Friday, May 30, 2008

Brett Somers to Leave Country If Obama Loses

Brett Somers, celebrity panelist from the extremely old "Match Game" show, is threatening to leave the country if we don't smarten up and vote right. She says, "I've had it up to here with the American people, and now every time I (blank) I blow bubbles." Unless her candidate wins, she's going to pack up her oversized sunglasses and her flamboyant sweaters and find a new motherland.

What? Susan who? Oh. Janet from "Rocky Horror," right? If McCain wins she's moving to Italy? Good plan. The Italians appreciate an old piece of leather.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I'm Just Saying, Is All

Nancy Reagan, who was never the president and never ran for the office, caught all kinds of crap for consulting with an astrologer. Candidate Hillary Clinton, who claims to have been "co-president" (although she may have meant to say "-dependent") copped to channeling Eleanor Roosevelt. No word on if she was hoping for fashion tips or dating advice. Her critics had a field day with that. And now we have the boy genius Obama, who's campaigned in 57 of our 58 states and yesterday demonstrated that either he doesn't know what Memorial Day is or that he possesses a sixth sense. And unless you listen to AM radio you've heard nothing about any of it. Weird.

Now I can die...

....because I have officially seen everything now:

George Carlin's Solution to Save Gasoline:

Bush wants us to cut the amount of gas we use.....

The best way to stop using so much gas is to deport 11 million illegal

That would be 11 million less people illegally using our gas. The
price of gas would come down...

Bring our troops home from Iraq to guard the Borders...

When they catch an illegal immigrant crossing the border, hand him a
canteen, rifle and some ammo and ship him to Iraq!

Tell him if he wants to come to America then he must serve a tour in
the U.S. military...

Give him a soldier's pay while he's there and tax him on it...

After his tour, he will be allowed to become a citizen since he
defended this country...

He will also be registered to be taxed and be a legal patriot...

This option will probably deter illegal immigration and provide a
solution for the troops in Iraq and the illegal aliens trying to make
a better life for themselves...

If they refuse to serve, ship them to Iraq anyway, without the
canteen, rifle or ammo...

Problem solved!

If you think this is a good solution to both the problems, forward it
to your friends.

That's right. George Freaking Carlin, hero of my teenage years. From "AM and FM." The Class Clown, for crying out loud. Wow. The older you get the more likely you are to embrace a more conservative worldview. In his case, it took , like, 78 years. I may actually be able to listen to him again without feeling like a shmuck. Thanks for snapping out of it, George. Although 11 million is a lowball figure. There may be 11 mil in California alone. Still, his heart's in the right place.

Monday, May 26, 2008

I fail to understand.

Foreign Policy magazine has compiled a list of the top five worst places to be a terrorist. The U.S. is not on the list. France, charmingly, is at the top. So why are we catching hell for being all xenophobic and awful and whatnot? Why doesn't everybody pester the two muslim countries on the list, Egypt and Jordan? Because we're "racist" and they're not?

Maybe they know something we don't, living in the same region with radical Islamists as they do. Maybe the "You horrible people are racist" thing works so well in England it gives the bad guys the impression we'll fold faster than Superman on laundry day. I doubt it. For one thing, a lot of us pride ourselves on being contrary. Oh, and a lot of us are armed.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Stupid %*#^ Nature.

I'm moving to a new apartment, but I've still got a couple of months on my old lease, which means I can take my time moving. The second weekend in June -- the day after school ends -- me and my giant child are moving the furniture and we'll be completely out of there. Right now I'm taking stuff bit by bit in the car. So I'm on my balcony yesterday taking down my hanging plants and I find a bird's nest in my Wandering Jew. The cutest little round nest made of grass with five perfect little eggs inside. Aw, crap.

I let loose with a volley of foul invective about my rotten luck and the stupid damn birds. I'm standing on a stool on my balcony loudly cursing at my plants. The neighbors are gonna miss me. I want nothing more than to scoop them out and stick them in a tree and make them not be my problem. But their little bird mom and dad won't find them and the raccoons will. And when you think about it, they were pretty slick, those birds. A hanging plant is like an island, and four feet away on the other side of the glass door is human activity and my idiot dog to scare away any predators with ideas. I can't mess that up for them, not now that they've gained my respect.

I hang the plant back up the exact way I found it, making a mental note not to water that side, and I wait for the birds to turn up. They're finches, I think; brown with an orange neck. They will probably hatch around the beginning of June, which means by mid-July they'll be out of there. Which is good, because my lease expires the last day of July. Wait, what? I say to myself, You'll be out end of June. July's rent here is therefore optional. Are you actually going to pay rent on a second apartment you don't live in... for Mr. and Mrs. Finch? Are you nuts?

Looks that way. I gave them a place to settle in and make more finches. The least I can do is make it so they can raise them. It'll be neat to watch and a good example for the kid. Besides, it might balance out something crappy I did back when. But we all have to be out before my lease expires. I'm not sure how to tell them. Maybe I'll post a little tiny notice.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I wrote last month about the situation at the Yearning for Zion Ranch. Here's a link. I thought the state was heavy-handed -- to put it charitably -- in its approach. Turns out the appeals court agreed:

"The Department (CPS) did not present any evidence of danger to the physical health or safety of any male children or any female children who had not reached puberty," the panel wrote in its order. About half of the more than 460 children placed in protective custody are babies or toddlers.

Again I have to say, the objective of the State was not so much to protect the children so much as to modify the behavior of the scary Christians, so as to look like CPS protected children from religion-based violence and abuse. Like the late Amina and Sarah Said of Dallas, who were murdered by their father in January of this year. Yaser Abdel Said had a problem with his daughters, aged 17 and 18 respectively, going out on dates.

That's some fine police work there, Lou.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This Should be ...Different

Remember the Ninth Circuit Court's recent decision to tell the voters of California to drop dead, the court will decide what laws shall be enacted? They overturned the law against same-sex marriage, the one that passed with two thirds of the popular vote? That would be about 12 million people? Governor Conan found an upside to that.

Arnold displays quite a gift for nonlinear thinking. At first he was thinking he'd balance the state's budget by borrowing against future state lottery revenues (quit laughing) but now this fell into his lap, so to speak. California is going to dig itself out of its hole through... drumroll, please... Gay weddings. Think of it. It's genius. The demographic renowned for its lavish Oscar parties, the people who plan most of the weddings in SF and LA anyway. Imagine a 500+-guest "Last Days of Pompeii"-themed wedding where both men are brides. Sure, most weddings will be low key, you-me-and-a-JP affairs, but even then the receptions will still be pretty happening. Before you get all snippy about stereotyping and so forth I'll have you know I've been to the Folsom Street Fair and to Halloween in the Castro and all the gay people there said they were just your average folks. I do my research and I listen to the experts.

So anyway, the Gov. is certain the fierce and fabulous will come out here (pardon me) to get all married up. The license fees will be a windfall for the state government, as will sales taxes for all the various palm greasing (sorry) that goes into putting on a lavish do. I for one am relieved that we have a plan.


I heard Senator Byrd's reaction to the tragic news that his colleague Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with brain cancer and it made me want to run up a tree. ( the action begins at 1:00 and really picks up at 2:30) It actually made me cover my ears and scream. I was driving.

It could just be me, but Byrd seems to be referring to his "dear, dear, dear, dear friend Ted" in the past tense. I realize he's 327 years old and he's from a different era where men were more expressive of their feelings. I understand at his time of life he feels his mortality keenly. I'm sure the Senator from Massachusetts is one his best friends ever. That old man is on hard drugs. Seriously.

Pimp My Rally

Here's a picture from the Obama rally in Portland, OR last Saturday. That's him climbing up to the dias, I suppose. Pretty impressive crowd. You'd think they were there to see a band or something...

They were. The Decemberists, a local favorite and nationally known indy folk/pop/rock/alternative group opened for Obama. Free admission, natch. The band's named in part after the Decembrist uprising in Russia and they usually open their shows with the Soviet national anthem, but they're pretty mainstream. They've been profiled on NPR and everything.

All the media outlets covered the rally, but no one thought to mention the reason why so many people were there. 75,000 people would not have assembled just to hear Obama exhale hope and change all over the place. You know, if I was the Decemberists I'd be steamed. Here they are trying as best they can to make a go out of the one job they're suited for (I've dated a lot of musicians. It's the only employment they're suited for) and they land a career-making gig, attracting a crowd of more than 75,000 -- two football stadiums' worth -- and no one even mentions they were there. Bummer.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Meanwhile, Back in the Jungle...

Chavez to Order $2 Billion of Russian Arms, Kommersant Reports

By Lyubov Pronina
May 12 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez will order $2 billion of Russian weapons, including submarines, during a visit to Moscow this month, Kommersant reported, without saying where it got the information.
Venezuela, which has bought $4 billion of Russian arms in the last three years, will order four Project 636 diesel subs, Mi-28 combat helicopters and airplanes made by Ilyushin Co., Kommersant said.

Chunk-style has also been purchasing a variety of small arms and equipment, including night-vision goggles and other geegaws useful in guerrilla warfare. The boats are likely Varshavyanka-class submarines, also known as Kilo 636. The subs are powered with diesel fuel and equipped with six torpedo tubes, 18 torpedoes, 24 mines and eight surface-to-air missiles. They're also supposed to be extra quiet and the missiles they carry have a range of 7,500 nautical miles. Last June Chavez bought five of these subs.

Miami is 1360 miles away from the Venezuelan coast. DC is 2053 miles. NYC is 2127 miles, as the crow flies.

The Ilyushins -- troop transport planes, combat helicopters and small arms will come in handy, too, for intimidating the neighbors. Columbia and Brazil must be very...interested right about now. And see if Crazy doesn't involve himself in the tempest brewing between England and Argentina over the Falkands oilfields.

The argument can be made that Putin is unloading a lot of old junk on Chavez, but having learned from back when he used to buy his arms from us only to find we wouldn't supply him with spare parts, now he knows to buy the extended warranty. The boats are coming with parts suppliers, maintenance crews and trainers for the operations crews. In future the Kalashnikovs and their ammo will be manufactured in country. So he is bright enough to become self-sufficient. Sorry if you just lost the bet.

I wonder if this is what would have happened if Tony Montana were given a nation to run.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Whaling Moan

This is another one of those news stories where the comments section is more illuminating than the story itself. The Makah Indians would like the opportunity to exercise their rights under an 1855 treaty and take up whaling again.

The readers of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer who chose to comment on the topic display an effortless, reflexive paternalism that would not seem out of place at the East India Company. A "DennyP" quotes Article 4 of the treaty, which reads in part: "The right of taking fish and of whaling or sealing at usual and accustomed grounds and stations is further secured to said Indians in common with all citizens of the United States..." DennyP goes on to say, "As far as I know the rest of us aren't hunting whales anymore. In fact, it's against the law, and should be, IMHO." It's not against the law, DennyP, and we do take whales. In Alaska, the Inuits take about 50 bowhead whales a year.

"Pahart" takes a more compassionate tack: "While my sympathy lies with the Makah and I can have some feeling for why whaling is an important cultural tradition, we must ask: do they need whale flesh as food? The answer is: NO. Not only do they not need to eat it, but to do so would subject the eaters to the toxic waste soup that is contained in whale flesh and blubber. This could lead to a significant rise in cancer and endocrine-disruptive problems in the Makah population." See? Those people are too ignorant to make their own decisions. Why, they'd eat poison if we weren't here to stop them.

"Ahkamiokole" says, "No outboard motors, no tow boats, no rifles!" and "Kwisn" agrees: "Paddle out there, stick a stick in it with something tied on to float and slow it down, and then tow it back to the beach. We don't hunt with M-16's or FA-18 Hornets (I don't hunt at all, personal choice)." Because Native Americans have an obligation to remain in the Stone Age, so visiting them seems more like a theme park and we can feel all warm and squishy and superior for keeping them in their place -- er, maintaining their cultural integrity.

The Japanese, Russians, Norwegians, Canadians, Icelanders, and Greenlanders are all whaling nations, plus a few more that are really hard to pluralize. While I doubt they hunt with fighter jets (although that's a cool visual) nor do I think they paddle out there in a Nantucket Sleigh to heave harpoons at ol' Moby. They use modern technology to kill the whale with the least amount of suffering to the animal. Versus throwing a pointy stick -- think it over, treehugger. They take the parts of the whale that are commercially viable and toss the rest overboard, where other animals cheerfully eat it, or am I the only one who watches "Blue Planet." And it's not like we're talking about thousands of whales a year, like back when we used the blubber for fuel oil and the bones for corset stays. There's only so much whale people feel like eating in a year. The notorious over-fishers of Japan say they only kill about 50 a year, so even if they're lying by a lot, that would still be fewer than 300.

"JonS" has the last word: "...The Makah Tribe have certain traditions (songs and dances) that can only be performed when a whale is killed. Each family has their own set of traditions around a hunt. Furthermore each family has training traditions to prepare for a whale hunt. So without whaling a whole part of the Makah culture is lost." He said he got that information from the Environmental Impact Statement, which has since been taken down.

My advice to the Makah? Move to Canada. I'm sure by now you know better than to think the Great White Father will honor any stinking treaty.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

"So, Jimmy, you like Gladiator movies?"

An Air France Passenger jet had to make 10,000ft climb to dodge another plane because the pilot was 'showing off' to a 13-year-old boy who'd been allowed in the cockpit, contrary to EU aviation rules and common sense.

Scary, and Cute.

Everyone who has a cell phone has done this at least once. You accidentally hit redial while the phone is in your pocket or wherever and the party on the other end is treated to a little slice of your life. It happened to Army MP Stephen Phillips while he was engaged in a firefight in Afghanistan. The last number he'd dialed was his parents. They returned home to find three minutes of terror on the family voicemail.

"They were pinned down and apparently his barrel was overheating," said Jeff Petee. "It's something a parent really doesn't want to hear. It's a heck of a message to get from your son in Afghanistan."


"You could hear him saying stuff like, he needs more ammo, or he needs another barrel," said John Petee, Phillips' brother. "At the end, you could hear a guy saying 'Incoming! RPG!' And then it cut off."

Of course, his folks were frantic. Of course, it took ages to get in touch with Phillips (The news story doesn't disclose his rank, probably because it's Oregon.) but eventually they were sucessful. Phillips was embarrassed; he asked his parents not to play the voicemail for his grandmother, maybe because of the swearing. Awww.

What a man.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Dear Ms. Tillman,

Shut up.

Your son was a popular young man, an NFL draft pick, a natural showboater, and a patriot who gave up that fame and fortune for useful work in an outfit that shies away from publicity. He died. He was shot while in the field. He died of his wounds, in the arms of his brothers, behind enemy lines, doing what he was trained to do - something he volunteered for at least twice.

Apparently his earlier years of grandstanding came from you - HE gave up FAME when he joined the Army Special Forces. He will always be your little boy, you have pictures, memories and artifacts from his life, and a nice crisp flag from his funeral. Your job is to be his cheerleader now as when he was alive. Stop talking about how he died and just cherish your memories of his life. You disgrace the memory of your child and degrade the morale of the U.S. people, the military, the government, and his brothers-in-arms when you give interviews, speak at hearings, sell books or made-for-TV movies questioning the minute details.

Part of Special Forces Operations includes psychological warfare. The enemy needs to be scared of American forces. American forces need to be confident and proud. American citizens need to be supportive of the volunteer professional warriors of which our entire military is made. The story of your son's life and death was important to our psy-ops. The exact circumstances of his demise should not be public - or even, in my opinion, shared with you. He's dead - that's the important point to your family.

He was a man, of legal age, and a trained warrior. He followed his orders with vigor. He doesn't need you to defend him now, or to attack that which he stood for. He was a positive role model and he now needs you to carry on with his living wishes.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Just Plain Sad

Judging by this list of 2007's top 10 most controversial ad campaigns in England, we won't have to worry about them resurrecting the Empire anytime soon. They're much too busy complaining about TV commercials that "might discourage mothers from breastfeeding" or contain "a depiction of a threat of violence and was therefore irresponsible and condoning bullying." That's not the same ad, by the way.

Also, there's an ad for the Sun newspaper that drew complaints for being too racy. No, really? A British tabloid with a picture of a mostly naked woman? Whatever group that offended must have moved to England recently...


Part of a conversation I and my son had over breakfast. He was describing an article he read by Dave Barry about a ride he took in a fighter jet:

Me: Yeah, I heard that the ride makes you pretty sick if you haven't trained for it. That's why the pilots like to take journalists along, to make them scream and puke. Fighter pilots think that's funny.

Then follows details from the article outlining bodily-fluid related fighter pilot humor. There's a lot of bodily-fluid related humor in any conversation with a 15-year-old boy.

Me: In fact, they actually prefer to take the ladies along because there's more screaming.

He: Really?

Me: Of course. I bet money changes hands over screaming vs. puking, how much, when...

He: Nuh uh!!

Me: I bet. That's got to be part of it. Ladies are much more likely to scream than men, so that has to be part of why so many ladies get invited to go. But a soft guy will do just as well. So if you're ever a journalist and you get invited to fly along it might be because they think you're a sissy. Go anyway, of course...

He: Have you ever gone on a fighter jet?

Me: Umm, no.

He: (delivered in perfect deadpan) Too manly?

Me: (Pause) No one in a position to invite me knows who I am.

He: If you went, would you scream?

Me: I would scream, puke, and wet myself. The inside of that plane would look like a rented limo on prom night.

He: You're just saying that to get a ride in a jet.

The child is a smart aleck. I don't know where he gets it.