Thursday, May 31, 2007

When Bearers Of Good News Go BOOM!!

Three more journalists were killed in Iraq yesterday, bringing the total for May to nine.

This is unfortunate. If all the journalists keep getting killed, who's going to report all the good news coming out of Baghdad?

Pass The Sushi... And The Geiger Counter

In a rather high profile incident last fall, a Russian citizen living in England died of radiation poisoning. The case quickly mushroomed into one of international intrigue as it became apparent that Alexander Litvinenko, a well known critic of Russian President Putin, had been intentionally killed. British authorities investigating the death quickly began to uncover a trail of radiation contamination, including hotel rooms, a sushi restaurant, and airliners.

All the evidence pointed to a guy named Andrei Lugovoy (NOT to be be confused with some guy named Lugosi). Lugovoy, like Putin himself, was a former KGB agent. This further increased speculation that the Kremlin was behind the hit. A few ago, after additional investigation, Britain issued a warrant for Lugovoy's arrest.

Yesterday, Lugovoy held a press conference in Moscow and denied all involvement. According to him, the real killers are still in England.

Right. No doubt playing golf with the real killers of O.J.'s wife.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

'Pampered' Workers

Two Russian cosmonauts on board the International Space Station have successfully completed a long and difficult spacewalk to install protective panels on the outside of the facility.

No word on whether they wore diapers, or if that's strictly an American thing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Memorial Day In Iraq

Yesterday was Memorial Day, the day on which America honors its fallen soldiers. Unfortunately, it was also a day on which 10 more American troops died in Iraq. That brings May's total to 115, making it the deadliest month of the year and the third deadliest of the entire four year old war. The total total now stands at 3454.

No word from Vice President Cheney as to how much longer the insurgency's final throes will last.

At Least He Wasn't Clad In A Cheerleader Outfit

For the past day I've been seeing the headline Man Clad in Underwear Pins Leopard on various news sites. For some reason, I just find its wording odd. It's as if the unusual part of the story is NOT that someone pinned a leopard in the first place, but that the guy was only wearing his skivvies when he did it.

Was this some sort of major fashion faux pas? Should he have stopped to put on his pants before engaging this wild animal in a desperate life and death struggle? Maybe even a suit and tie? Hell, why not a tux? Then he could have wielded his cummerbund as a weapon.

What exactly is the proper social protocol for a situation like this? I certainly wouldn't want to wake up in bed with a fierce man eating animal--whether it be a leopard, a lion, an alligator, or Sharon Stone--standing over me and not be properly dressed for the occasion.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The High Cost Of Dating

Remember that bizarre love triangle with the astronauts at NASA? The space agency has now also fired William Oefelein, the male astronaut who had been boinking the crazy diaper-wearing one.

Man, I hope that nookie was worth it.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Just The Same Old Stuff

Just in case President Bush didn't already have enough problems with birds shitting on him, now another pre-war intelligence report damning him has come to light. According to this one, there were a number of papers circulating among intelligence analysts before the invasion predicting many of the problems that the United States faces in Iraq today:
  • Al-Qaeda would see U.S. military action as an opportunity to increase its operations;
  • Iran would try to shape a post-Saddam Iraq;
  • That establishing a stable democracy in Iraq would be a "long, difficult and probably turbulent process."

I know, I know. There have been so many of these reports proving that the Iraq war was built on an intricate web of lies, incompetence, and arrogance that it's hard to tell the damn things apart. But does it really matter?

At this point, no. Amazingly 28% of the American public continues to think George W. Bush is doing a good job. This raises an important question: Who are these people and why do they even care that over 3400 American service members have died in this wasteful conflict, that thousands more have been maimed for life, that tens of thousands of Iraqis have died, and that an estimated four million have fled their homes?

No, apparently not.

A Bird In The Hand Is Better Than One Overhead

There was a disturbing security breach at the White House yesterday. The brazen assault against the President occurred about halfway through his press conference when a bird flying overhead volunteered its own personal opinion of the Iraq war. The aforementioned opinion ended up on the President's coat sleeve, and Mr. Bush tried to brush the wet white glob off with his bare hand.

Fortunately Vice President Cheney was not present at the time, or he would have ended up shooting everyone except the bird.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Great Excuse Not To Wear Pants

If anyone ever wonders why lawyers get a bum rap, they need to read this story.

Back in 2002, a dry cleaning establishment in the DC area lost a pair of pants. An unfortunate occurrence, but the type of thing that happens. Unfortunately, this particular pair of trousers belonged to a guy named Roy Pearson. Being both an attorney and a judge, Pearson decided he wasn't willing to accept an apology for the incident. In keeping with the fact that he's a lawyer, and that this is America, he sued. And we're not talking about about small claims court: Pearson supersized his lawsuit to the Nth degree, then multiplied it to the power of X, and settled on a figure of $65,462,500!!! He is trying to justify that figure by claiming "mental suffering, inconvenience and discomfort."

Yes, this case should go a long way to cleaning up the image of the legal profession.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Your Clump Or mine?

After careful analysis of data sent back by the Cassini spacecraft, scientists have concluded that Saturn's rings are actually composed of clumps of matter. Until now, it had assumed that each ring was uniform in density, but the new data shows that not to be the case. The clumps are constantly colliding with one another and are quite dense.

Dense, eh? Sounds like some of the people in the Bush administration.

'Deliverance' At The Pump

The National Weather Service has come out with its annual hurricane forecast, and it doesn't look good. As many as 17 named storms are expected, with up to ten of them becoming hurricanes. Up to five of them are expected to be category 3 or stronger (Saffir-Simpson scale).

And before anyone takes comfort in last year's virtually non-existent hurricane season, experts point out that there was an unexpected showing by El Nino in the Pacific. That created high altitude winds that served to disrupt any potential hurricanes in the Atlantic before they had a chance to form. There will be no El Nino in 2007, and in fact there is a La Nina. Aside from further illustrating the problem with illegal Latino immigrants, La Nina conditions tend to be much more conducive to the formation of major tropical storm systems.

Federal forecasters are so concerned about the situation that they are urging oil companies to stockpile oil away from coastal areas. With gasoline prices poised to break the record set in 1981, any further major disruption would be catastrophic, resulting in economic turmoil, long lines, sky-high prices, and motorists bending over gasoline pumps as they're forced to drop trou and take it up the ass.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Crude Humor

Good news for Americans concerned about the low prices for gasoline. BP has just announced that it is shutting down the flow of about 100,000 barrels of crude oil from Alaska because of a leak. This should be good for an additional few cents per gallon.


When one of XM's satellites went down yesterday, it was a chilling reminder of just how important technology is in our daily lives, and how its loss can suddenly reduce us to living like uncivilized savages. The problem was FINALLY corrected about half an hour ago, and I'm back to listening to the 80's channel.

Still, it was a great excuse to wear a loincloth.

Monday, May 21, 2007

I Want My XM

Horrible, horrible news today. Apparently XM is having some serious problems with one or both of its satellites.

I first noticed a problem in the car when the signal became unusually sensitive to overhead obstructions. Then when I got home and walked into the apartment, there was total silence. This is unusual, because I usually leave my stereo on for the benefit of the cats (Hey, what's with all the snickering?). It turned out that I had no XM reception indoors whatsoever. The windowsill where I had my indoor antenna was completely dead.

A quick check of Google News revealed a couple of sites (; reporting XM signal problems all around the country. There's nothing about the situation on XM's own site, but reader comments on those other sites suggest either that one the satellites is down, or that a software update went awry.

One of the other news items said that XM was to launch a new channel today dedicated entirely to coverage of the upcoming presidential race. My personal guess is that somehow that didn't go as planned and took down their entire system. If that does turn out to be the case, I feel comfortable blaming the entire thing on President Bush.

In the meantime, without my satellite radio, I have been reduced to living like some sort of savage. I kind of feel like those cavemen in the Geico commercials.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Maybe Doc Brown Wasn't All That Nuts

Remember the scene towards the end of the Back to the Future movie? Doc Brown returns from the future in his flying DeLorean. He then proceeds to refuel the car by throwing all kinds of garbage into it, including banana peels and aluminum soda cans. Twenty years ago, when the movie came out, the whole idea seemed kind of ridiculous.

Since then, biofuels have become reality. Whether it's ethanol from corn, or biodiesel from assorted other food waste, the process is very real and there are vehicles out there running on the stuff.

Now comes word that engineers at Purdue University have developed a process by which aluminum pellets are mixed with water, resulting in hydrogen which can then be used to fuel cars. And what makes this process all the more amazing is that the whole thing takes place in the fuel tank of the car, thereby eliminating the need for hydrogen refueling stations.

What's next? An actual flux capacitor?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Bring On The CO2!!

Scientists with too much time on their hands have discovered a planet 30 light years from Earth with a rather unique property: It appears to be made of "hot ice." This unusual property is a product of the planet's high density and extreme atmospheric pressure, both of which effect the freezing temperature of water.

Hot ice, eh? Hmmmm.... We may have found a way to save the polar bear without stopping global warming!

Wolfie Goes Bye-Bye

Embattled World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz has finally thrown in the towel and resigned. His position had become increasingly precarious since it became public knowledge that he had negotiated a hefty pay increase for his girlfriend, also a World Bank employee.

Wolfowitz had tried to defend his actions by arguing that he had done nothing wrong, that the Bank's ethics committee had approved the raise, that people were unfairly picking on him, and that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. But in the end none of that mattered.

Some would argue that his tenure at the financial institution was doomed from the start. Even when Bush nominated Wolfowitz for the job in 2005, there was a lot of opposition. Most of it had to do with the fact that he had been Deputy Secretary of Defense under Rumsfeld and was one of the principal architects of the invasion of Iraq. And as the situation in the middle east has deteriorated further, the opposition to Wolfowitz had only intensified.

It is unclear at the moment who will replace him. After the turmoil of the last few months, the World Bank needs someone cool and competent at its helm; someone whose character is beyond reproach; someone who has a proven track record in Washington and is acceptable to both Democrats and Republicans.

Say.... Alberto Gonzales may be looking for a job soon!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Clean Hands

For the last several years the Bush administration has sought to justify the war in Iraq by saying we're fighting the terrorists there so we don't have to fight them in our streets. It's not immediately clear, however, exactly how that would work. Does that mean if we leave Iraq, the terrorists will swarm into the Atlantic, swim across 2500 miles of open ocean, and storm our beaches? Is there really that much of a danger of that happening? After all, most terrorists are from desert countries, so it's not like they have a whole lot of experience with water. In fact, chances are most of them would end up drowning before they even got as far as the Canary Islands.

That's what makes this recent plot against Fort Dix so scary. One of the six individuals responsible for that conspiracy was a citizen and two were legal residents. The remaining three were here illegally after they had overstayed their Visas, but had been in the U.S. for at least six years. Additionally, there have seven other high profile terror plots uncovered since 2003, and most of the individuals involved have been either American-born or naturalized citizens.

And it's not just the Unites States that's experiencing this alarming trend. The individuals who carried out the London subway/bus bombings in 2005 didn't have to swim across the English Channel to carry out their plot. They were all native born British citizens.

Wow!! Could it be that the "defeatists" who have long warned us that Bush's so-called "War on Terror" is making us less safe are--GASP!!!--right? Could there be truth to the argument that out occupation of Iraq is only further inflaming Muslims around the world, including those that already live in the west?

I don't pretend to know the answer. What I DO know, however, is that NONE of it is my fault. Indeed, I can completely wash my hands of all responsibility in the matter.

After all, I voted for Kerry.

If Jerry Falwell Had Been A Weatherman

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Maybe It Was The Rapture

TV evangelist Jerry Falwell was found dead in his office at Liberty university earlier today.

Police are investigating reports that a purple teletubbie was seen fleeing the area.

Monday, May 14, 2007

I May Be In The Dark, But At Least I'm Right

First class postal rates went up to 41 cents as of today. That means if you mailed your electric bill with a 39 cent stamp, you'll soon be surfing the web by candlelight.

As insurance against future rate hikes, the Postal Service has been touting its new "Forever Stamp." You buy it now at 41 cents, and you can keep using it regardless of what future rates may be. In other words, you'll no longer have to buy those annoying two cent or three cent stamps as you use up your supply of out of date stamps.

Personally, I thought this sounded like an absolutely "stamptastic" idea, so I hurried down to the post office to buy one. Still, there was one thing I still didn't quite understand about the forever stamp, so I asked the clerk, "How do I get the stamp back?"

The clerk said, "What do you mean?"

"Well, these stamps are good forever, right?"

"Yes," said the guy behind the counter.

"So if I mail a letter, how do I get the stamp back so I can use it again?"

"Um, you don't. You can only use it once," he said with an air of authority that comes with working in shorts and knee high socks.

"Well, then the stamp's not really forever, is it?" I said with an air of resignation that comes with battling the logic of government employees for most of my adult life.

Anyway, we went back and forth on this until the police finally showed up.

Never did get my stamp, which is why I'm posting this by candlelight.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Latest Advance in Modern Medicine

Just Round Up All The Video Cameras First

The situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate, and there is no immediate prospect of a military victory. Our forces are stretched to the breaking point and equipment shortages are becoming a problem. And despite the troop surge, it appears that with every passing day the enemy increases its stranglehold on Iraqi society.

It is unfortunate that things have come to this. While our military forces have bravely done all that has been asked of them, their efforts have been hampered by political realities and concern for civilian casualties. If we are truly serious about defeating the enemy, it's clear that the gloves have to come off.

May God forgive us, but it's time to call in the LAPD.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Comcast: The Nightmare Continues

On several occasions now I have gone off about Comcast's poor service. First it was their decision to not only drop HDNet and HDNet Movies, but to announce the change with a postcard touting their improved service. Then it was the deteriorating internet service, and customer service representatives who, when customers have the audacity to complain, remind you that they don't guarantee 100% service. That's understandable, but when repeated outages start dragging that average hits 80% (5 "down" days out of 30), it becomes ridiculous. And don't even get me started on the rude technicians.

So how could Comcast possibly top itself?

By forgetting what time it is.

When you rent a DVR from the cable company, the time is set by them. There's no option for customers to set it themselves. Consequently, if that time runs a couple of minutes too fast, there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Additionally, if you're not watching the recorded programs until several days afterwards, you're not even going to be aware that there was a problem until it's too late.

I first began to get suspicious when I sat down on Tuesday to watch Heroes, and the show started with the last two minutes of Howie Mandel handing out briefcases on Deal or No Deal. And so what happens at the other end of the recording? Yup, I missed the last two minutes of Heroes. And since pretty much every episode of the series ends in a cliffhanger, I became quite distraught. Even cried myself to sleep.

Then yesterday I ran into the same situation with House. It started with the last two minutes of American Idol, and ended about two minutes prematurely. Same thing with the Medium that I just finished watching.

At first I thought maybe Comcast was getting back at me for dropping their internet service. But when I was checking my counter stats, I saw that one person had come across the site by googling some combination of the words "comcast time wrong warrenton." Not quite sure how that brought them here, but it was enough to tell me that other people have run into the same phenomenon.

I haven't yet watched last night's Lost, and frankly, I'm afraid of what I might find.

I checked the time on the DVR this afternoon, and it appears that they have finally corrected the problem. But still, how freakin' hard is it to learn how to tell time?

In a related matter, someone at a Verizon had told me a few weeks ago that DSL wasn't available where I live. And when I went to their site and typed in my address, I got the same information. But then I tried typing in the same street address but with the apartment numbers of my neighbors, and guess what? DSL was available to them! (Hey, if Bush can spy on Americans, then so can I).

After checking back with Verizon, it turned out that the problem was apparently that I didn't have a land line. Not sure why that made a difference, but apparently it was confusing their computer.

Anyway, my DSL package arrived today. It's now up and running, and so far I'm impressed. Hopefully Verizon's long term reliability will turn out to be better than Comcast's. Now if only they would hurry up and get FiOS out here, then I'll be able to dump our pathetic excuse for a cable company entirely.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Future Of Rock & Roll

Pass The Band Aids

Former football great turned homicidal maniac was in Louisville last weekend for the Kentucky Derby. The night before the race, he and a group of friends were in an upscale steakhouse when owner Jeff Ruby asked him to leave. Says Ruby, "I didn't want to serve him because of my convictions of what he's done to those families."

Congratulations to Mr. Ruby for sticking up for his beliefs and for being willing to give his life in pursuit of those principles. Let's face it: It takes some serious cajones to piss off O.J. in a roomful of steak knives.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Something Else To Worry About

In what scientists are describing as the biggest supernova in modern times, a giant star 240 million light years from Earth has exploded. While plenty of supernova have been witnessed before, this one is unusual in that SN 2006gy was such a huge star. That distinction is apparently responsible for some of the unusual characteristics of this stellar event.

One astronomer describes it as "a truly monstrous explosion, a hundred times more energetic than a typical supernova." And while most nova fade quickly, this one has remained bright since last September. Also, most massive stars normally implode on themselves and end up as black holes. SN 2006gy, however, ended its lifespan by spewing matter and energy into space.

Still, as far as stars exploding in a self-destructive cataclysm, it's hard to top Britney Spears shaving her head.

But another reason this has grabbed the attention of astronomers is because there is another, very similar, star much closer to Earth. Located only 7500 light years from us, Eta Carinae has been showing signs of similar instability since 1843. Should this baby explode in a similar manner, it would be the most spectacular stellar exhibition ever witnessed by mankind. It would even be visible in daytime, and at night it would provide enough light for people to read by.

But a similar end to Eta Carinae could also potentially endanger Earth. That's because of the massive amounts of gamma given off by these types of events. That radiation, however, tends to be concentrated in narrow "jets," so the odds of our solar system being in the path of one of those bursts is minimal.... But not zero.

It is unclear if President Bush plans to respond to the threat with a preventative strike.

Better Keep An Eye On The Domino's Guy

Six Islamic militants have been arrested after plotting to attack a U.S. army base.

Nothing unusual about that, you say? It's just another typical day in Iraq.

Well, in Iraq, yes. But this took place in New Jersey, and their target was none other than Fort Dix. One of the suspects was able to gather information on the layout of the base because he was--you better sit down for this--a pizza deliveryman.

In response, the base has begun paying protection money to Tony Soprano.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Evolution, Or Just A Freak Of Nature?

A six legged calf has been born in Nebraska to farmer Brian Slocum. Well, actually, the calf was born to one of Slocum's cows, not Slocum himself. Just thought I should clarify that particular detail.

Anyway, the calf is now six days old and appears to be perfectly healthy except for the two extra legs. Another unusual feature of the bizarre bovine is that it has both male and female reproductive organs. Such hermaphrodite-like features are extremely rare among mammals, with the last documented case being that of Michael Jackson.

The young heifer was also born with no rectum, One was surgically added so the little fellow wouldn't end up full of shit.

Hmmm.... Maybe key members of the Bush administration should undergo the same surgery.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Friday, May 04, 2007

Ronald Who?

The Republican candidates for President gathered at the Ronald Reagan Library in California last night for their first collective debate. Aside from the crowd on the stage almost exceeding local fire code limits, the various hopefuls just about tripped over one another embracing the 40th President's philosophies.

What a load of crap! Ronald Reagan was all about reigning in big government, keeping Big Brother out of our daily lives as much as possible, and maintaining a strong military posture. Reagan also once delivered these words:
"The defense policy of the United States is based on a simple premise: The United States does not start fights. We will never be an aggressor."
George W. Bush and the Republican party of today have made a mockery of the Reagan philosophy while simultaneously pretending to carry on the man's legacy. The party has become of a tool of the religious right, seeking to govern from the Bible rather than the United States Constitution. Bush and his Republican controlled Congress oversaw the most explosive growth in government spending in the history of the nation. And Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the rest of the draft dodgers in the White House invaded a country that was NOT a threat to the security of the United States.

If the Republican party of today had not lost sight of the Reagan philosophy, they would not now be a minority party on the verge of an even more major defeat next year.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Illegal Irony

Immigrants yesterday held a series of rallies across the nation demanding a loosening of citizenship laws. Turnout was lower than for similar gatherings last year.

Probably because a lot of them have been deported in the meantime.

Speaking for myself, I have no real problem with Latinos who come into this country illegally. After all, I appreciate fine lawncare as much as the next guy.

Nor do I buy into the whole "but they're stealing our jobs" mentality. 99% of the people who use that line as an excuse to justify their hostility towards immigrants are merely hiding what is nothing more than prejudice against foreigners in general.

The other excuse that cracks me up is the BS about "securing our borders against terrorists." Oh puh-LEEZE!!!!! How many of the 19 hijackers involved in 9/11 were Mexicans, or Salvadorans, or Nicaraguans, or some other group of taco eaters? None! So again, that's just an excuse used to justify plain old narrow-minded bigotry.... Oh, and I meant the term "taco eaters" in the nicest possible way.

What I do object to is giving illegal immigrants too many rights. For example, during the last census there was argument over whether illegals should be counted when setting up new congressional districts. Well, why would you? They're in the country illegally, for crying out loud! And some states have even debated whether illegal aliens should be issued drivers licenses. Again, why would you do that? They're here illegally! And yes, for crying out loud!

I'm also bothered by the increasing use of bilingual tools. For example, when I go to an ATM, why should I first have to choose whether to read the screen in English or in Spanish? Or if I have to navigate the various options in a voicemail system, why should I first have to choose between the two languages? And if you work in a McDonald's, they shouldn't need to call over an interpreter when I order an Egg McMuffin.

Speaking of McDonald's, there's nothing I hate more more than all those women behind the counter jabbering away, glancing in my direction, and bursting out in laughter. It's just rude, and it makes me nervous. What's so damn funny? Is my fly down? Is there a booger hanging from my nose? What?

And don't even get me started on the middle eastern women who want to be photographed for their drivers licenses wearing burqas. Don't laugh: That issue has gone to court in several states.

If someone wants to come to this country, fine, but it should up to them to adapt to our culture and our language. That's the sacrifice they have to make if they want to participate in our society. It shouldn't be up the rest of us to adapt to their ways.

Hmmm.... I'm not sure what led to the preceding rant. My intent was to merely post about a recent news item out of Sand Diego. It seems two officials of a construction company were recently fined for hiring illegal aliens. Nothing unusual about that, you say? Well, normally, no. But in this particular case they had used illegal aliens while building a wall to secure the local border with Mexico.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Turning On The Heat

Global warming skeptics have long argued that the scientists predicting the worst case scenarios for climate change are wrong. Well, guess what? It turns out the the skeptics were right after all! The so-called climate experts who said the Arctic Ocean would be seasonally ice-free by the year 2050 were wrong after all!!!

According to new data, the warming is actually occurring three times faster than forecast, and the Arctic will actually be ice-free 30 years sooner, by the year 2020.

'Cauldron Of Chaos'

Last week both houses of Congress passed legislation imposing a timeline on the withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq. Virtually all forces were to be out by the middle of next year. Needless to say, President Bush is expected to veto the bill the moment it hits his desk.

Today, in anticipation of that move, the President said that any requirement to schedule the withdrawal of Americans by a specific date would turn Iraq into a "cauldron of chaos."

Huh? What does he mean by "turn into?" You have dozens of people--sometimes well over a hundred--being killed every single fucking day in Iraq. The American military has resorted to building 12 foot concrete walls across entire neighborhoods in Baghdad in an effort to contain the sectarian violence. Our own government has just released statistics showing a 91% increase in terrorist attacks in Iraq from 2005 to 2006. And this past April saw 104 American soldiers die in that shithole that the President has gotten us mired in. That makes last month the 7th deadliest of the entire four year old conflict.

President Bush needs to take his head out of his ass long enough to take a look around. That cauldron is already there, and it's overflowing with bodies.