Saturday, April 30, 2005

Lost & Found

This past Tuesday Jennifer Wilbanks of Georgia was reported missing by her fiance. She had supposedly disappeared while jogging. The saddest part of the story was that the couple was to be married today.

This touched off a massive search of the area where she had been running, involving hundreds of police, search dogs, helicopters, and thousands of volunteers. It quickly became a national story. Late yesterday the authorities in Georgia called off the search, saying they had exhausted all possible leads, and searched every place conceivable.

These type of stories all too often come to a tragic end with the discovery of a body. And in the the vast majority of the cases, the killer turns out to be the husband or boyfriend of the missing woman.

Consequently suspicion immediately fell on John Mason, the fiance. After all, he was the one who had reported her missing, supposedly just after she had called. You could even hear the undertone of suspicion in the voices of the news people covering the story. The dark cloud of doubt hanging over Mason became even darker when it was announced he had passed a privately administered lie detector test.

Police, however, were not satisfied. They wanted to administer the test themselves. Mason's attorneys spoke up, saying fine, but we want the exam recorded on videotape. The police said no dice, they never record lie detector tests. This impasse obviously meant Mason was guilty.

Well, a few hours ago Miss Wilbanks was finally found.... Perfectly safe.... In Albuquerque, New Mexico, some 1400 miles from her home. It seems that the pressure of this massive wedding with 14 bridesmaids, 14 groomsmen, and 600 guests had gotten to her. So rather than have a stiff drink, she cut her hair to alter her appearance, boarded a bus out of town, inconvenienced thousands of strangers who gave of their time to help look for her, scared her family and friends half to death, and led the entire nation to think her fiance was a cold blooded killer.

John Mason is a very lucky man. The makeup sex following this is going to be GREAT!!!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Play Ball!

Have you ever taken your dog, cat, hamster, or hermit crab to the vet to be "fixed," only to have your animal companion glare at you accusingly afterwards? Have you ever wished you could give them back their missing doo-dads and make them feel whole again? Or do you just have some sort of strange and highly illegal fetish involving beastiality?

We Americans may not be able to track down those pesky weapons of mass destruction, but at least we are able to find replacement parts for our pets.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Let's Blame Armageddon On Him As Well

Well, that's just freaking great! Not only is the new Pope a rabid conservative, but now there's word that his election foretells the end of the world!

Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Price of Arrogance

It's been a rough few weeks for the Republicans.

Their downward spiral started last month when they decided to intervene in the Terry Schiavo case. The overwhelming majority of Americans correctly thought that politicians were meddling in matters that were none of their damn business.

Unable to take a hint, House majority leader Tom DeLay decided to make threatening remarks against the judges involved in the case. He later called his choice of words "inartful," whatever the hell that means.

Speaking of being inartful, the term would also seem to describe DeLay's continuing denials that he took trips paid for by lobbyists. But according to yesterday's Washington Post, there are credit card receipts proving otherwise.

The one bit of good news for DeLay: President Bush has reaffirmed his faith in the embattled congressman. On the other hand, that's kind of like the Captain of the Titanic congratulating the First mate for getting the lifeboats in the water so quickly.

And over on the Senate side, majority leader and brilliant surgeon Bill Frist is also busy pissing people off. The struggle is over rules governing filibusters, a form of debate which requires 60 votes (out of 100 members) to bring to end. There are several judicial nominees of Bush's that the Democrats continue to block; Frist wants to end the filibuster option for nominees and allow for a straight up or down vote. A new survey, however, shows that 66% of Americans oppose changing Senate rules just to accommodate the psychopaths that currently control the chamber.

Not content to drop the matter, Frist appeared in a videotaped message to a group of conservative Christians. Frist claims the Democrats' filibusters are targeting "judicial nominees of faith." Gee, and I thought they were just targeting members of the Christian Taliban who are seeking to impose their values on everyone else.

The job of judges should be to interpret laws as they are written, not to transform America into some sort of theocracy.

And then there's John Bolton, Bush's nominee for Ambassador to the U.N. Numerous former coworkers of his have come forward with disturbing tales of his verbal abuse and attempts to have them fired or transferred when they disagreed with him. Bolton is an obvious lunatic, but again Bush has reaffirmed his faith in the man and his principles.

Yeah, and O.J. is handy with a knife.

Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 1994 with promises to reform what many called the "Imperial Congress." Instead they succeeded only in reaching a level of arrogance in ten years that took the Democrats over five decades to achieve.

Solar has reprinted a great article about the Unitarian Jihad. I was so inspired by the piece that I signed up, and will henceforth be known as Brother Gatling Gun of Enlightenment. Those of you so inclined can get your own Unitarian Jihad name here.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Friday, April 22, 2005

Have A Whopper Meal And Supersize It

The United States Department of Annoying Advisories on What We Can Eat has just come out with a NEW food pyramid, replacing the one we had been told was the absolute unalterable truth and would cause us to die of malnutrition if we didn't follow its every detail. Predictably, it emphasizes things like whole grains, vegetables, and low fat crap. Oh, and exercise is now part of the food pyramid. How we're supposed to eat exercise I don't know, but we will no doubt need to dump a whole sh*tload of salt on it just to make it palatable.

Probably wouldn't hurt to deep fry it, either.

Coincidentally, the new nutritional guidelines were released the same day as news of a new study which found that obesity may not be as deadly as previously thought! This is wonderful!!

Screw that new pyramid with the grains, fruits, lowfat meats, and exercise. I'm designing a new one just for me. And my major food groups will consist of Whoppers, Big Macs, Milkshakes, french fries, and potato chips, with a heavy emphasis on the use of a comfortable recliner whenever possible.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Email Your Prayer Requests

The Vatican has posted Pope Benedict XVI's email address on its website, and I'm sure it's only a matter of time until some overly optimistic spammer tries to sell him Viagra.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


WOW!! First the governorship of California and now the Papacy.

Is there anything that reformed Nazis can't do?

Send In The Lawyers

While it may appear that a new Pope has been elected, legal challenges are certain to follow over the sloppy handling of the election. Earlier, for example, crowds in St. Peters Square witnessed white smoke pouring from the chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel only to watch it turn it black.

Meanwhile, I'm busy searching for the secret PopeCam, which would give an inside view to what's going on in the conclave. There must be one out there somewhere.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Gender Differences

A new survey shows that less than half of Americans would be willing to vote for a woman President. The poll did not go into specifics as to why, but it's probably because we males are perceived as being much more decisive and likely to think through the consequences of our actions.

Personally I would have to agree with that. After all, a female President might do something stupid and impulsive, like invade a country without first coming up with a viable plan for occupying it.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Friday, April 15, 2005

Fries With That Golden Anniversary?

Today marks the 50th aniversary of the opening of the very first McDonald's restaurant.

Coincidentally, tomorrow marks the 50the anniversary of the very first heart bypass operation.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

One Flu Over The Cuckoo's Nest

One thing I hate about ordering things through the mail is shipping mistakes. At least if you're physically in a store, you can see what you're buying. You can even touch it, sample it, try it on, and so forth. And when you go to the cash register, you know precisely what you're getting.

But when you order something through the mail (or from the internet), you are trusting someone to not grab the wrong item off the shelf and screw up your order.

For example, one time I ordered a blue shirt from some catalog, but what arrived in the mail was a green one. Pissed me off royally, since I hate green. Another time I ordered some inkjet cartridges and Office Depot sent the wrong dang model number.

And most recently I ordered a pair of size 12 EEE brown shoes from the J.C. Penney catalog and what shows up on my doorstep? Several dozen vials of a deadly flu virus from 1957.

Stuff like that just irritates me to no end.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Stranger At The Door

Yesterday a Chinese man carrying two suitcases showed up at the United States Capitol and demanded to speak to President Bush. This was odd in and of itself, since Bush has enough problems with the English language.

Police officers, fearing the man may have been carrying explosives, held him at bay and attempted to negotiate. Eventually, a SWAT team crept up behind the stranger and tackled him. The suitcases were later determined to be harmless.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Friday, April 08, 2005

Does Tom DeLay Have Rabies?

My faith in my fellow Americans--deeply shaken when they reelected George W. Bush--has been partially restored. A new survey shows that a whopping 76% of the public disapproves of the way Congress intervened in the Terri Shiavo case, while slightly more than half disapprove of Bush's handling of the matter. I'm not sure how you can separate the two; After all, the President made a big production of flying back to DC so he could sign the bill in the middle of the night--but I'll take what I can get.

The survey also shows that 55% of Americans now agree with what I've been saying for a while: Republicans, which used to stand for limiting the role of government, are now trying to use the federal government to interfere with the private lives of most Americans. Well, okay, maybe they didn't specifically say that they agreed with that Lugosi guy, but at least we share the same sentiments.

Slowly but surely, people are coming to the realization that the Christian Taliban has taken over the party of Ronald Reagan. And what disgusts me is that this new generation of Republicans continues to invoke the late President's name even as they kick in our bedroom doors to make sure we're not doing anything more exotic than the standard missionary position.... And only then only if it's with our spouses.... Spouses of the opposite sex, of course.

One of the Republicans I'm most disappointed in is Senate Majority leader Bill Frist. Prior to getting into politics he was a respected heart surgeon in Tennessee. Apparently he's one hell of a doctor, because he was able to view a two minute video clip of Schiavo and announce that the woman was NOT in a vegetative state. Obviously the 50 neurologists that examined the woman in person over the years were all wrong. Thank God we had Frist on the case. I'm sure he was only thinking of Terri's best interests and NOT his probable presidential bid in 2008 which will likely draw heavily on the support of the self-righteous religious zealots who are to save us heathens.

One Republican I'm not disappointed in, however, is House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. The man is nothing more than an opportunistic, headline-grabbing slimebag. And if you have no expectations of someone to begin with, they can't disappoint you.
Still, you have to admire Tom's persistence. Even though the polls clearly show that the public soundly disagrees with Congress' involvement in the Schiavo case, he's not yet prepared to shut his yap. In fact, shortly after her death was announced last week, DeLay came out with one helluva sound bite: "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior." Of course, he later denied that this was in any way intended as a threat against the various judges who reviewed the case.

No, of course not. Why would anyone get that impression?

And what about the time 17 years ago when DeLay allowed doctors to "pull the plug" on his own seriously injured father? Is Tom going to have to answer himself for his own behavior on that one?

More likely his apparent threatening non-threat was a desperate bid to divert attention from his assortment of alleged ethics violations. Either that, or an outburst brought on by rabies. Actually, if he does turn out to be rabid, that would explain a lot.

What's wildly amusing is that the Republicans are blaming Sciavo's death on liberal activist judges. This ignores the minor detail that it's not the judges who were activist in this matter; after all, they did nothing. In other words, if they're guilty of anything, it's of being inactivist judges. It's the concise that was "activist" in this case, venturing into something that should have remained the most private of family matters.

What's more, many of the judges who reviewed the Schiavo case were conservatives to begin with. Judge Stanley Birch of the 11th circuit court of appeals, who wrote the opinion blasting the resolution passed by Congress, was appointed to the bench by the first President Bush in 1990. Also on the 11th Circuit is William H. Pryor, temporarily appointed to there by George W. himself. He had ample opportunity to disagree with his colleagues but didn't. And it was Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Reagan appointee, who rejected the appeals to the Supreme Court.

So much for the evil liberal judges theory.

Still, perhaps the Republicans were motivated by nothing more than Terri Schiavo's best interests, and critics are simply misinterpreting that as political opportunism. A plausible theory? Perhaps, except that right at the height of the Schiavo hysteria a talking points memo that was being circulated among GOP legislators surfaced. It specifically talked about how to best gain political capital among the religious right by talking about the case. But then a number of conservative bloggers began to say that the origins of the memo were suspicious, and that it was actually forged by Democrats out to make the Republicans look bad.

As it turns out, the Republicans don't need any help from their opponents to look like opportunistic bastards. It seems that the origins of the mysterious memo were finally traced to the offices of a freshman Republican senator from Florida, Mel Martinez.

I'm sure all those conservative bloggers are now tripping over one another trying to issue retractions.

Remember what Ron Reagan Jr. said during the eulogy for his father last year? "Dad was also a deeply, unabashedly religious man. But he never made the fatal mistake of so many politicians; wearing his faith on his sleeve to gain political advantage. True, after he was shot and nearly killed early in his presidency he came to believe that God had spared him in order that he might do good. But he accepted that as a responsibility, not a mandate, and there is a profound difference."

Too bad they don't make Republicans like that any more.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Monday, April 04, 2005

Requiem For A Pope

The world is mourning the passing of Pope John Paul II, who reigned for a remarkable 26 years. His long papacy came on the heels of John Paul I, who lasted barely a month. In fact one reason the relatively young and vigorous Karol Wojtyla was selected in 1978 was that many of the Cardinals had barely finished unpacking after returning home, only to have to turn around and go back to Rome again. They didn't want to have to do it a third time.

So the outpouring of affection for John Paul II is understandable. Indeed, for anyone much under the age of 40, he is simply the only Pope they remember.

One of the most remarkable things I've heard about him over the last several days was something he did at the conclusion of World War II. Many Jewish children had been orphaned during the course of that conflict, and they had been taken in by the Catholic church. As a young priest, he actually pushed to have them returned to Jews so that they could be raised Jewish, rather than Catholic. It is refreshing to hear something like that, when you consider that so many religious fanatics these days insist that their way is the ONLY way and everyone else is going to hell.

But one thing I do have to wonder about are all the people praying for him and his soul. Is that really necessary? I mean, he was the Pope, for crying out loud! If he needs help getting into heaven, what the hell hope is there for the rest of us?

Sunday, April 03, 2005

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

If you live in the United States, you may need to move your clocks up by an hour. Last night marked the beginning of daylight savings time in most parts of the country. For those of you not familiar with why we do this, it's to give farmers an extra hour of daylight to work so that they may plant their fields, and harvest their crops.

It is important to accomodate them in an agrarian based society such as ours.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Internet And Theology

I was contemplating writing something about the Pope dying on April Fool's day, but I concluded that it would be in horrible taste. Even on the web, no one could possibly sink that low.... Or so I thought.

My only question now is perhaps one of nuance: I didn't actually write the joke; I only linked to it. Does that mean I'm still condemned to the fiery depths of hell or am I off the hook on this?