Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Got Gas?
In the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq, one of the principle arguments put forth by the screaming loudmouth long-haired hippy anti-war activists was that it was all about getting access to cheap oil. Well, it did seem to make sense at the time, and so I foolishly bought into the idea. The idea that Bush and Cheney would invade another country just to please their big campaign donors certainly seemed plausible.

Based on that, as well as the fact that I occasionally buy gasoline, I became a fervent supporter of the war.

So now here we are a year later, and the price of regular unleaded is on the verge of hitting two bucks a gallon. With OPEC's cutback in production announced today, it may even end up hitting three dollars before long.

It just goes to show you: Never trust a liberal.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Rice to Talk
For someone who can't talk about 9-11, Condoleeza Rice has certainly been talking a lot to the press about why she can't talk about 9-11 even though she would really love to talk about 9-11, and, oh by the way, that Richard Clarke guy is a lying sack of crap. Now there's word that she will, after all, be testifying under oath to the commission investigating the attacks.

----------Mike Thompson, Detroit Daily News

Clarke's testimony last week about how the Administration was obsessing on Iraq certainly seems true when one considers the fervor with which Bush went after Saddam. Even now, the President denies that the hunt for bin Laden was put on the backburner while preparing to invade Iraq. Now comes word that members of a special forces unit with expertise in the middle east were pulled out of Afghanistan in 2002 in order to concentrate on Iraq.

Even so, could the 9-11 attacks have been prevented? I seriously doubt it. As former Defense Secretary William Cohen put it, neither the American public nor world opinion would have stood for a US attack on Afghanistan prior to that day.

Taking that a step further, Americans really didn't care about terrorism. Yes, it was a terrible thing, but it wasn't something that ever happened right here on American soil. Terrorism was always something that happened somewhere else, perhaps in Africa, or some godforsaken harbor in a country no one had ever heard of. And the targets were always something representative of the US government itself, or our military. But right here in our backyards? Purely civilian targets?

Nah. Never.

And can you imagine what would have happened if Bush had announced early on the morning of 9-11 that all flights within the United States were being grounded because of a possible terrorist attack. People would not have stood for it, and would have branded him as a wacko trying to legitimize his controversial win less than a year before.

Okay, so some may still want to make that argument, but that's not my point.

And look at the public's reaction to three previous terror threats here at home. First, of course, was the '93 attack on the World Trade Center. That case had been closed & the perpetrators were rotting in jail. People had all but forgotten about it.

The second, perhaps more scary incident, was in 1995 when another Islamic group in New York had plotted to blow up a bridge, two tunnels, and the United Nations. By all rights, that should have been a huge story, but for the most part it ended being buried in the back pages of newspapers.

And finally there was the so-called millenium bombing attempt in December of 1999. That was only foiled because of an alert customs agent at the Canadian border. Again, that's a story that received scant coverage even after the suspect was tied to terror training camps in Afghanistan.

Monday, March 29, 2004

----------Bob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Not a Prayer
Pope John Paul II yesterday said that Sundays should be a day of prayer, reflection, and rest, and not devoted to trivial matters like sports or entertainment.

Well, at least I think that's what he said. I was kinda busy watching Georgia Tech kick Kansas' ass in overtime.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

To Quote Sgt. Schultz: "I Know Nut-ting!!"

Four days of hearings by the 9-11 commission have provided us with important new information about who didn't know anything until they were told nothing by nobody who didn't know nothing about anything either until someone found out something about something they didn't know who to tell so they didn't tell anyone though it turns out everyone knew something about something though not enough to know everything about everything because no one was telling anything to anyone with the end result that no one knew everything about anything.

And that's why 3000 people died.

Friday, March 26, 2004

How Primitive!
I feel like such a loser. All my cellphone does is make phonecalls.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

And Get Me a Beer While You're Up
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the first mass-produced color TV set. It was from RCA, had a 12" screen, and sold for about $1000.

One can only hope that man's greatest invention, the recliner, had already been developed.

Pride in One's Work
Explosives were found yesterday along a rail line in France. It is the second such discovery in just over a month. A previously unknown group calling itself AZF has claimed responsibility for the foiled incidents.

Today, however, the group released another letter saying it will suspend it's threats until it improves the quality of its explosives.

Hey, they may be terrorists, but at least they're polite terrorists.

One of the Seven Signs?
What is this world coming to when Richard Simmons starts beating up people?

Yes, it's true. The fitness guru has been charged with assault after reportedly slapping a man at the Phoenix Airport last night. The victim's name was not immediately available.

That's certainly understandable. If I had gotten my ass kicked by Simmons, I'd want to remain anonymous, too.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Venus Non-Flytrap
If you haven't already done so, go outside tonight and take a look at the moon and the planet Venus--it looks like they're practically touching. In reality, of course, they're at least several dozen miles apart, but the effect is still pretty cool. Is there such a thing as a "venusian" eclipse? If so, we're pretty close to it at the moment.

Paging Biggus Dickus
Word is that Monty Python's Life of Brian will be in theaters again later this spring. The re-release is intended to mark the blasphemous film's 25th anniversary, which created it's own firestorm of controversy in 1979. The timing is also intended to capitalize on the publicity surrounding Mel Gibson's take on Christ's crucifixion.

Life of Brian is arguably the single funniest movie ever made by intelligent lifeforms on Earth and/or Mars. The other three principle contenders for this honor would have to be Monty Python's Holy Grail, Airplane, and Gigli.

Incidentally, after three weeks on top, The Passion of the Christ has slipped to number two at the box office. It was replaced by Dawn of the Dead, which is also about people coming back from the dead.

And if that's not irony, I don't know what is.

Monday, March 22, 2004

So Much for the Arrival of Spring....
It was probably about 25 or so when I went outside this morning, with a stiff wind blowing. It was so cold this morning--

Audience: How.... Cold.... Was.... It?

It was so cold this morning I literally froze my balls off! Yes, literally!! All three of them snapped right off, rolled down my right pants leg (yes, I dress to the right. Well, used to), and shattered on the sidewalk.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

More Passion
Mel Gibson, never one to sit around, is already hard at work on several new projects as he seeks to capitalize on the astounding success of The Passion of the Christ. First among these is the inevitable sequel, Jesus: Beyond Thunderdome*, in which the savior must do battle with Satan herself, played by Grace Jones. It is tentatively slated for a Christmas '05 release.

After that, he plans to begin filming Something About Mary Magdalene. Cameron Diaz has already been signed to star in this wacky comedy as Jesus' girlfriend. Gibson is also reportedly in negotiations with Steve Martin to play Judas in the story of the 12 apostles, Cheaper by the Dozen.

And in a move that has some critics accusing the Oscar winning director of playing fast and loose with the bible, Gibson has been scouting south sea locales for Master and Commandments, in which Russell Crowe will play a swashbuckling Moses.

*Thanks to Carmine for that one.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Happy Anniversary

----------Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution


The Devil, You Say
Actress Mercedes McCambridge recntly passed away at the age of 85. And while you may never have heard of her, you've most certainly heard her. One of McCambridge's best known movies is one that she never actually appeared in: She was the voice of the devil in The Exorcist.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Close Call (hopefully)
NASA scientists say that a 100 foot wide asteroid will pass within 26,500 miles of the Earth at 5:08 PM EST today. This is the closest documented encounter ever with a space rock. It will even be visible to Earthbound observers in the southern hemisphere through binoculars.

If the asteroid were to, in fact, strike the Earth, it would do substantial damage, though it wouldn't necessarily be a civilization-ending calamity. That responsibility falls to executives at Fox Television's entertainment division.

NASA scientists say there is absolutely no danger of a collision. These are presumably the same scientists who a few years caused the fiery demise of the Mars Polar Lander when they inadvertently used English calculations rather than metric.

Start screaming now.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

It's hard to know what to make of Spain's election results. One hopes that a large part of it was due to voters' disgust with their government's attempt to blame it on Basque separatists.

The danger, however, is how those results will be viewed by bin Laden and his followers. They may not care what message the voters were trying to send; they'll only see that Spain is withdrawing its troops from Iraq. In the end, such a perception of weakness can only lead to more terror.

----------Mike Ramirez, Los Angeles Times

I've said before that while I initially backed our invasion of Iraq, that support was based on it being an integral part of the War on Terror. Once it became apparent that there were no terrorists or WMD's waiting to be unleashed upon the US, my support went down the toilet. We had no business wasting our time, our resources, and our soldiers lives on toppling Hussein.

The unfortunate truth is that if we had concentrated our resources on tracking down bin Laden an rebuilding Afghanistan, THAT would have done more to discourage the terrorists than any other course of action. Creating a successful democracy in that troubled and divided land would have been an inspiration to people in other nearby oppressed nations.

Instead we're now left spinning our wheels in BOTH Iraq and Afghanistan while our former allies scramble to distance themselves from us.

I know many will insist that our invasion of Iraq was right and just and that the rest of the world is wrong. But think about that a moment: The very fact that we ARE almost by ourselves, and that everyone else says WE'RE the ones who are wrong should say something as well.


Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Another Reason to Wear Clean Shorts
The state of Virginia, in conjunction with the National Weather Service, held a "tornado preparedness drill" today. Its purpose was to test the NWS' ability to issue alerts, as well as the speed with which schools and other local government agencies could respond to emergencies.

While Virginia doesn't get a lot of twisters, it is nonetheless good to be prepared and to able to act in an appropriate fashion. That's why I participated by running down the street in my underwear while flailing my arms and screaming like a little girl.

He's b-a-a-a-a-ck
In case anyone cares, Saddam is blogging again.

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

Monday, March 15, 2004

Someone Should Have Supersized the Ark



New Neighbor
Scientists say they have discovered a tenth planet in our solar system. Our newly found neighbor is located another three billion miles beyond Pluto.

NASA is currently to taking bids from major corporations for the naming rights.

Frozen Food--NOT
Here's a surprising news story that says frozen lobsters can come back to life.

And boy, are they pissed!!!

If your name is Julius Caesar, today would be a good day to stay home.... And avoid your best buddy Brutus.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Don't They Usually Travel in Pairs?
Even though it's been six weeks since the infamous "Janet Jackson Incident" at the Super Bowl, her breast continues to jiggle its merry way across the American landscape, leaving death, destruction, and fines in its wake. At one point, a woman in Knoxville had gone as far as to file a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against CBS. Her take on the matter was that since CBS was broadcasting the game worldwide, it had adversely affected the "standing and credibility" of the United States in the international community.

Then someone explained to her that, thanks to Iraq, the US has no more standing or credibility, and she was forced to drop the suit.

The Federal Communications Commission has launched a major crackdown on violators of broadcast standards for obscenity, and broadcasters are scrambling to deal with the increased scrutiney.

As a direct consequence of Miss Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction," most actual "live" TV is probably a thing of the past. In the past month, both the Grammy Awards and the Oscars have instituted a five second delay. And Good Morning America, scheduled to have the overexposed Diva's entire body on the show later this month, is also going with a tape delay in case host Charles Gibson tries to a gander at the goods first hand.

Congress itself has not been immune to the hysteria, as the Senate recently held hearings during which the leaders of several media outlets were grilled. Even the notorious Howard Stern's syndicated radio show was dumped from six Viacom stations.

But as is the norm, all this concern by the government over what is decent is not without some hypocrisy. Take, for example, the official flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is a noble symbol, certainly worthy of the state that gave us George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The flag features the Roman goddess Virtus, standing triumphant over the prone body of some nameless tyrant.

Unfortunately, Miss Virtus must have had a tough battle on her hands, for she is looking somewhat disheveled and--most disturbingly--her left tit is hanging out for all the world to see.

Perhaps her toga experienced a wardrobe malfunction.

Friday, March 12, 2004

The New Chrysler Voyeur Minivan
The other evening I was stuck in traffic and was confronted by a question of etiquette. Miss Manners wasn't available at the time, and rather than risk a serious breach of social protocol, I chickened out.

The situation was that I was sitting behind a minivan with one of those "in-car" DVD players in it. I'm pretty sure they were watching Finding Nemo, but since I haven't yet seen it, I couldn't be absolutely sure. And since it was in a whole other vehicle, I couldn't hear the actual dialogue.

We were all going nowhere fast, so I thought about actually walking up to the driver's side window, tapping on it, and politely asking them to switch on the "subtitles" option so I could follow the action. In the end, however, I decided I didn't want to risk getting maced, so I did nothing. And let me assure you, lip reading a damn fish is not easy!

I was reminded of this incident because I just heard a report on the radio about how some drivers have actually seen X-rated films being viewed in their fellow motorists' cars. This seems like a risky proposition, especially if you're a guy and you're driving a five-speed. You go to shift, and you could end up grabbing the wrong stick!

What is this society coming to, when people end up watching dirty movies in their cars? And why oh why can't I ever get stuck behind one of them?

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Cream & Sugar?
New research strongly suggests that you can ward off Diabetes by drinking lots of coffee. In fact, ten cups of java a day can lower a man's risk by 55%.

On the other hand, you'll eventually end up dying of a heart attack while running to the bathroom.

The Passion of the Christ continues to rack up astounding totals at the box office. Passion even managed to handily beat Starsky and Hutch during its opening weekend. This was probably pre-ordained, however, since everyone knows those two are probably gay, retired from the police force by now, and waiting in line to get married in San Francisco.

Still, all this talk lately about religion has forced me to reexamine my own spirituality. And I I'm not afraid to admit that I've slipped over the years, and need to be reminded of the life and times of our savior. However, I still don't feel like I could sit through the gruesome scenes of torture that permeate The Passion of the Christ.

So instead I'm going to rent Life of Brian and watch that tonight.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Fun, Sun, & Incoming Mortar Rounds
Fortunately it has stopped snowing. I was starting to get worried that the weather would screw up my vacation plans.

Fleeing the Magic Kingdom

----------Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution


He Needed That Like a He Needs a Hole in the Head
An Australian handyman accidentally shot himself in the head with a nailgun while goofing around with his buddies. Brad Shorten says he picked up the tool, which had been disconnected from the compressor, pointed it at his head, and pulled the trigger.
That's when Shorten discovered that pressure can remain in a nailgun even after you think it's safe to do really stupid things with it.

Surprisingly, alcohol was involved.

The weather forecast for today was 45 degrees and chance of showers. No mention of snow, which is what has been falling for the last two hours or so. It's not sticking just yet, but we'll see what happens as the day goes on.

My greatest fear is that if this keeps up for a few months, we'll be reduced to starving mobs, roaming the countryside in a desperate search for food, until we are finally forced to resort to cannibalism in a desperate bid to survive. But that's okay, because there are plenty of old people around here, and they can't move very fast.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

So Much for His Vegan Diet
The Democratic Presidential field has been thrown into total turmoil with the hospitalization of Dennis Kucinich. This setback to his candidacy comes just as the diminutive congressman with the proportionally oversized head was set to overtake John Kerry.

A Fate Worse Than Death?
Convicted last fall of masterminding the 2002 DC sniper shootings, John Allen Malvo has now been sentenced to death. Unfortunately, Virginia uses lethal injections, which generally make for a quick and painless end.

But when considers the horror, the fear, and the randomness of those shootings, such a method of execution seems much too humane.

I say we stick him in the same jail cell with Martha.

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

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Packing Heat

Death, mayhem, and brutality for brutality's sake..... Yes, all is right with the world as The Sopranos returns tonight. So if any of you come looking for me on Sunday nights for the next three months or so, you'll be able to find me on the sofa watching Tony and the gang.... With a baseball bat at my side in case any of you do show up looking for me.

So much of broadcast TV a vast, empty wasteland completely devoid of intelligent life. Indeed, it's almost as bad as the surface of Mars. And the situation is only going to get worse: Angel, arguably the best written show on commercial television, has been canceled by the geniuses at the WB; ABC has already announced that Karen Sisco won't be back at all; and the future of Fox's Arrested Development is in doubtful at best. That leaves The Simpsons as the one show I'll be watching come next season.

That's what makes HBO and The Sopranos all the more precious. Sure, it's a violent and dysfunctional family, but that only serves to make you appreciate your own relatives' foibles more.

Even more importantly, I'm willing to bet your mother hasn't tried to have you whacked.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Martha Stewart has been found guilty on all counts, including conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and being an annoying self-righteous little "Miss Perfect." Even so, Stewart still has legions of fans who, for whatever reasons, continue to support her. One has to wonder if these people realize that if they invest in the stock market and one of their holdings is about to take a major hit, no one is going to bother to call them and warn them to sell. And in the end, that's what this trial was all about: Preferential treatment for a celebrity that you and I would never have been entitled to.

Personally, I'm hoping her execution is televised.

----------Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Friday, March 05, 2004

Smile for the Camera
The Bush campaign has unveiled its first round of reelection campaign ads. One of them, which uses footage from the immediate aftermath of the 9-11 attacks is proving quite controversial. The Bush Campaign, however, is defending the commercial and insists it will not be pulled.

That's nice, but if you have to take time to explain your campaign ads, and defend their message, shouldn't that be a clue that maybe there's a problem?

----------Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal Constitution

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the next round of commercials which will show the President warning about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and feature footage from his carrier landing with the "Mission Accomplished" banner in the background.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Kicking Asteroid
The US House of Representatives is considering a bill that would give amateur astronomers a $3,000 reward for discovering near-Earth asteroids.

Huh? Only $3,000? I'm sorry, but if I suddenly come across information that could save billions of lives, potentially avert extinction of all mankind, and save civilization as we know it, I'm holding out for at least five thousand.

Opening Salvos Coming Soon

----------David Horsey, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Janet Vs. Hillary
Sometimes you find the darnedest things in your email....


Indecision Y2K+4
John Kerry made a virtual clean sweep of Tuesday's primaries, with the one exception being Vermont. Howard Dean, who is no longer even a candidate, won his home state. One can only conclude from this that the people of the Green Mountain State are either highly principled or extremely ignorant--sometimes it's a fine line between the two.

Because of his disappointing showing yesterday, Senator John Edwards is expected to throw in the towel and end his own quest for the Democratic presidential nomination.

That will leave it a two man race between Kerry and Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who is expected to make his move any day now.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Easily Impressed
Excited NASA scientists were just about tripping over one another's pocket protectors after one of the Mars rovers discovered irrefutable proof that the Red Planet once possessed flowing water.


Now if the rover can send back some pictures of well-endowed three breasted alien babes clad only in hot pink bikinis, THEN I'll get excited!

Is That Why Abdul Always Rides Camels Sidesaddle?
The good news is that the Iraqi Governing Council has voted to adopt a new Constitution.

The bad news is that it permits gay marriage.

Monday, March 01, 2004

To Blog Or Not to Blog, That Is the Question
A new study from The People Who Do Stupid Studies Because They Have Way Too Much Damn Time On Their Hands suggests that blogging is yet to catch on among the general population. According to the results of the survey, only 2%-7% of adults keep the online journals, and only a small minority of them update them daily.

No explanation is given for the wide range in percentages, but it's probably due to idiots who keep multiple blogs while pretending to be someone they're not.

Remembering Willie

----------Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution