Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Call Me Haagan Dazs
At JFK Airport in New York, the body of a stowaway has been found in the wheel well of a British Airways 747. The plane had just arrived from London, and it is the second such incident in a week. Officials are treating the incidents as serious breaches of security.

Huh? Not only is the guy already dead, he is most sincerely dead and frozen stiffer than a popsicle. How much of a threat can a bar of Good Humor ice cream be?

I would be much more worried if he were alive and armed with an almanac.

Jacko X
The Nation of Islam has apparently begun playing a role in the defense of Michael Jackson, though the group denies any "official" connection. If it does turn out to be true, however, it would be a shocking break with tradition.

The Nation of Islam has long been known for only helping black people.

Speaking Of Fruitcakes....
Congratulations to Sonya Thomas, who has won a fruitcake eating contest in Buffalo, NY. She ate over 14 pounds of the holiday "treat" in ten minutes. The contest was sponsored by a local foodbank, which was encouraging people to donate unwanted fruitcakes to the hungry.

Wait a minute.... Isn't giving massive amounts of food to known gluttons in order to feed the hungry and homeless something of an oxymoron?

Cardinal Renato Martino, a top Vatican official, says he feels sorry for Saddam Hussein because the former Iraqi was treated "like a cow".

It was not immediately clear if the Cardinal also felt sorry for the hundreds of thousands who suffered brutal deaths under Saddam's rule.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Well, Redskins coach Steve Spurrier is out. The former Florida State coach had arrived in DC two years amid high expectations, and instead accumulated a 12-20 record. His much ballyhooed "fun & gun" offense, which had worked wonders at the college level, simply misfired amid the pros. This past Sunday's 35-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was a sad but appropriate way to wrap up his stay with the Redskins.

Still, we here in DC have to wonder how much of the teams' problems lie with the coaching, and how much with the ownership. Daniel Snyder, who has controlled the Skins since shortly after the death of the beloved Jack Kent Cooke, has, over his brief tenure, gained quite a reputation as being meddlesome.

Personally, I think he's a spoiled little brat with a Napoleon complex. But don't quote me....

And while on the subject of football, here's my Super Bowl prediction: The New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, with the Eagles coming out on top. I've been betting against Philly all season, and it's cost me a fortune. So I may as well bet on them for once.

I should point out, however, that it's not my fault I kept betting against the Eagles. I was simply remembering what Rush Limbaugh said back in September: That Eagles QB Donovan McNabb was overrated by the media because he's black. I've always had great faith in whatever Rush says, and have always been a fervent follower of his "teachings." Instead, the Eagles have won their division, and McNabb is considered to be a serious contender for the League's 2003 MVP.

Well, that's what I get for listening to a drug addict.

Monday, December 29, 2003

New Terror Level: Code Absurd
This is no joke: The FBI has now issued a bulletin warning local police to be on the lookout for people with almanacs. The concern is that terrorists may use the reference books to research potential targets.

This is truly shocking news!! I didn't even know they still made almanacs!

Well Hung
Michael Jackson appeared on 60 Minutes last night in an absolutely hilarious bid to clear his name. When asked if he still thought it was okay for him to sleep with children, Jackson said, "Why not? If you're going to be a pedophile, if you're going to be Jack the Ripper, if you're going to be a murderer, it's not a good idea. That I am not."

It was at that point that Jackson's legal team decided to give up and just commit mass suicide.

In an effort to calm public fears about contaminated beef, the Bush Administration has announced that it has former Iraqi weapons inspectors searching for the origins of that sick cow.

A Note To Both My Regular Readers
Those of you who have occasionally left comments will know that I had been using squawkbox for the commenting. Unfortunately, their service was not without its problems, chief among those being the difficulty in linking back to your sites. Also, on the rare occasions that they choose to respond to your inquiries, they refer you to their "forum" section rather than actually take the time to simply answer a customer's question.

My close, personal friends Kim and Osama have been using Haloscan with great success on their own sites. And since I am but a mere lamb willing to blindly follow my leaders anywhere they decide to go, I have decided to switch MM&M to Halscan's service as well.

At the moment, all the November and December comments you've made have been moved over. Over the course of the next week or so, I'll be moving the rest of your comments over as well.

And no, this does NOT mean that I now owe you FOUR cents for your past comments....

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Finally, some non-terror news from the world of aviation....

Over the years, a number of airlines have experimented with all-female flight crews to attract more male passengers. In a twist, Skynet Asia Airways is offering all-male flight crews in order to attract more female passengers.

In a major setback to the experiment, the pilots got lost and the plane arrived four late because they refused to ask for directions.

Saturday, December 27, 2003

----------Rex Babin, Sacramento Bee

Friday, December 26, 2003

Maybe It Was That Metric/English Conversion Thing In Reverse This Time
It now appears that the European Space Agency's attempt to land a probe on the surface of Mars has failed. On the other hand, it's not clear why this spacecraft was launched in the first place.

I thought only Americans had permission to screw up missions to Mars.

Fly The Scary Skies, Part II
French authorities have questioned and released several men who were scheduled to fly to the US from Paris on Air France 68. Acoording to the French, there was no evidence that these individuals had any plans to hijack the plane and crash it into an American target.

Well, let's hope not. But we must also keep in mind that it was the French who interrogated Richard Reid in 2001 after he was pulled from an American Airlines plane in Paris because he was acting suspiciously. They eventually concluded he was harmless and allowed him to leave Paris the next day on another American Airlines flight. That was the plane Reid tried to blow up over the Atlantic by lighting the explosives hidden in his shoes.

So you'll have to excuse me if my confidence in the abilities of French interrogators is less than overwhelming.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Here's wishing everyone Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

----------Drew Sheneman, Newark Star-Ledger

Oh, and don't forget to duck when the time comes....

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Fly the Scary Skies
I don't know about anyone else, but my freakout meter just went up another notch. Air France, in response to specific threats, has canceled six flights between Los Angeles and Paris over the next three days. This comes on top of tough security measures already in place at LAX.

Well, that's all fine and dandy for now, but what have we accomplished in the longer term? If no one has actually been arrested, what's to keep these people from getting on a plane next month instead? Or rebooking their flights out of San Diego?

What makes this most recent Code Orange alert different from others we've had since 9-11-01 is that previous warnings in Turkey and Saudi Arabia have proven to remarkably prescient. Western intelligence services have obviously refined their techniques over the past year. That should give this latest report of "increased chatter" more credibility.

Bad Moos
The once secure American beef industry has been rocked by news that a case of "mad cow" disease has turned up in Washington state.

No word on what Rosie O'Donnell was doing in Washington state in the first place.

Send in the Clones
Texas A & M has announced that it has successfully cloned a whitetailed deer.

Jesus H. Frikkin' Christ!!! Don't we have enough damn deer as it is?!? You see the remains of the stupid things littering the sides of highways like beer cans, and now some geeky scientists are wasting valuable time and resources to make even more of them? What are they thinking?

These people should be cloning something worthwhile.... Like more Paris Hiltons.

I know I wouldn't mind having one of those around.

On Alert
The nation continues at Code Orange for terror attack even as it celebrates a beef-free Christmas Eve. Overall, most people seem to be dealing with the heightened risk of fiery death and utter destruction in a cool, calm, and collected manner.

Rats Leaving A Sinking Ship?

Blogspot has long had a reputation of being unreliable and riddled with frequent software problems. Unfortunately, its recent purchase by Google has not served to clear up the problems.

There had been a longstanding problem with the archiving of material that was finally cleared up this past summer. However, other issues remain, and new ones crop up. Most recently, a number of sites have been hit with disappearing templates. In addition to rendering one's site unavailable to readers, it costs a lot of time and effort to rebuild. And certain information, such as links, are lost for good. Then there's the pesky problem of posts that disappear when you publish them. I have learned to save material to my clipboard until I'm certain it has actually shown up on the site.

Several former blogspot people have since switched. Norman Geras recently moved to typepad, and today I get word that Aaron the Liberal Slayer has also fled the scene of the blogspot wreck.

As for me, well, Michael Jackson and are I staying on board the Titanic with the women and children. And just to set the record straight: I'll be keeping myself preoccupied with the women, while Jacko tends to the kids.

Monday, December 22, 2003

The flu has now been classified as being "widespread" in 36 states. This year's outbreak has hit earlier than usual, but it remains to be seen if the current strain is actually more virulent than the ones of recent years.

Health experts say that the single best way to avoid catching the flu is stop picking your nose.

Well, that's just frikkin' great!! Another cherished personel freedom has gone down the drain in this post 9-11 world of ours.

----------Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette

Sunday, December 21, 2003

The Department of Homeland Insecurity has raised the terror alert level to Code Orange, or high. The action is based on increased "chatter" and government officials fear that death and destruction is imminent.

Oh, and Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 20, 2003

People sometimes ask if I've finished putting up my Christmas tree. They seem to be under the mistaken idea that you need one to fully get into the spirit of Christmas. But I just don't get that.

Putting up a tree is nothing more than a major hassle. First of all, you have to go out and buy the stupid thing, lash it to the top of your car, drag it inside, etc. And when the tree isn't busy shedding its needles, it's busy using them to poke your arms. Then you have to drag out the lights and spend an hour trying to get them untangled. Once that's done, you have to dig the decorations out of the attic. And God help you if you're decorating the tree with a Significant Other. Because that's when you're faced with a whole other pile of stuff to worry about:

1) The tree's leaning to the left.
2) Now it's leaning to the right.
3) The Angel on top is crooked.
4) No, it's not. It's perfectly straight.
5) It is TOO bent. Just look at it. What's wrong with you? Are you blind?
6) Are the colors properly balanced throughout the tree?
7) What do you mean "balanced?" A Christmas tree isn't supposed to be "balanced." It should have splashes of color. Like in nature. Nature isn't balanced, it's random.
8) Nature? Don't be stupid. It's an aluminum tree, for crying out loud, and you're worried about whether it will appear "natural?" Besides, I've never seen a tree in nature with little tiny baby Jesuses hanging from its branches.
9) You don't have to get snippy about it.
10) I'm not the one who's getting snippy here.
11) And what is THAT supposed to mean?
12) My mother warned me not to marry you!
13) Take your crap and get out!!!!

So as you can see, while it may seem that two people can decorate a tree twice as fast as one, it's not always the case. Sometimes one person can do it much more efficiently. Or better yet, don't put a tree up at all. Just do what I do to get into the holiday spirit.

Wait till late at night, say around ten or eleven. Then just go for a walk through your neighborhood, periodically pausing to peek through someone else's windows. That will give you a true sampling of a whole lot of different trees. Then, in your mind's eye, you can meld those different samplings into one idyllic tree that's perfect for you.

Plus, in these impersonal times of ours, it will enable you to get to know your neighbors better. Much MUCH better! And really, isn't that what the Christmas spirit is all about?

Friday, December 19, 2003

----------Ramirez, LA Times

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Keiko the Whale, who starred in Free Willy, Free Willy II, Willy Rides Again, The Return of Willy, The Revenge of Willy, and Willy vs. Jason and Freddy: The Final Showdown, recently died and has been buried in a Norweigian field.

It was a private funeral, attended only by a few close personal friends, relatives, and the crane operator.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Volvo has a team of 100 female engineers designing a car for women. The concept car, which may not necessarily end up being put into production, includes features such as no hood, gull-wing doors, and a headrest with a valley down the center for women who wear their hair in ponytails. Additionally, the car will send a message to a local service when it is due for service, be easy to clean, become cranky once a month, and complain of a hoodache whenever a man tries to drive it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Early Christmas Presents

----------Gary Varvel, Indianapolis Star


Is That A Tree In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?
The Strzinek family Of Springfield decorated a live, six foot pine tree in their front yard with Christmas Lights. That's the sort of thing that would brighten any neighborhood.

Unless someone steals it, of course.

On the one hand, it's good that the thief was eager to get into the holiday spirit, regardless of his/her circumstances. Then again, isn't stealing someone else's tree kind of defeating the whole purpose of Christmas?

What the hell.... Think I'll go mug a Salvation Army bell ringer.

At Least He Loves SOMETHING About America
Word is that when Saddam was found, he had $750,000 in US currency with him. Apparently, he was just getting ready to go to the store and buy a toothbrush from Haliburton.

----------Jack Ohman, The Oregonian

Monday, December 15, 2003

On A Serious Note...
As many of you probably already know, many of the troops in Iraq who go on leave are flown into either BWI (in Baltimore) or Hartsfield (in Atlanta) airports. What you may NOT know, however, is that once they land at one of those airports, they're on their own. So if their hometown is, say, Boise, it falls on them to buy the necessary tickets.

Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland has set up a website which allows people to donate frequent flier miles to help these soldiers get ALL the way home.
So if you have excess miles you'd like to donate to a worthy cause, here's the website. Likewise, if you know of a road warrior who has more miles than he/she knows what to do with, pass this info along to them.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Well, the Ace of Spades has been captured.


My inside sources tell me that Saddam's laptop and wireless connection were discovered during a body cavity search, and quickly confiscated. This would seem to indicate he's made his last blog entry.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

US air carriers are moving towards the day they begin offering direct flights to Vietnam. One remaining hurdle is determining if 747s can safely land on the roof of the former US embassy in Saigon.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Jerry Kilgore Replaces Superman As My Favorite Hero
In a stunning move, Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore has announced the arrest of two notorious spammers in North Carolina. Jeremy Jaynes and Richard Rutowski were indicted and taken into custody under the Old Dominion's strict ant-spamming laws, which ban the deliberate disguising of the source of bulk email. And even though the spam originated in a neighboring state, Virginia was able to indict the senders because several email providers have servers in the state.

The suspects are currently awaiting extradition to Virginia.

Thanks to their enormous penises, access to unlimited amounts of Viagra, and pictures of hot teenage lesbians playing with produce, Jaynes and Rutowski are expected to be QUITE popular with the other inmates.

Merry Christmas And Goodbye
Beleagured America Online has announced another 350 job cuts, mostly at its west coast operations. The once proud internet giant has lost 2 million subscribers over the past year as more and more people switch to broadband providers, or cheaper dialup services.

In an attempt to put a positive spin on otherwise bad news, AOL is dubbing the cutbacks "Layoff 9.0."

So far it's full of glitches.

Sir Mick
Congratulations to Mick Jagger, who is being knighted by Queen Elizabeth today. Then afterwards, her Highness will participate in a cermony marking the official final death throes of the once mighty British Empire.

----------Walt Handelsman, Newsday

Thursday, December 11, 2003

One of the most popular radio stations in the DC area is WTOP, which has an all news format. Part of its appeal, of course, is that most DC residents are boring people who get their rocks off on a constant flow of news. But another big source of WTOP's popularity is that it does traffic reports every ten minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That may not be a feature that would excite the residents of, say, Boise, Idaho, but it IS important to those of us who have to drive in DC traffic.

The station is so popular that in the Arbitron ratings, WTOP's morning news team of Richard Day and Mike Moss often rival New York shock jock Howard Stern. Now these are two guys that definitely know what's going on in the world.

And any time some major weather event occurs, they're right on top of it. In fact, any time there are power outages that leave numerous intersections with darkened traffic signals, the station's traffic reporters are quick to admonish us to "treat those intersections as four way stops." And if heavy rains flood low lying roads, they're the first to tell us not drive through such areas "because you never know how deep the water is." Sensible advice, indeed, and certainly words that the station's top on-air guys would live by. Right?

Well, um.....

Last night DC was hit with heavy rains and warm temperatures. That's not a particularly good combination when you also have a substantial amount of snow on the ground. Consequently, many roads flooded, resulting in a number of rescues of motorists (no fatalities or injuries, but a lot of bruised egos). And this news was faithfully reported this morning by the team of Moss and... er..., Moss. Wait! Where's Richard Day? How come he's not at work today?

Well, it seems he tried to drive his car through three feet of water. Apparently, Mini Coopers don't handle that sort of thing very well.

Maybe he was busy listening to an adult contemporary station at the time.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Pass the Percocet
Word is that rocker Ozzy Osbourne is recuperating from injuries he suffered in the crash of his all terrain vehicle the other day. However, he remains largely incoherent and unintelligible from being so heavily medicated.

In other words, he's already back to being his old self.

For Whom the Bell Tolls
A Salvation Army bell ringer in Fredericksburg, VA was robbed of her kettle loaded with coins and dollar bills.

You know, if you're so desperate that you'll sink to stealing from the Salvation Army, chances are you probably qualify for their help in the first place.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Shake, Rattle & Roll
Virginia had a small earthquake earlier today, measuring about 4.5 on the ol' Richter Scale. Many people felt it, while many others didn't. I was among those who missed it. There was some minor damage in Nelson County west of Richmond where the quake was centered, but that's it.

I hate to say this, but I'm rather disappointed. It seems like we get a small trembler in this area every couple of years, but nothing serious ever results. No collapsed buildings, flaming gas mains, or ruptured fire hydrants spewing water 30 feet into the air.

What a horrible waste of seismic activity....

One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest

----------Gary Varvel, Indianapolis Star

This morning I found myself in a notoriously bad part of town, but I was there on a mission. So I sought out the seediest, nastiest looking dealer of illicit pharmaceuticals I could find and approached him with a wad of twenties.

"Yo, bro," I said, trying to sound like I was happenin' with the street lingo.

"Yo," he said. He eyed me suspiciously, trying to figure out if I was a narc.

So I flashed my stash. "I'm looking for the good stuff. You got it, my man?"

"Maybe." He said.

I slipped him $300 and, after nervously looking up & down the street, he discreetly gave me "the product."

And so that's how I came to find myself in a boarded up crackhouse, with heroin addicts passed out on the floor in puddles of their own bodily fluids, shooting myself up with flu vaccine.

----------Dana Summers, Orlando Sentinel

Monday, December 08, 2003

Here's another great way to cut down on your Christmas shopping:

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Well, I'm glad to report that I've now finished my holiday shopping. I've never been particularly fond of crowds, and I especially fear the madness that grips shopping mall parking lots every December. So this year, in an effort to avoid the looniness and preserve my sanity, I decided to all my gift buying online.

Fortunately, I didn't have very far to look. I simply took advantage of some of the fabulous offers that fill my in box each and every day.

That's right: I'm giving everyone on my Christmas list penis enlargement pills.

----------Jim Borgman, Cincinnati Inquirer

Saturday, December 06, 2003

Perhaps it's just my love of conspiracy theories getting the better of me, but I have come to firmly believe that weather forecasters love to doctor their predictions during the winter. Maybe they're in cahoots with the grocery stores who get flooded with panicked shoppers whenever the word "snow" is mentioned, or maybe they do it to simply boost their own ratings. But whatever the reason may be, there's definitely something fishy going on.

Granted, Thursday night we got a few inches of snow that they had said we would. But all day yesterday, the weather mystics were warning us that we were going to get a second, much bigger storm that would dump an additional 5"-10" on us. We were being told as late as eight o'clock last night that this new superstorm would be upon us before midnight.

Guess what?

Didn't happen.

Oh, we got maybe a dusting of fresh powder, but certainly not anything even remotely approaching five inches. All I had to do was sneeze on my car this morning, and that cleared the snow off the windshield. Of course, then I had to go back inside and get a roll of paper towels to clean the all the snot off the glass, but that's a separate issue.

Yeah, yeah, I know that weather forecasting is not that easy. But these people are wrong more often than they're right. Hell, with their degree of accuracy, they may as well get jobs with the Bush Administration predicting the location of weapons of mass destruction.

Friday, December 05, 2003

A publicist for Geena Davis has announced that the Oscar winning actress will be having twins.

Coincidentally, Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner has announced that he, too, is having twins. Right now. At this very moment.

Then later tonight he'll have some triplets.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow....
Saw my first snowflake of the season, and the forecast is for up to 3" of the stuff overnight. So naturally I joined my fellow lemmings in a state of panic and immediately rushed down to the grocery store. And like everyone else, I stocked up on bread, milk, and toilet paper.

On the other hand, I'm not sure what good all this stuff will do me. I have nothing to put on the bread, I'm lactose intolerant, and I'm constipated.

Forget the WMD's, Go After the Spammers
On Dec 2 I wrote about Charles Booker's case of spam rage. In the comments, reader Danne says that Sweden is currently working on legislation to outlaw spam.

That's may sound fine & dandy on the surface, but what exactly will it accomplish? Probably not much. The U.S. congress has been debating such laws for a while now, and several individual states have instituted them individually. But the problem is that many spammers originate their mailings from overseas, or else go to extraordinary length to disguise their points of origin. For them, evading laws and spam filters is like some sort of game, with you and I as the pawns. So how does country A go about stopping a spammer traced to country B? In many cases, law enforcement agencies are unwilling or unable to stop them.

The only answer is military intervention.

Forget Iraq, and to hell with the War on Terror. If we are going to get serious about stopping spam, it's time to start kicking some ass. No matter how much these people may try to disguise their IP addresses, the United States intelligence community has the resources to crack their codes. Then we tell the nations harboring spammers to give them up, or else the JDAM's start falling.

This is one military campaign that the world is certain to support.

Yes, even the French.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

A Good Excuse to Speed
A gunman has been targeting motorists along a stretch of I-270 near Columbus, Ohio. Although the investigators there are reluctant to characterize the shooter as a "sniper," that's essentially the situation they are faced with. Ohio authorities have gone as far as to contact members of the DC area sniper task force from last year for possible tips.

Yeah, that should prove to be helpful.

As you may recall, DC area officials did a wonderful job of putting an end to that string of shootings when they devoted virtually all their resources to looking for a highly intelligent lone Caucasian man driving a late model white van with a roof rack. This profile was pretty much right on the money, except for the minor detail that the "suspect" turned out to be TWO black guys.... Who were dumb as bricks.... And driving a 12 year old Chevrolet Caprice.

Where's Clarence the Angel When You Really Need Him?

----------Mike Thompson, Detroit Free Press

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Most of the time when we hear of "martyrdom," we think of those wacky terrorists who blow themselves up, all for a chance to get laid by virgins.

But not all martyrs are necessarily in the middle east. Take the case of one Charles Booker, who recently got himself arrested in an effort to create a better world. His sacrifice of personal freedom may yet benefit anyone who uses a computer.

Booker had been bombarded by spam and pop-up ads promising, um, "personal growth" once too often. He tracked down the Canadian company that was responsible for the deluge of penile insults, and begged them to stop. When they instead stepped up their efforts to sell Booker miracle pills, he threatened to send the company anthrax spores. He then went on to threaten to shoot one of their employees, and then torture other employees with drill bits and ice picks. When that still didn't work, he threaten to hunt them down and castrate them.

It's still not entirely clear what Booker did wrong, but he was eventually arrested for his valiant efforts. He is currently free on a $75,000 bond.

You know, if every email user in the world sent this guy a single penny, he would be able to mount a legal defense that would put O.J.'s to shame.

Monday, December 01, 2003

In what he hopes is NOT the beginning of a long holiday tradition, former Baltimore Oriole and baseball great Cal Ripken found a naked man who had been shot banging on his front door Thanksgiving night. The victim, a Brian Robins of Baltimore, told police he been kidnapped earlier in the day. Then that evening his abductors told him to remove his clothes and run. Robins complied, and as he began to flee, he was shot in the back. Robins then made his way to a nearby house, which turned out to be Ripken's.

Robins should be thankful he didn't end up naked at Michael Jackson's house.