Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Stupid, it burns!

Two bits of stupidity from the last few days, both courtesy of MSM-types. (Stupidity certainly isn't limited to MSM-types, but they have the biggest platform, so we're more aware of it.)

First up is Peter King, a senior NFL correspondent for Sports Illustrated. In his Monday Morning Quarterback column this week he wrote the following stupidity:

I think the more football I watch, the more I think I was too hasty last summer when I said the NFL should go to a 17-game schedule. This year hasn't been any more injury-plagued than any other; but late in the season, when fatigued players continue to drop (three Dallas starters went out in the first half alone Saturday night), you get a different view of injuries and how they affect teams than you do in July. [emphasis added]
Okay, Peter, I'm glad this season has given you added perspective on how a long season wears down football players, making them more susceptible to injury. Why this occurred to you after the TWENTY-EIGHTH season you've covered the NFL professionally, and not after the prior twenty-seven seasons remains a mystery. Perhaps you've written without a helmet too many times?

Next up is Andrew Sullivan, currently blogging for his supper at The Atlantic. Reacting to the Bhutto assassination, he writes:
[G]iven the deep and broad forces behind Islamism, and given its record in actually trying to govern countries, it's worth reminding ourselves not to be too intimidated by religious fundamentalist losers. As Iran shows, it doesn't take too long for Muslims to see that mullahs can't run anything halfway competently.
Yeah, it's amazing how those Iranians got sick of the mullahs and threw them out of power so quickly. Oh, wait a minute, that hasn't happened. After almost 29 years, the mullahs are still safely ensconced as the rulers of Iran. I guess Sullivan missed that detail somehow.

The Stupid, it really does burn....

2007 Year-end Awards: Part 1

Okay, in the tradition of pretty much everything printed in America ever, here are The Kitchen Drawer's 2007 Year-end Awards! (I'm calling this Part 1 just in case inspiration hits again later. Elsewise, consider it an homage to Mel Brooks.)

Just like all of these kinds of awards, some of these will be blindingly obvious, some will be head-scratchers, and some will just plain stink. Also, they will all be announced prior to the actual end of 2007, meaning they may become completely irrelevant before the year is done. On with the show!

Consumer Product of the Year: Chinese lead This award is obvious, but we really have to pay homage to this new wonder product. Is there anything Chinese lead can't do? I mean, it can be used to make anything, although it's especially useful for making toys. (Note that this one is so obvious I don't even need to provide links to other stories. Yeah, that's right, y'all know what I'm talkin' about.)

Catchphrase of the Year: "Don't tase me, bro!" Yes, this is the only category where the choice was even more obvious than Consumer Product of the Year. Again, no links are necessary, but because I never get tired of the video, here's an embed anyway.

Really, he should have been tased just for his fashion crimes. [Clarification: I'm referring to the offending student's fashion cirmes. I'm okay with MC Hammer. His fashions were time & place appropriate, believe it or not.] Don't go showing your underwear like you're some sort of gangsta, preppy boy.

(I don't want to embed too many videos in this, but here's a great folk song version of the Catch Phrase of the Year: kinda has a Johnny Cash feel to it....)

Which leads me to:

Blogpost of the Year: Udolpho's "Another university student dealt with appropriately…" The opening 'graph wins the title all by itself:

I love these news items. Lefty student behaves like a jackass and gets tasered and hauled roughly away. People, the system works.

Best Post-Tasing Headline of the Year: "Tasering postpones Kevorkian appearance"

The only thing that could have made all of this better is if there had been Chinese lead in the Taser that started it all.

But there were non-Taser, non-Chinese lead stories this year, so on with the rest of it!

Sportsman of the Year: Clint Bowyer Some of you are no doubt asking, "Who's Clint Bowyer, and why should he get this recognition?" Well, Clint is a driver on the NASCAR circuits. This year he finished third in the Nextel Cup standings, but that's not why he gets this award. He gets this award for his 18th place finish at the 2007 Daytona 500. You don't think that's too impressive? Well, you're wrong. Bowyer crossed the finish line while his car was upside down, sliding sideways, and on fire! (Watch starting at the 4:05 mark.) Truly an outstanding effort!

Most Tiresome Story of the Year: The Beckhams come to America Look, you media assholes: No one cares about metric football in this country, and we're not going to care because some greasy Englishman gets over-paid to under-perform for an American metric football team. Not even if he's married to Anorexic Fake-Boobed Spice.

Financial Story of the Year: The Sub-Prime Mortgage Fiasco The one bright spot in this crisis is that at least a few of those responsible are being made to feel a slight pinch for their transgressions. But given that they'll get to keep their jobs, perhaps I should call that a slightly less dim spot. Perhaps the only man in New York City having a worse year is Isiah Thomas. Of course, Zeke gets to keep his job, too. All of which gets me to ...

Wisest New Saying of the Year: T-Rex's "Failure is just success rounded down." T-Rex is the cleverest dinosaur stomping on things today. This wisdom also comes on a t-shirt! That's how you know it's good. (Scroll down about 2/3rds of the page.)

That's it for now, but I do think a Part 2 will be coming in the next day or two. Feel free to suggest categories & winners.

Friday, December 21, 2007

'Tis the season!

Warning: This is not what you think it is....

And neither is this, although it's not as bad as the stuff above.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

For fans of depressing violence...

I offer up this story:

L.A. Gangs: Nine Miles and Spreading
by Peter Landesman for the LA Weekly

I have no comments at this time, but may have some later.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lest I forget...

Callimachus linked to an interesting interview today. You can read the excerpt that Cal quoted to get something of a frame for the interview, or you can read the interview itself. (I highly recommend the interview, actually, but it is longish for a web article.)

In this interview, NEH Chairman Bob Cole converses with journalist Andrew Ferguson about Abraham Lincoln, and Ferguson's new book about Lincoln and his place in the American psyche. (Instead of linking to a biography of Ferguson, I've decided to link to one of his articles instead. The interview contains enough biography, and a search engine will provide more for the curious.) The interview has a few interesting points that I'd like to call out.

First, some humor:

Cole: In your book, you also talk about the collectors and buffs and the movers and shakers in the Lincoln world. It's not just about Lincoln.

Ferguson: Lincoln collecting literally began the weekend of his death. There were vendors selling square-inch patches from the sheets he bled on. The Victorians had these earthy obsessions—blood, hair.

Cole: The relics.

Ferguson: The demand for Lincoln's stuff is always expanding, even now. But the supply of really good Lincoln stuff—letters in his own hand, signatures, clothes that he wore, kitchen utensils from his house, and so on—is finite. So the definition of good Lincoln stuff expands.

The best example is the market for Lincoln forgeries. Since you need $4,000 to $5,000 to get a real Lincoln signature now, there has been—incredibly—a robust market in Lincoln forgeries. In the 1920s and '30s, there were some very good Lincoln forgeries, by a guy named Cosey, another guy named Weisberg, a couple of others.

So now you can spend a few hundred bucks to get a Cosey or a Weisberg forgery of Lincoln's handwriting. To one of these Lincoln collectors, I said, “I can't believe people are trading in this stuff.” And he said, “Well, you've got to be careful, because there's a lot of fakes out there.”

Cole: Fake fakes.

Ferguson: Fake forgeries. People faking Weisberg faking Lincoln.

Second, a point that had never occurred to me before:
Ferguson: A lot of people were “union savers.” Garibaldi created a union in Italy—Bismarck in Germany. The nineteenth century was an era of consolidators, statesmen essentially bolting together their fractious countries. You can see Lincoln as part of that trend, I suppose.
Somehow it had never occurred to me that Lincoln's acts could be thought of in that light. The analogy has its weaknesses, but it also has some strengths. I'm going to have to ponder that for a while.

Finally, and anecdote from Ferguson that contains one of the great truisms about America:

Ferguson: My own idea was to reconstruct the Lincoln Heritage Trail, which was an artifact that had been debunked and had fallen into disuse over the last generation. You still see signs for it, lost among the weeds, in various places in the Midwest.

I decided I would try and piece together this Lincoln Heritage Trail that my parents had taken me on when I was a kid. I tried to find a map. I looked on the Internet, asked everyone I could. Couldn't find anything about the Lincoln Heritage Trail.

Finally, I got a call from the director of tourism in Illinois. She said, “I've got your guy—the man who invented the Lincoln Heritage Trail in1961. He's still alive.” I called the guy up. Waxing eloquent, I said, “It's such an honor to speak with you, because the trail is really from a time when people cared enough about Lincoln and our history to try to honor the places he'd been, to touch the places he'd touched. . . .”

And there was a long pause. He finally said, “Uh, thanks. But, you know, don't you, this whole thing was cooked up by the marketing guys at the American Petroleum Institute? They wanted to get people in their cars buying gasoline.”

The thing had been a marketing scam. They had done it out here in the East, a George Washington Heritage Trail. There was a Hiawatha Heritage Trail. And the Petroleum Institute had put together this one for Lincoln. All to sell gasoline. When you scratch anything in America, there's a profit motive not too far underneath.[Emphasis added.]

I love commerce!

Monday, December 10, 2007

You may think this is funny, but it's not....

Local headline:

Grandmother arrested for carrying a gun and knife at Disney now out of jail
I'm sure everyone (all five of you) reading this thinks this was just good clean fun, but let me assure you, granny violence is nothing to laugh at. (And looking at the mug shot attached to the above story ought to scare you silly.)

I myself have been the victim of such violence. Once upon a time, I was viciously assaulted at The Magic Kingdom by a little old lady. She was trying to cut in front of me at the entrance to the park, and in the process bashed me with one elbow shot after another. (Let me set the mental picture. Me: 6'1", 200 lbs, about 27 years-old. Granny: 4' nothing, approximately 65 pounds, about 130 years-old. Clearly I was over-matched and out-gunned. I'm not sure if she was on the clear or the cream, but I'm sure she was on flaxseed oil.)

Fortunately the woman's children and grandchildren pulled her off of me before I was maimed too badly. To this day, I still have flashbacks, and frequently wake-up in a cold sweat following nightmares. Zoloft and counseling have helped, but I don't think I'll ever get over the PTSD. I just thank God that the security measures have been improved since then....

[Addendum: I know that my reader(s) will think I'm making up the above tale, but my wife witnessed the whole thing. Maybe you won't believe me, but how can you not trust her?]

[Second Addendum: I'm sure you're all going to think I'm riffing on this, but I'm really not. Respect my pain, damnit!]

Monday, December 03, 2007

Here's another reason why I have no respect for "International Standing"

Headline: Sunday's defeat likely to hurt Chavez's international standing

Yeah, 'cause no one likes a guy who fails to acheive dictator status....

Just to lighten the mood a little more....

The Shakespearean Insult Generator!

The Unbearable Lightness of Stupid Online "Journalism"

So, I clicked over to Althouse today, and there I discovered a link to a horrible piece of online ... what? Journalism? Commentary? I'm not sure.

In a post entitled "Did you watch that Democratic debate, you know, the rich-folks-only debate?", Althouse linked to an Eric Scheie piece at Pajamas Media about a debate that the Democratic candidates for President had last Saturday (December 1, 2007) in Iowa. Here's how Scheie frames it up:

I was honored that Pajamas Media asked me to write about the Democratic Presidential Forum being broadcast on HDNet, and without any hesitation, I said I’d do it, although I did allow that it might take me an hour or so after the debate was over to write my post. After all, I’d have to watch it first, right?
He then goes on to describe his problems in trying to access HDNet on his television. Long story short: HDNet is a premium hi-def channel, and Scheie doesn't get that channel. It turns out that to watch a premium hi-def channel, one has to -gasp- get an HDTV and pay for the premium channel! Before going off on an extended exercise in making stuff up, Scheie writes the following:

So, the Democratic Party — the party of the working class — is broadcasting tonight’s debate from an elitist network run by billionaire Mark Cuban that requires expensive equipment and high monthly charges to access.

What’s up with that? Is this a signal that despite the egalitarian rhetoric, that they’re actually the party of the rich and famous? Imagine the outcry if the GOP broadcast its debate from fancy network that ordinary people couldn’t access. There’d be cries that the Republicans were in a “gated community.”

Well I’d say this is a RATHER gated community! And I’m feeling locked out by their lack of inclusiveness. [All font and link choices courtesy of Mr. Scheie.]

Ah, now I see. Scheie apparently is either trying to be snarky or he's trying to make the point that the Democrats aren't really all that egalitarian. If he's only attempting snark, then the piece really has no point, and I don't understand why Pajamas Media would want to post something that pointless.

But Ann and several of her commenters seem to think Scheie does have a point. As Ann herself put it in the comments, "Oh, get out. How is this comparable to the show being on Fox? It's about access, not cootie-phobia." After that, I got involved, and a mini-flame-war ensued.

Many points were at issue, and you can decide for yourself how well I held my own on the minutia. But if the ultimate point is simply about access, and whether or not this debate provided access to the masses, then we have something substantive to discuss.

First, who decided to put this debate on HDNet? Well, it doesn't appear to have been the Democrats. Instead, that decision seems to have been made by the sponsor of the debate, the Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum. Here's how the Forum bills itself:
The Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum is an element of Urban Dreams’ non-partisan Project V.O.T.E. (Voting Opportunities Through Education). Urban Dreams is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization. It is the nation’s only presidential forum in which all candidates have the opportunity to answer essential concerns of African-Americans and Latinos. The non-partisan event began with U.S. Presidential candidate debates in 1984 and has figured prominently in the Iowa caucuses. It is recognized as the oldest, continuous minority forum for presidential candidates in America and one of the longest-running presidential debates in the nation. For further information, visit
In other words, this isn't a debate sponsored by either the Democratic Party or the Democratic candidates themselves, but by a third party. So, the claim that the Democrats were being elitist by choosing HDNet is patently wrong. And refusing to debate for "the nation’s only presidential forum in which all candidates have the opportunity to answer essential concerns of African-Americans and Latinos" doesn't seem like a very smart move.

Now something I can't glean is this: Why did the Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum choose to broadcast through HDNet, instead of through some other, presumably more widely accessible, avenue? That I haven't discovered, but I imagine it's because HDNet asked, and probably ponied up some expenses for the debate. (Writing to the Forum and/or HDNet would probably clear this up quickly, but I prefer to remain anonymous. If any non-anonymous readers would like to email them, I'd be happy to post your email and their answers here.)

Still, why limit access in this way to a channel that isn't as available as FoxNews, CNN, or C-Span? Well, here's the kicker: the Forum did NOT limit access in Iowa. According to the Forum's website:
The commercial-free broadcast will be simulcast on Mediacom’s ‘Connections’ channel in Iowa and surrounding states.
IPTV [Iowa Public Television] will be rebroadcasting the Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum, Monday, December 3, starting at 9:00 pm.
So, for Iowans the debate was widely accessible. Therefore by broadcasting on HDNet, the Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum did NOT limit access for Iowan voters, which was the target audience of the debate.

In short, Democrats didn't decide to broadcast through HDNet, the Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum did. Further, HDNet took action to ensure that the debate would reach its intended audience in Iowa. If Scheie's point (and by extension Pajamas Media, Althouse, & various Althouse commenters) really is that the Democrats are being elitist by their choice of broadcast network, then he's wrong multiple ways.

PS: Discovering the above information required some hard research. Namely, I did a search on Yahoo! for “hdnet democratic debate” and the BBPF was the third site that came up. I haven't worked that hard for knowledge since studying category theory in grad school.

Update: God Lord, it's worse than I realized. I had missed Scheie's link to a Business Wire report about the debates. The BW piece lays out all of the access facts I did above and a little bit more:
Mediacom will make the broadcast available via Channel 22 - the Mediacom Connections Channel -- available to ALL basic cable subscribers throughout Iowa, and also available to Mediacom customers in northern Illinois, Minnesota, and southwest Wisconsin.
So Scheie's whole piece was not only pointless, but he knew it was pointless and wrong. So much for the New Media Model of Journalism. It would be enough to make one yearn for the editors of Old Media if we didn't know they were also a bunch of tools.

My, oh my, how I love shooting fish in a barrel!


Saturday, November 24, 2007

That whole guest programmer thing....

Dave Schuler at The Glittereing Eye notices Turner Classic Movie's Guest Programmer Month. I can't frame it up any better than he can, so here's Dave:

All through the month of November each evening TCM has had a guest programmer select four movies that would be shown that evening. Guest programmers ranged from directors, actors and actresses, to the great mystery writer James Ellroy and opera diva Renee Fleming. Some of the selections have been, well, the usual suspects e.g. Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, Citizen Kane. Some of the selections have been intriguingly self-revealing. Tracey Ullman’s selections highlight the difference growing up in the UK might mean to one’s selections. Whoopi Goldberg’s picks were remarkably romantic. Jerry Stiller’s picks suggest an extremely sentimental guy.

Well, what if I were guest programmer? The following picks aren’t necessarily my favorite pictures. Some of them are, some aren’t. But these are the pictures I’d choose if I had the opportunity to be TCM guest programmer for an evening.

Dave picked the following four movies:

Dave concludes with something of a challenge: "So, if you were guest programmer what would you pick?" Here's my answer:

Hmm, four movies. That’s tough. There are all kinds of genres to choose from, and it would be hard to not load up on one genre: comedies, for example. But here’s a quick stab.

[ADDED: We decided to not restrict ourselves to TCM's considerable library.]

1) “Singin’ in the Rain” - It’s not as thematic as musicals would become (in fact the musical numbers often have little to do with the movie itself), but somehow this movie just hits all the right notes. In particular, Jean Hagen as Lina Lamont is simply incredible.

2) “Victor/Victoria” - Perhaps the best roles for both Julie Andrews and Robert Preston. The two versions of “The Shady Dame from Seville” are both highly entertaining, for completely different reasons. The supporting parts are very well cast (Leslie Ann Warren stands out. I’ve got a thing for ditsy blondes in movies if played well.) And even the bit players are well done. (The long suffering waiter, who has the best line in the whole movie:

Victoria: The bourguignon was just a little tough.

Waiter: Maybe the way you are eating your jaws are getting tired.

Toddy: Speaking of overworked jaws, why don't you treat yours to a sabbatical and fetch me a wine list?

Victoria: [holding up a glass] This is all they have.

Toddy: This? The last time I saw a specimen like this, they had to shoot the horse!

Waiter: [irritated] How lucky can you get? In one evening a Rockefeller... and a Groucho Marx.

Toddy: Oh, they didn't shoot a real horse... just a costume with two waiters in it.

Waiter: I shall think of a sharp retort while I am getting your roast chicken.

Toddy: It's a wise man who knows when to throw in the towel.

Waiter: And it is a moron who gives advice to a horse's arse.

HA!). Also, some trademark Blake Edwards chaos (the outside shot of the restaurant exploding into chaos is brilliant.) This is my favorite Blake Edwards film.

3) “American Graffiti” – George Lucas’s best movie, without a doubt. There are several interwoven stories, but to me Richard Dreyfus’s character Curt is the central character. Over the course of a night he ends up discovering that the world is a bit more complex than he had thought. The pivotal scene for me is the meeting with Wolfman Jack. The Wolfman insists that he isn’t the Wolfman at all, and dispenses some good advice. That advice really hits home when Curt discovers that the man he had been talking to WAS the Wolfman. The look on Curt’s face looking back through the glass is perfect. (The movie also gives a brief glimpse of the trauma of the coming Vietnam War. At the end of the movie we discover that Toad died in war, and that Curt became a draft dodger.)

4) “Run Lola, Run!"– The best film of the latter half of the 1990s, in my opinion. A German film that features crime, love, alternate realities, and a girl (Franka Potente) with shocking hair. Bonuses: the all-time greatest movie scream; a funny intro sequence (the security guard talking about soccer), and the bum from Monty Python. (Not really, on that last point. But it may as well be.) Be certain to watch this in the original German. Dubbing can ruin a performance.

Just missing the cut this time: “Full Metal Jacket”, “The Shawshank Redemption”, “Touch of Evil”, “Aliens”, “Die Hard”, “Terminator” & “Terminator II”, and a host of others.

So, which four movies would you pick? Leave a comment here, at Dave's, or blog it yourself.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

And so concludes today's swarm of postings.

Maybe four posts doesn't look like a "swarm of postings" to you, but I actually wrote eight posts today. (I'm not counting this post. This actually makes it nine posts.) The other four were on a side project that may or may not ever see the light of day. But those posts actually required more work than did the posts on this blog. Anyway, good night, and peace out.

A Brief Digression About "Football"

Last week, The Chess Mind blog discussed the potential merits and demerits of using the soccer scoring system of 3-1-0 for scoring wins, draws and loses, instead of the traditional scoring system used in the chess world of 1-0.5-0. In the post that started the discussion, Dennis Monokroussos (the blogger behind that excellent chess site) tossed in the following throwaway line:

soccer (strangely called "football" by non-Americans)....
Having read Dennis's site for some time now, I took this as good-natured ribbing of his fellow Americans. He's just not a man to go looking for a fight over nothing. However, a commenter used that throwaway line as an excuse to lecture Americans on their character flaws:
The fact, that something is non-American does not mean, that it is strange. This shows American arrogance; something I haven't get used to in this blog. It is sufficient to note, that the vast majority of the world population calls this sport football (or a variation like voetbal, fussball). Moreover it is older than the American version of rugby, which strangely allows its participants to take the ball in hands and throw it.
This claptrap about "football" got my ire up, so I wrote a longish comment about the use of the words "football", "soccer" and some other terms. It was useful enough that I'm going to repost it here, with some slight editing:

"Football" refers to games played on foot, rather than games played solely with feet. What Europeans now call football is more properly called Association Football. In fact FIFA's definitions state the following:

12 Association Football: the game controlled by FIFA and organised in accordance with the Laws of the Game.

It gets shortened to "football" (or a variant) in nations where that is the most popular kind of football. In other nations (mostly the USA) where other forms of football are more popular, the more popular game is usually simply called football.

Rugby is another variant. And while it's normally just called Rugby, the more proper name for it would be "Rugby football". American football (once a.k.a. Gridiron football) would be the proper term for what we in the USA call football. But for ease of use all the modifiers usually get dropped when one form or another becomes the dominant sport. I imagine that Rugby football became "Rugby" simply because both Rugby football and Association football both remained very popular in the British Empire, and Rugby is a nice short term. (Also, in English language the 'rug' in Rugby suggests 'rugged', which that game surely is.)

Finally, the term 'soccer' isn't an American term at all. It's English slang from the late 1800s, and yes, it's slang for "Association football". (The story I've usually heard is that the SOC comes from as-SOC-iation. I’ve heard the SOC was prominent on old versions of the balls used, but I don't know if that's true or just urban legend.)

So, in short, "football" applies to a variety of games. Association football is what FIFA regulates. (In fact it is in the name of the organization!) Association football usually gets shortened to "football" in countries where it is the primary variant of football. It is NOT the dominant form in the USA - that would be American football. Therefore Americans tend to call our game "football" as a matter of convenience. However, "soccer" is an old established variant name of Association football which has proper English origins.

So, we Americans are not being arrogant by calling our game football. Neither are Europeans and most of the rest of the world arrogant for simply calling Association football "football". However, people who insist that Americans are arrogant for our use of the terms "football" and "soccer" are ignorant, as they have no idea of the etymology of these words, or how & why they are used as they are around the world.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

If I've been lax ...

... in posting about my Mother's health status, it's because the news has been uniformly good.

Last week I took her to see her surgeon. This was a chance for him to see how she was doing and to tell us the results of the pathology report on the section of colon that they removed. It was all good news: the pathology report showed no cancer at all. After "Your baby is healthy", the words "There are no signs of cancer" are probably the best words you can hear come out of a doctor's mouth.

In addition, the doctor seems surprised at how quickly Mom is recovering from the surgery. She been staying with us since she was discharged, but she could have gone home last week. We've kept her with us for a while 'cause we're trying to fatten her up. Her weight last Wednesday was the same as it was before the surgery, which is good because it means she hasn't lost any weight. But she still weighs less than she probably should. (She lost about 25 pounds in 2006 due to various health issues.)

The doctor did surprise me with some of the details of the surgery. It turns out they had removed more colon than I had thought. The surgeon actually removed two separate stretches of colon measuring about a foot long. They wanted to be certain they did get any potential cancer. Also, at the age of 80, Mom finally had her appendix removed.

So, everything is going well on that front. I appreciate any and all kind wishes, thoughts, and prayers that were directed our way.

Story of the Day: Go Gator!

Yeah, baby, that's the stuff!

MICCOSUKEE TRIBE INDIAN RESERVATION [That's down in SE FLorida] - A man who jumped into a lake to flee police was killed by an alligator more than 9-feet long, officials said Tuesday.
Unfortunately, no good deed goes unpunished. For this brave act of law enforcement, the gator in question was killed.
The alligator believed to be responsible for the death has been killed. A coroner was scheduled to examine the 9-foot-3 reptile Wednesday for human hair or skin, said Brian Wood, owner of All American Gator Products, which is storing the gator in a cooler for now. It will then be incinerated or buried, he said.
I really love Florida....

Some Quick Hits for Tuesday

Below are a few items of some interest. I'll probably add to this as the day goes on.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Take THAT, Canada!

Sweet! This story is from a couple of months ago, but still current enough.

Refugees pose 'potential crisis'
Mayor Francis asks the feds for help to deal with influx of Mexicans
Just to be clear, this story takes place in Canada.
With city shelters filled and a surge of further refugee claimants expected to flood into Windsor, Mayor Eddie Francis is pleading for financial help from Ottawa.

"When there is a possibility of adding thousands to the local social assistance system as a result of refugee claimants crossing the border into Windsor, we will become overwhelmed and our current resources will not suffice," Francis wrote in a letter sent Wednesday to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Over the past three weeks, 45 families and 31 individuals -- approximately 200 people -- entered Canada at the Detroit River crossings and applied in Windsor for shelter and social assistance after filing refugee claims with the Canada Border Services Agency. Municipal agencies dealing with the sudden influx of mainly Mexican refugee applicants are renting out hotel rooms and bracing for predicted thousands more to come.
We don't have the means, ability or capacity to deal with this additional cost. We are not able to deal with this potential crisis locally," Francis wrote Harper.

"I don't believe that Windsor's residents and taxpayers should have to foot the bill for U.S. immigration policy," Francis told The Star. He was referring to the suspected source of the problem -- a recently begun crackdown on illegal immigrants in economically struggling regions of the U.S. South.

With the bulk of the latest arrivals being long-time Mexican illegals dislodged from their homes and workplaces in southwestern Florida, fingers are being pointed at unscrupulous outfits charging money and then directing desperate individuals and their families toward the Windsor border crossing.
Bwa ha ha ha ha! This is great!
"We are aware of these operations -- they have been advertising incorrect and false information," said Marina Wilson, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Wilson said Canadian immigration authorities have started contacting the Mexican and Haitian communities in Florida, as well as local media there, to get the word out that nothing has changed in Canadian refugee policy.

"The fact someone wants to come here for better economic opportunity or a better quality of life ... that's no basis for a successful refugee claim," said Immigration Refugee Board (IRB) spokesman Charles Hawkins.
Suck it, Canada! Once they leave our borders, they're no longer the concern of OUR immigration laws. If you guys don't want Mexicans over-running your country, then defend your damned southern border.
"This is a problem the U.S. has allowed to create. It's really unfair for Canada to have to face this," said MP Joe Comartin (NDP -- Windsor-Tecumseh), his Party's public safety and national security critic.

"This is very much being driven by (the U.S. Department of) Homeland Security," he said, predicting that, "with few exceptions," most of these "economic claimants" will eventually be sent back.
Hey, it's not our job to defend your stinkin' border. Canadians are jerks anyway.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

So much for the idea that we should treat terrorism as a law enforcement problem....

"Justice Department 'dismayed' over release of USS Cole bombing leader"

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. law enforcement officials Friday blasted Yemen's release of one of the leaders of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 U.S. soldiers.

"We are dismayed and deeply disappointed in the government of Yemen's decision not to imprison [Jamal al-Badawi]," said a Justice Department statement issued by the Department's National Security Division.

"We have communicated our displeasure to Yemeni officials," the statement said.

The statement pointedly referred to al-Badawi as one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists and noted prosecutors in New York City want to get their hands on him.

"He was convicted in Yemeni courts and has been indicted in the Southern District of New York," the Justice Department said. Officials said the decision is not consistent with cooperation between counterterrorism officials of the United States and Yemen.

Al-Badawi -- who had escaped prison last year -- was freed after turning himself in two weeks ago, renouncing terrorism and pledging allegiance to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, according to news reports.

Witnesses said al-Badawi was "receiving well-wishers at his home" in Aden, Yemen, according to The Associated Press in Sana, Yemen.
International terrorism cannot be treated as only a law enforcement problem. Amongst other problems, other nations will find it expedient to treat some of the most wanted terrorists with kid gloves, attempting to do the bare minimum in order to avoid international repercussions.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


To whom is Matt Ryan related at ESPN?

The whole of the Boston College-Virginia Tech game has been one giant fluff job for Matt Ryan's Heisman candidacy. Even late in the game Ryan was doing nothing but getting killed by the Virginia Tech defensive line, the ESPN announcers kept talking about Matt Ryan's great Heisman winning performance. Ryan DID eventually lead BC to 14 points in the last three minutes to win the game, but that had more to do with VaTech's mistakes than Ryan's ability. Hell, the announcers even started saying that Ryan's performance was more impressive than Doug Flutie's Hail Mary performance against Miami back in the day. I have never heard such completely biased announcers for a game before. Johnny Most would have been embarrassed to have called this game.

A few quick notes on a Friday night....

  1. Yeah, I realize that it's only Thursday. But it feels like a Friday.
  2. Mom's surgery went well. There were a few minor glitches but nothing too worrisome. Now to hope that the recovery goes well.
  3. I hate parking garages.
  4. I also hate US Postal Service vending machines.
  5. "This was not a terrorist-related act." That assertion seems disputable. However, it was certainly a dumb-ass related act.
  6. Spending time in hospitals recently I can definitively state that anyone stating that the last few years have ruined America's image in the world is full of shit.

[Post may be updated as I remember things. Or not.]

Friday, October 19, 2007

And now for something completely different: a musical interlude

Whenever life gets you down, Mrs Brown, and things seem hard or tough,
And people are stupid, obnoxious, or daft, and you feel that you've had quite eno-huh-huh-huh-huh-hoooooooough.

Just re-member that you're standing on a planet that's evolving, revolving at 900 miles an hour.
It's orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it's reckoned, a Sun, that is the source of all our power.
The Sun, and you and me, and all the stars that you can see, are moving at a million miles a day
In the outer-spiral arm, at 40,000 miles an hour, of the Galaxy we call "The Milky Way".

Our Galaxy itself contains a hundred-billion stars, it's a hundred thousand light years side to side.
It bulges in the middle, 16,000 light years thick, but out by us, it's just 3,000 light years wide.
We're 30,000 light years from Galactic Central Point, we go round every 200 million years,
And our Galaxy is only one of millions of billions in the amazing and expanding universe!

[Small Instrumental]

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding in all of the directions it can whizz,
As fast as it can go, the speed of light, you know, 12 million miles a minute and that's the fastest speed there is,
So remember when you're feeling very small and insecure, how amazingly unlikely is your birth
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space, 'cause there's bugger all down here on Earth!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Update on my mother...

It's been two and a half month's since I last commented here on my mother's health. The current status: She has completed the BCG treatment for the bladder cancer. The docs then spent a couple of week's trying to adjust her blood pressure meds to get that back under control. (Frankly, I suspect that the medication changes they made back in July caused more trouble than they solved.)

Now that those issues are out of the way, they've scheduled the surgery to remove the section of her colon that contains the growth. She checks in next Tuesday for prep, they'll run another colonoscopy on her Wednesday, and Thursday they'll do the cutting. She should be in the hospital 3-5 days after that if they do the surgery by 'scope, or 5-7 days if they have to make a regular incision. Wish us luck....

Here's an idea....

So the middle schools in Portland Maine will be distributing birth control pills, potentially to students as young as 11. In a news report this morning, one of the announcers stated that the pills would be given to "kids", to which my wife said, "No - no, they will be given to girls."

This set me to thinking. I rapidly thought, "T wonder if boy students could sue to get access to the pill under some form of anti-discrimination law?" I said so to my wife, and added, "His justification could be that he doesn't want his girlfriend to get pregnant, or that he doesn't want his Mom having any more children - he could slip her the pill in her food."

The predictable response? "You're EVIL!"

Yes. Yes I am.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Some Items of Potential Interest

I've made a few changes to the side bar, some of which may be a vague interest.

First, I've changed my blog roll ever so slightly. I've removed Pooh's blog, because Pooh blogs no more. I've also removed Reader_Iam's old blog, because she has hidden it away. I have added author Jon Evans' blog. His blog often takes on the characteristic of a travelogue, and I highly recommend it.

I've also added a little more to my Entertainment section: Jim Hill Media, Cartoon Brew and PBCB Studios.

Finally, and most importantly for me, is the new Reference section. Here I've thrown together a vast collection of links that I have used in the past for ... wait for it ... reference! Some get used more often than not, but at times I've used most of these to good effect. The CIA site (yes, I mean that CIA) is invaluable just because of The World Factbook. I imagine the utility of most of the others is apparent, but some of these are listed purely for entertainment value - the Louvre has a great website, for example, and I highly recommend the interactive Panoramas tour. This section also includes the website that makes the whole Internet thing worthwhile - the Internet Movie Database! No longer does one have to struggle trying to remember "that guy, that was in that movie". Now you can look it up directly! I imagine that this site has saved more man-hours of work that the rest of the Internet has gobbled up. (Well, maybe not the amount of time wasted on porn, but that's hardly the 'net's fault.)

Regardless, I offer up this assortment of links secure in the knowledge that there ought to be something in here for my 3 readers to enjoy, and hopefully something that's new and entertaining.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

And just because....

Instapundit's late to the party...

... and seems to have not noticed the problems with the article in question. Maybe I should add this as a tag line in the header: "Days ahead of Instapundit!" Or maybe not, given my slothful posting habits. Still, I beat him by four days on this one, the slacker, and I have actual commentary on the story in question! Take THAT, Reynolds!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Why is journalism considered a profession?

Because if if were a trade journalists would be required to at least get the basics right.

From an AP story about Bush-Clinton fatigue:

The dominance of the two families [Bush & Clinton] in U.S. presidential politics is unprecedented. (The closest comparisons are the father-son presidencies of John Adams and John Quincy Adams, whose single terms were separated by eight years, and the presidencies of fifth cousins Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt, whose collective 20 years as president were separated by a quarter-century.)
What?! John Adams left office in 1801. John Quincy Adams didn't enter office until 1825. That's not eight years, that's 24 years!

Also, this writer, one NANCY BENAC, also forgot about William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison, a grandfather-grandson pair of US Presidents. I think that's a little closer in the familial relation department than fifth cousins, but that might just be me.

I'll see if I can get a screen capture up, as I'm sure some of those fine editors at the AP will figure this out eventually....

ADDED: I note that the Canadian version of the story on Yahoo is correct about the number of years between the two Adams' presidencies, as is the San Luis Obispo Tribune version. I have no idea who has screwed this up, but it doesn't appear to have been a simple typo: someone must have gone in and re-written the copy, either to correct it or to mess it up.

AND MORE: There's even more wrong with this story - the stat in the opening line:
Forty percent of Americans have never lived when there wasn't a Bush or a Clinton in the White House. Anyone got a problem with that?
I do have a problem with that. Namely that said fact is wrong, is you believe the US Census Bureau, in any event. Checking the estimate here for citizens under the age of 20, one finds that the Census Bureau estimated there were approximately 82 million such people in 2006. From a population of approximately 299 million, that leads to about 27.4% of the US population having been born since 1987, two years before G. W. H. Bush took office. It's hard to believe the demographics have changed that much since 2006!

This is wrong in all three versions of this story. Are the various editors and reporters so innumerate and so lacking in basic fact checking? The Magic Eight Ball says, "Signs point to 'Yes!'"

LATEST: It appears the forty percent comes by way of a cheat. If one includes people born since 1981, the year G. H. W. Bush became VICE PRESIDENT, one can get over 40%. That's cheesy, though. I mean who looks back and thinks of the Mondale years, or the Rockefeller years?

Monday, September 17, 2007

In a reasonable world, these two headlines shouldn't go together.

Spy games bother Pats owner : Belichick extended

And yet they do, on the front page of ESPN's website this morning. Hey, Bob, contracts speak louder than sanctimonious claims of innocence... uh, I mean sanctimonious claims of different "interpretations" of the rules.

I guess this proves that Bob Kraft is every bit the phony that his head coach is....

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Another reason I love my wife: Her great comments!

For example, she left this one on my recent post that included lyrics from Gilbert & Sullivan:

>As office boy I made such a mark
That they gave me the post of a junior clerk

English people don't say "clerk"; they say "clark".
Anybody who says "clark" is a jark!
~"Zip", Pal Joey

That Lorenz Hart guy was a pretty good lyricist too.
And then we had this recent email conversation:

Icepick: THIS is why I love Udolpho. Don't drink anything while reading this.

justkim: When did you adopt this alter-ego?

Icepick: It's not me, I swear it. He's been at this since 2002. I am SO ENVIOUS of his assholeness!

justkim: Oh, honey, you have your own special variety of assholeness.

Icepick: Oh, I know that. I'm just envious because his is so much more powerful than mine.

To a shark, people are just like Zebra Cakes.

This is the coolest story of the year!

An Oakland Park teen who went swimming at the beach Thursday emerged with a nurse shark latched onto his abdomen.
Also? This kid will have the coolest scar story ever!

To be fair, Zebra Cakes are mighty tasty....


Friday, September 14, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dumb Ideas in Sports

Cheating against one's coaching disciple, especially if you don't need to do it to win.

Wearing a Texas Longhorn shirt into a sports bar in Oklahoma City.

Don't cheat by using an obviously disgruntled employee to get documents. (Also? SHRED THE DOCUMENTS! Didn't you guys ever hear about Watergate?)

Paying BIG MONEY to an unproven player, especially if the player is damaged goods.

Firing a proven college coach and replacing him with an unproven pro assistant.

Giving a huge contract extension so that you can endure more than a decade of this.

Putting a Major League Baseball franchise in Florida. (375!)

Thinking that wearing a mask will automatically keep you from getting fingered for delivering a beat down.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Radio Free Icepick

Ten random selections from my iPod.

Goldberg Variation 26 ...........................Glenn Gould
Whores (live) .........................................Jane's Addiction
Eight Miles High .....................................The Byrds
No Regrets .............................................Billie Holiday
Boy! What Love Has Done to Me! ............Ella Fitzgerald
Dr. Van Steiner ......................................Yello
Partia 4 I Sonata ....................................Musica Antiqua Köln
When I Was a Lad ...................................????
Welcome to the Jungle ...........................Guns -n- Roses
Shine ......................................................Meat Puppets

I'm not sure who performs "When I Was a Lad", but it's a song from Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Penafore. I love the lyrics of this one.

When I was a lad I served a term
As office boy to an Attorney's firm
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor
And I polished up the handle of the big front door
..................He polished up the handle of the big front door
I polished up that handle so carefully
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navy
..................He polished up that handle so carefully
..................That now he is the ruler of the Queen's Navy

As office boy I made such a mark
That they gave me the post of a junior clerk
I served the writs with a smile so bland
And I copied all the letters in a big round hand
..................He copied all the letters in a big round hand
I copied all the letters in a hand so free
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navy
..................He copied all the letters in a hand so free
..................That now he is the Ruler of the Queen's Navy

In serving writs I made such a name
That an articled clerk I soon became
I wore clean collars and a brand-new suit
For the pass examination at the Institute
..................For the pass examination at the Institute.
And that pass examination did so well for me
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navy
..................That pass examination did so well for he
..................That now he is the Ruler of the Queen's Navy

Of legal knowledge I acquired such a grip
That they took me into the partnership
And that junior partnership, I ween
Was the only ship that I ever had seen
..................Was the only ship that he ever had seen.
But that kind of ship so suited me
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navy
..................But that kind of ship so suited he
..................That now he is the ruler of the Queen's Navy

I grew so rich that I was sent
By a pocket borough into Parliament
I always voted at my party's call
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all
..................He never thought of thinking for himself at all.
I thought so little, they rewarded me
By making me the Ruler of the Queen's Navy
..................He thought so little, they rewarded he
..................By making him the Ruler of the Queen's Navy

Now landsmen all, whoever you may be
If you want to rise to the top of the tree
If your soul isn't fettered to an office stool
Be careful to be guided by this golden rule
..................Be careful to be guided by this golden rule.
Stick close to your desks and never go to sea,
And you all may be rulers of the Queen's Navy
..................Stick close to your desks and never go to sea
..................And you all may be rulers of the Queen's Navy

A Societal Benefit from Professional Sports

Athletes are great test cases (i.e., guinea pigs) for experimental medical techniques that can eventually benefit many other. The latest example? Buffalo Bill player Kevin Everett:

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Kevin Everett voluntarily moved his arms and legs on Tuesday when partially awakened, prompting a neurosurgeon to say the Buffalo Bills' tight end would walk again -- contrary to the grim prognosis given a day before.

"Based on our experience, the fact that he's moving so well, so early after such a catastrophic injury means he will walk again," said Dr. Barth Green, chairman of the department of neurological surgery at the University of Miami school of medicine.

"It's totally spectacular, totally unexpected," Green told The Associated Press by telephone from Miami.
Here's a brief description of the "Gee whiz!" technique behind this potential miracle of science:
Green said the key was the quick action taken by Cappuccino to run an ice-cold saline solution through Everett's system that put the player in a hypothermic state. Doctors at the Miami Project have demonstrated in their laboratories that such action significantly decreases the damage to the spinal cord due to swelling and movement.

"We've been doing a protocol on humans and having similar experiences for many months now," Green said. "But this is the first time I'm aware of that the doctor was with the patient when he was injured and the hypothermia was started within minutes of the injury. We know the earlier it's started, the better."

Everett remains in intensive care and will be slowly taken off sedation and have his body temperature warmed over the next day, Green said. Doctors will also take the player off a respirator.
It appears that the reason they had this available in Buffalo for the game was because Bills' owner Ralph Wilson is one of the large donors behind The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. I imagine that by next season many more teams in the NFL will have this available in stadium for immediate use if needed, as will many colleges. I also imagine that in a few years EMTs will be trained and equipped for using this technique on car accident victims and the like.

Professional athletes earn their money not just by being particularly good at given games, but also because they're guinea pigs for cutting edge medical science.

Ain't science grand?

Madness. Madness!

Okay, this is approaching Alabama-Auburn levels of lunacy.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- To some Oklahoma football fans, there are things that just aren't done in the heart of Sooner Nation, and one of them is to walk into a bar wearing a Texas Longhorns T-shirt.

That's exactly what touched off a bloody skirmish that left a Texas-shirt-wearing fan nearly castrated and an Oklahoma fan facing aggravated assault charges that could put him in prison for up to five years.
I've really got nothing to add.

ALSO: Bonus points for knowing where I got the title of the post.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Suddenly, Columbus discovered that it was home to many Appalachian State alumni....

...or maybe not.

Meanwhile, phone lines at the bookstore on the Appalachian State campus in Boone, N.C., have been jammed with orders for Mountaineers merchandise, with many calls coming from Ohio.

But the store has had to be careful, because an old state law limits sales at university bookstores to students, faculty and alumni. A couple of Ohio men wanting large numbers of Appalachian State T-shirts had to be turned down, said Lorraine Childers, the bookstore's assistant director.

Smaller orders might get by.

"If people call in and say, 'My uncle is a graduate' or whatever, we really don't have a way to verify that," Childers said.
This makes me think that perhaps we should send some Gator Gear to Ann Arbor this fall.

The Law of Unintended Consequences Stikes Again

Yesterday saw three more cases of children left in cars here in Central Florida. In one case, a toddler died when her mother forgot that she had responsibility for the child that day.

A 22-month-old girl died after being left in the back seat of the car while the mother worked at Ocoee City Hall, investigators said.

The death was considered a mistake, police said, because the mother was supposed to take the girl to day care, but it was normally the father's responsibility to take the child.
In another case, tourists left their child in a car while doing some shopping in a Wal-Mart.
A couple from France was arrested Tuesday night after deputies said they left their daughter locked in a car at Wal-Mart on Turkey Lake Road.

Gerard and Chetrie Sterne are accused of leaving the 2-year-old inside a rental car while shopping.

A shopper noticed the child inside the car and called authorities, who said the girl was left inside for about an hour. The parents said the girl was only alone for a few minutes.
Regardless of whether the child was alone for a few minutes or an hour, this is piss-poor judgement. The child is now in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families. That may be just as irresponsible as leaving the child unattended in a car during a Florida summer, but that's not the parents' fault. That is a topic for another time, if I can stomach it. (I probably won't be able to stomach that topic, so don't hold your breathe. Of course, if you're reading this you're not likely to be holding your breathe anyway, as you know I don't post that often.)

(Also, I am resisting the urge to ridicule French tourists for shopping at a Wal-Mart, but don't let that stop anyone from doing so in the comments.)

The third case was not as bad as the first two.
Meanwhile, a child in Ormond Beach was also rescued from a car Tuesday night after a grandmother locked her keys inside the vehicle.

The woman called for help, but rescuers couldn't get the door open and ended up breaking a window.

The child was hot but didn't require medical attention, officials said.
But all of this isn't really the interesting part, which appears in the last paragraph.
The number of children who have died of heat exhaustion has risen dramatically since the mid-1990s, totaling around 340 in the past 10 years. According to an Associated Press analysis, one reason cited was a change made to protect children by putting them in the back seat away from air bags, where they are more easily forgotten.
ADDED: Reading the story on the Orlando Sentinel webpage, I see that the comments have already turned nasty regarding the death of the toddler mentioned above. This quickly brings to mind this recent post of Mark Daniels.

UPDATE: Mark Daniels provides an update on the story he blogged about before.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Explaining My Anti-Big Ten Bias

As my last post made clear, I have an anti-Big Ten Conference bias. This bias is less than a year old. It dates back to early last December, to the day when UCLA beat USC and UF beat Arkansas in the SEC Championship Game. On that day, it became clear that my alma mater, the University of Florida, would send its football team to play in the BCS National Championship Game against The Ohio State University team. This is the point at which by bias began to form.

I have to confess that initially I wasn't looking forward to this game. Like everyone else, I had bought into the hype that the 2006 Bukeyes team was the greatest college football team of recent years. (Which was silly on the face of it, given how good some of the teams from USC and Texas had been in the then IMMEDIATE past.) I would have been happier going to the Sugar Bowl and beating Notre Dame senseless. (There would have been personal reasons for that, which I won't go into here. Let's just say that work would have been a fun place to talk college football for a few years.) But we had to play OSU anyway, so I sucked it up and got myself into the game by listening to local sports talk radio.

Now central Florida is a land of immigrants. Recently that immigration has come from points south, but not so long ago the immigrants were almost exclusivelty from points north. Central Florida has a LOT of residents from the Mid-West. When I was a child, it seemed like half the people in the state were from Michigan, Wisconsin or Ohio. (The other half was primarily from West Virginia, oddly enough.)

With the reality of a UF vs The Ohio State University national championship game, all of those Mid-Westerners came out of the woodwork and onto the local airwaves, and man were they obnoxious! One call after another for a whole month explained to us UF partisans that up there they play real football, men's football. Down here we allegedly just played some form of flashy touch football with no real substance, no real physicality - nothing more than glorified Pop Warner football. (Apparently none of these idiots had watched the LSU-Auburn game from earlier in the season, which was the most hard hitting game I've ever seen at any level.) This was compounded by the fact that several of the local sports talk radio announcers and producers were from the Mid-West themselves, so we had a month of almost entirely anti-South, anti-SEC and anti-UF sports talk radio ... in Central Florida! (Incidentally, if these people are so found of the Mid-West, they're all welcome to move back - the roads run both ways.)

(I should point out that there was one notable exception to the above on the local airwaves - Dan Sileo on WQTM's 740 The Team station had been stating since early November that UF would destroy Ohio State if the two teams played. Sileo is a former University of Miami Hurricane and Tampa Bay Buccaneer. I don't much care for him, as he's a loud-mouthed fool most of the time, but he is usually an excellent commentator about college football.)

Needless to say, this was all highly aggravating on several fronts. First of all, I AM a native-born Floridian. (Even now there aren't that many of us.) Secondly, I am a graduate of the University of Florida. But most importantly, I have watched college football off and on for many decades now, and I know for a fact that SEC football qualifies as serious football.

In any even, after a month of this, I was quite happy to see THE Ohio State University get demolished in the desert of the South West on January 8th.

I should say that by the time the game itself rolled around I was actually expecting a UF win. Having looked at the records, it had become apparent that OSU hadn't actually played anyone that was all that good, other than perhaps a very inexperienced Texas team. Meanwhile Florida had run an even tougher than usual SEC gauntlet. (Let me tell you, I'm happy we didn't have to play LSU a second time last year. LSU got robbed in the Auburn game, and I'm not sure UF would have beat them on a neutral field in December.) On top of having looked at the records, by January 8th, Michigan had been destroyed in the Rose Bowl, and LSU had ruined Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl, speaking to the relative strength of the two conferences. So January 8th was a sweet, sweet day for UF and its fans and alumni.

And of course, in the NCAA Men's Division 1 Basketball Tournament in early April, we got even more satisfaction. Yep, good times to be a Gator!

Anyway, that's why I have an anti-Big Ten bias these days - that and the fact that they can't count. Hey guys, there are actually ELEVEN TEAMS in your conference!

Post Script: I should add that having achieved satisfaction, as it were, last January and April would be enough for a normal person to let the matter drop. However, UF fans and alumni are not normal people - we are in fact world class jerks. I say this with no pride, and a great deal of chagrin. But that's a story for another time.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Big Ten Sucks

Michigan, this is why you weren't allowed to play in the BCS National Championship Game last year. Congratulations to the Appalachian State Mountaineers for pulling off the Upset of the Century!

(Kim speculates that when UF broke Ohio State last year, we also broke Michigan by extension. Plausible!)

Let the Lloyd Carr Death Watch commence....

ADDED: This is the best article EVER! Sample:

Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr knows who the Mountaineers are.

"We had the benefit of watching all their games last fall, so we know the strengths of their team," Carr said. "We know about their speed and about how well they play on both sides of the ball."


The Mountaineers and Wolverines are playing because Michigan needed to fill out its schedule when it was expanded to 12 games. Appalachian gets $400,000 from the Wolverines for showing up.

"We're just here for the experience," said one Appalachian fan, talking to a local in a hotel lobby.
EVEN MORE: How are the Big Blue fans taking this? How do you think? (Scroll to the bottom if you don't have much time, savor the whole thing if you do.) Samples:

From the poster "FIRELLOYDCARRNOW":
Followed immediately by this post from "lloyd must die":
i agree with every word you just said [followed by one of the rudest emoticons I've ever seen.]
God I missed football season!

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE FARM: UF won its game, and didn't even need a whole game to do it. Game called on account of lightning in the fourth quarter.

SPEAKING OF BAD PREDICTIONS: The Orlando Sentinel has a feature called The Saturday Ticket, which lists all of the college football games with time, matchup, buzz about the game, the line, and a prediction. This week's edition was entitled "It's a feast of cream puffs", and the first line was this:
Noon Appalachian State at Michigan Wolverines will pile up the yards NL Michigan 48-3
There was no line on this game!

BEST BULLETIN BOARD SMACKDOWN: From a poster calling himself UrbanLegend:
When UF lost to Mississippi State that was it..Ron Zook was terminated! For your sake, I hope your AD has the balls to do the same thing to Carr. You could find a much better coach! If not learn to enjoy being a second tier program.

Please hire a new coach, we are BORED with beating Ohio State! We want a new challenge.
Truly, we ARE bored beating up on OSU. (Sorry Mark Daniels.)

Also, a lot of Michigan fans are saying that ASU had SEC-like speed. But that's not true - if ASU had that kind of speed, the final would have been more like 41-14.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This is curious, although perhaps not as disturbing as it sounds. There's a seemingly mis-guided comment thread in the local paper here. More this evening, if I can muster the energy.

H/T: The Orlando Sentinel.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


But not safe for work. Or the faint of heart. Or my wife. But it's truly hysterical....And just in case you need more of this particular brand of madness....

Added: If you want to see something truly disturbing, go to YouTube and search on "Full Metal Jacket Elves".

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Out of the Hospital

Mom was discharged today, much to her relief. She's actually in good shape at the moment, but I'm going to have her stay with me for a couple of days just to make sure. Tomorrow we will schedule the next round of doctors' appointments. We should find out the surgery date next week. It's listed in her charts as an outpatient procedure, but I'm not sure I believe that. That's a fairly large chunk of colon to be removed....

Also, I want to thank those of you who have sent along your kind wishes and prayers. K and I really do appreciate them. (Mom would too, if she knew about them. But she doesn't know I blog, and I plan to keep it that way.)

PS Mom has fallen asleep reading the first Harry Potter book.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

More Good News

The bladder biopsies are back, and Mom does have bladder cancer. However, it's "low-grade", hasn't penetrated very far into the bladder wall, and easily treatable. The treatment is gross enough that I won't bother to describe it, but while unpleasant it beats surgery, full-blown chemo, or radiation treatment. The surgery on her colon should be scheduled for next week.

I had no idea how tense I was until K called me with the results. She had taken the morning shift in the hospital so I could get a half-day in at work. When K told me the relatively good news, I felt a great deal of relief. I hadn't felt any when we got the results of the colon biopsies, but now I feel much better. There's still a longish road ahead, but at least for the moment we can't see the end of it, and ultimately that's all we can ask for....

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Quick Update

Justkim here:

The results of the biopies from Icepick's mother's colon showed that the mass is non-cancerous. We're still waiting to hear about the rest. Since I know some of you have been sharing the positive vibes, I wanted to share the good news.

More later.

Later: So far, so good! the docs will probably remove the growth in her colon anyway. Even though they took tissue from four areas on the growth, there's no guarantee that there isn't cancer somewhere else in that mass. Still, these results coupled with the bloodwork from the weekend are good indicators. Now there's just one more bullet to dodge. - Icepick

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Personal Update II

Okay, so far so good. The biopsy results aren't in yet, so we still don't know how severe a situation we're facing. Other procedures have since been done, and the last of the preliminary work should be done in the morning. All I really know at this point is that despite 60+ years of smoking, Mom's heart is still strong - the cardiologists have given her heart their seal of approval for surgery.

Mom has now had seven doctors involved in her case, assisted by two nurse practitioners. I think she's had more doctors than nurses to this point, which might explain why the US medical system is so damnably expensive.

Some more random observations:

  • CNN is an astoundingly vapid network
  • CNN is still better than MSNBC
  • Mom's hospital room is in the "Let's eat! Let's have some pie!" wing, so named (by me) because of the demented ravings of one of the other patients
  • Dementia is no fun for any one involved
  • Writing someone else's last will and testament is no fun - especially if you don't like the main provisions
  • Dune Messiah is the weakest of the original Dune series
  • These random observations stink!

Update: More info today. They've 'scoped her bladder and ureter. She has two tumors blocking off one ureter, both of which are probably also cancerous. As always, we have to wait for the biopsy results before any certainty can be deduced. The good news today was that blood work done over the weekend found no traces of cancer cells/ cancer markers/ whatever the hell my addled mind can't remember the name of. It's a good result, though. If she has cancer there's a reasonably good chance it HASN'T metastasized.

Bonus random observations:

  • It's kind of funny that Mom probably has two forms of cancer and neither one of them is lung cancer. You can smoke for 60+ years, but if you're destined to die of a pain in the ass, you will get colon cancer!
  • Ben & Jerry's Banana Split Ice Cream is the best ice cream ever.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Personal Update

I had to check my mother into a hospital this afternoon with an as yet unknown illness. Blogging, which has been limited lately anyway, will likely be non-existent for a few days. Commenting (except perhaps at bill's place) is also likely to be non-existent.

But before I take my leave, a few random observations:

  • Michael Rasmussen has the whitest chest ever.
  • It turns out that I don't much care for jazz guitar.
  • Burgers do a much better job of satisfying hunger when actually eaten.
  • Time passes more slowly in a hospital than it does almost anywhere else.

Carry on....

Update: Okay, so we know a little more today. Mom's got a growth in her colon, a dilated kidney, and two nodules in her bladder. Tomorrow morning she gets a colonoscopy to determine what's going on there, and depending on the results we'll proceed from there.

Update II: After the 'scope, it's almost 100% certain we're dealing with colon cancer. We're still waiting for confirmation from the biopsies, but it's unlikely that they'll not confirm the diagnosis. Now we're waiting for some more tests before a probable surgery to remove a stretch of colon, and who knows what else. Prognosis is unknown at this time, as the doctors don't yet know enough even to speculate. (They may not know enough until after surgery, for that matter.)

Incidentally, the nursing shortage in this country has reached epic proportions. Maybe more on that later.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Awesome Result!

Your Score: Sociopath

You are 71% Rational, 14% Extroverted, 71% Brutal, and 57% Arrogant.

You are the Sociopath! As a result of your cold, calculating rationality, your introversion (and ability to keep quiet), your brutality, and your arrogance, you would make a very cunning serial killer. You are confident and capable of social interaction, but you prefer the silence of dead bodies to the loud, twittering nitwits you normally encounter in your daily life. You care very little for the feelings of others, possibly because you are not a very emotional person. You are also very calculating and intelligent, making you a perfect criminal mastermind. Also, you are a very arrogant person, tending to see yourself as better than others, providing you with a strong ability to perceive others as weak little animals, so tiny and small. You take great pleasure in the misery of others, and there is nothing sweeter to you than the sweet glory of using someone else's shattered failure to project yourself to success. Except sugar. That just may be sweeter. In short, your personality defect is the fact that you could easily be a sociopath, because you are calculating, unemotional, brutal, and arrogant. Please don't kill me for writing mean things about you! I have a 101 mile-long knife! Don't make me use it!

To put it less negatively:

1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.

2. You are more INTROVERTED than extroverted.

3. You are more BRUTAL than gentle.

4. You are more ARROGANT than humble.


Your exact opposite is the Hippie.

Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Spiteful Loner, the Smartass, and the Capitalist Pig.



If you scored near fifty percent for a certain trait (42%-58%), you could very well go either way. For example, someone with 42% Extroversion is slightly leaning towards being an introvert, but is close enough to being an extrovert to be classified that way as well. Below is a list of the other personality types so that you can determine which other possible categories you may fill if you scored near fifty percent for certain traits.

The other personality types:

The Emo Kid: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Starving Artist: Intuitive, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Bitch-Slap: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Brute: Intuitive, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hippie: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Televangelist: Intuitive, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Schoolyard Bully: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Class Clown: Intuitive, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Robot: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Haughty Intellectual: Rational, Introverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Spiteful Loner: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Sociopath: Rational, Introverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

The Hand-Raiser: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Humble.

The Braggart: Rational, Extroverted, Gentle, Arrogant.

The Capitalist Pig: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Humble.

The Smartass: Rational, Extroverted, Brutal, Arrogant.

Be sure to take my Sublime Philosophical Crap Test if you are interested in taking a slightly more intellectual test that has just as many insane ramblings as this one does!

About Saint_Gasoline

I am a self-proclaimed pseudo-intellectual who loves dashes. I enjoy science, philosophy, and fart jokes and water balloons, not necessarily in that order. I spend 95% of my time online, and the other 5% of my time in the bathroom, longing to get back on the computer. If, God forbid, you somehow find me amusing instead of crass and annoying, be sure to check out my blog and my webcomic at

Link: The Personality Defect Test written by saint_gasoline on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
Hat tip: Orac

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Does Harry Reid = Sonny Corleone?

Harry's going to the mattresses already.

Frustrated that Republicans won't allow a straight up-or-down vote on their proposal to withdraw troops from Iraq in the next 120 days, Senate Democrats announced Monday that they will insist that Republicans wage their filibuster the old-fashioned way -- through the night.

Democratic leaders say they will keep senators working all night Tuesday, forcing them to explain their stance on the war.

"We're going to have votes during the night," said Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). "We're not going to let everybody go home and get some rest."


To dramatize their determination, Democrats plan to bring dozens of cots into hallways around the Senate.
So who's Clemenza? Who's Tessio?

Added: CLEMENZA: "That Sonny's runnin' wild. He's thinkin'a going to the mattresses already. We gotta find a spot over on the West Side. Ya try -- 309 West 43rd Street. You know any gooda spots on the West Side?"