Monday, June 30, 2008

Relief for Our Worries Is on the Way

Wonderful news, everyone! The end of the Iraq war, relief from high oil prices, an end to the recession in America, and a solution to the dangers posed by global warming may ALL finally be in sight!!

Scientists in Switzerland are about to switch on the so-called Large Hadron Collider. If you haven't heard of it, the LHC is essentially a 17 mile circular particle accelerator that will test some unproven theories in physics, such as the existence of dark matter, dark energy, and quarks. Scientists are very excited about the thing, and have their pocket protectors in knots over the treasure trove of knowledge that it will provide mankind.

On the other hand, there is the slightest teeny-tiny chance, however unlikely, that it will create a massive black hole that will suck up the entire known universe, including New Jersey.

Just Another Same Sex Marriage

Happy Anniversary

It was exactly 100 years ago this very minute that a mysterious, massive explosion occurred over the skies of Siberia, flattening 800 square miles of trees and knocking people hundreds of miles away off their feet.

The exact cause of the Tunguska Event (named for a river in the area) remains unknown, but most scientists think it was either an asteroid or comet. One of the difficulties in pinning down the exact nature of what happened is that there is no actual crater. The reason, say some experts, is that the object either exploded or vaporized in the atmosphere before actually reaching the ground. More recently, other scientists have discovered that remains of whatever did hit the Earth may be buried in a nearby lake.

There are, of course, plenty of other theories. Most are dismissed as downright ridiculous by the established scientific community. One holds that the nuclear power plant of an alien spaceship malfunctioned and blew up. Another theory is that the Earth encountered a small chunk of antimatter. And a more recent idea is that there was a huge release of methane from underground that somehow ignited.

Then there's my own personal theory, completely unfounded in rational thought and without a modicum of evidence to back it up, except for my personal interpretation of the Bible: A herd of caribou in the Tunguska region had recently legalized same sex marriage, and God was smiting them.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hasta la Vista, XP

Tomorrow is the day Microsoft officially pulls the plug on Windows XP.... More or less. Although most computer manufacturers will no longer be able to sell machines loaded with XP, there will be some exceptions.

Chief among those are the so-called "subnotebooks," such as the Asus eee laptop. Those machines simply don't have the ability to run a memory hog such as Vista (the Asus, depending on the exact model, has as little as a 4 gig hard drive). If not for XP, the only other operating system for those tiny laptops would be Linux, and apparently Microsoft isn't ready to completely surrender the subnotebook market.

Also, customers who do buy a Vista machine will still be able to purchase an "XP downgrade," but only at additional cost. In other words, Microsoft is going to force Vista on you whether you want it or not.... Much like what happens when you drop your soap in a prison shower.

Microsoft also says that Windows Seven will be out in early 2010. However, don't look for any improvements with that. The company says that Seven will run "off the same core architecture as Windows Vista." In other words, if you already hate Vista, you're gonna really, REALLY despise Windows Seven.

Given their policy of repeatedly alienating and antagonizing customers, the people at Microsoft must think they're running an airline.

Well, there's always Apple.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Friday, June 27, 2008

Breaking News

Hey, Baby!


After weeks of inducing mass hysteria over tomatoes, the Food & Drug Administration now says that they may NOT be the source of a recent salmonella outbreak after all. The fresh doubt arises because people are still getting sick, long after the suspect tomatoes were pulled from stores and restaurants.

FDA investigators are now backtracking to see if some other fruit or vegetable is the culprit, or if the contamination is somehow spreading to otherwise clean food in warehouses.

What's next? Is someone going to tell us that there weren't actually any WMD's in Iraq, and that the whole thing was just a false alarm?

Send No Money Now

A Washington state woman has been sentenced to two years for running one of those Nigerian email scams. Victims were duped into cashing checks on behalf of someone overseas, then sending most of the funds back to the source while keeping the remainder as payment. Problem was that the checks were later discovered to be fake, and the helpful victims would end up being liable for the entire amount.

Okay, so the woman who thought this scheme up is in jail. But what about the people who were dumb enough to fall for it? Is it fair to future generations of mankind that these people are allowed to remain free and breed, thereby forcing down the average IQ of future, as yet unborn human generations?

Whatever. I don't have time to pontificate on the stupidity of others. I have to go help a recently deposed African prince smuggle his family's $30 million fortune out of his country, and for some reason he needs my bank account information to do it.

Gosh, I feel so special!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Meanwhile, Down at the Ol' Swimming Hole....

Your Deficit Dollars in Action

A new report by the Pentagon says that it will cost $100 billion (yes, that's the one a "b") to replace or repair equipment that is being worn out or damaged by the Iraq war. That includes everything from rifles to planes to armored vehicles. The situation is so dire, in fact, that the cost of equipment replacement may jeapordize a plan to add 92,000 soldiers and marines. This is above and beyond the $10-15 billion a month that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are already costing us.

I say we take it out Bush's retirement benefits.

Just Don't Wipe and Drive

I want one of these for MY car!

Going Home for a Spin

An Italian architect has proposed building an 80 story "rotating" skyscraper. Each floor would be secured to a central concrete column, but then slowly rotate independent of one another depending on the wind. And since each floor would have a different design, the effect would be a building that constantly changes shape.

Sounds good. Maybe a moving target will be harder for terrorists to hit.

Why I'll Miss George Carlin

Religion can be very complicated. Thank God we had George Carlin to explain it to us.

The True Measure of Bush's UNpopularity

There has been a lot of talk lately that President Bush is so unpopular that Republican candidates are avoiding him like the plague. In fact, many feel that worst thing a Republican running for office could do, aside from getting arrested for plowing his car through a crowded school bus stop while driving drunk and fleeing police trying to arrest you on charges of molesting little boys while shoplifting from the local homeless shelter's food bank, is to have the President actually show up and campaign for you.

But it may be even worse than that.

In Oregon, Republican Senator Gordon Smith is up for re-election. He has begun airing television spots which include words of praise.... From Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Due Date

Creating a Poop Free Zone

Wimbledon tennis tournament officials, in an effort to garner some free publicity and re-ignite international interest in their sport, have hired marksmen to shoot and kill pigeons. The dangerous birds had been pooping on an outdoor restaurant area and "dive-bombing" the players. The pigeons also distracted tournament officials from their usual pastime of torturing and dismembering Koala bears.

Good news: So far it appears the move to kill the birds has generated PLENTY of publicity!

How to Make a Bad First Impression

The NEW Iraq War

With all the other crap that has been going with Iraq, here's a story that's only now starting to make headlines: The United nations authorization under which the U.S has been operating in Iraq expires at the end of this year. And since the U.N. is unlikely to renew the current authorization, that means a new accord between Iraq and the U.s. will have to be reached in the coming months.

And therein lies the rub.

For the Americans, the difficulty is that any new agreement reached now will also effectively tie the hands of the new President that will be taking office next January 20. For the Iraqis, the debate goes to the very center of their future independence and sovereignty. And for the rest of the Arab world, the question centers on how much influence the meddlesome Iranians will have in Iraq.

The big question for Iraqis is how many permanent American bases to allow. They want fewer and the U.S. wants more. The U.S. also wants immunity from Iraqi laws for American soldiers and contractors. So far the two sides remain far apart on the issue, and at times negotiations have come close to breaking down entirely.

Even if negotiators are able to reach an agreement, it would still be subject to approval by the Iraqi Parliament. The U.S. Congress would also want to debate the matter, though the Bush administration is likely to argue that congressional approval is unnecessary. That would set up a major political battle in Washington even as politicians campaigning for the November elections.

And what happens if no new agreement is reached by the end of the year? Well, there are those who argue that the Iraq war would then become illegal on January 1.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Here's the trailer for the upcoming Batman sequel. Can't help but feel that they've cut some corners with the special effects.

Arrows of Mass Destruction

You may recall that a few months ago there was a news item about a "lost tribe" that had been found in Brazil. The natives had never had any contact with the outside world, and an aerial photo showed members of the tribe trying to shoot arrows at the plane.

The world was stunned that even now, well into the 21st century, with instant global communication available in the most remote reaches of our planet, such an isolated and previously undiscovered group could exist.

Well, guess what? Turns out the photo was a fake. Sorta.

While no one is known to have actually had a face-to-face meeting with members of the group, they had actually been documented almost a century ago. Since then the Brazilian government has monitored the isolated tribe from a distance, as they do with many such indigenous natives.

The man who released the photo says he pulled off the hoax to draw international attention to the fact that such isolated people still exist. Advocacy groups see such groups as under threat from the outside world.

Needless to say, major news media organizations are somewhat chagrined that they fell for the stunt. Hell, they should be downright embarrassed.

This story has turned out to be the biggest hoax perpetrated upon the world since that whole WMDs in Iraq thing.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Turning Up the Heat

It was 20 years ago today that a little known NASA scientist testified on Capital Hill and first sounded the alarm on a radical new idea: Global warming.

That testimony took place in 1988 which went on to become the warmest year on record--up till then. Since 1988, 14 years have been even warmer.

In the two decades since, James Hansen--now director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies--has become a leading expert on the dangers of global warming. The Bush administration, ever vigilant in its efforts to marginalize science. has in recent years sought to tone down or even suppress Hansen's reports.

Even outside the White House, there remain skeptics who say global warming is a myth. One of those is Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Oklahoma, who said "the alleged 'consensus' over man-made climate fears continues to wane and more and more scientists declare their dissent." This opinion is not surprising coming from someone like Inhofe, who has succeeded in permanently acclimating his body to an average temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, that's to be expected when you spend all your time with your head up your ass.

George Carlin: 1937-2008

Comedian George Carlin has died. His presence in the world of comedy will be greatly missed. It was just last week that he was selected to receive the Kennedy Center's Mark Twain Prize for his lifetime of achievements in comedy.

While Carlin is probably best remembered for his "seven dirty words" routine--a bit that actually got him arrested in Wisconsin in 1972. But there was much more to his comedy than merely uttering obscenities. He was also a keen observer of human nature. But he was always at his best when lambasting those in power.

Another of his favorite targets was religion.

Finally, with an election coming up in November, it's important we listen to Carlin's argument for NOT voting:

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Story of My Life

Makes Me Wish I Were a Chinese Baby

A policewoman in China has been promoted for going above and beyond the call of duty in the weeks after last month's massive earthquake. She breastfed orphaned babies.

Wonder if I could have cut into that line.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

And They Have Soft Chewy Centers!

Friday, June 20, 2008

'Sorry About That, Chief'

One of my favorite TV shows while growing up in the late 18th century was Get Smart. And considering how badly some other recent updates of old shows have turned out, I was particularly concerned about this one.

Turns out there was no need to worry. In Steve Carell's capable hands, Max turned out pretty well. In fact, if the original 1960s' Get Smart was intended as a spoof of the Bond films, the new movie puts the old show to shame in that department.

The movie is much more action packed than the series ever was. It has the requisite chase scenes, including one involving skydiving. Another has Max hanging off the back of a Cessna being flown by The Chief. The banter between Max and Agent 99 is also more suggestive than anything you would have heard from Don Adams or Barbara Feldon. Beyond that, Carell's Smart--while still somewhat accident prone--is far less of a doofus than Adams' version ever was.

There aren't quite as many gadgets as in the old show, though a Swiss Army knife containing a flamethrower and a miniature crossbow plays an important role. The shoe phone and the little red convertible driven by Don Adams also make an appearance.

Alan Arkin plays The Chief. And yes, Max gets to deliver his classic "Sorry about that, Chief" line on several occasions. Bill Murray makes a brief appearance as a lonely Agent 13 stuck inside a tree. James Caan plays the not-too-bright President (gee, I wonder who he's modeled after). At one point he's talking about "nook-cue-ler" weapons and someone in his entourage yells "It's pronounced nuc-LEE-er!"

Masi Oka (Hiro from Heroes) and Nate Torrence play CONTROL analysts. A couple of times they bump fists, which I found surprising since that's known to be a secret terrorist signal.

But perhaps the most interesting role belonged to a guy named Dalip Singh. According to his IMDB page, he's 7'2" and almost 400 pounds. Singh is from India and a pro wrestler. Get Smart was his first movie. He plays a KAOS assassin who bears more than a passing resemblance to Jaws, the bad guy played by Richard Kiel in a couple of the Bond films.

And the guy driving the car that Max tries to commandeer at one point? That turned out to be Bernie Koppel, who was Doc on The Love Boat. (Thought he looked familiar.)

One gripe: To reach the underground CONTROL headquarters, Max is seen entering the Smithsonian castle in Washington, DC. Once inside, he has to go past an exhibit of an African elephant. In actuality, the Smithsonian castle has only offices; the elephant is in the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History, located about half a mile further down The Mall in DC. Picky? Yes, but it drives me nuts when movies supposedly set in DC get things wrong.

Much of the story centers around a bakery in Moscow. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but that seemed like an homage to the recurring "I lost you at the bakery" line from the old series.

And would movie theaters PLEASE stop running the Coca-Cola ad with James Carville and Bill Frist? First of all, I find it highly objectionable to have to sit through a damn commercial AFTER I just paid almost eight bucks to see a matinee. Secondly, I understand that the ad is supposed to be cute. It shows Carville (liberal Democratic party advisor) and Frist (conservative Republican and former Senate majority leader) arguing on a talk show, taking a long break while drinking Cokes, and eventually becoming best buddies. Problem is, Frist left DC almost two years when he retired from the Senate. He's gone. He's history. If you're going to torture me with commercials, at least update the damn things occasionally.

Slight change of subject: A lot of reviewers lambasted M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening. Personally, I think it got a bad rap. The movie's no Sixth Sense, but it's still worth seeing. And I thought it was far better than Shyamalan's Signs, which was that ridiculous alien invasion movie with Mel Gibson. Most importantly, it's got Zooey Deschanel in it. And who needs a plot when she's on screen?

Fly the Friendly Skies

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Never a Winner

A Boon to California's Economy

Same sex marriages are now legal in California, and couples have been flocking to the state from across the country. Unlike Massachusetts, which also permits same-sex marriages, California does not have a residency requirement for issuing marriage licenses. This is actually proving to be an huge economic benefit to the Golden State in the form of increased tax revenue, as well as revenue for caterers, florists, the travel industry, and manufacturers of protest signs.

Speaking of which, there was a demonstrator outside the Sacramento County Recorder's Office with a sign that read "Resist Judicial Tyranny." Huh? How is the expansion of rights and individual freedoms qualify as "tyranny?" To quote Inigo Montoya in The Princes Bride, "You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means."

It remains to be seen how courts in other states will handle this. Whether by law or tradition, states have always recognized marriages performed in other states. That's why if you and your spouse move from, say, Ohio to North Carolina, you don't have to get married again. So what happens if a same-sex couple gets married in California, honeymoons at Disney World, and then returns to East Bumfrak, Indiana? Will their marriage no longer be recognized? How could it NOT be? Additionally, many states have laws or even constitutional amendments specifying marriage as being between a man and a woman. Lawyers are going to have a field day with this.

Anyway, among those recently obtaining a marriage license was Star Trek actor George Takei. He and his partner of 21 years are planning a September wedding.

Informed of this, conservative evangelical Christian members of the Klingon High Council have begun clamoring for an invasion of Earth.


Came across this ad the other day for a "personal lightning detector." If you're about to get hit, it's supposed to sound an alarm so you can duck, seek shelter, kiss your sweet ass goodbye, or whatever.

Guess it works. So far no one who's been struck has asked for a refund.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Scant Choices for Republicans

Former Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee says that "demonizing" Barack Obama would be a fatal mistake for the Republicans this fall.

Well, duh.

But what other choice do Republicans have? They certainly can't run on their record. Resorting to fear and innuendo about their opponents is what they do best. Hell, that was Bush's winning reelection strategy in 2004. And McCain has already made clear he will not distance himself from Bush, even though the President has reached record low approval ratings.

That leaves only lies and slurs, two specialties that Republicans excel at. With any luck, the American people will finally stop falling for their crap.

How Do I Remove Dried Spittle from My Monitor?

You know, there's nothing I enjoy more than working myself into a good lather. That's how it was yesterday with the whole stupid Firefox 3.0 thing. When I discovered that the old Session Saver add-on wasn't compatible with the new version, I got really pissed. I immediately uninstalled it, then went to Google and started looking for the old version 2.0 so I could download it.

That wasn't as easy as you might think. The official Mozilla site was only offering the new 3.0 version. Even sites that said they had the old 2.0 had already updated their links so you would end up downloading 3.0 instead. By the time all was said and done, I was frothing at the mouth like some sort of rabid animal. The cats even offered to take me to the vet for my shots.

So that's why I'm really, really pissed at Dogbait. He left a comment yesterday that Session Saver was actually built into Firefox 3.0; it was no longer just an optional add-on.

So I tested it out by downloading the new Firefox onto my old computer, opening a bunch of tabs, actually typing text into an email, and then yanking the power cord out of the back. Then I plugged it back in, and when I clicked the Firefox icon on the desktop, it asked if I wanted to restore the old session. Lo and behold, all the tabs reappeared, and even the text I had been typing was still there in mid sentence. And yes, even my beloved Walnut for Firefox theme was working as well.

Don't tell anyone, but I'm positively giddy with delight.

So that now leaves me with a dilemma. I can either admit I was wrong and that all that outrage yesterday was wasted, or I can redirect my anger and frustration at some new and completely innocent target.... Like McDonald's coffee.

But I'll save that for another post. Right now I have to finish downloading Firefox 3.0 on my computers.

Can't Get No Satisfaction

Well, Polanski Certainly Got His Way

Anyone who lived in the DC area in the 1970s and the early 1980s remembers the so-called "Ourisman Chrevrolet girl." Her actual name was Susan Gailey, and she used to sing a catchy little ditty about "You'll always get your way-aay/At Ourisman Chev-ro-let!" Then at some point she just kind of disappeared from the local airwaves. Though everyone remembered her, no one seemed to know what had become of her.

Well, now we know. She's the mother of Samantha Geimer. Who? Well, Geimer was 13 years old in 1977, and was the girl at the center of movie director Roman Polanski's statutory rape case. After his arrest, but before the case could go to trial, Polanski fled the country. To this day he can not set foot in the U.S. without risking arrest.

Gailey finally came out of the closet--so to speak--last month when she showed up with her daughter at the premier of a new documentary called Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired.

I'm suddenly a lot more impressed by Chevrolets.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Now Guess Which One Wears Diapers

Firefox Update: The Egg Hatches

I was finally able to access the add-ons page and download an updated version of Walnut for Firefox. However, I think I'll keep walking in circles and mumbling incoherently simply because it feels so darn good.

However, here's the REALLY bad news about Firefox 3.0: The Session Saver add-on no longer works, and there doesn't appear to be any update for it. If you're unfamiliar with Session Saver, it is simply the best damn thing since the invention of sliced bread. If your computer crashes, or there's an unexpected power outage, Session Saver would restore all your tabs and even any existing text you had been typing when you reboot. It was, in my estimation, the single best feature of Firefox. Or, more precisely, USED to be the single best feature of Firefox.

If there's no fix for this, there's really no longer any point of using Firefox.


Call me old fashioned, but I ended up uninstalling Firefox 3.0 and switching back to 2.0. I was able to find a download of the old version online.

Firefox 3.0 Lays an Egg

Well, today is the big day for downloading the much ballyhooed Firefox 3.0, which is supposed to be the computer equivalent of the second coming of Christ.... Or at least several simultaneous orgasms.

So are they going to succeed in setting the new record, whatever it may be? Probably, since apparently there wasn't an old record to break. Even so, Firefox was apparently unprepared for the crush.

The new version became available for downloading at 1 PM (eastern) but a lot of users are having problems accessing the site. It took me maybe a dozen tries, but I finally downloaded it onto my laptop about an hour ago.

If you have some add-ons you can't live without, you may want to hold off on Firefox 3.0. My Session Saver survived the switch, but my Walnut for Firefox theme did not. So now I'm left with a generic light blue theme. I'm really NOT HAPPY about this turn of events, either. I've used the Walnut theme for years now, and I have absolutely no desire to go hunting for a new one. I'm like Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man: I can't handle change, and when confronted by unfamiliar surroundings I become disoriented, begin walking in circles, and mumbling incoherently to myself.

I did try going to the add-ons page, but that's also inaccessible at the moment.

My desktop has even more add-ons that I'm not willing to risk. Think I'll keep good ol' Firefox 2.0 on it.

My Kind of Workout

Monday, June 16, 2008

What REALLY Pisses Off the Hulk

Damn Aliens Are Everywhere

Scientists studying meteorites have discovered the presence of organic molecules on meteorites. These molecules are the basic components of amino acids, which in turn are the building blocks of life itself. This is startling, because it not only implies that the seeds of life came from outer space, but that they can survive the plunge through Earth's atmosphere. It also strongly suggests that we are all alien in origin.

Of course, creationists will argue that this new evidence still doesn't explain how those molecules eventually combined to create life. That's not surprising. Whenever new scientific discoveries somehow discredit longstanding religious beliefs, the believers find a way to rationalize the evidence away, and then go on to find new straws to cling to.

The mere suggestion that we all somehow came from space is certain to also shake up the debate over illegal immigration. After all, it strongly implies that the only illegal aliens in America aren't all from Mexico.

On the other hand, let's see a basic amino acid on a meteorite mow your lawn.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pass the Preparation P

The International Astronomical Union of Nerds Who Can Never Get Laid Because They're So Damn Picky, not satisfied with having demoted Pluto a few years ago, has decided to reclassify the former planet as something called a "plutoid."

I'm sorry, but plutoid sounds more like a medical term for small hemorrhoids around Uranus.

Happy Father's Day

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

South Korea was rocked by massive protests this week after the government announced it would lift its long standing ban on imported American beef. Citizens there are apparently think that all American beef is contaminated with mad cow disease. Never mind the crazy dictator armed with nuclear bombs that lives on their northern border; it's the frakkin' hamburgers that South Koreans are going to worry about!?!?!

This concern is, of course, patently false and completely unfounded. American beef is perfectly safe. It's only the beef we send to other countries that is contaminated.

Maybe we should send them our tomatoes and REALLY piss them off!

Has Fox News Completely Lost It?

The people at Fox News have outdone themselves this past week.

First, one of their commentators, a crazy blonde bitch named E. D. Hill, suggested that the recent playful fist bump between Barack and Michelle Obama was some sort of secret terrorist signal.

And if that wasn't bad enough, a recent on-air graphic from Fox News read "Obama's Baby Mama." It was about a news item on Michelle Obama. It also happens to be street lingo for for the unmarried mother of a man's child. In other words, a not-so subtle reminder to viewers that the Obamas are--GASP--black!!!!!!

Wow! Thanks for pointing that out, Fox. I hadn't noticed.

This comes on the heels of another remark by yet another Fox News contributor--Liz Trotta--that maybe someone should "knock off" Obama.

But you know what's even MORE frightening? There are still Americans who honestly believe that Fox News is "fair and balanced."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Unintelligent Design

There are people out there who are concerned that America is losing its edge in science.

Well, duh. That's what happens when a state's legislature votes to approve the teaching of intelligent design in its public schools, as Louisiana has now done. Never mind that there is absolutely no scientific basis for it whatsoever; it's going to be taught. Hell, why not also offer classes in sorcery and wizardry, using the Harry Potter series as official state sanctioned textbooks?

I'm not a religious person, but I'm going to begin praying that God will send a massive hurricane towards Louisiana and wipe those morons off the map.

Slick Dick Strikes Again

A couple of days ago, in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Vice President Cheney said that China, in cooperation with Cuba, is drilling for oil 60 miles off the coast of Florida. He made this assertion in a speech calling for more offshore drilling by American oil companies. Those firms are currently restricted to certain areas of the Gulf of Mexico.

Problem is, the statement is not true. There are no Chinese or Cubans drilling for oil so close to the U.S. coast. That's okay, though, since this is hardly the first occasion on which our fearless Vice Leader has been caught fibbing. Even more importantly, at least this time no Americans died because of a Cheney lie.

Cheney's office has sought to downplay the episode by explaining that the Vice President read about the China-Cuba joint venture in a George Will column.

Huh? George Will? First of all, Will is an idiot. Maybe not quite as large an idiot as, say, Rush Limbaugh, but that's not for the lack of trying. And since when does the U.S. government rely on commentators and opinion writers for its intelligence gathering? Are actual facts outmoded? Have we learned nothing from the Iraq fiasco?

No wonder this administration is so royally screwed up.

Now THAT'S An Exit Strategy!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

And Any Historians Who Disagree Will Be Tortured*

*Er, I mean "harshly interrogated."

A Time For Tradition, & A Time For Change

Last month a woman by the name of Mildred Loving died in Richmond, Virginia. She wasn't particularly famous, though she did an absolutely amazing thing in 1958: She got married.

What's the big deal about that, you ask? Well, Mildred was black, and she married (GASP!!!!) a white man. Such a thing just wasn't legal in Virginia, even in the second half of the 20th century.

She and her husband to be had driven 80 miles to Washington, DC for the wedding, then another 80 miles back to Central Point, Virginia to begin their life together. It was a rural area, and no one seemed to mind that there was a mixed race couple living among them. Nevertheless, the local sheriff and several deputies kicked in the couple's door in the middle of the night and arrested them on charges of "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth."

They avoided additional jail time by agreeing to leave Virginia. However, the couple eventually wrote then Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and their case ended up in front of the Supreme Court. Virginia's law barring interracial marriages was finally struck down exactly 41 years ago today.

I bring this up for up two reasons. First, the California supreme court recently ruled that same sex marriages are legal in the state. For legal reasons, the ruling takes effect June 16. Complicating the situation is a ballot measure to amend the state's constitution defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. Assuming the amendment passes in November, that would effectively render the court's ruling null and void. But what will happen to the marriages that were legally performed between June 16 and the effective date of the amendment? That's the big unknown at this point. The only thing that is certain is that the lawyers will have a field day.

The second reason I found Mildred Loving's passing noteworthy is because I went to a same-sex wedding this past weekend. It was in Virginia, so the marriage isn't legally binding. Not at all surprising, since this state has repeatedly demonstrated it's not big on change. The couple chose June 7 because it also happened to be the tenth anniversary of their meeting. I was invited because we're all in the same Battlestar Galactica group. And I was only more than happy to attend since there was free food involved. Well, okay, there's the whole sharing of a special day thing, too.... But mostly it was about the food.

The ceremony was in a Unitarian Church. Not surprising, since if it had been in a Catholic Church, the skies probably would have been torn asunder, the ground would have shook, and a rain of fire and brimstone would have disrupted the cutting of the cake. But Unitarians are a more laid back bunch, so there was none of that silly wrath of God stuff.

Funny how God's vengeance tends to vary by denomination.

Anyway, what was most noteworthy about the ceremony is that, well, it wasn't all that different from a "regular" wedding. There was probably just over 100 people in attendance, including families. And during the reception, just like at a more traditional wedding, little kids were running around being obnoxious. And just like at regular weddings, I would stick my foot out, trip the little varmints, and then act all apologetic when they went sprawling and screaming across the floor.

In other words, the wedding was simply about two people picking a special day to formalize their commitment to one another, and inviting their friends and families to share in the celebration.

And isn't that what marriage is supposed to be about?

If I Had A Hammer, I'd A-Hammer The Cable Company

While at the wedding, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my personal heroes. No, no, not Britney Spears. Rather, it was a woman named Mona Shaw. I even went as far as to ask for her autograph.... Several times. She finally relented just before I was served with the restraining order. She was there because she's a member of the local Unitarian congregation that hosted the ceremony, as is the couple who were getting married.

Last fall 75 year old Mona and her husband found themselves getting jerked around by cable giant Comcast. First the company's technicians were late for an installation; then when they finally did show up, they only did half the work, etc. Sadly, Comcast is well known for treating customers like they were steaming piles of doggy-do, so the Shaws probably shouldn't have been surprised.

Anyway, with their cable service now cut off entirely, the couple went to the local Comcast office in Manassas, Virginia and asked to speak to the manager. They were told to wait, which they did.... For several hours.... Until someone finally told them the manager had left for the weekend.

The following Monday Mona grabbed a hammer--and her husband--and headed back to the Comcast office. When they tried to brush her off again, she took the hammer and started smashing keyboards and computers. Several cops eventually showed up, as well as the rescue squad. During all the excitement, Shaw had begun hyperventilating and her blood pressure shot up.

In my defense, I'll just say that I wasn't the only starstruck idiot there. At least two other people also asked her for autographs.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Putting Things In Perspective

William E. Odom: 1932-2008

William Odom has died. He was an outspoken early critic of the Iraq war, and as a former three star general, he had the credentials to back up his words.

Odom had served as a military adviser in both the Carter and Reagan administrations, and served as director of the National Security Agency under Reagan. He was also a forceful opponent of any compromise with the former Soviet Union. That's also why maybe more people should have listened to him in early 2003 when he warned that an invasion of Iraq would be "foolhardy and futile."

Last year he wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post called "Victory Is Not an Option" in which he called for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.

Odom also addressed the argument that if we leave now, all sorts of horrible things will happen in Iraq:
Reflect on the double-think of this formulation. We are now fighting to prevent what our invasion made inevitable! Undoubtedly we will leave a mess -- the mess we created, which has become worse each year we have remained. Lawmakers gravely proclaim their opposition to the war, but in the next breath express fear that quitting it will leave a blood bath, a civil war, a terrorist haven, a "failed state," or some other horror. But this "aftermath" is already upon us; a prolonged U.S. occupation cannot prevent what already exists.
His words of wisdom will be sorely missed.

Three's A Crowd

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Global Evaporation

A lot has been said and written about the rise in ocean levels as global warming worsens. But is the danger overblown? Indeed, is the fate awaiting our planet's oceans the exact opposite? One Maryland community certainly seems to think so, and has prepared a public service announcement to that effect.

Then & Now

Monday, June 09, 2008

Proof That Christianity Is Superior To Islam

A college professor in Illinois is claiming to have found Muhammad's name etched inside of a piece of bark that fell from a tree. The squiggly lines were apparently made by a wood boring insect.

Is manifesting himself in the form of a tiny bug the best Muhammad can do? I'm sorry, but that's just downright embarrassing.

At least in Christendom, Jesus and his mom can turn themselves into waffles, or toast, or water stains on a wall, or all sorts of other interesting forms. Heck, one time Christ showed up in a dog's butt!!! Let's see Muhammad do that!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go hide from the suicide bombers lining up outside my door.

Early Start

Sunday, June 08, 2008

No Heatwave There

With much of the nation locked in a grueling heatwave, what better distraction than a TV show about driving trucks across frozen lakes? Yes, Ice Road Truckers is back for its second season.

If you missed the show last year, it was about a group of drivers who haul supplies and heavy equipment to Canada's diamond mines near the Arctic Circle. The kicker is that much of the driving involves driving 20 or 30 ton vehicles across frozen lakes.

Apparently the owners of those diamond mines had some issues with how the truckers were portrayed in season one, so the show's producers shifted locales. This year the drivers will be hauling oil drilling equipment, and this time they will actually be north of the Arctic Circle. Four of the drivers from last season also made the move and will again be featured.... Yes, including the lovable Hugh Rowland.

All Choked Up

Former Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee recently used the Heimlich Maneuver to save a man from choking. Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, is deeply religious and was a darling of Evangelical Christians during the early primaries.

That's why this business of saving the guy's life is so disturbing. If the man was choking on a piece of food, wasn't it God's will that he do so? Perhaps the good lord was trying to kill him because he was sinner. How does Huckabee know that he wasn't in fact thwarting God's will by intervening with such an unnatural act as the Heimlich?

Clearly Mr. Huckabee has a lot to answer for.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


It seems that the more technology advances, the more our privacy erodes. Some people may argue that there's nothing wrong with that unless you have something to hide.

I wonder if they'll still feel the same after checking out this new site: You type in a cell phone number, and using GPS technology coupled with Google Earth to pinpoint the phone's exact location.

Damn Illegal Aliens Are Everywhere.... Oh, Right

Friday, June 06, 2008

Fly The Unfriendly Skies

Several smaller airlines have thrown in the towel during last few weeks, and even some of the big ones are in serious financial trouble. American Airlines is so desperate to make money that it has even begun charging $15 for each checked bag. All in all, this would seem to be a bad time to be in the travel business.

Despite the massive problems facing every carrier in the business, a new airline has just entered the field. And their innovative pricing system may be just the thing the industry needs.

Remembering D-Day

Pretty much every time I mention France, it's in some snide context. This is NOT one of those times.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Remembering RFK

It was forty years ago today that Robert Francis Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.

The below video is a montage of photos from RFK's life. The corresponding audio is his brother Ted delivering his eulogy.

Bush's Legacy

According to a new Senate report about the lead up to the Iraq war, President Bush "led the nation to war on false premises." The report also accuses the White House of misstating Saddam Hussein's links to terrorism and ignoring doubts among intelligence agencies about Iraq's arms programs.

Gee, ya think?

The report basically confirms what a lot of other people have already said: The American people were deliberately lied to by our President. As a result, more than 4,000 American soldiers are dead and thousands more are crippled for life. Oh, and let's not forget the two trillion dollars this conflict will eventually cost us, the loss of American prestige throughout the world, and the fact that Osama bin Laden remains a free man.

Bubble Boys

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Playing Twister

When I posted the below Tom Toles cartoon this morning, I had no idea about the kind of weather that was headed towards the DC area. The first set of storms rolled through the area around 3 PM and resulted in several tornado warnings, including one in the area of Dulles Airport. One person in Annandale (about ten miles west of DC) was killed when a tree fell on his car. Numerous other trees came down on other roads, and over two hundred thousand people were left without power.

A second, even more powerful line of thunderstorms is rolling through the area this evening. Three tornado warnings have already been issued for the southern end of Fauquier county. While Warrenton itself (located right in the middle of Fauquier conty) has gotten hammered twice today by powerful storms, at least we've managed to avoid the tornadoes themselves.... At least so far.

The tornado watches for the DC area have been extended till 1 A.M. It looks like a third wave of storms, currently over West Virginia and Ohio, is heading in our direction.

I'm not sure how yet, but this is all Bush's fault.