Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Well, There's Always Next Year

I don't mean to get all nostalgic and weepy on you, but today was the last day of the 2005 hurricane season. Speaking for myself, I'm going to miss it.

The question that remains, however, is what happens if another tropical storm/hurricane does pop up in December? If it meets all the criteria, will it still get a name? And if so, what the hell comes after epsilon? Are there any Greeks out there? Is the United States still on speaking terms with the government of Greece? I mean, we've already pissed off 3/4 of the world's nations, but I can't remember if Greece was "with us or against us." So if another hurricane or tropical storm forms, and no one knows what to call it, I guess we can blame Bush.

According to this site, only 97% of such storms occur during the June 1-December 1 "hurricane season." However, it doesn't answer the question of whether an out of season storm would still get named.

Hmmmm.... Maybe it's time to get the lawyers involved.

Molecules Are A Many Splendored Thing

Italian scientists have discovered a molecule that apparently gives people that euphoric, giddy sensation that goes with being madly in love. However, the molecule only lasts about a year before it begins to break down.

Or, in my case, until I sober up and get the hell out of her apartment.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hip Hip Hooray!

We did it!! We now officially have Tropical Storm Epsilon!! The season's 26th named storm is safely out in the Atlantic and not expected to pose a threat to land.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm handing out cigars to celebrate.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Diaper Industry Was Probably Behind The School Board's Decision

Administrators at a Tennessee high school have seized all 1800 copies of the student newspaper after it published an article on birth control. The editors of the paper included such details as the success rate of various methods, as well as information on where to obtain contraceptives. Needless to say, some people are up in arms over the first amendment issues raised by this incident.

But if you step back and view this case neutrally, it's obvious the school acted responsibly. After all, America has been increasingly plagued by shortages of unwed teen mothers, and banning such knowledge from kids is an absolutely brilliant way to increase the supply.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

CSI: Global Warming

So let me get this straight: The Bush Administration can readily see non-existent weapons of mass destruction, but they can't evidence of global warming when it's staring them right in the face?

Exhibit One: Tropical storm Delta continues to swirl out in the North Atlantic. Delta is the 25th tropical storm/hurricane of the season, shattering the previous record of 21 which had stood since 1933.

But beyond the number of storms is the more important issue of their strength. Sure, major hurricanes periodically hit the United States or central America. There was Camille in 1969, Hugo in 1989, and Andrew in 1992. About ten years ago when such storms began developing more regularly with Opal in 1995 and Fran a year later (Retired hurricane names).

But it wasn't until last year that things seemingly crazy with Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne all hitting Florida. Still, many people dismissed 2004 as a fluke.... Until 2005 rolled around. Does anyone need a reminder of the names Katrina, Rita, and Wilma? While "storm scientists" used to think that periods of intense hurricanes came in cycles, a new concern is beginning to emerge: That Global warming is making itself felt.

Exhibit Two: Scientists in Antarctica, apparently bored and looking for something to do, found a really big drill and decided, what the hell, let's drill up some ice. Afterwards they decided to analyze their samples and discovered that Earth's current carbon dioxide levels are the highest they've been at any time in the last 650,000 years. They reached this conclusion by analyzing air bubbles found in the core samples.

Afterwards they chopped up the ice into little cubes and had cocktails.

Exhibit three: There is increasing evidence that the permafrost in Alaska is melting faster, and this is creating problems of its own. As the ice further down in the soil melts, trees on the surface become unstable and tilt. In some cases entire villages have had to be relocated because the buildings began to sink into the muck. Satellite imagery has also shown Arctic sea ice to be shrinking at an alarming level.

Hey Ma! Look What We Found!

In what can only be described as a major victory in the War on Terror, alert Japanese authorities have found and defused a 500 pound explosive before it had a chance to go off. Several thousand people were evacuated from a residential neighborhood as a precaution while the device was rendered harmless.

What is shocking about this story is who planted the bomb: The American military!

Oh, I should probably mention, though it's not important, that the unexploded bomb was left over from World War II.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Any Bets On Whether We Make It To Epsilon?

And we now have a tropical storm Delta. It's way out in the Atlantic and no threat to land, but at least we're now up to the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet.

Ah, To Be A Kid Again....

Debra Lafave, a 25 year old teacher in Florida, has pleaded guilty to a charge of having sex with a 14 year boy. These outrageous acts on her part allegedly happened in her classroom, a car, and her townhouse. In return for the guilty plea, Ms. Lafave will avoid jail time. She will, however, have to serve three years of house arrest followed by seven years of probation.

No word on how the poor 14 year old victim is handling this traumatic experience, but if it were me, I'd be high-fiving my buddies.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Monday, November 21, 2005

A New Level Of Idiocy

Every now and then some politician will say something so incredibly stupid that it absolutely defies the imagination. The following statement (See last paragraph of link) by Louie Gohmert, a Republican congressman from Texas, certainly fits the bill:

"You'll have a parent or two here, as you know, whose tragic grief from the tragic loss of a loved one, of a child, causes their mental thinking to be a little destabilized. That's understandable."

I don't consider myself an overly religious person. But I have to admit that lately I have been undergoing a spiritual awakening as I increasingly turn to prayer. Indeed, when I heard about the above quote, I immediately fell to my knees and prayed. I prayed that next year the American people will finally come to their senses and vote the morons currently in Congress out of power.

Yes, our military is an all-volunteer force, and yes, when soldiers enlist they should be prepared to die for their country. But our leaders also have a grave responsibility not to send these men and women into harm's way unless absolutely necessary. For a congressman to make such a callous and cavalier remark demonstrates that he is not worthy of that responsibility.

Let's hope Louie Gohmert can eventually wash the blood off his hands.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Misplaced Priorities

President Bush has just wrapped up his visit to China and has urged the government of that country to increase religious freedom.

To heck with China. How about more religious freedom here in America?!?!?

Terror From The Skies

Fears about the bird flu jumping to humans have been growing as the current form of the virus continues to spread from country to country. It started in China last winter, soon spread throughout southeastern Asia, and recently began showing up in European countries. Scientists suspect that the bug is being spread by migrating birds.

In a terrifying new development, it appears that the virus has now claimed its first victim in North America.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Vindictive Little SOB's, Aren't They?

My favorite rock artist of all time (besides Britney Spears, of course) is Bruce Springsteen. I have most of The Boss' CD's, and I even signed up again with Sirius satellite radio after I learned they had added an all-Springsteen channel. Yes, he's written some crap, but who hasn't (besides Britney, of course). On the other hand, some of his songs are pretty much immortal. "Born to Run" is one that immediately comes to mind, but "Jungleland," "Wreck on the Highway," "Racing in the Street," and "Thunder Road" would be on that list as well.

New Jersey's two Senators--both Democrats--recently introduced a resolution honoring Springsteen. It's the type of mostly meaningless honor that Congress passes all the time, usually by unanimous acclimation.... Except this time.

The Senate's Republican leaders refused to even bring up the bill for a vote. No explanation was given, but many suspect it is in retaliation for the fact that Springsteen campaigned on behalf of John Kerry last year.

So much for freedom of speech.

After All, Didn't God Also Create Darwin?

I'm not usually a big fan of columnist Charles Krauthammer. He is a staunch defender of Bush and the war in Iraq. In fact, sometimes I fantasize about sneaking up behind him and dumping him out of his wheelchair.

However, he has written an excellent piece defending the theory of evolution and says the current fight over intelligent design is "so anachronistic and retrograde as to be a national embarrassment." Krauthammer then goes on to suggest that there is room for science and theology to peacefully co-exist.

Almost makes me feel guilty about that wheelchair thing.

Alpha, Beta.... What Comes After Beta?

Wonderful news! Tropical Storm Gamma has now officially formed off the coast of Honduras. It is the 24th named storm of the record setting 2005 season. Speaking for myself, I'm just tickled pink! This article on Yahoo suggests Gamma may head towards Florida by the end of next week, but one of the weather guys at Wunderground thinks it will get sucked up by a cold front. Guess only time will tell what the future holds for Gamma.

Well, if nothing else, at least we're all getting an opportunity to learn the Greek alphabet this year.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

But At Least We'll Die Healthy

Scientists say that increasing one's consumption of beans can lead to an increase in the levels of so-called "good cholesterol," thus lowering the risk of developing heart disease.

On the other hand, it will also increase the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, killing off all of humanity.

How Come It Suddenly Feels Like November Out There?

We had been basking in spring-like weather for the last few weeks. Consequently, it came as quite a shock this morning when I walked outside and Jack Frost immediately began nipping at my nose. So I grabbed my baseball bat and beat the perverted SOB to a bloody pulp.

Then when I finally got to the car, I unlocked the door, pulled on the handle, and.... Nothing happened. The door was frozen solid! It had rained like hell the night before, and when the temps dropped below freezing, everything iced up. So I decided the easiest thing to do would be to quit my job and go back to bed.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to start drinking and wearing the same underwear for a week at a time.

And yes, it's all Bush's fault.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Maybe She Had To Pay For Those Roaming Minutes

Candice Martinez, 19, has been arrested in the infamous case of the Cell Phone Bandit. She would enter a bank, wait in line for the next available teller, hand the teller a note demanding money, and then leave with several thousand dollars. What made this unusual was that she would be on a cell phone the entire time, sometimes not even pausing in her phone conversation long enough to greet the teller. Turns out the person on the other end of the line was her boyfriend, who would wait out in the car and keep an eye out for the police.

Well, thank God she is now off the streets. Martinez deserves to go away to jail for a very long time. There are entirely too people many out there who get so wrapped in their cell phones that they rudely ignore those around them. Whether it's in restaurants, at the movies, or even in the library, people just yak away oblivious to the world. It would have been a damn shame if bank robberies had ended up being added to the list of inappropriate situations to have cell phone conversations.

It's good to see justice served for once.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Some Things Never Change

President Bush has left for a weeklong trip to Asia. His first stop will be in Japan, followed by visits to South Korea, China, and Mongolia.

What? He's STILL avoiding going to Vietnam!?!?!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Here Comes Another Thunderbolt

A strong earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale has struck off the coast of northern Japan. No immediate word on casualties or damage.

One can only speculate that this tremor was actually intended as divine retribution for the people of Dover, Pennsylvania for voting the intelligent design people out of office, but God missed.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Dorothy & Toto Were Probably Darwinists, Too

Several tornados struck central Iowa late yesterday, leaving widespread destruction in their wake. At the Iowa State-Colorado football game, fans were forced to flee the stadium and take shelter in a basketball arena. Meteorologists blame the volatile weather on a series of severe thunderstorms accompanying cold air masses trying to mix with warm air masses. That, of course, is based on solid science, which means it's a bunch of hooey.

I haven't consulted with Pat Robertson yet--today is Sunday, and he has a regularly scheduled breakfast meeting with God--but it's safe to assume that many of these people are believers in evolution, and the bad weather was the lord's way of telling them to accept intelligent design.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Oops--Is That A Thunderbolt Crashing Through My Ceiling?

In a story I missed a couple of days ago (but thanks to Solar for trying to bring it to my attention) the Dover, Pennsylvania school board that last year approved the teaching of intelligent design was voted out of office. This was on Tuesday, ironically the same day that Kansas was revving up its own time machine to return us to the dark ages.

Now loudmouth televangelist Pat Robertson--who a few months ago called for the assassination of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez--is warning the residents of Dover that God will soon unleash his wrath upon them because they have rejected his word.

Wait, I'm confused.... Haven't intelligent design proponents been telling us that their "theory" is not religious in nature? If that's the case, then why do we have a well-known religious leader invoking the wrath of God over the matter?

In the comments to my Nov. 8 post about the 15th century, someone wrote:
"Well, It's simply a matter of theory. Should the theories of evolution be promoted ahead of the theories of creation? Both are unnatural and both are unproven from the perspective of science."
This prompted some additional feedback from Nate, who brought up a good point about the theory of evolution: In science, a theory is much more than just a guess. It's basically one step below being a law. And as another commentator put it, gravity may be just a theory also, but he's not about to stand under a falling boulder.

There's not much more that I can add to that, except to re-emphasize Nate's point: In science, a "theory" is one step below being a law. So is the theory of evolution proven? Well, perhaps not to the extent that the laws of thermodynamics have been proven, but it's damn close. To dismiss evolution as "unnatural" and "unproven from the perspective of science" is indicative of a mind-boggling level of ignorance.

The theory of evolution is also supported by everything we know about continental drift, dinosaurs, biochemistry, asteroid impacts and how they triggered mass extinctions, genetics, and the fossil record. And more recently, a group of scientists constructed a mathematical analysis predicting the number of harmful mutations in the genetic code of chimpanzees. The results supported evolution, and demonstrated how a small group of cells 3.5 billion years ago could give rise to the biodiversity we see around us today.

On the other hand, the best argument that intelligent design proponents can come up with is that the lifeforms on Earth are just too darn complicated to be random. Well, I think trigonometry is complicated and completely beyond my comprehension. But I'm also willing to accept the fact that trigonometry is probably not the result of a divine miracle.

To be honest, I personally believe in neither evolution nor intelligent design. They're BOTH a load of crap. I firmly believe that the world--indeed, the universe as a whole--was created by the flying spaghetti monster.

Keeping It In Perspective

A lot has been made of the $9.9 billion profit Exxon reported for the third quarter of 2005. That certainly seems like an outrageous amount, and someone has to be held responsible for it.

Exxon is the largest corporation in the world in terms of revenue. In that same three months it took in a total of $100 billion. Translation: Their profit for every dollar of revenue was less than a dime. By comparison, Citigroup Inc. (a financial services company) made 15.7 cents on the dollar last year. Altria Group, which manufactures Marlboro cigarettes, made 22 cents for every dollar it took in. And pharmaceutical giant Merck's profit was over 25 cents on the dollar.

Even more stunning: In 2004 Exxon was ranked number 157 on the Fortune 500's list of the most profitable companies.

Exxon has the world's consumers by the doo-dads, and the best it can do is #157?!?!?

Yes, that $9.8 billion is an outrage: Outrageously low! Someone should be fired for it.


The European Space Agency has launched a probe to study Venus. It is expected to arrive at our planetary neighbor next spring. Venus fascinates scientists because in many ways it is identical to Earth. It is roughly the same size as our planet, has similar gravity, and is composed of many of the same raw materials. Yet for reasons that are not entirely understood, Venus is a victim of a runaway greenhouse effect with an atmosphere composed of mostly carbon dioxide and an average temperature of 869 degrees Fahrenheit (465 Celsius).

In other words, kind of what like Earth will be like in another 25 years.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Call A Plumber

For the last week, we had been told that the governor's race here in Virginia was too close to call. In the end, however, Democrat Tim Kaine pulled out a comfortable 52%-46%n win over Republican Jerry Kilgore (independent Russ Potts took 2% of the vote). Analysts are giving much of the credit for Kaine's triumph to incumbent Mark Warner, who campaigned heavily on his fellow Democrat's behalf. Warner is leaving office with tremendous popularity, and this win is a major boost to his stature and likely presidential bid in 2008.

52%? Hmmm.... It seems Kaine's mandate is twice as big as Bush's!

On the other hand, the win by a Democrat in Virginia is potentially very bad news for Republicans nationwide. The entire House of Representatives is up for re-election next year, and the party's majority may be in jeopardy. Virginia is a heavily Republican state (it's been won by the Republican candidate in every presidential election since 1968). With Bush's popularity continuing to take a beating, it is becoming increasingly apparent that he is beginning to drag down the entire party.

In fact, the President returned early from his South America trip just so he could make a appearance on Kilgore's behalf. But this was intended as more than just a campaign appearance; it was also a gamble by Bush to reverse his slide down the toilet. Had Kilgore pulled out a win, Bush could have claimed credit and finally brought some good news to his beleaguered presidency.

But it was not to be, and the water in Bush's toilet continues to swirl faster and faster.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Welcome To The 15th Century

Well, congratulations to the Kansas School Board, which earlier today voted 6-4 to allow the teaching of "intelligent design" in its schools. What's more, "the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena." What the hell does that mean? Will students now begin their school day with a prayer and a reading of their horoscopes?

Why stop with evolution? Let's just go back to teaching that the Earth is flat and that the sun revolves around us. And we need to stop teaching that nonsense about germs. Everyone knows that illnesses are caused by evil spirits.

Oh, and thunder? That's just God bowling.

Vote Early And Vote Often

Virginia is one of two states electing a new governor today, and I carried out my constitutional responsibilities by voting. Needless to say, I voted for the entire Democrat ticket.

I did so for several reasons: First off, I'm still bitter about what the Republicans did during the Terry Schiavo circus last spring. The entire party should be ashamed of themselves for getting involved in what should have remained a private affair. But that is to be expected when a formerly great political party is hijacked by religious zealots hellbent on turning this nation into some sort of theocracy based on their interpretation of the Bible.

The second reason can be summed up in one word: Bush.

Third and most important are the candidates for governor themselves. Democrat Tim Kaine is eloquent and well-spoken and not someone I would be ashamed to have as the leader of my state. Republican Jerry Kilgore, on the other hand, comes from southwest Virginia and has the accent to prove it. Whenever he speaks, I can't help but think of the Beverly Hillbillies. I don't know what his educational background is, nor do I care. He could be Harvard educated and I still wouldn't have voted for him because of that accent. In fact, my greatest fear is that if Virginia suffers some sort of calamity--a category 5 hurricane, a major terrorist strike, an earthquake, a volcanic eruption, an asteroid impact, a nuclear power plant meltdown--that kills thousands of people, Jerry Kilgore would be the one appearing on worldwide TV before billions of viewers. And I don't want four billion people getting their first impression of Virginia from someone who sounds like Jethro.

As for the important issues which will ultimately decide this race.... Well, I have no idea what they are.

Hurry Up! We Gotta Pee!

Click image for larger picture
In a terrifying turn of events that has left residents of Tampa, Florida stunned, two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders were arrested for having sex in a bathroom stall.

I know, I know. How many of us can honestly say we haven't done the same thing? More than once? A week?

What makes this particular case of stall sex unusual, however, is that the two cheerleaders were having the sex with each other.

I know, I know. I wish I had been there with a video camera, too.

The police were called by outraged bar patrons, which certainly seems understandable.... Except that they weren't angered by the lesbian sex itself. No, they couldn't have cared less about that. What pissed off the people in the bar was that the two women were hogging the bathroom!

Unfortunately, the only images we have of the women are the above mugshots. But if Angela's breasts are proportionally as large as her nose, I'd like to meet her!

Monday, November 07, 2005

A Test Of Your Moral Fiber

This test only has one question, but it's a very important one. By giving an honest answer, you will discover where you stand morally. It features an unlikely, completely fictional situation in which you will be forced to make a life or death decision. It is imperative for your response to be honest, yet spontaneous.

Please scroll down slowly and give due consideration to each line.

You are in Florida; Miami to be specific. There is chaos all around you caused by a hurricane with severe flooding. This is a flood of biblical proportions. You are a photo journalist working for a major newspaper, and you're caught in the middle of this epic disaster. The situation is not only beyond desperate, but very nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot career-making photos to chronicle the death and destruction. There are houses and people swirling around you, some disappearing under the water. Nature is unleashing all of her destructive fury.

Suddenly you see a man floundering in the water. He is fighting for his life, furiously struggling to not be swept away with the debris. You decide to move closer...

Somehow the man looks familiar. You suddenly realize who it is. It's George W. Bush! It quickly becomes obvious that the raging waters are about to take him under forever.

You have two options: You can either save the life of G.W.Bush, or you can shoot a dramatic Pulitzer Prize-winning photo.

So here's the question, and please give an honest answer:

Would you select high contrast color film, or would you go with the classic simplicity of black and white?

---From an email; original author unknown

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Friday, November 04, 2005

Venison, Anyone?

In what can only be described as an outrageous display of police brutality, officers in Montgomery County, Maryland shot and killed an unarmed deer yesterday.

The hapless animal had been window shopping at a local shopping center, checking out the new fall antler wear, when he decided to stop by a grocery store. Okay, so he did so by smashing through the plate glass window, but he's a deer. Deer don't do doors.

The narrow-minded store manager immediately engaged in wildlife profiling and--rather than offering to help the animal locate the salt lick aisle--called 9-1-1 to report the alleged "intruder." Shoppers, store employees, and assorted other bigots immediately corned the poor fellow as he headed towards the pharmacy. After all, it is fall mating season, and that's where the Viagra is.

Before the horny adult buck could pull out his discount drug card, however, police officers arrived and shot him. They claim they did so because the animal was injured and bleeding profusely.

Great. The next time I get a paper cut, rest assured I'm not asking a cop for a band-aid.

In a similar incident but one with a happier ending, another deer wandered into a ritzy Ralph Lauren store in the Georgetown area of DC last week. Employees locked the young cross dressing buck in a fitting room until the authorities showed up. He was tranquilized by animal control officers and carried outside as a mob chanted "Free Bambi!" The buck was later released in Rock Creek Park.

Then there's the disturbing tale out of Arkansas where a man killed a deer with his bare hands. The animal had smashed through a window and was loose in the master bedroom.... Or at least that's the story the guy's wife came up with. After cornering the defenseless animal, who hadn't even had a chance to put its pants back on, Wayne Goldsberry wrestled with it and finally broke its neck. Afterwards he had the meat processed, and the deer is now residing in Mr. Goldsberry's freezer.

Hmmm.... Perhaps we should apply that brand of justice to human intruders as well. It would likely cut down on burglaries.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bush's New Mandate

According to a new poll, 60% of Americans disapprove of President Bush's job performance, 58% have doubts aabout his honesty, and 67% give his administration a negative rating on ethics.

Hmmm.... Now THAT'S a mandate!!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

What's Important

Democratic senators yesterday forced an extraordinary closed session of the chamber. The galleries were cleared of spectators, and even security personnel and staffers without security clearance were barred. Their goal was to demand that Senate Republicans agree to hold hearings to look into whether the nation was misled when we went to war with Iraq. The Democrats' bold move was apparently prompted by Lewis Libby's indictment last week. Libby, along with Cheney, was one of the principle architects of the invasion, and the charges seem to indicate that something is being covered up.

The Democrats need to leave Bush alone and let him return to his job of protecting the American people from danger.... Provided the danger isn't from a hurricane, in which case it's every man, woman and child for him or herself.

So what if the Bush Administration misled the country into the war, and intentionally lied about Hussein's ties to Al Qaeda? Is it really that big a deal if the weapons of mass destruction story was fabricated? Who cares if over 2000 American soldiers have died while thousands more have lost limbs or suffered lifelong injuries in an unnecessary war? Does it really matter that as many as 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians have died because we blundered into our way into this conflict? Is it necessarily a bad thing if our actions have brought Iraq to the brink of civil war while the entire mideast has become even more unstable? And is it really all that important that President Bush squandered all that international good will we had immediately after 9/11, and that since then more people in the world than ever have come to hate the United States?

I think not.

What IS important is that this President is NOT getting blowjobs from an intern.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

One Flu Over The Cuckoo's Nest

In a speech later today at the National Institutes for Health, President Bush is expected to unveil his administration's response to any outbreak of "superflu." It is expected to modeled after his response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

In other words, half of us will be dead by the time anyone lifts a finger.