual. Throw the spear in the well.
  • Clean and cook fish as usual. Everbody else will be waking up about this time.
  • Eat all the fish as fast as he can. Drink as much water as possible.
  • Throw the matches in the fire, then pour the last of the drinkable water on the fire to put it out.
  • Throw the machete in the well (who's going to stop him? He's carrying a machete, for cryin' out loud!).
  • Piss in the well.
  • Win both challenges because he's the only one who isn't starving to death.
  • It doesn't really matter who he's up against in the final - he'll win. Even if the whole story of his 'scorched earth' strategy comes out. Especially if the 'scorched earth' story comes out - the jury will be delighted that he got over on the Robfather!

Credit to my friend Paul for the 'Amateur Hour' reference and my friend Joe for 'Rupert Gone Wild.'

Call For Sniglets

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And speaking of made-up words, we need one to describe this feeling: When you look at the lawn late one afternoon and decide to mow it because waiting another day means having to bag instead of mulch, and you do it, and it rains like hell the next day.

OK, maybe that's too specific. How about When you finish mowing the lawn just as you feel the first raindrops hit your face?

A couple of new entries in the Office Lexicon tonight: clearboard and Sharpening The Saw.

Two quick thoughts, now that I'm done mourning the departure of my beloved Red Wings from the Stanley Cup playoffs:

  • I won't be watching any games that finish at 12:30 in the morning. I really hate that Detroit is in the Western Conference - just about every away game is a late start.
  • I think the league office guys responsible for negotiating the TV contract are shitting themselves pink twinkies over the possibility of a Tampa Bay - Calgary final.

Today's Sign Of The Apocalypse

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One of the ad sections in Sunday's paper pitched a Black & Decker motorized jar opener.

Are you freaking kidding me? Have we grown so soft that we now require motorized assistance to open jars?!?

OK, OK, I suppose it's a good thing for the elderly, or people with one arm, but still...

(Yes, school's done. You can expect more insight-free posts from me in the very near future...)

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