Friday, April 29, 2005

Which stupid online quiz are you?

of

You are the Spirit of Sadness. Deep pain and sorrow lie within you, betrayal, jealousy and rejection rule your life. You cannot make friends as you are too scared at the prospect of being hurt again and you can't take that risk. You wish more than anything to have a steady person there who loves you unconditionally but you are too scared to find them.

Which stunning spirit are you? Brought to you by Quizilla

I'm always hunting for the most useless online quiz ever made. This is pretty close.

I have a theory that somewhere out in the vacuum of the Internet is the single most pointless and worthless quiz ever devised by the human mind. If you know any (and don't lie and say you don't), feel free to share them here, along with any results obtained thereof. You know you have nothing better to do! Besides, I'm dying to find out which dragon-slaying fairy you are.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Resting on my laurels is hard work

Being that I'm really dry of both time and ideas so far this week, I will instead tantalize you with teasers from past columns that I've written. Sample at your own peril!

"Two questions I often hear are: 1) Did you hit your head a lot as a child? 2) Was U.S. Intelligence warned of strikes by al-Qaida before Sept. 11? The answer to both questions is 'Repeatedly.'" --Tomorrow’s Forecast: Terror (6/19/02)

"I am not so naïve as to believe that private gender discrimination will ever completely fade. However, women are just as capable as men in most 'masculine' endeavors, just as men can do a lot of 'feminine' things, such as cook, clean and think." --You Golf, Girl! (10/2/02)

"Isn’t it comforting to know that, following years of round-the-clock investigation and tracking, the most advanced intelligence agency in the world took two years to discover that Chong is associated with marijuana?" --Just Say No to Pots (9/24/03)

"Of course, white people do have problems. We can’t dance. We’re not cool. Vanilla Ice. That’s about it. You need a club to discuss that?" --Caucasian Crossfire (10/8/03)

"MCD goes by all sorts of different names: bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, etc. Snore. If health officials really wanted to effectively warn people, they’d refer to it by one of its other names: scrapie!" --Your Guide to an Empty Stomach (1/21/04)

"The National Guard’s slogan is 'You Can!' But if Bush’s service records prove anything, it’s that 'You Don’t Have To!'" --Bush's Selective Service (3/3/04)

"September 2004—The Republican National Convention commences at Ground Zero in New York City. Toby Keith’s rousing opening performance of his new song, 'Real Americans Ain’t Liberal or Brown,' brings down the house. John Ashcroft leads in the Pledge of Allegiance, repeating 'Under God' 60 times before continuing with the rest of it." --I Saw the Future (and Ran Back!) (6/9/04)

"Isn’t it amazing how, theo-smackers’ arguments to the contrary, Jesus could not be the president under our Constitutional law? For one thing, the Constitution mandates that a President must be at least 35 years old. Legend has it that Jesus was 33 when he got double-crossed. Also, the president must be an American-born citizen and have lived on U.S. soil for a minimum of 14 years. Where was Jesus from, Bethlehem? Galilee? Nazareth? Steppenwolf? The Promised Land was somewhere east of America. It certainly was not in, say, Utah." --Jesus for President (6/23/04)

"So remember, citizens: machine guns are good, books are bad! With the PATRIOT Act and the lapse of the weapons ban, it’s less of a hassle to buy a TEC-9 assault pistol than it is to check out 'The History of the TEC-9 Assault Pistol.'" --"Uzi, Can You See..." (9/22/04)

"They always tell you that these are the best years of your life. What exactly is my motivation for leaving school, then? No one at the Grad Expo said, 'Enjoy your menial entry-level years! They're the best time of your life.'" --Fighting Fire with Fired (4/27/05)

There. That should keep you busy for a while.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Caption Contest

"How pathmetic!" edition

From one of my first-ever posts comes this gem!

--Original caption: "Nothing is lamer than a protest by the religious right. Except, perhaps, a guy who misspells 'arithmetic' on a sign about education."

--Teach them also sentence structure, comma usage and proper spacing
--Why do I get the feeling this guy can't read his own sign?
--His teacher crossed his arms and thought, "No wonder he's been in third grade long enough to grow a mustache."
--Reading, Writing, Arithetic: the "3 Rs" of GOP education
--For all we know, he could be a racist who misspelled "Grambling"
--A look at George W. Bush's cue cards explains a lot
--No Child Left Behind! Adults, on the other hand...
--Taking a cue from the guy behind him, this guy aims to screw gambling sideways
--He obviously never read Gambling Wizards: Conversations with the World's Greatest Gamblers by Richard W. Munchkin
--I think most children KNOW that reading, writing and arithmetic are not gambling. Duh!
--This may be nitpicking...but doesn't gambling involve lots of reading, writing and arithmetic?
--Things got lively at the annual "Gambling is Evil" church bingo
--He doesn't gamble with his future! He invests in the stock market like all good Americans
--But what about those high-schoolers who enjoy their Gambling II class?
--Does anyone else think that the "T" in "writing" looks like a cross?
--WWJD? STFU!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Blogger problem #879,654

At some point a couple of nights ago, Blogger did something strange. I can no longer access my home page; typing in my address brings me straight to the login/dashboard screens. To even see my page at all, I have to type in the URL for the April 2005 archives and backtrack. It's an enormous pain in the ass, and affects only this particular blog (More Than Words accesses just fine). Is that happening to anyone else? And does anyone have a quick fix?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Fighting fire with fired

My last-ever column for The Vermilion! Sniff sniff! Being that it's the last issue of the semester, I'm expecting a lot of farewell schlock from everyone else. That's not my style, because I'll have to be dragged away from my column kicking and screaming.

Update @ 12:01 p.m.: I've changed the title of this column from "Two weeks' notice" to "Fighting fire with fired." Came to me in my late-noon sleep.

I just got fired! Can you believe it?

The Vermilion has informed me that my services will no longer be needed. Just my luck, too—I was finally hitting my stride! But apparently there's some rule that only active UL students can write for The Vermilion, and I'm graduating again. Such bad luck!

I suspect our conservative columnist had something to do with that rule. John Hinson has taken some heat after demanding that non-students stop writing to The Vermilion. Not that Hinson objected when math professor Henry Heatherly praised him in the Jan. 21, 2004 issue; but perhaps he was swamped then. Being a columnist is tough. So why get rid of a veteran?

Since June 2002 I have occupied this space, churning out 99 columns--100 if you count the 2003 April Fool's issue, which I will because I'm compensating for something. This hasn't translated into either clout or the pay raises that go to staff writers after 20 stories (yeah, guys, I saw that rule sheet!). Still, writing commentary on the events of 2002-05 has had a cool Forrest Gump vibe to it.

Like Forrest, I didn't emerge fully grown; it took time for me to become this jaded. My first Vermilion piece appeared in the Nov. 6, 1998 issue, a riveting article titled, "Higher Education Act may benefit USL students." That issue also announced the reconstruction of F.G. Mouton Hall (scheduled for completion in December 2000—yeah, four!).

Fifteen semesters later, we've been through three football coaches, two presidential elections, 9/11, two wars, a thousand of my closest friends and—just under the wire—two popes. On a somber note, these past seven years also brought the deaths of six of my relatives, our longtime track coach, a professor of mine and seven friends.

I've had six school IDs (including two USL cards), three driver's licenses, three academic bulletins and five advisers. My transcript is four pages long. I have so many experiences left to exploit on this page! Besides, I have the UL thing down cold; isn't that a good thing for a newspaper columnist? I have a BA in journalism and now a master's degree in English, yet The Vermilion still let me go! They called it "a long-overdue nudge into real life," whatever that meant.

They must not think I know anything about working. Seven years as manager of the track team doesn't qualify? Hardly a day goes by that a teammate or trainer doesn't ask, "So when are you gonna write about me?" I can't let them down! I need more time!

They always tell you that these are the best years of your life. What exactly is my motivation for leaving school, then? No one at the Grad Expo said, "Enjoy your menial entry-level years! They're the best time of your life." I was hoping to make a career out of being a student, but now they lay me off! Must be the economy.

I suppose, then, that those of you carrying on should heed this advice: open your eyes and take control of your life. Who decides what you believe, what you do and with whom you associate? The answer to that should be you, you and you.

Whenever you make a decision in life, don't do it because George W. Bush, Pope Benedict XVI or Carson Daly told you to, or because your parents want you to take that path. Don't even do it because I said you should; do it because it's right. Never wait to seize the moment, because (as you've seen here) it'll be over before you know it.

Talk to you again soon.

Putting the "lust" in "wanderlust"



This map shows, in red, the states I've visited. Oklahoma was a technicality, in that we drove up to the border and took our picture on the "Welcome to Oklahoma" sign. Sad.

Create your own personalized map of the USA

Monday, April 18, 2005

DEE-fense! (clap clap) DEE-fense!

Today is the day I find out whether or not I get my Master's degree. Wish me luck, because I need it.

Foot update: it's better. Got some TLC at the athletic complex, so now my limp merely looks like prison-shower time as opposed to Quasimodo.

Be good, everyone.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Caption Contest

"Bump this sticker" edition



--Back from what?
--Because of a printing error, "from the" was missing from the middle
--It's small so it won't interfere with your 58 pro-life stickers
--Let's take America back...to the wonderful Crusades!
--No, we won't let you!
--This sticker perfectly complements any southern license plate
--Best read with a South African accent, a la "Lethal Weapon 2"
--I'm all for that! The American Indians have been exploited for far too long by the white man and...oh wait...huh?
--"And the LORD sayeth: America is the Promised Land. All that stuff I said about Israel? That beith a misprint. And so is the Constitution." (1 Corinthians 1:17)
--Is it me, or does the CC symbol look vaguely Satanic?
--Mission Accomplished!
--But what if the Muslims and atheists in charge don't want to give it back? What do you mean, that makes no fucking sense at all? Stop laughing!

Adding injury to insult

Yesterday afternoon, I severely sprained my ankle at a grocery store.

On my way home to get ready for a friend's wedding, I stopped by a neighborhood supermarket to buy orange juice and a pack of gum. After the clerk scanned the items, I realized I didn't have my wallet on me. Being that the store was supremely busy, I ran out to my truck to get my wallet out of the glove compartment. I jogged my way back to the entrance, when suddenly this older couple got in my way. I slowed down and moved to the left, causing my right foot to roll (mid-step) on the incline between the curb and the wheelchair ramp.

It sounded like a car accident and felt just as painful.

It must have been a really entertaining sight, for everyone in the store was suddenly looking at some kid with tears in his eyes, hugging the ground. One of the store's baggers helped me inside, got me an ice pack, and rang up my swag. I also got to meet every important person who works at the store, all of whom asked how I was in tones that screamed, "PLEASE DON'T SUE US!"

But all I could think about was how I had an hour to hobble home, shower, dress, and make it to the wedding. And working a track meet all morning and afternoon in the sweltering heat, I had taken extra precautions to avoid dehydration and overexposure to the sun. And dammit, I had succeeded, feeling really healthy and in-shape, ready for dancing with some of my cutest female friends.

But now my right foot sports a swelling the size of a doorknob. Made dancing kind of difficult, not that I can anyway. And all that for $1.81's worth of stuff.

Just wanted you all to know this in case you're wondering why this blog is currently walking with a limp.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Bondage with the Democratic whip

Happy Income Tax Day! Here at Not Right About Anything, we're celebrating in grand style. Here's a synopsis of today's events:

10 a.m.--We assembled in front of the new income-tax place on Johnston Street to wear Statue-of-Liberty costumes and hold up signs. Among our signs were: "Honk if you love the IRS," "Read my lips! More new taxes!", "Hooray for the 1040A!" and "Income tax RULES!" We got a LOT of honks this morning. Clearly, many drivers were feeling similarly rapturous about today, because several of them swerved off the road and nearly hit us. Never underestimate the awesome power of the passion of income taxes.

4 p.m.--Tax ticker-tape parade (put on by all of the liberals in Lafayette, so we'll make sure we have a broom to sweep the mess)

6 p.m.--Pin the Tail on the Donkey (Get it?!!)


7:30 p.m.--The "Read My Lips" game. This one always gets wild.

Speaking of Democrats, the other day I received this e-mail from someone supposedly representing Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada). The sender address was ari_rabin-havt@REID.SENATE.GOV and the recipient was a listserv on which I was placed. Here's what he wrote:

Hello-

As you probably know Harry Reid has creating a new communications "War Room" in the U.S. Capitol to provide Democrats a visible and vocal platform from which they will be heard. This Senate Democratic Communications Center has already begun to aggressively pioneer Internet outreach, including online news outlets and blogs.

As a progressive blogger please use me as a resource for information or just as your voice within the Senate leadership office. In addition I plan on being in touch with information from the Senate Democratic Leadership. If you do not wish to receive information from us let me know and I will remove you. I promise not to spam or merely send press releases. If you ever wish to speak on the phone my direct line is xxx-xxx-xxxx. I look forward to working with you.

Thank you,
Ari


I checked out Harry Reid's official page. He is the Democratic Whip for the U.S. Senate and has a very thorough site on a variety of issues (including a nifty Social Security calculator that shows how privatization will screw you sideways). His contact policy is a bit interesting:

I do not have a traditional e-mail address. Instead, I have set up an Internet webform through my website so my constituents may contact me electronically.

My question to you is this: Have any of you liberal bloggers also received this letter? And is there any quick way to verify it?

And once again, Happy Income-Tax Day! WOO-HOO!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Cajun brass 1, Cajun music 0

Note: My April 20 column refers to this unfortunate incident.

What exactly does the University of Louisiana have against culture?

Here’s the lowdown on an ugly incident: The Pine Leaf Boys, a local band composed of Drew Simon, Cedric Watson, Wilson Savoy and Jon Bertrand, were performing on campus March 23 when the University Police ordered them to stop. They have since announced that they will no longer play here, a move which should sadden anyone who values a vibrant college scene.

This incident is particularly newsworthy for several reasons: 1) UL authorities gave conflicting and contradicting reasons as to why the band wasn’t allowed there; 2) enforcement of “quiet-zone” rules is apparently seriously selective; and 3) the school has now sent the message that only adults interested in selling stuff are allowed to mingle with students.

Based on the direction of the wind, UL officials have offered the following as reasons for the band’s eviction: noise disturbance, lack of paperwork or the ignorance of prior warnings. Taken together, it would appear that the university really does not want The Pine Leaf Boys on campus and will give any half-baked reason for their dismissal.

If the university truly cared about noise abatement, then they should address such diverse elements as traffic, construction and lawn mowers buzzing during classes. Why not shut down the massive heating and cooling units next to academic buildings while you’re at it? Or post signs on every sidewalk reminding students to zip their lips?

And say goodbye to those periodic block parties at the same intersection as well. Is it too late to cancel the rest of Lagniappe Week? That affects the ENTIRE campus! I have no doubt that the vast throng of students who traverse St. Mary and Rex each day would thank you for keeping their sanctuary quiet.

Somehow, I suspect that the noise disturbance was not the real issue at hand. How do I know? Because I was there. As I walked across campus from Griffin Hall to Martin Hall that day, I saw the Pine Leaf Boys doing their thing. Their volume wasn’t exactly at Festival International levels; in fact, I considered standing right by them to get a better listen. I would have even dropped change into their cup, had I not been bereft of change (a situation often shared by musicians and writers alike). As far as I was concerned, having a Cajun band there was a welcome change from the usual huckstering.

Another excuse given by UL officials was that the band was banned under the same provision that prevents beggars from soliciting money on campus. I suppose there’s a profound difference between bums and the credit card people who prowl campus, seducing unsuspecting freshmen with free t-shirts. To campus officials, it’s apparently more acceptable to ruin students’ credit than to expose them to the sounds that define this area. Not that any of this matters anyway, because the band wasn’t exactly advertising its little paper change cup. Maybe, just maybe, they were in it for the music.

Music is a part of the university experience. What movie about college doesn’t have at least one splash scene of campus with some kind of orchestral score? And what campus does not enjoy the periodic street function? Certainly ours does, and its annual calendar of events only enriches the academic atmosphere.

When I saw the Pine Leaf Boys that day, the first question that popped in my mind was not, “Will they please stop?” Instead I asked, “Why aren’t they and their brethren here more often?” Anything that enriches the student experience at a major university, even if for a few moments between classes, should be accepted with open arms. And open ears.

It's not free. It's priceless!

Today's Vermilion is a treasure trove of good stuff. If you aren't fortunate enough to have access to a copy of my university's newspaper, you can read it all online. The April 13 issue is particularly good, from its consistently excellent columns (a rarity) to its news and sports coverage (when even the track team nets an article and photo, you KNOW everyone's on the ball).

But being that I don't know how to report on positive news (I am a liberal living in Louisiana in 2005, after all), I dedicate this space to the major exception to this week's copious goodery: conservative columnist John Hinson.

Hinson leads off this week with what apparently was a challenging topic to bring up to 600 words:

Let me state up front that each week I have the responsibility to this column space to fill it with something of my choosing that is narrow enough for me to address. This space being only 600 words per issue forces me to narrow down the topic itself or address a profound issue by using examples to illustrate the point. Constraints are a necessary part of any writing project, and this one is no exception.

And indeed, Hinson is apparently so good at boiling down his topic that he can afford to spend 75 words of his precious column space on why he doesn't have enough words to do justice to his topics.

Hinson doesn't mention specifically what his point is in this column, preferring instead to jump straight into it (his biggest problem week after week). But the gist of this column is that he and a professor at our school are locked in an ongoing letter-column debate. I'd get into it here, but the particular issue is so dry that my blog would probably crack into fissures.

Hinson gets ridiculously personal, almost along the lines of any random comment thread at Zac Attack these days. The teacher in question is Rick Swanson, a pre-law professor whose class I took in Spring 2002. Swanson is a very politically astute (and progressive) instructor. He is not afraid to call things as he sees them, and thus is a popular panelist for university lectures. Probably the only reason Hinson messes with Swanson at all is because he apparently is not aware of this.

People have accused Hinson in the recent past of not being true to the conservative cause. This week he debunks that accusation by upholding one of the core GOP tenets, demanding that everyone disagreeing with him just shut up:

Your place as a professor is to educate in the classroom, not to inject your positions onto the student body and a student paper. I see no gain you can win by addressing me, unless of course you enjoy seeing your name in the paper [as if all of us don't do the same thing!]. I did note that this go around [sic] he made reference to his "status" as assistant professor in political science. Wouldn't it make sense to leave the contributions of the student paper to...I don't know, the students?

Hinson's call for professors to stop involving themselves in the student paper seems to be a new development, as he never complained when math professor Henry Heatherly praised him and said he believed in all the same things (1/21/04). Or at any other time that I can remember.

Anytime your entire column is a point-by-point rebuttal of someone's letter, you're either desperate or sad. Or both.

Two more goodies of questionable taste:

1) Someone wrote in and complained about last week's April Fool's issue, arguing that the issue should have come before April Fool's Day (possibly) and that it deceived a lot of people (probably not, but so what?):

Do you think everyone reads the entire paper all the time? What if a person had just enough time to read the first two pages? [...] Rumors get started because of inaccurate information like you have provided. [...] If you wanted people to laugh, you could have written jokes or even ways to have a better sense of humor [sic].

First off, the jokes are only on the first six pages. Second, the stories involve such things as the failure of a big-name concert on campus and the staff getting busted at a porn shoot. Come on now; when has a major recording act EVER been here? Seriously. The porn-shoot bust, though, I understand.

2) Rob Guillory's Gallows (?) comic. Rob, you're my bud and all, so I offer you this advice on a constructive level: there's such a thing as too alternative, man. I did dig your political cartoon, which was very good as always.

Thanks to all of you who made it this far! From what I hear, most people don't read past the first two pages.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Caption Contest

Innovative "my computer is still malfunctioning" edition















--An exclusive look from behind the wool covering America's eyes
--The latest paparazzi pic inside the Clintons' bedroom was a major disappointment
--Paris Hilton's latest amateur video, "Once you go black, you never go back"
--Inside the abyss of Dubya's head
--Inside the abyss of Dick Cheney's heart
--A screen capture from the new Pope-cam
--A look inside Dick Cheney's swimming pool
--The last sight the bowling pins saw on their way down (just cleansing the caption palate)
--How our cities would look at night without that dastardly Big Government
--If our current foreign policy was a light bulb...
--The Pittsburgh sky at noon, back in the great days of unfettered capitalism
--Between fetuses and the brain-dead, there's a gap in the GOP concern for life
--David Duke's worst nightmare

Friday, April 08, 2005

The captain’s blog

The big buzz on the Internet these days is the blog, a (usually free) personal Web page where a person can post entries about whatever they feel like talking about at the moment. Teenagers and professional journalists alike have blogs, and their ranks are growing fast.

Even politicians are getting into the act, as evidenced by what looks like the top-secret journal of the White House. I'd tell you the page's address, but then I'd have to kill you (also, it's long and confusing and I forgot it).

Posted by geedub46, 8 April 2005
Mood: Popeless
Music: "The Angry American," Toby Keith
Today we went to the funeral for Pope John Paul II. Me, Daddy, Laura, Condi and Bill were all there. More than three million people are here to pay their respects. It's great to see that one man could be revered so unconditionally by so many people all over the world. I wonder what that feels like! I'm all for going it alone if necessary, but still…

I wanted to go in line to see the Pope, but Daddy said that that was probably not a good idea. What a jerk! I mean, I never was a follower of the Pope or anything, but I still wanted to see him! Hey, I'm not really that big a fan of the Saudis either. But us rich and powerful folks have to stick together, you know?

Posted by geedub46, 9 April 2005
Mood: Forgetful
Music: "The Angry American," Toby Keith
Better jot down those codes…12-41-63-88-92-69-56. That reminds me, I should really make this journal 'friends-only.' Maybe Dick'll show me how.

Posted by PressSecScott, 9 April 2005
Mood: Spun
Music: "The Angry American," Toby Keith
I just got hold of today’s talking points…guys, are you sure we can keep exploiting Terri Schiavo like this? To constantly harp on the “culture of life” is going to work against us. There’s so many OTHER ways I want to exploit the case, and so little time left before we drop the issue. Can we please shake it up? This is getting boring for me.

Posted by cheneyburton, 10 April 2005
Mood: Gruff
Music: "The Angry American," Toby Keith
You are fire. The most dangerous kind of element, fire is useful or destructive depending on who is harnessing it. Like fire, you are eager to spread your will all over, whether or not anyone in your path is prepared. (What earthly element are you? Quiz by megroxors1987)

Posted by condoleezyofftheheezy, 11 Apr 2005
Mood: Sick of Toby Keith
Music: "Have You Forgotten?" Darryl Worley
This is just a reminder regarding today's White House activities: 10 a.m., meeting with Christians Against Peace; 11 a.m., lunch and our daily journalist auction; 3-8 p.m., stuff so top secret even we’re unclear; 8 p.m., Bush's bedtime; 8:30-midnight, Cheney brought out of storage.

Posted by cheneyburton, 11 April 2005
Mood: Oil's well
Music: "Let the Eagle Soar," John Ashcroft
Tonight's meeting will touch upon matters of serious world significance: first we must fill the room with smoke, then I’ll do my evil cackle (that always gets the ladies!). Afterwards we will throw darts to determine our next enemy (I got a new map since our other one fell apart). Then we'll select a new pope. Oh and Condi, can you bring back my Stepford Wives DVD?

Posted by attygenGonzales, 11 April 2005
Mood: Tortured
Music: "The Angry American," Toby Keith
I’m sorry, I borrowed the DVD. We’re using it to extract confessions at Gitmo.

Posted by geedub46, 12 April 2005
Mood: Confused
Music: "The Angry American," Toby Keith
Wait a minute…the Vatican is in Italy?

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Best argument for education reform yet

Dear Ian:

I write with good news -- you have passed the written portions of the MA comprehensive exams. That you have done so means that you can now move on to the oral defense of the exam. I have contacted the chair of your MA exam committee...to begin the process of setting it up, so you should hear from her shortly.

In the meantime, I will put a copy of your written response to Component 2 in your box in the next few days.

Congratulations.

Best,
xxxx-xxxxx


For those of you who didn't know, I have spent every second of the past two weeks fretting heavily over this. Failing this would have dashed my hopes of obtaining a master's degree next month. At least if I fail now, I'll know I did it at the very last possible moment. And no one can take that away from me ;)

Can you believe it? This is awesome!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

So nakedly partisan I can see up its colon

Carter denied visit to papal funeral by White House

From MSNBC:

WASHINGTON - President Bush and two of his predecessors on Wednesday left for Rome and Pope John Paul II's funeral Friday, but missing from the delegation was Jimmy Carter, the only U.S. president to have welcomed the late pontiff to the White House.

Hmmm...I wonder what the reason for that was? Must have been space; MSNBC reports that the Vatican has limited the U.S. delegation to five people. So who were the lucky five who made the cut?

The president was leading a small U.S. delegation that included former President Clinton and Bush’s father, the first President Bush, first lady Laura Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Are you kidding me?!!

The White House couldn't fit one of the most humanitarian presidents ever (not to mention the only one ever to host the pope at the White House) on the delegation, yet there's room for Condoleezza Rice? Isn't it bad enough that three of the five people representing our country are Bushes without snubbing the one ex-president who deserves to be there the most? And did he really have to be replaced by the worst Secretary of State and National Security Adviser in recent memory?

Assuming that the snub was indeed not partisan as the White House claims (big assumption), then couldn't Bush at least have chosen someone a little less up his ass? I would settle even for Nancy Reagan. But Condi? Give me a break.

And given that the Senate is sending a 14-member delegation (including Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and non-Catholic Bill Frist) and the House 24 (including non-Catholic Speaker Dennis Hastert), couldn't they have fit Carter in SOMEWHERE?

Suspicious...

Tie a ribbon on...really tightly

Last night I had one of those incidents occur that make you really wish you'd replaced the film in your camera.

Walking to my truck from the university library, I glanced over at the car next to mine. It had one of those "Support the Troops" magnetic ribbons that are increasingly becoming currency in Louisiana. Nothing bizarre there. But then I noticed that this particular ribbon had some kind of writing on the top. At first glimpse, it looked like a name and rank, perhaps that of a loved one serving in Iraq. Nothing bizarre about that either. But then I got close enough to read the inscription:*

B M Specialty Fabricators
100 Republican Dr.
Lafayette, LA 70508

That's right, friends; advertising on yellow ribbons! And more likely than not, by an oil-related company. Next thing you know, advertisers will be exploiting the American flag!

Wait a minute...never mind.

(*-Not the actual name and address, but close. You think I want to give them free publicity? Besides, I can't remember what it was.)

Monday, April 04, 2005

Caption Capsule

First-ever rerun edition


I originally posted this as the fourth of four caption pics on the first (and only) quadruple-caption pic day on 10/24/2004. I am rerunning it for three reasons: 1) it is a classic; 2) perhaps because of caption overdose that day, it received zero comments; and 3) Hello has not worked in a week (all photos and banners posted in the last week have been courtesy of the indispensably great Flamingo Jones).

--In one ear, out the other
--"Responsibility...R-E-S-P-O-N-S-E...uh, A-B...what do you mean, I'm eliminated?"
--"Give me four more years, and I'll put corporate responsibility behind me!"
--Bush didn't do well on the guess-the-background part of "Whose Line is it Anyway?"
--Corporate responsibility, much like its backdrop, fades around Bush
--Responsibility was a very heavy burden on Bush's shoulder
--The devil sitting on his other shoulder whispered, "Blame the FBI!"
--Bush's social-studies-fair project took last place
--That debate preparation sure was a bitch
--Bush's nightmare also featured the words "President Kerry"

And new captions for 4/4/05!

--Tonight on the Twilight Zone: the Night the TelePrompTer was Backwards
--"Dammit! Responsibility again?"
--"What do you mean, have I read 'The Telltale Heart'?"
--"I do not take responsibility for this backdrop...It was the idea of the soldiers on the aircraft carrier"
--Responsibility was biding its time to bite Bush on the ass
--Bush introduces the first slide of his Power Point presentation, "Stuff I Hate"
--Bush was surprised to see that, in sign language, his speech translated entirely into the wanking motion
--Oxy...moron...

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Popeless

What a crazy Week in God it's been! First Terri Schiavo dies and then Pope John Paul II follows her two days later. That's gotta be a sign, but of what?

1) The miracle of life?
2) God warning us not to screw with his divine plan for brain-dead patients and old men who die of natural causes?
3) That the Christian right is the light and the way?
4) That 1997 retro is already upon us?
5) That America is not chasing terrorism with enough fervor?
6) America using too many condoms?
7) Or could it be that this is an entirely random series of events that, whether divinely guided or otherwise, only reinforces the long-held wisdom that life is fragile and unpredictable no matter who we are or what we do?

I say we celebrate life while we still have it. Isn't that what remembering the departed is all about?

My will be done

Terri Schiavo, the epicenter of current right-to-die debate, died on March 31. Schiavo had lived life in a persistent vegetative state since a potassium imbalance led to brain death in February 1990. If ever a case defined “lose-lose situation,” then this would be it. Ultimately, there are no winners here.

All of this wrangling could have been prevented with a simple document known as a “living will,” a document that states a person’s desires in the event that they lose the ability to speak for themselves. Ever the paranoid one, I have written one of my own. Here it is:

I, Ian Paul McGibboney, aged 24 years, 10 months and 29 days, and being of sound mind and body as of April 6, 2005, do hereby declare this to be my official living will and testament. Knowing the state of human life to be uncertain, I hereby declare that I want no part of a 15-year battle to determine who has custody of what’s left of my brain.

If, by happenstance, I am in Florida at the onset of incapacitation, I request to be whisked away as soon as possible, preferably to a state without such an insane governor. Someplace like California.

In the case that recovery seems possible, I am all for being kept alive on a respirator and undergoing any therapy conducive to my improvement. However, if three years of constant therapy and CAT scans show that nothing short of divine intervention will restore my brain functions, then let sleeping dogs lie. Please.

However, I do realize that a particularly sensational illness might attract attention by both legislators and the media. In that case, find enclosed an unflattering picture that I took in 2001, just before I had back surgery. I want this to be my official picture. Let people base their emotions on something other than how good I used to look. Additionally, coverage of my case should not take precedence over important news such as the second-deadliest school shooting ever, as happened during the Schiavo saga.

Furthermore, I shall not endorse any videos made of my behavior to justify my continued existence, even if such videos are heavily edited to make me look alert. Only videos made of myself during my life as an active and thinking human being shall receive my support, except when they’re embarrassing.

At no time should any politician or party, be they Republican, Democrat or anything in between, use any part of my illness as a tool for their respective political platforms. Unless such political grandstanding somehow results in effective prevention and support for concurrent and subsequent cases, it need not be even considered.

I vociferously object to any attempt by legislative bodies to write up “Ian’s Law,” designed to make exceptions to long-standing medical and legal practices. Hopefully this will be a moot point by then, because I’ll probably incite an “Ian’s law” or two sometime during the course of my active life.

Also, I wish not to be used as an example of upholding “the culture of life,” particularly by those who continue to support such horrific endeavors as the occupation of Iraq, torture of enemy combatants and the execution of prisoners.

Instead, I hope that all of these “right-to-life” types direct their energies toward repairing the lives of those who still stand a chance. These include, but are not limited to, America’s disabled, working people without health insurance and catastrophic patients. Maybe then, the fight to save one long-swept-away life won’t seem so politically transparent.

Finally, and most importantly, no mayo. I still have taste buds!

Witnesses: Anyone who reads this
Lawyer: the late Johnnie Cochran
Physician: Dr. Jack Kevorkian