Thursday, March 31, 2005

favorite links

As you can see, i've revised the template (with ian's help) to better reflect that which i believe. for your convenience, i have highlighted some of my favorite blogs here. it's good to know that in a sea of the liberal MSM and the ultra-lefty net, there are a few decent blogs out there. conservatives do not deserve to toil away in obscurity; they deserve all the brraging they can get!

aldaynet ( --hands down, my favorite blog on the entire internet. tom alday is a brilliant blogger and one of the internet's finest intellectuals. i understand that he got a ton of abuse by ian and some of his commie pals. that only shows further the depths to which those loonies will go to discredit such a good man. when you don't have the turth on your side, all you have left is anger. nowhere else on the net are you going to see that so clearer than on aldaynet.

antiprotester ( --this group of raucous bloggers knows just where to stick it to those liberal cretins! this gang of scholars uses the wonderful gift of freedom of speech to defend conservatives' rights to silence liberals in their incorrect views. they know better than anyone that if people are wrong, they should not be allowed to speak (nor should they be treated with any modicum of respect).

off-the-cuff, off-the-record, off-the-wall ( —The former head of the College Republicans at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Flamingo Jones led the Wisconsin delegation for the Bush-Cheney team in 2004. she is a cynical type, the one you don't bring home to mom and pop. and i definitely understand that, because being a conservative republican in wisconsin will cause anyone to fall apart at the seams.

zac attack ( —Zac (real name: Zack) is a blogger from Pennsylvania who offers remarkable commentary on the major events of the day. Most recently, he worked vigorously for the Senate reelection campaign of Rick Santorum (R-Penn.). i admire zac for this bold stand; in these end times, we need courageous folk like sen. santorum in congress to uphold our constitutional freedoms. gays want special rights and we can't allow them to enjoy what the rest of us enjoy. more than anyone, zac sees the injustice that gays face on a daily basis, and why we should continue that proud tradition.

tomorrow, more on the tragic terri schiavo death, the pope's feeding tube and why God is an awesome god! and why liberals suck.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

my first column

as you all know, ian is a columnist. and a liberal one at that. his latest work can be seen at more than words (, where he still posts for the next few weeks. with this blog, i am finally able to write columns of my own! i think it'll be a lot of fun AND it will put Ian in his palce for once. God knows the conservative guy in that paper doesn't do that good of a job. so anyhoo, here's my first column for Right About Everything:

Terri: Death Support?

Terri Schiavo. The name's been on everyone's lips for weeks now. It appears some idiots, including her husband Michael, want her to die. I can't think of anything worse than that. The question I wish to pose is, why does everybody on the left want her to die?

Terri Schiavo was a very pretty young woman. She was very much alive when she suffered the heart attack in 1990 that stopped her brain function. Since then, she is still alive, though in a vegetative state. Her husband Michael has wanted her to die almost from the first moment doctors discovered that most of her brain was no longer alive. How dare he?

Despite everything the courts have said over the years, and despite all of the current legal brouhaha that has people in a tizzy, I cannot side with anyone other than Terri's parents, who want her to remain alive. They say she is a living, breathing human being, a point with which I cannot argue. Anyone who has seen the videos where Terri responds to her mom, follows a balloon, listens to her favorite jazz music and hugs her mom can see that Terri is in no way invalid. She certainly does not deserve the tragic fate which Michael has forced upon her.

Ask any of the numerous nurses and health-care practitioners who assisted Michael over the years in Terri's care. One even said he was "a pain in the ass" with his demands. If he really cared, then he wouldn't have interfered so much in the day-to-day workings of her personal maintenance.

In his own way, Michael is a very Machiavellian character. It is clear that he orchestrated the whole event to his advantage every step of the way: when she first had her heart attack and subsequent chemical imbalance, he chose to keep her alive. Fifteen years later, he now wants her dead! Can it be any clearer that he just wants the national attention and glory that has been bestowed upon him? Talk about an attention whore. If he had any integrity within him, he would have made a decision at the very onset of the accident and stuck with it! Good Americans (not to mention servants of God) do not waffle in their choices. Swerving is not a virtue!

As for him and the medical experts who argue that Terri's brain has shrunk more than 90% and is thus useless, I counter with Einstein's assertion that we only use 11% of our brains. So the way I see it, Terri's only lost one percent of her brain function! And for this we want to remove her gastrointestinal feeding tube? What kind of "culture of life" are we, anyway?

More than anything, the tragic Terri Schiavo case has shown that, no matter what the law says, we must never lose our appreciation for the value of life. Any life, be it alert, comatose or otherwise trapped in a silenced body. And if liberals and people like Michael Schiavo can't understand that, then they deserve the same fate. God said all life was equal; if we let one die, then everyone eventually will die!


jacob here. just wanted to let all of you know that I am the new voice of this blog. as you might have guessed, i am ian mcgibboney's cousin. im 26 and i graduated from texas christian univeristy with a degree in political science. i've studied lots about politics more so than the average blogger. this is my first foray into bloggimg so bear with me while i fix things here. until i figure out the format, that is, then i'll transfer the good stuff to my own domain name. right now there doesnt seem to be much good stuff as ian is apparently a complete idiot. i always knew he was a little off but i had no idea until i stumbled upon his blog. of course, it's a friendly rivalry we debate all the time. he is, in my view, a stellar writer but a little misguided when it comes to politics. but now that i have occupied his blog, i can speak for america about the issues that are most important--Abortion, Guns, Taxes, Prisons and the Bible. i know a lot of you readers are avid republicans and Conservatives so you should continue to fit in right here. one caveat, however: if you try to debate me, rest assured that i will probably win. not only have i studied more political systems and philosophers than you have, but i am also right. and it's hard to beat the truth. still, i encourage all of you to give it the old college try. that's what blogging is all about. talk to you again soon,


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

An open note to all of my readers

Hello friends...

You might have noticed that posting lately has been sporadic. This is because pressures in my life have been taking precedence, and I have been forced to give up some of the less essential things in my life. I am afraid I have to surrender this blog. The pressures of finishing a post-collegiate degree, combined with strains on my personal life (not to mention the substandard function of Blogger and Hello), have finally coalesced in ways that leave me unable to maintain my current energy level. As I begin to look for a new job, I realize that my energies are best directed at endeavors that will serve my personal and financial security in this time of transition.

But despair not! I intend to keep this blog alive for posterity. I hate to have this forum, which I have worked so hard to build from scratch, go to waste. This past Easter weekend, as some of you already know, I visited with several of my aunts, uncles, cousins and their friends. During the course of the weekend, one of my cousins, Jacob, expressed an interest in carrying on the blog. He’s been a fan of the site ever since he discovered it by Googling our last name (he’s vain like that), and told me that if I were going to abandon it, he might as well take it over.

So why not just have him start a brand-new blog? Well, we agreed that the benefits of doing it this way include: 1) name recognition; 2) a strong and dedicated bipartisan readership; and 3) he’s lazy and won’t have to screw around with a new template. In any event, he will transfer it to a new URL as soon as he has the time. In the days that follow, you’ll probably see some awkward transition here. That’s just him experimenting. But I trust Jacob to carry on the torch just as I have. Though we haven't discussed politics much, I have no doubt that Jacob will live up to the quality that you're used to reading here. He is 26 and holds a degree in political science from Texas Christian University. Can't argue with that expertise.

On my part, I strongly encourage all of you who are still active in the blogosphere to carry on the good work that you do. I know I will continue to do my part in countering the lies and disastrous actions of those currently in power.

For what it’s worth, I want to sincerely thank all of you who took time out of your lives to dish with me here on Not Right About Anything. I hope it’s helped to bring the big picture of world events into at sharper focus. I know it’s helped me become a better writer, thinker and debater—just the skills I hope to refine in a public forum sometime and somewhere in the near future. I hope it is an experience you can all share with me. I will definitely stay in touch, commenting and chatting with you whenever I can. Rest assured that I will never disappear!

Keep cool always,
Ian McGibboney

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Vanity Monologues

Decorate your plate the Louisiana way!

Inspired by the production of the currently Hello-halted license-plate graphic soon to be on my sidebar (as well as the recent spate of personalized-plate complaints on The Smoking Gun), I discovered a cool reference tool on the Louisiana DMV website. This search engine allows you to type in any combo of letters and numbers, telling you whether or not you can get it as a valid Louisiana license plate. Your inquiry can fall within one of three categories: available, not available and not acceptable. After a considerable amount of tinkering, I have come up with a list for those of you looking to obtain a Louisiana license plate.

Not acceptable:


Not available (meaning people actually have these):




And why aren't these taken?


Move over, Google--I've got a new favorite reference tool! What's on your state's plate list?

Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Passion of the Low Price

A religious story for Good Friday

On a Saturday morning one fortnight ago, I found myself shopping at virtually the only place one can shop in Lafayette, LA at 5 a.m.: the Wal-Mart Stupidcenter. After grabbing the supplies I would need for the events of the day (a newspaper, granola bars and a pack of videotapes...use your imagination), I stood in the only available line. In front of me were four or five very pretty young women, all in a bunch. They were all engaged in a conversation with the cashier, a fact that allowed me ample opportunity to fret at the short time I had to get out of there (and to ogle).

The conversation among the girls (and clerk) was spotty and filled with apparent insider references; I suspect the cashier knew at least one of them beforehand. From the snippets of conversation I collected, I ascertained the following things:

1) These girls were really into cigarettes
2) Some or all of them were just getting off work
3) The cashier definitely did not approve of whatever they did

I'm guessing that the girls were strippers. They were cute and modestly dressed (i.e., not in clubbing gear, though their faces were overly made up), suggesting an incognito ride home. They also reminded me somehow of a couple of strippers I have known over time, girls who found themselves in a rough patch while going through college or raising a kid. On the other hand, they make a ton of money too. I didn't know how to feel about that, or about assuming that they were strippers in the first place.

With mere minutes to spare, the ladies left and I got up to the counter. The clerk lady smiled at me, nodded her head toward the departing girls and said to me, "Those girls need Jesus. They lack direction!" All the while I thought to myself, "I'd like some their place." I also reflected on how ironic it was that the clerk was more concerned about guys seeing their naughty bits than she was about them smoking. I didn't say those thoughts out loud, of course; I don't need my issues projected onto the next customer. Instead, I smiled and handed over my debit card, affecting the good-little-short-haired-non-rebellious-young-man look I've worked so many years at perfecting.

Out in the parking lot, I saw all of the girls backing out in their car. Not one of them even glanced back at me. Not one. I'm guessing they were just coming down from the many hours of drunken, horny leering made to them by men holding sticky dollar bills (being that they need Jesus and all), so I didn't take it too personally.

As someone who has worked the night shift at numerous jobs, I have to recommend stepping out to these places in the thick of the night. It's great entertainment! See, once and for all, why they call them "ungodly" hours.

Have a good, uh, Good Friday!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Did Texas sneeze?

While driving this afternoon, I saw a license plate that almost made me crash:

And get this: the plate was from Illinois!

It's already starting...buckle up.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Caption Contest

"Unsafe at any speed" edition

--Gets 25 gallons to the mile
--License plate: "GOP HOR"
--The first-ever racist car
--Like any mediocre racer, this car ignores all caution flags
--This car has one checkered past
--In 2006, all cars must look like this
--No signals, no brakes, no reverse, no turning radius...this car stays the course!
--In true GOP fashion, this car built by the poor for nothing, sold by the auto industry at fat profit and bought by rich people at high cost
--As American as Mom and apple pie (this caption brought to you by Chevrolet)
--You should see the bumper stickers!
--Zero to 60 in 5.5 seconds...and out of Social Security just as fast
--This is one imperial Impala
--Not much under this hood
--From what I've heard about his past, Bush needs a pace car
--The 2000 model didn't sell, but the 2004 did well thanks to false advertising
--No money down, 0% APR...your kids will pay for it!
--Puts the "bender" in "fender bender"
--Low mileage, never driven off the beaten path...but enough about its namesake...

Saturday, March 19, 2005

GOP quote of the year (ANY year)

Found this via Daily Rotten

An unnamed (wonder why?) Bush administration senior official on the situation in Lebanon:

"There is no place for an armed militia in a democratic society."

You know, there are so many routes I could take with that one. It's like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" post!

If you ask this official if they think the National Guard should cease to exist, turn to page 3.

If you want to inquire as to why senior Bush officials are now directly contradicting the Second Amendment, turn to page 8.

If you marvel at a government official outright declaring that the United States is not a democracy, instead of merely implying it just like the past four years, turn to page 7.

If the Republican Party strikes you as relentlessly hypocritical in foreign affairs, turn to page 13.

If you assume that Bush and Co. will immediately distance themselves from this assertion, going so far as to overcompensate by endorsing Hezbollah's presence in Lebanon as a "fundamental right," turn to page 24.

If you're confident that rednecks everywhere will lay down their weapons in solidarity with their leaders' views on militias, put down this book and get help.

No matter which way you choose, explorers, keep in mind that eventually you will hit THE END.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Noshing with online pals

Yesterday afternoon, I had lunch with Flamingo Jones. She's not the first person I've met personally through blogging (that honor goes jointly to Murph and his mom jetbanana), but she probably represents the single most surreal first encounter I've ever had. Imagine a blind date where you've seen the picture and already know the person through extensive conversation, if such a thing can be imagined. Or picture seeing a toy on TV for years and then finally having it in your hand. Anyway, Flamingo was spending the week with sociable_solipsist in Baton Rouge and decided to brave the short 50-mile jaunt to see me for an afternoon. At least that's what she tells me...

We met at a coffeehouse near my place and then went to lunch. She rode in my truck! Cool! (I'm like Wayne when Aerosmith played on that episode of Wayne's World, except that Aerosmith is famous.) Both of us being laid-back and indecisive liberals, selecting a place to eat was really a pain in the ass. But we did (eventually) and we had a pretty good time, once I figured out her Wisconsin accent. It took a while, but I finally figured out what she meant by such Midwest colloquialisms as "drinking pop" and "Louisiana air stinks."

For her part, she said I struck her as the kind of guy who would drive a black Honda Civic coupe. Except that I'm too much of a rebel to drive a car of such a common color. I said she struck me as the kind of girl who would drive a neon-green new Beetle (which, of course, she does, a fact that really helped me on guessing that one).

Flamingo raved about our daytime rendezvous, calling her time with me "better than sitting around bored in my friend's apartment all day." High praise from a true individual!

While I certainly need no help from Blogger in making new friends, I think that it can only help like-minded individuals meet. Whether the objective is love or radical political revolution (or something in that wide gulf in between), getting to know someone through a blog--psychotics aside--can be a cool thing indeed.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Faster punishment! Kill! Kill!

In a move that should scare the pants off anyone in the know, I'm hoping to have lunch with the famous Flamingo Jones today. In the meantime, here's a fresh column for the March 23 Vermilion:

If ever anyone wants proof that American justice is impartial, they should be steered far away from the top stories of March 16, 2005.

Within the span of that one day, juries acquitted actor Robert Blake of murdering his wife and sentenced Scott Peterson to die. Of course, we in the media had long ago made up our minds.

A Los Angeles jury found Blake not guilty of two counts of solicitation for murder. Blake, known primarily for his role as the title character in the 1975-78 cop drama “Baretta,” was accused of the May 2001 murder of Bonnie Lee Bakley.

According to MSNBC, “No eyewitnesses, blood or DNA evidence linked Blake to the crime. The murder weapon, found in a trash bin, could not be traced to Blake, and witnesses said the minuscule amounts of gunshot residue found on Blake’s hands could have come from a different gun he said he carried for protection.”

Media coverage of the trial was a small-scale replica of the circus surrounding a certain other murder case that dominated 1994 and 1995. The general consensus in the media and in opinion columns during the trial was that Blake was undeniably guilty. This armchair verdict seemed less inspired by the facts of the case as by the notion that America loves punishing a monster. As Baretta himself always said, “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time!” Ultimately, the court ruled that Blake didn’t and won’t have to.

Justice buffs need not despair over Blake’s acquittal, however. Just hours before, another accused wife-killer from California received the ultimate sentence. Scott Peterson stood trial for the December 2002 murder of wife Laci. But why do the details matter? According to the court of public opinion, Scott was toast from the outset. A trial would be but a formality to distract us while the chair was warmed up.

I’ll admit that I was not high on the Peterson case. The only reason I felt that this case garnered such a huge level of attention was because Laci was a well-to-do, attractive woman. Pretty faces make for tantalizing press, even as equally tragic murder cases happen every week of the year.

Another reason for the nationwide appeal of the Peterson case was that Laci was eight months pregnant. I’d say that Laci’s murder counts as a double homicide; after all, she was very definitely having that baby. Still, the case became a bonanza for pro-death-penalty and pro-life activists alike.

I am not one to judge innocence or guilt, particularly after not having followed the Peterson case closely. But from the first day of coverage, the public seemed to have already thrown Scott into the electric chair. Those with whom I had conversations about the case always had the same reaction: “Scott is guilty. I hope they kill him.”

But whether or not Peterson or Blake deserved convictions, anyone who cares about justice should worry when such decisions are made before examining the evidence. Once an idea is fixed in our collective heads, it’s hard to let go. Ask any of the 119 exonerated Death Row inmates released since 1973 if rushing to judgment is such a great idea.

For these reasons, the death penalty should be abolished. No government should hold sway over the life or death of its constituents, particularly given the injustices of a system rooted so solidly on public passion.

People are still innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. As interested citizens, we can volley the ball of presumed guilt around the court of personal opinion as much as we want. Ultimately, however, that court is useless as a tool of true justice.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Is there any single scarier indicator of the future direction of our society?

Target advertising at its most frightening Posted by Hello

From my sister's July 2003 Seventeen magazine comes this gem. Like, ohmigod!

If ever you've wanted to blow obscene amounts of money for the privilege to wear colorful shirts, slobber over boys in colorful shirts and play annoying drunken games with your paid-for sister (or, like, at least sound like you do!!!!), then this book is for you!

Along with the $20.90 charge for the book, you will also have to pay additional fees for the cover, a dust jacket, a bookmark and for the stylish typeface of every individual page. You will also pay for a shelf to keep it on, even if you have your own place to store the book.

Perhaps you're concerned about whether you should purchase "The Official Sorority Handbook." But don't worry about stereotypes: all kinds of people buy this book! Those who read it include varsity athletes, cheerleaders, honors students, ROTC cadets, student-government leaders and those from just about any other club. There is no model sorority-girl wannabe!

So as you've seen, "The Official Sorority Handbook" is a great way to meet people (even if it's only to be asked, "Why in the hell would you buy this book?") But don't get an Internet to get it, girls...the site no longer exists. But if you have the right connections, you can get, like, anything you want! And ultimately, that's what Greek life is all about.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Caption Contest

"Dirty Rice" edition

--Presenting the 2005 Spring Fascist Show
--Condi models the revitalized Chairman Mao look
--"I do my little turn on the catwalk...on the catwalk, yeah..."
--"Four more years...ah ha ha ha ha..."
--"You don't want to go to Iraq? Talk to the hand!"
--Republicans always stand out in a field of camouflage
--"They're not here for you, Condi...Weird Al Yankovic's on the plane!"
--You've heard of jackboots? These are JILL-boots!
--The crowd cheered on cue, as per Executive Order 27937
--"Only four more years! Only four more years!"
--Amid the deafening roar, Condi had to sign her going price
--Minutemen, meet Minute Rice
--Has you ever seen Condi and Michael Jackson in the same room?
--"This is my military experience, give or take four years"
--The soldiers cheered Condi's announcement of her 2008 candidacy
--This marks the closest any top member of Team Bush has been to actual combat

Friday, March 11, 2005

New column: Putting the ‘Greed’ in ‘Degree’

This UL-centric column will be out the day after Student Government Association (SGA) elections. SGA has nearly doubled tuition in the last three or four years (with the occasional something to show for it). I think anyone who has been to college can identify with its point that education dollars often go toward questionable choices.

This is the first of my columns to carry a true disclaimer at the end. I hate doing that. Judging from recent feedback, however, people apparently need to be told when something's true and when it isn't. Blah.

With all of the events going on in national politics, the Personal Ian McGibboney Press has unfortunately neglected the political scene here at the University of Louisiana. So here is the latest word on campus politics:

LAFAYETTE (PIMP)--A proposal by the UL Student Government Association passed easily Tuesday, with students overwhelmingly voting to pointlessly jack up tuition.

By a vote of 1121-575, students approved Referendum 2, which asked full-time students to "assess themselves an extra $78 per semester, for no reason other than to make their tuition bills really huge."

SGA officials greeted the referendum's passage with extreme pride, calling it "a victory for the UL community." SGA president Katie Ortego said that the tuition increase will give the students a feeling of attending a more expensive school.

“LSU, UCLA, Duke, Harvard and Yale…what do all of these schools have in common?” she asked. “High academic rankings, national prominence and astronomically high tuition, that’s what. Your SGA simply put two and two together.”

Ortego contributed the success of the tuition hike to the student body's acceptance of previous tuition increases.

"The UL student population has, time and again, shown its enthusiasm for tuition increases. At first, we figured we had a tough sell. In Spring of 1999, for example, tuition for a full-time, in-state commuter student was about $928. But through years of promising such marvelous improvements as a five-story parking garage and a new student union, we were able to win hearts and minds."

One anonymous official added that even SGA began to wonder just how many more times they could get away with increasing tuition before students would begin to object. "But when we realized people would never consider the drawbacks of our proposals, such as the unrealistic idea of a parking tower on a back road or the new union taking several years to refurbish, we knew we could be bolder. So we decided to drop the pretense this time around and just ask for the money."

Despite the significant margin of victory in an election that garnered the highest-ever voter turnout, some students voiced skepticism over the pointless tuition jack-up.

"I can't believe that SGA was able to pull the wool over the school's eyes yet again," said an English graduate student who asked not to be identified. "Are students here really so near-sighted as to approve a useless increase in tuition? Such reckless and unaccounted spending threatens the university’s status as one of the best values in the region.”

Still, the student said, “At least they were honest. Such integrity is rare in any form of government these days.”

SGA officials declined to comment on where the new funds would be diverted, other than to make reference to a campus-beautification project.

"We find that the campus is at its most colorful during campaign week, with all of the candidates wearing their party shirts. We also find that SGA is at its most lucrative during campaign week,” said the unnamed official. “So to kill two birds with one stone, we have decided to hold new SGA elections every month. The newly raised funds will be used, in part, to purchase thousands of colorful campaign shirts, so that their presence may be felt on campus every day of the year."

The Big Three is already planning for its next election in April, in which students will be asked to consider two proposals: a $20 tuition increase to provide free issues of “TV Guide” on campus and a $45 increase for constructing new parking spaces in the Quad.

Note: The preceding column was satire. Don't you know me by now? Everything in it is fake, except for the Spring 1999 tuition figure.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Scraping the barrel bottom, part 3

The final installment of the old dreck

This last specimen of three columns from my old binder, circa 1998, is too futile to explain. Suffice to say, I guess I was influenced by one too many lousy and pointless high-school editorials. I recall that I wrote this at my grandmother's bedside while spending the night with her in the hospital. I did that a lot that year.

Untitled masturbation with no actual point

As I write this, I should be sleeping. SHOULD be--not that I ever actually do sleep at this time anyway. But a deadline's a deadline, and I do mean dead. Assuming I finish this at the earliest possible time, I could get maybe--hmmm--six hours of sleep before getting up, dressing, eating, and biking over here. Okay, maybe three hours. Yawn.

It's times like these I meander over to my fall schedule newspaper and look up class times. Abnormal Psychology at 8:00 a.m.?!! Never too early for such heavy analysis! "Gee, doc, I think I'm abnormal--I get up too damn early!"

Myself, my earliest class on MWF is noon (righteous!) and the other days is 9:30 a.m. None of this pre-dawn skip-breakfast-and-think stuff. No, I left that behind in high school. 2200 Lafayette High students are currently enjoying my gift.

All the same, I don't go for late-afternoon classes either. Nope. Got track practice. But even when I don't, I still don't. That aspect of high school I kept with me. Those 2200 aforementioned students can have some of that too. Too bad they have curfews.

The point of all of this is, despite all of the effort I expended to make my academic matters as daytime as possible, here I am at midnight still writing. Some things just come out whenever they feel like. Until we come up with a way to mutiny the system without being condemned, we'll just have to accept it for what it is. [WHOA!!!]

Good night!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Scraping the barrel bottom, part 2

More from the dusty binder of mediocrity

The second of three never-before-seen columns comes from the same time frame as the first one (indeed, it was probably written back-to-back with it, sometime in late 1998). This one reminds me of my original intent: I wanted to be a columnist for The Verm in any way that I could. I suppose that, in this early stage, I was trying to develop and demonstrate my versatility just so that I could have options. Sometime in 2000 and/or 2001, after failing twice to obtain the liberal-columnist position, I tried out for both food critic and Internet columnist. Zero for four. Lucky thing for me that The Verm didn't have any applicants for the liberal column in 2002 (I was asked to do it at a party I attended on impulse); I mean, you try to earn a competitive position with stuff like this!

Untitled naive, myopic, self-indulgent driving column

Riddle: Where can you get a driver's license without knowing how to drive?

Answer: Louisiana! [Crossed out] Um, figure it out or "Where Can't You?"

First, let me say that I am a lifelong resident of Louisiana, I love everything about it, and never intend to leave for more than a week at a time. [Whoa!!!] That said, the traffic sucks. Bad.

People love to trash Lafayette for its awful accident record. But you can't blame (at least totally) the drivers, the people in charge, or the lack of complete public transportation.

Blame the roads. Yes, the roads! Look at a map of Lafayette. There is, maybe, one straight street. I think the architects (or insults to the profession) who designed the pattern of Lafayette streets were looking at a busted screen door (or my busted screen door).

Lafayette, however, is only the tip of the one-way street. Go East, young one, to Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and you shall meet a unique breed, kamikaze drivers! And on top of all that, the powers that be raised the state speed limit to 70. Ooh! They've always done 70! Now the average kamikaze will be doing 90. With any luck, that particular motor mercenary will wreak his havoc on I-10 rather than Hebrard Boulevard. A flickering hope, yes, but hope all the same.

Movin' on up to Shreveport, the situation is a little bit better, but with all the gang activity up there you might not exactly still have your car to even compete on the road. As for Monroe? I've never been there. Sorry. I have been to Alexandria, but not since I've been able to drive.

That's a big reason I love USL. It's got a quality communications program, kickbutt sports--and frankly, I don't have to drive to walk here!

(For a much, ahem, different column on driving, see Adventures in Acceleration)

Tomorrow: something that absolutely defies rational explanation.

Scraping the bottom of the barrel

Presenting the first in a three-part series of really ancient stuff

My printer sucked then as much as Hello and Blogger do now Posted by Hello

Back in December 1998, I had my first opportunity to apply for the coveted post of liberal columnist for The Vermilion. The column I turned in was handwritten (and thus lost forever to history), though I do remember that it was a dialogue between two college students. The big issue at the time was the "truth-in-advertising" law, a legislative pile of shit passed in Lafayette as a direct reaction to the "Family Values Tour," which featured such non-family-friendly artists as Limp Bizkit, Rammstein, Ice-T and Orgy. The law stipulated that any future concert tour would have to be honest in its choice of name. If there was any joke that could possibly be mined from the sheer moronitude of that law, then the local media made it. It remains on the books to this day, though I don't think it's ever been enforced. Not that laws exist here to be enforced.

But anyway...

The column/dialogue I wrote centered that law. Was it any good? Well, I'll put it this way: a couple of nights later I got a phone call from the managing editor:

Editor: "You know how you applied for the liberal column?"
Me: "Yeah."
Editor: "Well, you didn't get it."
Me: "Um, thanks?"

Instead, the column went to a guy whose scope gradually narrowed until all he could write about was how much he desperately wanted to have a girlfriend. He plays guitar in a band now, so I guess that isn't an issue anymore.

But anyway... on to the real point of this post, which is (excepting an 8th-grade column on that kid that who got caned in Singapore) quite possibly the first column I ever wrote. You know that bad column I just talked about? Well, these are even worse. I wrote this sometime between June and November 1998, when I still knew where my high-school ring was. I found this column in my 12th-grade binder, along with some floppies that would probably disintegrate into dust in any modern computer. Looking at the paper, I noticed that even my handwriting has changed since then. For the better. Now that's progress!

"Subpoena, subpoena, subpoena..."

I am mad.

Why am I mad? Because of the White House scandal, that's why. I am seriously concerned of the profound effect that presidential erections will have on my checking account. This valid fear should scare everyone, because hey, it's your fanny on the line! Actually, it's Bill's fanny, but who's counting?

Actually, Kenneth Starr is counting. As Salt-N-Pepa probably wouldn't say, "whattaman!" [Groooan.] Apparently, he's never done anything bad. Doesn't have time, what with issuing subpoenas to everyone Bill Clinton has shaken hands with since 1989 (I shook his hand in 1992, but haven't yet been called to testify. I'm offended and pissed.) I'll avoid an obvious hand-joke, but if you say "subpoena" several times in succession you'll get to the target of the independent counsel.

Oddly enough, the Bill Clinton-Paula Jones encounter allegedly took place on May 8, 1991. That was my eleventh birthday. Unlike those confused jurors who wisely threw out that crap case, I KNOW what happened on that day, at least to me, and I've got the pictures to prove it. Maybe if both of them had just sat down to a plate of chicken and talked about baseball cards like I did on that day, things would have turned out differently. But then I wouldn't have a column.

Or maybe I would. Here's where I bring up Magic Monica! Remember that stock footage where Clinton is apparently giving Monica a passionate hug? Now they're saying he's reaching over her to greet well-wishers. I agree. Kenneth Starr was there (?), and the president was simply reaching over for his subpoena! What he really wanted to tell Starr was "screw you!", but he didn't want Starr bringing up another sexual allegation, which surely would have resulted. After all, if you believe the Conspiracy, President Clinton says "screw you" quite often. He could have also said "Who cares?" but we all know Starr has also heard that enough. From all of us.

Tomorrow: I riff on--get this--bad drivers!

Monday, March 07, 2005

Caption Contest

"Born on third base" edition

Bush accepts a Boston Red Sox Jersey from pitcher Curt Schilling (AP/WWP) Posted by Hello

--MENSA went out of its way to sugarcoat Bush's test results
--"Does this make me a Massachusetts liberal?"
--There was no Green about Boston's latest Monster
--Bush, the Boston Wrangler
--"No, Mr. President, you did not hit a triple"
--"I had it first, Curt!"
--"I love a good game of tug of war! A-hyuk!"
--Now that's Bush league!
--"Pitchin' is tough bidness, ain't it Curt? Mahsef, ah'm havin' trouble pitchin' Social Security reform!"
--Schilling, knowing Bush's history with uniforms, elected to take back the jersey
--Bush for batboy in 2008!
--The Buckner stops here
--What is it with Red Sox fans and curses?

Saturday, March 05, 2005

That's some delicious bait I'm taking

Not available in stores! Posted by Hello

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) is holding its annual column contest. Yummy bait...yummy bait...BITE!

The contest is open to anyone who wrote a regular column in a daily, weekly or monthly newspaper (or its online equivalent) in the United States in 2004. If that describes any of you out there, I encourage you to enter (it's $20 per entry for members or $40 for non-members). The complete rules can be found at the NSNC site linked above. The deadline is March 15.

Each $20 entry allows for the submission of three columns. I just looked in my wallet, and its contents look to bring my submission total to...three columns. Further helping me narrow down my choices is the NSNC's expansive category listing:

A) General Interest
B) Humor

I decided I'm going to go out on a limb and go with "humor." My editor told me that I was funny once, but I think he was just trying to humor me (rimshot!). With that in mind, I've chosen to submit the following three columns for their consideration:

The entry form says that winners will be notified by May 15. If I win the big $300 prize (or the $200 or $100 runner-up purses), then you will know firsthand just how far the profession has fallen. Winning also greatly increases my odds that I will be able to afford the trip to the NSNC convention in Grapevine, Texas, to receive the honor. Whoo-hoo! Oh yeah, and there's also the chance for top columnist connections and whatnot. A great idea if you're into that sort of thing.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

New Column: Secret Service with a Smile

The Secret Service. It’s not secret, and it’s only a service to a handful of people. Despite its ironic name, however, the Secret Service serves as a model of personal safety and security. Its thoroughness is not to be believed. As the following true stories attest, the Secret Service really is looking out for you. And for me.

In 1996, I was a junior staff writer for my high-school paper. We received news that then-Vice Presidential candidate Jack Kemp was coming to visit our school, an event we considered somewhat important. The Secret Service called our newspaper staff about a week before the campaign stop and inquired as to our coverage. They told us that any photographers would have to submit their cameras and all other equipment for extensive scrutiny. Their rationale: certain chemicals within camera film can conceivably be used to make a toxic chemical bomb.

With our staff at the time, they should not have worried about anyone expressing any less than serious love for the man. Still, we were ultimately denied permission to shoot (sorry, photograph) Kemp in our gymnasium. In the end, our paper made no mention whatsoever of the event, mainly because our next issue came about at about the same time as Clinton’s second inauguration.

More recently, the Secret Service swept the Lafayette area in October 2002 when Dick Cheney dropped by to campaign for future Senatorial loser Suzanne Haik Terrell. As part of its apparently comprehensive sweep, agents stopped by The Vermilion office to inquire about a certain liberal writer (as if there was any chance that I would be at a $1000-a-plate Republican photo-op, even out of morbid curiosity). Supposedly, the Secret Service interrogated the then-editorship about my beliefs, my disposition and even my whereabouts. I found out about this after the fact, so I assume the editors said nice things about me.

It’s almost a shame I didn’t get a visit from the agents, because I never got to thank them for possibly saving my life back in 1992. On Oct. 27 of that year, then-Gov. Bill Clinton came to Lafayette. In stark contrast to “Man of the Rich People” Cheney, Clinton held his campaign bash at a wide-open Girard Park, for free, with live music and dancing.

After his speech, Clinton rushed to the section where I stood and greeted us. Because of his rapid approach, the crowd swarmed and enveloped us. Being a skinny 12-year-old boy in a crowd of hardcore adult Democrats, I could barely breathe. As the CNN camera panned straight on me, I imagined how my internal organs were going to look to the world and to Wolf Blitzer. The Secret Service stepped in quickly, however, and I lived to shake Clinton’s massive hand just after he hugged my mother (insert your joke here).

My father worked diligently for the local Clinton campaign and collaborated with the Secret Service for the event. Afterwards, as Dad tells it, he and an agent were talking over beers. Several drinks later, the agent still maintained a straight face and showed no emotion whatsoever. I don’t know where they get such dedicated professionals, though I was once told by a rejected applicant that one prerequisite is having never smoked pot more than 15 times. I can definitely see the danger of getting too mellow on that job.

Even if I don’t always admire the president or other American political leaders, I will always be in awe of the competence of their protectors, the Secret Service. After all, these are the people who are protecting the people who are supposed to protect us. And that’s no small feat in any era.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Should blogs have rules?

While visiting this comment on Aldaynet, I noticed that our old friend Tom Alday (alternately known as Honorable, Potentate, Grand Magistrate or whatever other term of humility he has currently claimed for himself) has installed a new protocol for commenting at his blog, Aldaynet. At the start of each comment is this disclaimer:

I've decided to enact Troll Population Control Protocols, the rules spelled out by the GOC will now be in effect here. You don't like? I could care less.

Just nitpicking here, but isn't the proper expression, "I COULDN'T care less?"

The source of Tom's new guidelines is the Grouchy Old Cripple, whose name evidently is truth in advertising at its best. Grouchy, indeed! If there's any doubt about that, check out his rules section:

The Rules

A troll is a subhuman lifeform. A troll is a cross between a banana slug and a pissant. One becomes a troll for one of two reasons:

1. The troll is too fucking stupid to have a blog.

There are people too stupid to have blogs? Based on what's out there, I feel really sorry for those people.

2. The troll's blog is so lame that no one will go to it, so the troll goes to other sites hoping that people will follow a link back to the troll's blog. What is hilarious about this reasoning is why would anyone want to go to a troll's blog when the troll is incapable of presenting a rational argument on someone else's blog? But remember, trolls are inherently stupid.

Funny...I've never had trouble attracting readers, though trolls seem to be all Alday ever gets. Maybe because he posts lots of stuff on sites such as mine, perhaps?

Trolls are welcome at this site as long as they follow the rules. If a rule is broken, I will not ask the troll will leave. I will not tell the troll to leave. I will ban said troll and usually bitch slap the troll on the way out. I have been entirely too indulgent with my trolls. I guess I should know better, but, sometimes I think that trolls just might learn sumpin' from their intellectual superiors. Sadly, I am always proven wrong.

If these "intellectual superiors" are known for one thing, it's their ability to bitch-slap as a primary form of communication. Especially online. But if what he says is true, then his problem is clearly that he can dish it out, but he can't take it.

Here are said rules:

1. This is my blog. I make the rules. I enforce the rules. I am the final arbiter. If you have a problem with that, leave. I am probably smarter than you. If you were smart, you would have your own blog that people would want to frequent and you wouldn't be a troll.

Well, how can I know if you're smarter than me if I'm not allowed to say anything to you? Or is that how you want it?

2. I enforce Godwin's Law. If you call someone a Nazi, you have lost the debate. A Nazi is someone who believes in racial genocide. A Nazi is a total monster. Do not cheapen the word by using it indiscriminately. You will be banned.

I agreed with this too, until I noticed the startling parallels between the Bush administration and the early days of the Third Reich. There was far more to the Nazis than racial genocide, a fact that people like this guy seem to want to gloss over.

3. Do not start a thread with an insult. That immediately shows that you are a fucking idiot and are fair game and will be treated accordingly. If you are polite, we will be polite. Maybe. I decide. Unfair? See rule 1. it just me, or did he just do what he said not to do?

4. If you do insult me or others, try to make it an amusing insult. "Ha. Ha. Ha. You sure are stupid" is lame. "You have alzheimers" is lame. "If your brains were TNT, you wouldn't have enough to blow your nose" is good. Come up with sumpin' like that and you can stay a little longer. I want to be amused. If I'm not amused you're gone. Why can I do that? See rule number 1.

Well, I can certainly see why someone would want to stem the tide of reactionary insults. Given right-wingers' propensity for doing such a thing on a regular basis, I guess they know firsthand how annoying it is.

5. Do not make idiotic comparisons or the 'everybody does it' defense. If I state Bill Clinton is a draft dodger (which, of course he is, and we will not debate that. Been there, done that.) don't bring up Bush's National Guard record. It has nothing to do with Clinton beyond the fact that Bush served, Clinton didn't. If we mention Hillary's book deal, we are discussing Hillary, not Newt Gingrich. Newt's deal has nothing to do with Hillary. Those rhetorical tricks will get you banned. I decide if any comparison's are valid. Don't like it? See rule number 1.

I will bring up anything I want if I think it is relevant, especially if it involves exposing hypocrisy. That's precisely why Bush's military record is always coming up. The ulterior motive behind a rule such as this one is that there are some things that Republicans would rather never discuss. And they think that by narrowing the discourse as much as possible ("Stay on topic!") that they can make some issues just go away. Nice try.

6. Make sure any links you post support your points. If they do not, I will call you on it. Do it more than once, and you're history. I decide whether the link is valid. Unfair? See rule number 1.

He decides whether the link is valid, understand? If he calls you on any link you might send, then turn right around and ask him about his links. People like this are generally very insecure about the veracity of their own sources and should be treated accordingly. Hey, they're doing it to you too! Might as well call their bluff.

7. When asked a question do not respond with a question. Answer it. If you bob and weave and do not debate honestly you are gone. Why do I get to decide? See rule number 1.

What if the question answers the other question? And why are you so limiting as to what people have a right to say in a debate? Oh, I forgot...see rule number 1!

8. When I declare you have lost a debate it's closed. Don't try and reopen it. Why do I get to do that? See rule number 1.

Notice that he says "When I declare you have lost a debate." Not when you've actually lost it, just when he DECLARES you lost it! I had no idea it was that easy. Could have saved me lots of grief. On the other hand, this sounds like the online equivalent of those people who cover their ears and start singing loudly when confronted with an opposing point. Yeah, that's the ticket.

9. Do not deny facts that prove you are wrong just because they do not fit your beliefs. If you try that shit, you are outta here. I decide. Why me? See rule number 1.

Likewise, I assume? Hey, take your hands off your ears and stop singing!

10. Try to act like an adult. There are no timeouts here. If you act childish, you are gone. I don't like spoiled crybaby whiney types. I get to decide. Don't like it? See rule number 1.

I guess they need at least ONE adult there at all times...

11. I can make up additional rules as I go. Think that's unfair? Tough shit! See rule number 1.

See rule one...see rule's God's's God's will...God told me to...God told me to!

I put up with enough bullshit at my job. I do not need it here.

I feel deeply sorry for your coworkers.

With all of this new protocol, you'd think that Alday was setting a new standard in civil commentary, right? You think too much. At Zac Attack, Alday posted this comment:

You sure rely on polls alot Zac, didn't you learn anything from the election day exit poll debacle?

About as much as you learned from your new rules, Mr. Alday. But I shouldn't kid. After all, as he told me tonight, Alday is nothing if not a defender of the freedom for which America stands:

Aldaynet isn’t a Democracy, it’s a dictatorship, I pay for it, I maintain it and I provide the content for it, therefore I have a Bush given right to do with it as I please.

WOW! Perhaps I need some rules like this for myself!

Rules for Not Right About Anything

Thank you for stopping by my humble blog, Not Right About Anything. I hope you will find your time here worthwhile and thought-provoking. You are encouraged to leave your two cents (or two dollars, if you like) in the comments section, and to browse past posts and/or check out the various links. I ask no more of you than to enjoy yourself and observe the following tenets of my philosophy:

--This is my blog. I make the rules. If you don't like the rules, then leave. This is the main rule: there are no rules.

--(updated 1/2/06) I post original material. That includes, but is not limited to, writing, graphics and voice recordings. I will occasionally publish a photograph or article that is not my own; you will know it when you see it, because I have yet to snap a picture of George W. Bush at his Crawford ranch. Also, outside text is cited with italics and colored based on how I feel about it. I offer outside text and images only to comment on them or to otherwise add something to the discussion. I vow that you will never see a post here that is entirely (or even mostly) someone else's work. Few things are as sad as reading an excellent column or list on someone's blog, only to see that it's about three generations removed from its author. That's unfair to the original writer and it makes for a boring blog. Also, I've had it happen to me, unattributed, and that's definitely NOT cool. So when you read something here, rest assured you probably haven't seen it anywhere else. Probably for good reason, too!

--(updated 7/7/05) Not Right is NOT a clique blog. Nothing irritates me quite like a blog where only a few people can comment or even read entries. Look, kids, if something is so special that only your close circle of friends should know about it, then why the hell are you posting it online? Seriously! Why not keep it to yourself? Or better yet, tell your friends some other way. You are not going to find anything on this blog alluding to my private life unless it somehow fits the theme of this site (or is a cheap laugh). If you feel hesitant to post, consider that (at minimum) 98 percent of the people commenting on Not Right are just like you, bloggers who are sitting at home in some corner of the world with the same hobby as you. I've met only five or six in person so far, but I'm always looking to talk to the world's finest. If you comment here, you're one of the club as far as I'm concerned. So don't be shy.

--(updated 1/14/06) While I am a blogger living in Louisiana, I am not, strictly speaking, a Louisiana blogger. I write on whatever captures my fancy on a particular date and time, regardless of scope. So if I don't keep a running tally on the levee scandal, day 125, don't get indignant; chances are, 50 other bloggers are chronicling that far better than I ever could. It doesn't mean I don't care about it, because I do; but like with anything else, I'll blog it only if I have something meaningful and useful to add. Keep in mind that I live 115 miles from New Orleans. It may be the best place in Louisiana by a long shot, but it isn't my local beat.

--I do not censor for profanity, opposing ideas, evasion of topic or for virtually any other reason. If you want to sound stupid, then that's your prerogative; your name is on it! Comments are deleted only for the following reasons: 1) Double-posting; 2) Spamming (unless the spamming in question is really entertaining); 3) If I post a comment anonymously by accident, in which case I will repost the same comment under my name; 4) Any other accidents on my part; 5) Posts that have no value in discussion (such as with one guy who continuously posted the same Bush quote about 50 times as a comment, then posted it three times). Everything else goes.

--I never ban anyone from my site. Part of the reason I started this blog is because I found myself disgusted by some of the rules set forth by Democratic Underground. As much as I enjoy the site, and as much as I understand their desire to keep useless traffic to a minimum, I object to several of their rules regarding content of posts. I see some merit in the common conservative complaint that DU bans anyone who shows conservative tendencies. This sounds too much like the ideology behind many conservative blogs, a fact I find discomforting no matter who is enforcing them. I welcome all viewpoints, not because I agree with them but because that's how life is. Like I said before, if people want to look stupid then that's their business. I know better than to believe I live in a world where everyone agrees with me. In fact, I find it entertaining to see some conservatives realize that for the first time. In any case, the main objective here is to open up dialogue, not suppress it. I also reserve the right, as I have done in the past, to de-link anyone who erases dissenting comments or otherwise does not allow for the free flow of information.

--If you respond with an allegation and/or a link, rest assured that I will check it out. Until I got this blog moving, I never realized just how bold some people are in presenting bald-faced lies as facts. Whether or not that's intentional on the poster's part, I will check it out myself; with my journalistic skills and graduate-research studies, I know how to verify things. I've done this many times and have been proven right and proven wrong at different points. My credo is this: the beliefs that people refuse to question are the very ones that need to be questioned the most. Because of this, I allow for open discussion from all sides. I'm not saying I'll agree or disagree with it, or that anyone else will either; but it never hurts to get the words out there.

Now buckle up, and please hold on to the bar.

Boy, am I pissed!

He said it right over the phone Posted by Hello

Picking up today's issue of The Vermilion, I was particularly proud of today's column. But some hard realities are starting to hit me: 1) no one cares nearly as much as I do (everyone I've told about this thinks I'm overreacting; even on this site, the column got no feedback) and 2) the editors of the paper are Bushesque in their insistence that they don't need to verify anything that they "correct."

What am I talking about? Look above. When I submitted this column, I had spelled Mark McGwire's name correctly. Yet, somewhere along the line, one of the editors decided that not only was my spelling wrong, but that it needed to be changed without verification. All they had to do was a simple Google search if they weren't sure, but noooooo!

I understand that life goes on and that something like this is relatively minor. But I send these columns out whenever I send out a resume, and this is one of my favorites. But now I cannot send this one out because of its error. I've already had enough good columns of mine ruined by editors' incompetence and it makes me want to scream. It hasn't happened much with this editorship, but when it does, hoo boy!

As much as I hate to be condescending...calm down, Ian, these guys are your friends...I cannot deny the fact that I have had the journalism degree for two years that these people are still earning, and that they are ADDING errors to my columns...errors that would have taken two seconds to fix...errors that make me look bad to potential employers...and makes them look even worse...grrr!

I e-mailed my immediate editor (without automatically blaming him for the mistake) and asked him to ponder this point: with a name like Ian McGibboney, don't you think I would be sensitive to checking the spelling of names?

Okay, end of rant...I feel better now.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Caption Contest

The "Yes, I'm finally back" edition

Caveat: the background pic might be photoshopped. Still, that's unmistakably Bush holding a video camera, and the possibility of him preening in front of a Fox News banner is not all that remote....

--Bush can go Fox himself!
--With Jeff Gannon outed, Bush dropped the charade and became his own reporter
--"Um...big E...D...E...F...P...O...T...E...C..."
--The only safe way to view the total eclipse of the economy
--"When you said we were going to shoot protesters, I thought you meant..."
--Where Bush gets his distorted view of reality
--When Schwartz triple-dog dared Bush to stick his eye on the camera, it was all over
--[Note location of right hand] Whaddaya know...Bush really does have the press by the balls!
--"Watch me balance this camera all nice and fair"
--Presenting the latest theory on who really took those Jeff Gannon pictures!
--"Why is everything rose-colored in this viewfinder?"
--Bush was denied a panoramic camera due to his inability to see the big picture
--"So this is a Camaro!"