Monday, January 30, 2006

Two touchdowns' worth of one-liners


--Oprah Winfrey retracted her support for James Frey's book, A Million Little Pieces, after Frey confessed to exaggerating personal claims made therein. For one thing, there were only 500,000 medium-size pieces.

--An Arkansas woman in custody for killing her three children said Monday that she did it because they told her to. Unfortunately for her, asking your kids what David Spade show they're watching is not currently grounds for murder.

--Senators ended debate on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito Monday, virtually assuring his confirmation to the nation's highest bench. And Jesus wept.

--A top Republican pollster described the American electorate as "gray and gloomy," going into this year's State of the Union address. George W. Bush is expected not to notice, as he only sees things in black and white.

--The FDA on Friday approved the first-ever inhalable insulin. The product is expected to spawn a new underground subculture, "hi-abetics."

--A 15-year-old girl is the first confirmed death from Bird Flu in Iraq. Some people have all the luck, don't they?

--In Saskatchewan, 72 miners emerged alive after 24 hours stuck in a burning mine. They survived by taking shelter in special oxygen chambers, though Dick Cheney initially refused to let them in.

--A new study shows that nervous public speakers can benefit from having sex prior to a speech. In a related story, Bill Clinton is a much more charismatic speaker than George W. Bush.

--In a poll conducted by AskMen.com, Jessica Alba was named the ideal long-term girlfriend. The ranking was based on the input of 2.5 million of the least qualified men in the world to judge that sort of thing.

--Following a decade of pleading by students, dorms at Yale are getting soap dispensers for the very first time. So now we can refer to Yalies as "well-connected, legacy-milking, squeaky-clean bastards."

--Jessica McClure, who as an infant made headlines in 1987 for getting trapped in a well, got married on Saturday. Reports indicate that she's head over heels in love.

--Actor Chris Penn, best known for co-starring in Footloose, was found dead last week in his Santa Monica home. The cause of death was ruled as a massive heart attack, which also felled Chris Farley, who acted aside Brian Dennehy in Tommy Boy, who acted with Alan Alda in The West Wing, who starred with John Candy in Canadian Bacon, who co-starred with Steve Martin in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, which features a cameo by Kevin Bacon, star of Footloose.

--Brokeback Mountain is said to be in the running for a sweep at the upcoming Oscars. Even if it has to sleep with Oscar to get it.

--A dominatrix was cleared of any wrongdoing in the death of an elderly client during an S&M session. At no point had the man uttered his safety phrase, "You're killing me!"

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Caption Central

"Dumb as a poster" edition

--Trust me, I don't want to!!
--"No more penny handouts from this fountain!"
--Worst pick-up attempt. Ever.
--"Trust me, I tried beating around Bush. And look what the Secret Service did to me!"
--A middle-class Bush supporter prepares to reap his tax cut from this wish fountain
--I wouldn't call that a bush; just a horrid haircut
--"I'll hold your sign while you search for your meds, Laura."
--Maybe not, but Bush knows the right people to get around being beat
--Worst Michael Moore impression. Ever.
--From the producers of the clever poster, "You can't break this Cheney," comes this gem!
--You can't? Talk about a "glass-is-half-empty" kinda guy!
--Young Malcolm deflected every question by answering, "Sign-eleven."
--"...But since I got laid off, I can proselytize all day!"
--Jeez, not another libel thumper...
--Voiceover: Who will be the next generation of Karl Rove?
--"You're either with us or you write with blue markers."
--I thought pimping and pandering was illegal...?
--Behind him, a bystander lowered the flag to half-mast to mourn what we've become
--"Well...um...because I'm 4-F..."
--"As you can see, there are No Children Left Behind at this gutted public school"
--The flag kid had no choice but to grab the pole, lest the spin carry him away
--The pool of whitewashing is mandatory for all Young Republicans
--Are those glasses made of wool?
--"Becoming a Republican was the best choice my parents ever made for me."
--Ever seen those guns that look real but only unfurl a gag flag? Well, this guy's head is like that
--Anagram: YOU CAN'T BEAT AROUND THIS BUSH = O, CAN U BET SHITTY, DOUR BUSH! NAA!
--Talk about the shallow end of the pool!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

That goose wasn't cooked, it was Freyed

Deaducation?

This post was originally intended to be a comment on the thread below. But because I'm critiquing this John Stossel piece, it necessarily became ridiculously long. And unless you have 40 minutes to kill in the worst way, I don't recommend watching the segment.

What's wrong with Stupid in America: How We Cheat Our Kids:

1) John Stossel did it.

2) The students were goofing off because finals were over.

3) The teacher being overriden is clearly lecturing only because the cameras were watching, which is why no one's paying attention.

4) The scene is heavily edited.

5) The Belgian-American comparison only shows how little our government values education, whereas the segment clearly wants to blame the teachers.

6) The clip actually uses hyperbolic scenes from "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and Jay Leno to make its points, when both are comic pieces.

7) Why ask the students what they need, except to make them look dumber? Ask the question of someone whose responsibility it is to make school better.

8) The studies focus exclusively on public schools, when it should have taken into account the failures of private schools as well.

9) It claims that, since one school's extravagance failed to produce higher test scores, that all public schools deserve to languish in poverty.

10) Jay Greene, the expert interviewed for the funding segment, works for the right-wing Manhattan Institute for Policy Research and is a regular contributor to the National Review. None of this is mentioned in the report.

11) The school that supposedly saves money relies on the students to do constant janitorial duties and other duties that could possibly constitute illegal child labor.

12) That same school benefits from low teacher-student ratios and increased principal involvement. What a revelation.

13) That principal bribes students for perfect attendance. Stossel paints this as a good thing.

14) The "independent" schools are seen as being better than public schools. Of course they appear that way; like private schools, they can choose their students and have smaller class sizes. You can't blame public schools for that.

15) One public-school student, an 18-year-old reading at a fourth-grade level, is profiled. Surely every student at his school is not such an extreme case.

16) Sylvan helped the illiterate student faster than the public-school group that had tried to help him. Stossel says it was only because Sylvan was private, ignoring any other mitigating factors.

17) Stossel credits vouchers as the reason schools are better in Belgium, whereas his sources' quotes, edited as they are, seem to suggest that many other factors are at play.

18) He also contradicts himself by saying schools in Belgium thrive because vouchers cause more variety in schools, whereas he decries similar facilities in America as being frivolous.

19) "Here in Belgium, [good schools] are all over the place" would seem to undermine the argument that vouchers are helping much there. Vouchers supposedly help students in bad schools go to good ones.

20) Stossel interviews Kevin Chavous of the Center for Education Reform. Unmentioned in the interview is that Chavous is a pro-voucher activist and that the CER is also a conservative, pro-voucher organization.

21) The interviews with the Belgian children suggest that they have been given very leading questions about a loose concept of "choice": "Is it bad that American students don't have as many choices?" "Wow, they don't? Yeah!"

22) Indeed, the Belgian kids seemed to have been whipped into a frenzy, in the spirit of the title, "Stupid in America." "Beat that, Americans!" Great dialogue.

23) Stossel's one-channel TV/public school analogy is so flawed that I won't even get into it.

24) The voucher issue is painted as an equalizing issue, when in reality it only increases the division between rich and poor schools.

25) Stossel's outrage at people having to go to schools in their own area, when many of the same people who support vouchers support "neighborhood schools" (a code word for segregation).

26) Almost all of Stossel's voucher segment focuses on a single district in South Carolina, a bottom-ranking state, as representative of the entire country.

27) In South Carolina, Stossel relies too much on parental allegations, while quoting kids whose own words are rarely heard on camera.

28) Stossel actually equates public schools to government repression in the Soviet Union!

29) Nowhere in the segment does anyone speak more than one sentence at a time, suggesting that some quotes might have been taken out of context.

30) Stossel repeatedly suggests that schools will not improve until they can be marketed like cell phones, sampling 1980s footage of Moscow and an SNL sketch (?!!) to prove it.

31) He suggests that an open educational marketplace would lead to specialized schools such as "Longer-hour schools, sports schools and virtual online schools." And these are good ideas?

32) Stossel derisively lumps teachers with politicians and unions when they don't agree with his ideas.

33) Stossel clearly sees public schools as institutions to ignore and abandon, and expresses mock surprise when a public-school superintendent (and the SC state legislature) disagrees with him.

34) Stossel speaks the word "union" with extreme contempt, over a clip of a woman in African garb bellowing, "The teachers...united!"

35) He offers a union rally in New York City as proof that all teachers are as corrupt as mobsters, even while that (atypical) union gathering shows no signs of such.

36) He offers one extreme case of sexual offense as cause to break down tenure (and later admits that the process to fire the offender had long since been changed).

37) At the 31-minute point, the segment becomes drippingly anti-union and one-sided, failing to explain the regulations it decries, not citing a single one nor offering any reason why they might exist.

38) Several clips of picketing teachers and commercial clips from earlier are repeated, without a new point being made, except to continue the anti-teacher baiting.

39) Stossel actually accuses teachers of being lazy, based on the official hours they work. He also sneers at a 15-percent raise he blames (blames!) on the unions.

40) He selectively quotes teachers to make the point that tenure is the reason that students don't learn, and that only teachers who must fight to survive can make a difference.

41) Hallways full of black students generally punctuate statements about "poor" and "dangerous" schools.

42) Charter schools can choose students; that is why they do better. It isn't because the teachers are happier because they lack tenure, as Stossel suggests.

43) Should students really stay in school until 5 p.m.? And requiring the tenure-free teachers to be available at all hours by phone would seem to debunk Stossel's earlier accusation that teachers are lazy.

44) The lottery to get into the profiled charter school suggests the opposite of Stossel's point: ALL schools need to be improved, rather than concentrate all the good students into one place.

45) With just one minute left in the segment, Stossel mentions that vouchers have opponents. They are presented as fist-thumping, scraggly bearded protesters, and only one is given so much as a sentence, which is promptly dismissed and discarded.

46) At no time is this obvious editorial presented as such; indeed, it is presented as an investigative news piece, which is the saddest thing of all.

Stossel concludes his "report" by saying, "We hope it starts a debate." Count on it!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Pigeonholes are so difficult

Nick the Conservative Cajun has written an expansive outline of his beliefs. Because I always enjoy rebuttals (and because I don't have much else to say today), I want to outline my own views on some of the topics Nick addresses.

--George W. Bush is, in my opinion, the worst president this country has ever had.
--I was never, even for a minute, in favor of the war on Iraq. The damage it has done to the war on terror (in terms of resources, deaths and tactical errors) is incalculable.
--I do not trust this administration to rewrite the law under the guise that it will not hurt people with nothing to hide. How do we know what they're looking for?
--The National Guard's role in Iraq is overblown and, as we have seen with Hurricane Katrina, its absence at home can lead to disaster. That said, I think it would be ridiculous to bring them home just to put them all on the Mexican border.
--I believe in fair trade. There's a certain degree of hypocrisy among those who extol "the magic of the free market" when it comes to outsourcing workers, yet want to ban imports of foreign products because they would compete with American goods.
--I believe in complete separation of church and state, and am alarmed by the increasing merging of the two.
--Capital punishment should be outlawed, if for no other reason than its severely flawed legal precedents. But I'm personally against it because I don't think a government should determine who has a right to live or die (which is why I'm also pro-choice).
--Some of the most gun-obsessed people are the very ones who should not have guns.
--I favor decriminalization of marijuana and prostitution. This would be a huge step toward ending drug-related violence and rape (or, at the very least, disease and hyperextended police forces).
--I don't particularly care for nonsectarian prayers; they serve no purpose and alienate those who prefer to keep their faith private. A moment of silence would certainly suffice.
--The Ten Commandments do not belong in a courthouse, unless they are part of a historical display (which would be out-of-place in most courthouses anyway). Saying that three of them form the basis of American law is ignoring the other seven that are steeped in a specifically dogmatic context.
--I resent anyone saying they speak for the majority of people. I certainly don't claim to.
--I find it richly ironic that the most privileged group of people in the history of the world, rich white conservative Christian politicians, are constantly crying persecution.
--Anybody can do wrong. Anybody.
--No one is above the law. Cops, politicians and presidents are not exempt.
--There is no lawful basis to ban gay marriage. It is strictly a religious issue.
--Tax cuts are going exactly to the wrong people.
--Abolishing the inheritance/death tax was a victory of misinformation; it affected only the top two percent of estates, and yet people were led to believe that it affected everyone.
--I am not against a large government if it functions well; at the same time, I fully support smart streamlining thereof.
--The future of fuel lies in alternative technologies rather than tearing up pristine lands just for our last few hits of petroleum.
--I fully support increasing the minimum wage to an acceptable standard of living.
--School vouchers are a bad idea. The last thing public schools need is to lose what little funding they have under the false pretenses of "competition." Also, I don't like public money subsidizing religion.
--Finally, loving America and agreeing with our leaders are two different things. The first is possible without the second. Same goes with troops and leaders.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Sorry to beat this to death...

Number four in an (apparently) ongoing series

News: not the opposite of Olds


--The Conservative Party swept Canadian elections Monday, for the first time in 13 years. Prime Minister-elect Stephen Harper has already appointed Aunt Jemima and Mrs. Butterworth to his Cabinet. The Party is further expected to enact trickle-down economics.

--Officials in Tehran, Iran, threatened to escalate the country's nuclear-enrichment program Monday. In response, George W. Bush exclaimed, "No, MINE is smaller!"

--Documents released Monday show that Homeland Security was aware of levee problems in New Orleans prior to Hurricane Katrina. As for FEMA? Still not aware.

--After 14 mine-related deaths in three weeks, West Virginia legislators approved increased regulations for miner safety. Among the new rules: no cigarettes until they turn 18.

--A Detroit motorist and a Labrador retriever both died after the dog fell off a bridge and onto the man's car. According to witnesses, the canine fell off the bridge while trying to avoid another car. Smart strategy there, dog!

--A distraught airline passenger in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, bit a passenger before jumping out of the grounded plane. He later said the flesh tasted like "tasteless, reheated chicken."

--The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) spoke out against American Idol judges Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell, alleging that the two men made homophobic remarks to some rejected male singers. Cowell apologized, saying, "There's no need for crying games; I was just having fun with the smalltown boy. Relax!"

A spokesman for Fox responded with "no comment," and for some reason got paid for that.

--New York City police arrested eight participants in the "No Pants Day" campaign, in which subway riders went pantsless on Sunday. Authorities reported that no one was impressed in the incident.

--Forbes.com announced its list of "Where we want to go in 2006." Their top three choices? The Bathroom, Somewhere Besides McDonald's for Once, and Not Iraq.

--After a pair of impressive playoff victories, the Pittsburgh Steelers will face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. And the Manning family will face beer commercials and crying towels.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Caption central

Extended "Dubya Dubya Eeee!" edition

--It's George "the Animal" Steele!
--Security provided by the NWO
--"Let's get ready to CRUMMMMMBLLLLLE!"
--Where's Sergeant Slaughter when you need him?
--"Stop with the 'Ding-Ding!' That's not nice!"
--"Wait, I'm confused...isn't a ring supposed to be round?"
--The new ring girl at Caesar's Palace was really disappointing
--"Mr. McMahon, tear down these walls!"
--Disoriented by his surroundings, Dubya began quoting Austin 3:16 to his religious-right base
--Bush was startled by the realism of the Jack Abramoff simulator
--Ringling Bros. was confused the next morning when they got 3,000 e-mails praising them for the best sideshow ever
--"I spy something red!"
--I've heard of audience-screening, but this is ridiculous
--Don King left quickly, muttering, "Damn, this guy's shady!"
--Shadow boxing for shadow government
--The corners of the ring had credibility gaps
--Bush's ego disallowed anyone else from sharing the space
--Bush always performed stand-up for what he believes in
--Well, I guess his head does count as The Rock...
--Mike Tyson said, "Damn, he needs to use his brain and stop fighting so much"
--Bush's boxing name: Riddick D'oh
--Those ropes you see are actually the strings by which he is pulled
--Somebody tell this man the Iron Sheik retired
--Rocky times for the GOP
--Well, as long as Bush treats war like a wrestling match, why not?
--"We don't do torture! It's just a coincidence this looks like a draw-and-quarter gridiron."
--Announcing Bush the Heartless Globeprodder versus the Washington Generals!
--It's the latest development in politics: theater-in-the-ground
--Bush had to crib his speech
--Whoa! It really IS fake!!

They speak for themselves

The ads below spoof the "Lafayette Works For Me" campaign.





Thursday, January 19, 2006

White-out: the new newsprint

Along with a new college semester comes the first issue of the University of Louisiana Vermilion for 2006. Tons of turnover mark this go-round, with new columnists for almost everything. One of the only mainstays, however, is our old friend John Hinson. Regular readers are well-aware of Hinson's racialist proclivities. And for Martin Luther King week, he surely didn't disappoint! What follows are excerpts from his Jan. 18 column. I always remix/excerpt these, lest I be sued for acute rhetorical poisoning:

Honoring a lie

He's talking about the MLK holiday, but he could just as easily be talking about his diatribe.

I will show that the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. is a disgrace to the nation and to what our country was founded.

If ever a topic sentence defined the word "antithesis," this is it.

Just who is Martin Luther King Jr.? King was born Michael King in Atlanta in 1929 (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther_King%2C_Jr).

I once saw this fact on a racist site, as part of a list on why MLK was a bad guy. "He's a fraud because his birth name was Michael." Seriously! That's how little ammunition they have against him.

This is the first of Hinson numerous allusions to Wikipedia. He must have read my comment last time about needing Wikipedia to understand his references. I was kidding, man! In any case, Wikipedia, as useful as it is, is nonethless not the best source to back up these sorts of arguments. I've removed the rest of his Wiki-links for clarity, though they can be accessed on his Verm page.

Revelations after his death have shown King to be a rabid plagiarist, stealing, at least in part, most of his writings, speeches and even his dissertation. [...]
His speeches fared no better. Laughably, even King's moving "I Have a Dream" speech was plagiarized. He had a dream all right; evidently someone else's dream.

Hinson left something out from the Wiki-page he cites for this point:

The closing passage from King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech was borrowed from Archibald Carey, Jr.'s address to the 1952 Republican National Convention. The major similarity is that both speeches end with a recitation of the first verse of Samuel Francis Smith's popular patriotic hymn "America" (My Country ’Tis of Thee), and the names of some mountains mentioned from each exhorts "let freedom ring" are the same in both speeches.

Keith Miller, in Voice of Deliverance: The Language of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Its Sources, argues that such borrowing, which he terms "voice merging", follows in a long tradition of folk preaching, particularly in the African American church, and should not necessarily be termed plagiarism. On the contrary, he views King's skillful combination of language from different sources as a major oratorical skill.

Even if such speech melding weren't a tradition, it'd be hard to argue that King was a plagiarist simply because he cited the same song as someone else did in an unrelated speech. Also, remember that King offered the words "let freedom ring" as an allusion, and probably wasn't aware that those words would be forever associated with him. And for someone who relies so heavily on secondhand information, Hinson shouldn't be throwing stones.

The only legit issue here is whether or not King properly attributed his quotations in his dissertation; everything else sounds kosher to me. After all, the point of a dissertation is to assemble various sources, quotations and citations together as part of a larger collective study. So reading that King's essay was one-third outside material and two-thirds his own words sounds about right. If not actually a low ratio.

Even worse, King's affiliation with known Communists like Stanley Levison of the Communist Party USA in the middle of the Cold War suggested ulterior motives. Levison assisted behind the scenes with King's rallies and speeches.

By that logic, I'm in a lot of trouble; I've had many radical Republican teachers, mentors, bosses and advisers over the course of my life. Also, I once co-wrote with Hinson, who is an admitted member of the NAAWP, a white-power organization founded by David Duke (and has since changed its name to WORKING People!!). With associations like that, I'd better not become famous!

But don't take my sarcastic word for it. From the MLK Wiki-page:

The attempt to smear King as a communist was in keeping with the feeling of many segregationists that blacks in the South were happy with their lot, but had been stirred up by "Communists" and "outside agitators." [...]

HUAC later was discredited for its coercion of witnesses and the manner in which it sought to implicate individuals with vague and often sweeping accusations and assumptions of guilt by association. The Committee was renamed in 1969 and eventually abolished.

Later, the focus of the Bureau's investigations shifted to attempting to "discredit" King through revelations regarding his private life.

Sounds like HUAC really had ammo with that Communist allegation, huh?

As icing on the cake, both leaked FBI reports and accounts corroborated by those closest to King show that he was a moral degenerate as well, cheating on his wife, Coretta, with married women.

Well, I suppose that negates the whole Civil Rights movement. King cheated on his wife. Thank God the FBI was spying on the man, otherwise we never would have known that extremely relevant factoid! Perhaps he should have stayed home and cross-dressed instead, so that at least J. Edgar Hoover would have something exciting to watch after hours.

Frankly, how does this man deserve a national holiday? When you consider his background and all other Americans' contributions, King should not even stand a chance. [...] a social and moral degenerate, an opportunistic Communist sympathizer and a plagiarist would hardly be in line for No. 1 when it comes to national holidays.

No; but then you haven't really proven any of those allegations, nor have you explained why some of them would even matter.

For the future, Martin Luther King Jr. should be recognized for what he is; a flawed man whose contributions hurt America more than added to it. Americans nationwide should not be forced to pay lip service to this failure of a man.

Gee, John, who do you suppose we should honor instead? Let's find a flawless human being who did the opposite of what MLK accomplished, since he's such a bad guy. Hmm...where can I find a true American hero who not only promoted segregation through violence, but also did so while being the perfect human being? This might take some time. I might have to grab a Snickers bar!

As it is, Hinson's column has only reaffirmed my belief that Martin Luther King Jr. is as noble a role model as his detractors aren't. I'd say "nice try" regarding the column, but it really wasn't that nice of a try. Perhaps next week...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Toward more pasteurized speech

Way to use that Nagin!

All week, the blogosphere has been abuzz about New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin's notorious speech. And rightfully so; portions of it seemed to have been cowritten by the unholy speechwriting team of Pat Robertson and Shirley MacLaine. I'd be dishonest, however, if I overlooked the doubtlessly sincere points Nagin was trying to make. And while he may not be the best man to address these issues (rhetorically or literally), they nevertheless remain:

1) The current chaos and violence resulting from Katrina illustrates just how far away from Dr. King's dream we truly are as Americans.

2) If New Orleans is going to be rebuilt, it should be done so in the manner best representing those who lived there before and made it the unique place that it was.

3) Black-on-black crime is a big deal and adds to an already bleak situation for minorities living in poverty.

4) The United States needs to acknowledge the mistakes it has made in both foreign and domestic policies, and understand how one affects the other.

As for Nagin's "chocolate city" metaphor, that doesn't sound any different from anything I might write if I were trying to evoke a provocative image. But that doesn't make it any less stupid. So with that in mind, here's a speech I have ghostwritten for Mayor Nagin as a freelance effort at damage control.

Good morning, fellow New Orleanians. Once again, I greet you all in the spirit of peace, love and, most importantly, in the spirit of unity. Because I understand at this point that everyone is united against me. And if you're unified, there's nothing that I can do.

On Monday morning, I gave some remarks about channeling the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. When I woke up early the next morning, the entire news media was reflecting upon what I said. And it wasn't nice. So I found myself reflecting on what I should say today as a form of damage control. And so I decided to talk directly to that master of damage-control himself, Richard Nixon.

Now you might think that's one Katrina post-stress disorder, and you'd be right. But I was talking to Nixon and I wanted to know what he thought about my previous remarks. What would he think about my supernatural, yet banal, quoting of Dr. King? And how would he feel about me saying that God is taking out his rage at insane Republican policies by devastating one of the biggest Democratic bases in America? Nixon said, "Wow, even I wouldn't have said that."

What would he say about the relentless party-hopping I have done to attain power, which has now resulted in almost universal disdain? Nixon said, "Don't try to take on a new personality; it doesn't work."

Surely God is mad at America; he's sending demagogue after demagogue after demagogue and it's putting stress on discourse in this country. Surely he's upset at our currently divided America, and Pat Robertson has already reminded us of what happens to those who choose to divide land. Are we headed for a massive stroke of policy? And how can I, as a leader, avoid damage from such hot air? Nixon responded, "I wish I could give you a lot of advice, based on my experience of winning political debates. But I don't have that experience. My only experience is at losing them."

What would he think about my choice of chocolate imagery, that gives my conservative detractors all the bait they'll ever need to justify the lackluster federal response to Katrina? Nixon said, "You gave 'em a sword. And they stuck it in, and they twisted it with relish. And I guess if I had been in their position, I'd have done the same thing."

When I say New Orleans is a chocolate city, I mean that dark chocolate must come together with white milk to make the delicious concoction that everyone loves. In this case, the delicious confection is the milk-chocolate bar that is New Orleans. Milk, chocolate and bars. So metaphorical, and yet so literal! And if good old American junk food and liquor can't bind all people together, than what will? No matter what, this city will be gooey and delicious at the end of the day.

In closing, I asked Nixon to analyze the state of my black leadership in New Orleans. He said, "They won't have Ray Nagin to kick around anymore."

God bless all, and have a good day.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The week in snooze


--Several European nations have joined the United States in demanding that Iran cease its nuclear-weapons program, recalling similar such calls to Iraq in early 2003. If at first you don't succeed, fail and fail again...

--As part of Martin Luther King Day festivities, George W. Bush viewed the original Emancipation Proclamation. Remarked Bush: "We must work together to make sure this sad chapter in our history never happens again."

--Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, was freed from prison in Istanbul last week. In a statement, he vowed to never again shoot Pope John Paul II.

Army officials in Turkey have requested that Agca fulfill the military obligation that is required of all male citizens. But Agca's lawyers argue that he is unfit to be a soldier, being that he likes to shoot people.

--A Greenpeace vessel was nearly hit by a harpoon while protesting Japanese whaling near Antarctica. It's the latest incident in an escalating battle between the whalers and the activists over who is stupider.

--On Monday, Al Gore called the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping, "a threat to the very structure of our government." Ironically, Gore is about the only person Bush isn't listening to these days.

--Alan Greenspan is expected to hit the public-speaking circuit after he steps down from the Federal Reserve this month. His speaking fee will supposedly top $100,000; or, if he sneezes, $200,000.

--Two Fort Lauderdale teenagers were arrested for beating up three homeless men, after numerous people identified them from video footage of the incident. Those acquainted with the duo said they'd recognize those small penises anywhere.

--A two-year-old in New Bedford, Massachusetts, was summoned to jury duty. She was promptly dismissed, due to her opposition to the High Chair.

--Finally, a 20-year-old college student in California set a new record Saturday by solving a Rubik's Cube in 11.13 seconds. According to sources, that isn't the only thing that takes him 11.13 seconds.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A magic MLK illusion!

Courtesy of The Smoking Gun, this picture is supposedly one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s earliest mug shots, dated 1956 and recently found in the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department archives. But this is far more than a mere artifact of history; this is an optical illusion!

Some will look at the mug shot and see one of the greatest human beings of the 20th century, a true example of the need for activism and a paragon of peace. A man who refused to accept deeply ingrained social mores and devoted (and eventually surrendered) his life to righting wrongs in society, even when that goal seemed impossible. For these people, this photo represents a bygone era in which civil disobedience and sheer persistence were the preferred methods of getting things done. When regular people put themselves on the line because the cause was worth it, and weren't afraid to face the humiliation and danger that often ensued from the opposition (who had only barbaric taunts as an intellectual defense). That significance is in the image that I see.

Others will miss that and instead see the person they blame most for ending the "good ol' days" when "everyone knew their place." The man responsible for what some derisively call, "James Earl Ray Day." Those people see an image of the man who was referred to as "Martin Lucifer Coon" in internal GOP documents as late as the 1980s. A man whose holiday they ridicule even as they spend that day on their front porches, drinking mint juleps and whining about how nothing Those People want is ever enough, all the while thanking God that they don't live anywhere near Martin Luther King Blvd. This view of the illusion can be accredited to the backwards, myopic thinking of social conservatives who would rather have left the Good Reverend in the clink forevermore. Indeed, the very ones responsible for inscribing on the picture, "DEAD 4-4-68." And I hope everyone sees that illusion as well, just as a stark reminder of what kind of attitude remains in the way of true equality.

In 6th grade, I was asked by an African-American classmate (whom I hadn't yet met) how I felt about Dr. King. I said, "I think he's a great man. How could I not like him after what he did?" Somewhat taken aback, she replied, "Okay, good! I like you. You're a good person." I always admired such a bold question, and highly recommend it if you want to gauge the true depth of someone's soul.

MLK was an amazing man; anyone telling you differently is dillusioned.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Catholic PC user can't abort virus scan

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Despite the slowdown it has caused his computer, self-described "hardcore Catholic" Kyle McAdams just couldn't bring himself to abort an automatic virus scan Monday.

"I set the virus scan to run at 2 a.m. every morning so that I don't have to face such an ethical dilemma," McAdams said. "However, tonight I was behind on my paperwork, so I was up quite late. I couldn't help it. I lost control of my work urges."

McAdams said that he noticed an unusual slowdown in the performance of his PC at exactly the same time the scan was scheduled to run. A quick check of the taskbar confirmed that the scan was underway.

"The window offered the option to 'abort' the scan, which seemed like the best option at the time because I wasn't expecting this," he said. "I'll admit I was very tempted to hit the button, being that the scan was in its earliest stages. But after a moment of reflection, I realized that abortion is not part of God's plan. I had no choice but to let the scan run, as much as it inconvenienced me.

"Right in the middle of a critical Amway form, too," McAdams added. "But at least I can rest content, knowing that God clearly wanted me to sacrifice for this sacred scan."

McAdams is expected to ignore the scan once it is finished.

Texans, Saints to get negative-round draft picks

NEW YORK CITY--Owing to the dismal performance of its worst teams in 2005, the National Football League announced Thursday that its 2006 draft will feature the first-ever "negative rounds."

"Previously, the draft order had been set up so that the Houston Texans and the New Orleans Saints would occupy the first and second slots, respectively," said NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue. "However, after further review, we have determined that the top slots are not consolation enough for the way these teams played this past season."

Under the newly revised draft structure, the Texans will have the negative-second pick and the Saints will have the negative-first pick. Houston has already chosen USC standout Reggie Bush, while the Saints have drafted USC quarterback Matt Leinart. The rest of the league will begin selecting during the official draft, which will take place in New York April 29-30.

During a photo-op with Tagliabue, in which he held up a ceremonial Texans jersey emblazoned with the number "-2," Bush expressed hope for his burgeoning professional career.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to hopefully bring Houston Texan football to new plateaus," Bush said. "It's a particular honor to be their negative-second-round draft pick."

Spam sues for defamation

AUSTIN, Minn.--Hormel Foods filed a suit against several e-mail marketers Thursday, alleging "defamation of character" against its signature luncheon meat, Spam.

"Over the past decade, 'spam' has become Internet lingo for unsolicited online correspondence," said Gerald Cameron, an attorney representing Hormel. "The Spam line condemns such use, and frankly we are puzzled as to how such a pervasive brand name became associated with such an annoyance. We prefer the name to be used in its more positive connotation as a brand-name for our popular processed-meat product."

The Minnesota-based corporation is asking for damages in excess of $60 million, an amount determined in the affidavit to equal "$15 million for every inch they guarantee to make us longer."

The lawsuit further requests that all future unsolicited e-mail be referred to as "Treet," a competing meat product manufactured by Armour Foods.

Also in the news:
--Congress confirmation of Alito confirmation of Congress' awfulness
--God accepts Robertson's apology: 'You are indeed sorry, Pat'
--Penthouse letter rumored to be fabrication
--Mountain indeed high enough for overweight Franklin
--Where are they now? Martika sells toy soldiers at Wal-Mart
--Blog spotted

Why I use my real name

One of the first questions every aspiring blogger must ask themselves is, "Should I use my real name?" For about 90 percent, that question is quickly answered with "Oh, hell no!" Because frankly, blogging can be a risky proposition in terms of disseminating personal information and political views. Not to mention that most people lean toward paranoia anyway (or, at the very least, enjoy creating an alternate persona via a pseudonym). Indeed, pseudonyms are their own identity in a way; when I mention phizz, murph, oyster or Flamingo Jones, regular readers know that I refer to four distinct personalities with different outlooks. Some of my non-blogging friends comment occasionally; I leave my anonymous option open for that reason.

However, some users take this anonymity too far, as evidenced by this startling-on-its-face news item that, if upheld in the courts, would allow stiff penalties for anyone caught harassing or spamming others online without establishing an identity. Like with most new laws, there are about 4,000 things wrong with it, not the least of which is how an anonymous troll would be caught or what constitutes a troll in the first place. Which is just one reason why I'm not as paranoid about this law as other bloggers who have already commenced disclosing personal information.

So why, then, do I choose to offer my real name? Believe me, it isn't because the federal government wanted me to! In my case, I had several reasons for using my real name as my handle:

--I view this blog as a hangout for cool people to discuss pertinent (or not) issues of the day. As long as we're all friends here, I offer to you an accurate picture of who I am, and Ian McGibboney is my identity. For almost 26 years, I have been my own aesthetic; people have long said my name and nodded with recognition: "Oh, yeah, that guy" (and yes, that's deliberately ambiguous). I've had only one sustained nickname in my entire life, "Icon," which Nick still calls me; people tell me all the time that my real name is distinctive enough. I'm rarely mistaken for anyone else and have often been recognized on the spot by someone who hasn't seen me in a decade. For whatever reason, the things I do resonate with people and always have.

--For most of the past 10 years, I have been published regularly in a variety of media. I am long accustomed to having my name and picture attached to news and other provocative material. Consequently, I have also weathered the range of praise and criticism that comes with the territory. And whereas many bloggers do not specialize in the editorial field or otherwise work in fields where a blog might have an adverse effect on their employment, I offer mine as a digital portfolio to anyone who values such an effort (be they an employer or just an interested reader). I speak for no one but myself; consequently, I do speak my mind about the world.

Has using my real name had some negative consequences? Probably. But ultimately, I think that doing so was ultimately the right decision for me. And I believe that that decision should be remain a personal one, and should never be coerced by the government or other suppressing body. The potential suppression of free speech isn't worth it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Jobs that blow?

Here is MSN's list of the top 25 jobs of 2006 (with jargon intact):

1) Retail salesperson
2) Registered Nurse
3) Postsecondary teacher
4) Customer-service rep
5) Janitor or cleaner
6) Waiter/Waitress
7) Combination food-preparation and service worker
8) Home health aide
9) Nursing aide, orderly, attendant
10) General and operations manager
11) Personal and Home Care Aide
12) Elementary School Teacher
13) Accountant and Auditor
14) Office Clerk
15) Hand Laborer and freight, stock and material mover
16) Receptionist and Information Clerk
17) Landscaping and Groundskeeping Worker
18) Truck Driver, Heavy and Tractor Trailer
19) Computer Applications Software Engineer
20) Maintenance and Repair Worker
21) Medical Assistant
22) Executive Secretary and Administrative Assistant
23) Sales Representative, Wholesale and Manufacturing
24) Carpenter
25) Teacher Assistant

According to MSN, "These 25 occupations account for 8 million new jobs and about 40 percent of total job growth over the next decade." This (frightening) info was compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Of these enticing options:
--Only one requires a graduate degree;
--Four require a bachelor's degree;
--Two require an associate degree or "postsecondary vocational award";
--One requires long-term job training;
--Six need moderate-term job training;
--And 11, short-term job training ("Can you operate a lawn mower? You're hired!")

What strikes me most about the list is its dismal salary distribution. There are only six jobs over $50,000, but 14 under $30,000 (and 11 of those are under $23,000). How can 11 of the top 25 jobs not even pay a living wage? What a devastating testament to today's job market!

This reminds me of one job engine which, when I input "Lafayette, LA," led off its top-10 list with an open position at Wendy's. But generally, local searching pretty much reflects what's up above. Except that there are a lot more work-at-home "opportunities." How did that not make the list?

This is not to demean any of the hard-working people who do any of these jobs; hell, I've done several myself, and they can be very rewarding. Not to mention that the work is immensely valuable on all fronts. But how can anyone be inspired to finish school or reach high if these positions are the pinnacle of what's available? It hardly makes it worth the effort.

You read it here, kids: most of the most sought-after jobs in 2006 are the same jobs that put you through college (or got you baseball-card money back in the day). So save yourself a ton of college debt!

Please. Somebody tell me I'm wrong.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The latest pulse on leaders' heartbeats


--Vice President Dick Cheney checked into a D.C. hospital Monday morning for what was described as "shortness of breath." The culprit was a foot medication Cheney takes to ease the pain of constantly putting his foot in his mouth.

--Reports indicate that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is once again breathing on his own. Which is good, because that's the one thing we ask for in our leaders these days.

--Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito said during confirmation hearings Monday that fair judges do not let agendas or partisan politics influence their decisions. In a related item, Alito thinks fair judges are stupid.

--The New Jersey legislature adopted a moratorium on the death penalty Monday, noting that living in New Jersey is enough of a death sentence.

--Several incidents of Bird Flu have been reported in Turkey. They will be fried in Greece.

--At least 76 dogs have died in the U.S. as a result of eating tainted products from Diamond Pet Foods. The company is recalling several product lines, having figured out that diamonds aren't the best thing to feed dogs.

--The Dow Jones industrial average closed at 11,000 Monday, its highest showing since 9/11. Imagine that...it's taken four-and-a-half years to get our economy back up to where it was on the worst day in our history.

--Honda showcased the first of its prototype fuel-cell vehicles this past weekend, saying that the cars will be more readily available as soon as hydrogen becomes more common. Hello? Hydrogen is 99 percent of all matter in the universe! I hear Congress alone accounts for 75 percent of it.

The automaker also announced plans to market the "Home Energy Station," a personal hydrogen-fuel pump powered by natural gas, which is expected to ease the burden on fossil fuels. So how, exactly, does a pump powered by natural gas supposed to do that? That's the best automotive joke since the Pinto. Damn you, Halliburton!

--In sports news, the NFL playoffs have commenced. Or, as Saints fans refer to it, something to watch until the draft.

--And finally, a wild boar was discovered sound asleep in a bedroom Monday. However, the White House announced that he belonged there, and that really wasn't a nice thing to say about the president.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Monday Morning Complaint

I'm not going to name names, and it doesn't really concern this blog anyway. But I will say this:

If you have a post you want someone to read, posting the entire thing as a random comment on someone else's blog is a very irritating way to do it. If you must do so, then at least target your audience; that gives it some semblance of sincerity. I don't watch SNL's "Weekend Update" to catch up on Iraqi death tolls; why, then, would I want to read about a serious national issue on a silly comedy thread? What might have been an interesting read in its proper context is now just a disturbance. If it's that important, than e-mail it, or at least engage your audience in honest blog conversation. I, for one, am far more likely to read (and link) someone's blog if I feel like I'm getting to know them through genuine mutual discussion and interest. Seeing a form letter reading, "I approached you," won't compel me to visit you any more than it will compel me to give some faux-royalty spammer my bank-account number.

Smart promoters know their audience. But even a stupid audience can spot a bad promotion.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Bite All You Can Bite


No, this isn't another one of my graphics; this a real energy bar I recently came across! It is manufactured by Sweet Productions, a confectionary based in Amityville, NY (yes, that Amityville). Its packaging offers instant soldier cred, though its camouflage wrapper sometimes causes it to disappear in their fatigues (rim shot). This is the kind of bar that, if the drill sergeant from Full Metal Jacket had found it instead of the doughnut, he would have been happy rather than fierce. So get your GI gear on these and Support the Troops!

Ironically enough, this bar appears to have no ties whatsoever to the military. That would make "HOOAH!" the edible equivalent of those Titanic knockoff videos that were big a few years ago. You know the ones: Titanic: the True Story; Titanic: Jewel of the Deep; Titanic: the Cheaper and Older Film; and Titanic: the Even Truer Story. This bar is like that. It's a return to the themed food of old, such as the "Chicken Dinner" chocolate bar of the 1920s and Ritz crackers, which (ironically enough) aren't that ritzy.

In any case, this bar is among the best I've ever eaten. They certainly go down better than those damn ribbons. HOO-AH! (Trademark of Sweet Productions).

Thursday, January 05, 2006

See ya later, Navigator!

I hate SUVs. Long before I knew anything about their fuel burden and popularity as a status symbol, I simply thought they were ugly vehicles. Even now, they strike me as station wagons that didn't quite come out of the womb correctly, or trucks with cleft palates. On top of their general ugliness, they waste fuel, reduce visibility for other drivers and are often driven by very aggressive and inconsiderate motorists. Which, of course, is why SUVs are the perfect symbol of the New American Century.

The ongoing (if slightly ebbing) SUV craze is a testament to the resiliency of willful American ignorance. MSNBC solicited opinions from readers about the phenomenon, and the resultant comments speak volumes about the attitudes of the people with whom we share the roads. I could lie and say I learned something; but all this article did is reinforce everything I've always thought. Read these excerpts and judge for yourself:

These SUVs are all about excess and power, and worse than that they kill. When I look at these idiots trying to navigate a parking lot driving a Cadillac Escalade while talking on handheld cell phone, I’m ashamed to be an American.

I’m a 60-year-old female office worker and I love my Chevy Tahoe. I sit high, drive through the snow without any problems and take people to work who can’t get there when the weather is bad. I like its size, load capacity, and leg room for my passengers in the back seat (three can sit there comfortably on a long trip). The gas mileage is not of great concern given all the other features.

Big SUVs are a tribute to the stupidity of the American public. Poorly engineered, stiff chassis, rollover prone, crude suspension systems and incompatibility with other vehicles ... need I go on?

People tend to forget that SUVs can be very practical vehicles. I own a Toyota Highlander that gets 19 miles per gallon in the city.

Shame on the American automakers for ever marketing the oversized junk, and hooray for Toyota and Honda for bringing us fuel-efficient hybrids! Anything we can do to lessen our foreign oil imports is a win for the USA.

I live in Northern Michigan and the need for a large 4WD for five months out of the year is obvious. In addition, I’m 6’2’’ tall and I don’t fit in a shoebox-sized car. I drive an Avalanche that fits my needs perfectly and averages over 17 miles per gallon.

SUVs are nice, but they’ve gone too far with size. They are too heavy and get lousy gas mileage, and their center of gravity is too high so they roll over easily. A minivan is much more practical and cheaper to own.

I really enjoy my Explorer. It’s spacious and rides well, and I can’t see me cramped up in a small SUV, or a sedan, especially with kids.

My town is awash in huge trucks driven by small women who say they need an SUV to transport their children, but usually carry only one or two kids. So this must be either an ego issue or an illusion of safety for them, because these biggies are no fun to drive, impossible to park, and expensive to fill up.

I just purchased my first SUV. I spent many years as a parent with two kids trying to cram our lives into a midsize car, and it was not pleasant. I was unable to squeeze bikes and large purchases into my car and safely drive the family home; and deciding who had to stay behind on a trip to the store, or a vacation because of an extended family of aunts, cousins, or stepchildren was not pleasant. I believe the SUV is a necessity for many American households. Bigger families need bigger cars and the fact is most families consist of more than 4 or 5 individuals. The SUV has become essential to getting everyone together and through the daily trips to the store, school, camp, church, park, and anywhere else life takes the family.

They’re an ego trip for many of the wealthy interested in tax-deductions and impressing themselves, but they have little practical use.

We recently purchased a new, all-wheel-drive Chrysler Pacifica as a replacement for an older Jeep Grand Cherokee. My wife loves it!

It took an energy shortage, global warming, keeping up with the Joneses, rollover accidents (that took the lives of too many people) and too much testosterone in American culture to bring the behemoths down.

So, to recap, here's why you shouldn't own SUVs:

--They are not environmentally friendly
--Because of their excessive reliance on foreign oil
--They're tough to negotiate in tight spots
--You probably don't live in the tundra
--They contribute to the failure of American auto lines
--They symbolize testosterone and material excess
--And ironically, they're not even that safe

And now, the reasons why people like SUVs:

--Status
--Cargo space for all the expensive things you buy
--Because driving low is for the rabble
--All children need the equivalent of first-class airline seats
--Who cares if you wreck, as long as you're safe?
--They're rolling tax exemptions
--SUVs give you the traction you need for on-road driving
--"My wife loves it!"

Quite the toss-up, huh? I haven't faced a decision this tough since the 2004 election. Help me out here!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

No miner mistake

As everybody now knows, 12 of the 13 miners trapped in the Sago Mine in West Virginia are now reported dead after having been initially listed as alive. In addition to being traumatic for everyone involved, this development has also led to awkward media coverage. Wednesday's Daily Advertiser perfectly illustrates what happens when a time-sensitive print medium can't quite catch up to breaking developments. Along with a small front-page article that cites inconclusive developments, the front section carries an Associated Press dispatch on the incident. I wish to save it for posterity, because it says a lot about corporate accountability, the human response to tragedies and the sometimes poor timing of the media.

Families say 12 miners found alive

TALLMANSVILLE, W. Va. (AP)--Twelve miners caught in an explosion in a coal mine were found alive late Tuesday, more than 41 hours after the blast, family members said.

Bells at a church where relatives had been gathering rang out as family members ran out screaming in jubilation. Relatives yelled, "They're alive!"

"Miracles happen in West Virginia and today we got one," said Charlotte Weaver, wife of Jack Weaver, one of the men who had been trapped in the mine. "I got scared a lot of times, but I couldn't give up," she said. "We have an 11-year-old son, and I couldn't tell him, 'Daddy wasn't coming home.'" [...]

Neither the company nor the governor's office immediately confirmed that the men were alive.

This has really got to hurt for the mother quoted in the article, who now has to tell her young son the same thing that she was grateful that she didn't have to tell him before. Will she be able to rationalize that God has called him home? Is that really any consolation after the initial rush of joy? There's just no way.

In my experience, nothing makes one feel worse than the feeling that something miraculous has transpired, only to have it jarringly yanked away from you a short time later. In 1979, my aunt and uncle had just finished refurbishing a huge house and were expecting a baby within a month, when she was killed in a car accident. My grandfather beat severe liver backup in 1998, only to be felled by pancreatic cancer months later. A high-school athlete friend of mine won a trip to the Summer Olympics in 2000, only to suddenly drop dead shortly after returning home. Watching the Saints is also very much like that, albeit on a footballier level.

Compounding these losses is the prospect of having to see the happy stories in print, knowing that they have already been deflated. As much as it freaks me out to bring up yet another young death, I remember another unfortunate incident in high school when the brother of a classmate died of a heart attack. He was only 14, though supposedly he had heart problems that could have killed him much earlier. On the day that the Daily Advertiser published his obituary, his older sister was profiled as part of an honor-student series. The last line of the article stated that she had two brothers. Even then, I remember wondering if she would ever be able to read that article, knowing it ran at such a bad time. It's gotta hurt even worse for those who saw the picture of Cardelle Faulk's wide grin as he cradled a soccer ball and expressed excitement over his upcoming trip to Sydney. He was in the front pages once again after he died of a seizure on the basketball court that fall.

I'm not blaming print media for publishing what (at the time, at least) was seen as accurate information. Though honestly, maybe a little more discretion and a little less speed could have salvaged the situation. But the false information parroted by International Coal easily ranks among the most thoughtless bile ever to cover an ass. What the hell were they thinking in announcing they were alive without knowing for sure? I suppose I now understand the thinking behind the alleged corner-cutting of the mine shaft construction in the first place.

Incorrect information leads to terrible situations down the road--not that anyone should have to be reminded about that in this day and age. Except maybe those in charge who would permit such unsafe workplaces, poor medical care and unjust wars. But then again, George Bush cops to not reading newspapers, so that might be a moot point altogether.

What good are timeliness and a high reputation if, to attain those things, you have to give a fatal ray of false hope to a city and the nation? Something else apparently died in the mine that day: tact.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The year in review, so far


--A major environmental group released a report calling 2005 the "worst year ever" for weather. Actually, it was a great year for hurricanes, tsunamis and global warming; it just sucked for the people and cities affected.

--Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon will reportedly abandon the U.S. "road map for peace" in favor of forcefully annexing West Bank land from the Palestinians. In road-map parlance, that's what you call "nose-diving the Family Truckster."

--Firefighters near San Antonio, Texas, are selling firecrackers to raise money. Inspired by the campaign's success, local hospitals have begun stocking shotguns.

--Scientists in Dallas have confirmed that a skeleton discovered 16 years ago is a unique sea dinosaur. The finding plugs a missing link in the evolutionary chain, a fact that Texas schoolchildren are promptly expected to not learn.

--A bowler in Michigan died after rolling the third perfect game of his 49-year career, thus proving the old adage, "36 strikes and you're out."

--A California woman reported that an intruder broke into her house, downloaded porn into her computer and promptly fled, stealing nothing. Rocker Gary Glitter responded to the incident by saying, "Damn! I wish I'd thought of that alibi!"

--In business news, Independence Air announced it would cease operations after only 19 months. I guess it didn't help that the airline's name recalled a movie where lots of jets are blown out of the sky.

--Ending several months of speculation, the NFL announced that the Saints would return to New Orleans in 2006. The challenge now? Finding new Saints.

--The Chronicles of Narnia edged out King Kong this past weekend as the number-one movie at the U.S. box office. Both movies are being hailed as the best escapist fantasies this side of the White House press room.

--Finally, authorities in Columbus, Ohio, reported that a cat allegedly dialed 911. Which isn't so remarkable, considering that the damn thing was trying to order a pizza.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Caption Central

"The Craw-Ford F-350 Ranch" Limited Edition

--It's the President's Ford!
--License plate: Bush puts the "BS" in "6BS-D2Z"
--Bush heads off to his speech on conservation of fuel resources
--Bush single-handedly disproves the big-truck theory by sprouting a third leg
--Fortunately for Bush's PR, the San Diego skyline is nowhere near Texas
--Upon seeing this truck's grille, Tom DeLay recoiled out of habit
--Usually, air bags are already inside the vehicle
--"I used to fly an F-350 just like this one!"
--Recycled: Its wheels don't turn because it Stays The Course
--"Who needs this rearview mirror? We can't afford to look back!"
--Imagine that! Even his truck sneers...
--Bush and Co. practice the valet-parking drill they'll need in 2009
--Cinematic: "Git Jeff Daniels in here so's we can return the briefcase!"
--Bush discovered too late that his Road to Recovery is a dead end
--"Don't make me drive this nation off a cliff!"

Happy New Year's Post

I'm SHOOOOO drunk rightnow.........lolz!

Just kidding. That's not my style. But no one parties like I do, which is why I'm blogging at 2:23 a.m. Just kidding, again! I did manage some fun tonight.

Man, I hope everyone has better things to do than read this. Like planning how 2006 will be the year things turn around! Yeah!! Hey, if New Orleans can keep the Saints for another year, then anything can happen, right? Tell yourself that...

Seriously, though, a new year means a new start and renewed hope. Can we do it? I sure hope so. In any case, I appreciate everything you guys contribute to my blog and to the world and hope it continues into 2006.

(Hey, I've never written a New Year's post before. Cut me a break!)

48,228 hits and counting...you make it all worthwhile. Thank you.