Friday, September 30, 2005

 

In Other News...



  • A Moslem author in Spain has written an instructive book on how to beat your wife without leaving any pesky, questionable marks on her body. I'm glad to say that a Spanish judge has issues with that.


  • MIT is working on a new laptop computer that will cost. one hundred bucks. It has a gig of flash memory and a hand-crank to make it's own electricity, should it need to do so. No, this doesn't appear to be a spoof.


  • I love it when kids show ingenuity and it pays off. This kid is selling the pixels on his homepage for a dollar each. He hopes to sell a million of 'em. Good luck, kid.


  • Wanna buy US Postage Stamps with Muppets on them? They're on the way. I'm a bit of an old fogy on this issue; I think that postage stamps should only feature portraits of important dead people... but what do I know.


  • The spineless Michigan slug, Michael Moore, is stirring the muck again. The CBC is showing his schlockumentary Bowling for Columbine, and he's protesting. He doesn't want the Canadian network to show the film until they settle with their striking employees. Moore has accused the CBC of "acting like an American Corporation". Good Job, Mike, you steaming pile of fecal matter. For a few minutes there, we'd come close to forgetting how much you hate all things American.


  • I do make some effort to avoid blogging about Cindy Sheehan, if only because typing her name makes me want to puke... but I thought that this was interesting. Ya know how Cindy loves to talk about what a criminal Dubya is? Well, I guess it takes one to know one. Cindy Sheehan is a criminal herself, having not paid the taxes on her home from '96 to '98. Looks like Cindy's grudges against authority long predate the honest and heroic death of her son. Why doesn't that surprise me?


  • This is sickening. This news story features a picture, too, so consider yourself warned. Authorities in Colombia have found three human fetuses stored inside religious statues. They were being smuggled into America, and the authorities believe they were going to be used in some sort of satanic ritual. God help us all.


  • I just love the liberal screed that passes for a local newspaper in this area. The Roanoke Times sinks to new lows daily, so after a while, you actually lose interest... but today's editorial is very literally laughable. That is to say, it made me laugh out loud. Here's the gist: The Roanoke Times believes that if recently indicted House Majority Leader Tom Delay didn't actually break the law, then the law should be changed so that whatever he can be shown to have done becomes a criminal offense. Yep, you read that right. They're so bloodthirsty for Delay, they want the law changed to guaran-damn-tee that he's a criminal:
    ...if DeLay is not guilty of something, it says more about the state of laws governing political corruption in this nation than DeLay's purity... Among the things DeLay has done that ought to be against the law.....yadda, yadda, yadda

    And they want their readers to take them seriously.



  • Wednesday, September 28, 2005

     

    Autumn Music



    Autumn is the only season of the year that I associate with specific music, certain albums, and exact songs.

    Some music has the power to bring back exact feelings, and I suppose that, for whatever reason, I remember feelings from past autumns more clearly than from any other time of my life.

    I don't mean that I remember certain exact events or specific periods of my life when I hear certain music. It's more abstract than that. What I mean is that there is certain music that I associate with memories of a very specific feeling. It's sort of a placid, melancholy longing that I can't define or explain, and the only thing I'm sure of is that I associate it with autumn.

    These are my "autumn albums." This is the music that I always want to hear in the fall of the year, and I invariably find myself digging through my CD collection, trying to find these albums, by the beginning of each October.

























    Am I a lone nutcase, out on a limb with this topic? Or, do you have your own specific autumn music as well? If so, I'd love to hear about it. Please leave comments.


     

    News, Comments, Etc...



  • Boy, this is grizzly:

    Newark, N.J. -- The cousin of a seven-year-old boy whose decomposed body was found stuffed in a basement storage bin pleaded guilty to manslaughter yesterday, saying he killed the child when he tried to flip him onto a bed, but missed... Mr. Murphy's mother, Sherry Murphy, also pleaded guilty yesterday. She admitted finding (the boy's) body on the floor of her Irvington apartment in September, 2002, trying to revive him, then leaving him there for several days.

    Ugh.


  • Looks like I was right on this one: I thought that Israel's pulling out of Gaza was a bad idea, and so far it's lead to anything but peace. Violence between Palestinians and Israelis in that area has been worse than ever since the pullout, as Palestinians terrorists attack Israelis and the Israeli military responds with missiles and artillery fire.

    What got the violence going again? At least to some degree, I think it's fair to blame the incompetence of Hamas, and their obsession with firepower:

    Militants said they were provoked by a blast in a Hamas parade on Friday that killed 17 people. They said an Israeli missile caused the disaster. Israel denied any involvement. The Palestinian Authority blamed mishandling of explosives by Hamas.

    Look, when you feel compelled to bring guns and explosives in mass quantities to demonstrate your virility every time you go outside, it's only a matter of time before there's a great big ooops. And, of course, anytime anything bad happens to an Arab, these groups have just got to blame it on the Jews. Allah forbid they ever take responsibility for their own actions.

    It's hard not to be cynical. Right now, I'm not even trying not to be cynical. Screw being politically correct, culturally sensitive, and enlightened. Middle Eastern Moslem culture strikes me as violent, repressive, hostile, and arrogant. I hope the Bush administration is right, I hope that seeds of democracy can be planted in the area... but deep down, I think we might as well try to teach ballet to chimpanzees over the telephone.


  • Fred Barnes sees a rough road ahead for the GOP in 2008:

    The Republican party (has) a lesser field of candidates: (John) McCain, Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Virginia Senator George Allen, and a few others. All of them have distinct handicaps. McCain's is that many Republican loathe him. Giuliani is a social liberal. Allen and Romney are inexperienced at the national level. Frist has a soft and blurred image.

    Oh, I don't know. George Allen is smart, capable, and likable. Granted, I'm a Virginia boy, and a conservative, so I'm biased... but I think that he'll have time to introduce himself to the nation and win it's confidence. He's a senator, so the federal government isn't foreign to him. I'm not even sure if experience at the national level is that important; the last two presidents have been state governors. Allen has a lot to offer.

    I disagree with Giuliani on abortion, but he's a national name, he's damn good in a crisis, and he's popular. Personally, I think an Allen/Giuliani ticket would be a tough one for the Democrats to beat.

    By the way, speaking of George Allen, this story is almost too silly to comment on, but I can't help it:

    The Washington Post reports Virginia Democrats have hatched plans to run (Ben Affleck) against Republican Senator George Allen in next year's election. Affleck and his pregnant wife Jennifer Garner are said to have shopped for a house around Charlottesville, Virgnia, but still appear far from making a move anytime soon. Once Affleck's name was mentioned by state Democrats, it proved extremely popular. University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato says, "It spread pretty widely, at least in the political underground."

    Right.

    Come on, the Virginia Democrats can do better than that.

    They can get Damon.


  • Writing in the USA Today, Jonah Goldberg sums up the Democratic response to Judge John Roberts with wit and precision:

    In speech after speech, Democrats voting "no" said (Roberts) was qualified, decent, brilliant, capable, nice, but they just couldn't do it. You got the sense John Kerry wanted to take Roberts to a nice restaurant and give the nominee the "it's not you, it's me" speech: Look, you're a great guy, and any country would be lucky to have you. I'm just not in a good place right now.

    Besides, as we all know, Senator Kerry is gunshy about commitments.


  • Dennis Prager looks for hysteria in liberalism and... surprise! he finds plenty of it. On issues like the Patriot Act, the war in Iraq, public health, the environment, Christianity, and on and on and on, liberals make hysterical claims and assertions. We've all heard their barking to death: Bush is Hitler. Iraq is Vietnam. Republicans are preventing science from saving everyone's life with stem cells. Conservative policies on the environment caused Hurricane Katrina. Etc, etc, etc.

    Prager calls PETA out in specific:

    People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the living embodiment of hysteria. Take their program "Holocaust on your plate," which equates barbecuing chickens with the cremating of the Jews in the Holocaust. It is one thing to be concerned about chickens' welfare, but only hysterics compare eating them with the slaughter of a people.

    I think that the best thing that people who are genuinely concerned with the ethical treatment of animals could do is to oppose PETA at every opportunity. That group has done more to damage their own cause than any I can think of.

    By the way, hat's up with all the naked protesting lately? I know it's not a totally new thing, but it sure seems to be really popular right now. Did somebody on the left wake up one day and say "Hey, I know how to get people to take our opinions seriously! We have to show everyone our genitals!" I don't buy it. I don't think that many of these people really even care about their supposed causes. I think that a lot of these people are just exhibitionists who have attached to their cause simply as an excuse to take of their clothes in public.

    By far, PETA is the worst of that group.




    Most recently PETA's protest against Australian sheep farmers involved going to DC and getting naked in front of the Australian embassy. I'm sure these protests are very popular with frat boys and hippies, but it's hard for me to imagine that anyone, anywhere, has rethought their position on the Australian wool industry because they saw somebody's naked butt. Granted, they might be able to get me to rethink my position on the thong... and I feel safe in saying that I'm generally opposed to the wool thong, but other than that, I tend to brush these things off.



  • Supposedly Dead rapper Tupac "Two-Pack" Shakur continues to be prolific from beyond the grave:

    LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "Live 2 Tell," a script written by late rapper Tupac "2Pac" Shakur, is being developed as a feature film, with shooting set to begin in March, the project's producer said Tuesday.

    I'm not much for conspiracy theories. I think Elvis is in the ground behind Graceland, I think that Lee Harvey Oswald shot John Kennedy by himself, and I don't think that there's anything suspicious going on in Area 51. I am, however, increasingly willing to entertain the notion that Too-Paque faked his death with help from music industry insiders. The guy has released more albums, movies, etc, as a corpse than he did alive. I'm not sayin' I believe he's alive, I'm just sayin' that something weird has been going on for the past nine years. That's all I'm sayin', ya know? That's all I'm sayin'.



  • Tuesday, September 27, 2005

     

    All To Pieces about Spider-man 3



    I'm posting this at the film blog because it seems natural to do so... here's a link if you want to read why the apparent news regarding the Spider-man 3 villians has me uneasy.


     

    You Lookin' For Trouble?



    If so, you found it. The Autorantic Virtual Moonbat is here and ready to argue with conservatives about... well, about anything and nothing, really.

    Just type in a statement, any old statement at all... and the Virtual Moonbat will attack you and your opinion, just like a real liberal would do.

    Have fun.





    Hat tip to ConservaThink, where I first saw the AVM, which originates at The Gleeson Bloglomerate.

    Monday, September 26, 2005

     

    Wayfaring Strangers, Part 23



    (Wayfaring Strangers is a continuing series about our experiences as my wife and I study to convert to Catholicism.)

    Life, Faith, and Death



    My grandfather died yesterday after a very painful week. He had a series of "mini-strokes" last weekend, and was unable to talk or get out of bed for the last several days of his life. The only thing he was really able to express was the extent of his physical pain; even being touched was agony. Everyone dreaded it when the people from hospice would come to give him the medical care he needed. Even outside, in the front yard, we could hear him screaming in pain.

    When someone dies under those conditions, it certainly makes it easier to see death as a relief. I'm glad his suffering is over.

    I've been pretty emotional during Mass for the past week. I suppose that's normal. I've found myself bothered and puzzled by my own thoughts at times. As a new convert to Catholicism (having not even been confirmed or baptized yet), I suppose I have an enthusiasm and a zeal that might be unique to converts. I've come to believe very much in the transubstantiation of the Eucharist during Mass, and at one point I found myself worried for my grandfather's soul because he never received Catholic Eucharist, only protestant communion.

    Shame on me. I mean that sincerely. How dare I feel any doubt about my grandfather's salvation?

    It really bugs me to see in myself an indication that I could end up being as closed-minded and narrow about my Catholicism as many of the Southern Baptists around me are. I rejected the Southern Baptist faith, and protestant faith in general, because my experiences with it lead me to believe that it was too constricted. I can't pursue Catholicism with the same arrogance that I perceived in the protestant churches I attended. I must not do that. I have to remember that I have that potential, and I have to be on guard against myself.

    Yesterday's passage from the gospel really hit home with me:

    Christ asked the church elders: "What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, 'Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.' He said in reply, 'I will not,' but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, 'Yes, sir,' but did not go. Which of the two did his father's will?" They answered, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.


    It's easy for me to believe I'm doing the Lord's bidding by sitting in church twice a week, crossing myself and praying, saying Rosaries, etc... but if I'm doing all of that with a closed heart, content in my own righteousness, then I am the second son from the parable. I'm telling God that I will live by his bidding, and then I'm failing to carry it out "in the vineyard." If I do that, if I live that way, then people who don't go to church at all but feel love for the people around them and respect them and treat them well are more just in the eyes of God than I am.

    Wouldn't it be ironic if I turned my back on the protestant churches of my family because I've perceived them to be closed-minded and hypocritical, and I became a closed-minded and hypocritical Catholic?

    My grandfather loved God and tried his best to be a good Christian all of his life. I've said for all of my adult life that if I could be twice the man I am, I'd still not be half the man that he is. I've been in awe of his work ethic, his ingenuity, his honesty and his goodwill for the people around him. He was and is my idea of what a good man should be.

    I looked through some old pictures earlier, I wanted to post a picture of my grandfather here at the blog, and I found a couple that I like. I also found a few pictures of myself that made me laugh out loud. Over the years my weight has gone up and down dramatically, and so has the length of my hair.

    These thumbnails are clickable, if you care.

    Here's a couple of pictures of my grandparents. The black and white picture was taken in the late 60's. The color picture was taken in the early nineties, only a year or so before my grandmother died.


    My grandmother was one of the most naturally funny people I've ever known. She never failed to make me laugh out loud. I miss her terribly, and it makes me happy to think that my grandfather has been reunited with her. He loved her so much.

    The picture at left is my grandmother with yours-truly. I think I was about 15 in the picture. That's a camera in my hand, and that's Peter Frampton's hair on my head.


    Now, just for giggles, a few pictures of me:

    This picture is, I think, six or seven years old. That's me and my son. As far as comfort goes, I much prefer to keep my head shaved. Wendy hates it when I do that, though. She says i look like Uncle Fester.


    This is the haircut Wendy endorses. This is also the ideal weight that Wendy endorses. I try to maintain both. I fail.


    I remember the late '80's as "The MeatLoaf Years." I was the fattest I've ever been, and for some reason I'd decided to let my hair grow out like a dirty hippy. This is what I looked like when I worked in radio. This is why I worked in radio, not television.


    Alright, that's enough for now. Thanks to those of you who've left comments and sent e-mail over the past week. Your prayers and kind words are really appreciated.


    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

     

    What's Good



    Life's like a mayonnaise soda.
    and life's like space without room.
    And life's like bacon and ice cream.
    That's what life's like without you.

    Life's like forever becoming,
    But life's forever dealing in hurt.
    Now life's like death without living.
    That's what life's like without you.

    Life's like Sanskrit read to a pony.
    I see you in my mind's eye, strangling on your tongue.
    What's good is knowing such devotion?
    I've been around - I know what makes things run.

    What good is seeing eye chocolate?
    What good's a computerized nose?
    And what good was cancer in April?
    Why, no good. No good at all.

    What good's a war without killing?
    What good is rain that falls up?
    What good is a disease that won't hurt you?
    Why no good, I guess. No good at all.

    What good are these thoughts that I'm thinking?
    It must be better not to be thinking at all.
    A styrofoam lover with emotions of concrete,
    No, not much, not much at all.

    What's good is life without living?
    what good's this lion that barks?
    You loved a life others throw away nightly
    And it's not fair. Not fair at all.

    What's good?
    What's good?
    What's good?
    What's good?
    Not much at all.

    What's good?
    What's good?
    What's good?

    Life's good.

    Life's good?
    Life is good.

    But not fair at all.

    -- Lou Reed



    Monday, September 19, 2005

     

    Big Insight



    In movies, the death of a loved one usually leads to profound insights and observations by those left behind. Of course, it doesn't work that way in real life. Nothing in real life is as neat and compartmental as things are in the movies.

    Life comes and goes in minutes and seconds. There, that's my big insight. That's all I've got. It's stupid and cliched and horribly unoriginal, but it's probably the best I'll ever come up with.

    Life comes and goes in minutes and seconds.

    My maternal grandfather is in his late 80's. He's been in bad health for years. My grandmother died after a fourth bout with cancer eight years ago, and now my grandfather is dying. He's been in and out of the hospital with kidney problems, vision problems, bad circulation, etc, for years now. Most recently, he came home from the hospital, under hospice care, last Friday. His doctors told the family that he might have a month to live. I was going to go visit him today, but he's in a deep morphine-induced sleep, and has been all day.

    Today, his hospice nurse told my aunt "We don't have a month. We're down to a few days."

    I live about five minutes away from my grandfather, I have for three years now. In that time, I think I've been to see him twice. There was always something else more important to do, or something that needed to be done.

    There was always something I'd rather do. There was always another use for my minutes and seconds.

    Last year... in fact, almost exactly a year ago... I got severely burned at work and had to spend a few nights in the hospital. On my second night there, my grandfather was checked into the room right beside mine. That night, I went over to his room and sat with him and we talked for about an hour. We talked about the same old stuff we always talked about on the rare occasions we saw each other since I've been an adult. We talked about God and uncles and aunts and cousins, and we talked about the paper-mill where I work, I told him about the burn I'd gotten there, and he told me to be careful.

    My grandfather worked at the same paper-mill where I'm employed; the same paper-mill that has provided jobs for various other members of my family. When I was a teenager, I dreaded eventually being sucked into that mill and ending up doing nothing with my life; ending up as tired and beaten and short-sighted as everyone around me. I went to work in radio, instead. I spent eight years working at this radio station and then that one, living in different cities in the 150-or-so mile radius around home. For someone so hell-bent on getting away from this mud-puddle of a town, I always found myself coming home on the weekends, spending my time with the same old people in the same old places, doing the same old nothing.

    I guess I was in my mid-twenties when I decided that the same-old-nothing was really what I wanted to do with my life.

    My last job in radio was as a program director, saddled with more work and responsibility than my 19 thousand dollars a year really justified. The money was never the focus in radio. By the time I was in my mid-twenties, living two hours away from the only "nothing" I really cared about, unhappy and alone, drinking heavily and feeling sorry for myself, I could no longer remember what the focus ever had been.

    In the early 90's, I decided that I wanted to move back home and go to work at the paper-mill. The same paper-mill that had employed three generations of my family and left them broken, tired, short-sighted men. I no longer saw it as a horrible fate to be avoided at all costs. Now, I saw it as my birthright. When I moved home, the paper-mill wasn't hiring. It took six years of waiting and working whatever job I could find before I'd finally get the job I'd once sworn I'd never want.

    Be careful what you don't ask for. There's another big insight.

    I got on at the mill, eventually bought a house five minutes from where I grew up, and fell into the shift-work routine. Basically, when you're not at work, you're at home asleep, or trying to sleep. You don't see as much of your wife and kids as you'd like to, and when you do, you're usually tired and sometimes short tempered, and it seems like you're always waiting to do something instead of actually doing anything.

    Waiting to go to work. At work, waiting to go home. Waiting for my monthly four-day-break so maybe we can take a trip, and then waiting out the drive back home. Waiting in line at Wal-Mart to pay for groceries. Waiting with a sick kid at the doctor's office or waiting to see the doctor, myself. Waiting for weekends when I have visitation with my oldest. Waiting for the prescription to be filled. Waiting for the next pay-check.

    But, I pay the bills and feed my family (and feed myself, too, and far too well), so I have been happy. I'm still happy. I've come to share my grandfather's "short-sighted" priorities. The paper-mill is important, but only to the extent that it enables me to provide for my family.

    So, a year ago I got burned and spent a few nights in the hospital, and it was there that I had what I suppose will be my last long talk with my grandfather.

    When I was a kid, of course, I thought the guy was a giant. When I was a kid, back when he worked at the mill, I thought he was indestructible. Then I was a teenager, and I thought he was a foolish old man. One year ago, I sat in his hospital room with him, looking at this frail old skeleton he'd become, realizing that his time was running out, realizing that there were things that hadn't been said yet, things that probably should be said, but unwilling to really think about that.

    I've been unwilling to think about it ever since.... and, of course, I've been telling myself that I've been far too busy to go see him.

    At least I had a few minutes and seconds for him that night in the hospital.

    (Thank you, God, for letting me get burned that night at work. Thank you so, so much. I can't express how grateful I am for that right now. Having that burn scrubbed hurt like absolute hell, and I wish I could go through it a hundred more times. A thousand more times.)

    Really, it's all just minutes and seconds.


    Friday, September 16, 2005

     

    The SouthCon True Hollywood Story, Sept 16, 2005



  • It's been a busy couple of weeks for the world's coolest rock star. Bono, lead singer and rabble rouser for the Irish group U2, told a crowd at a sold out concert in Toronto that Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's record on foreign aid is "improving." The message was warmly greeted by the fans in attendance, who'd come to the concert hoping to get a lecture about Canada's foreign aid record, but terribly afraid that they might have to endure some rock music in the process. It was a much friendlier message than the one Bono sent at a Vancouver concert in April, when he chastised Martin for breaking a promise to raise Canada's spending on foreign aid.... Bono called Prime Minister Paul Martin "a friend" who has improved his record on global aid. "He's a good man..." In response, Prime Minister Martin said that he won't rest until his record on foreign aid is endorsed not only by Bono, but also by Tommy Lee, Kid Rock, and the members of N'Sync. The Hidden Blogger, who is known for idolizing U2 because of their refusal to take themselves too seriously, said that it was about time Martin took Bono's demands to heart.


  • One fan who attended the concert took exception to Bono's remarks. Six days later, D.L. McCracken found himself further confounded when Bono seemed to withdraw his praise for Paul Martin and join fellow rock star and world feeder, Bob Geldof, in a round of Canada-bashing. "...there's old Bob taking centre stage in New York amidst the United Nations summit of world leaders and he's back on the same old bandwagon and the world shudders as he steps toward the 48 microphones and says with an air of withering contempt that the world's efforts to make poverty history in Africa only gets a Geldof Rating of 4 out of a possible 10 and he adds in an ominous kind of way that he is not thrilled and the world shudders a bit more under the Wrath of Geldof.... someone asks him about Canada... and he sneers, "Canada..Canada is weird." ... And finally... you read... "Rocker Geldof joins Bono in rapping Canuck aid efforts" and your final thought as you chuck the newspaper into the nearest trash can is why can't Bob Geldof and Bono just shut the *expletive removed* up!


  • Elsewhere, Bono was the target of anger and derision by fellow Irish singer Sinead O'Connor. O'Connor, who is known for her tactful and even-keeled critiques of the Catholic church, took issue with Bono's grief at the death of Pope John Paul II. According to Sinead, "I wasn't going to say anything until I saw him kissing he rosary beads that the Pope gave him... He put those rosary beads on that microphone (stand) the day the Pope died and went on about how great Catholicism is. I think he should apologize for that." In response, fans of good music and listenable vocals around the world reiterated their belief that Sinead should apologize for breathing.



  • Actor and pilot John Travolta made headlines recently when he and his wife, Kelly Preston, made a trip to the New Orleans area to deliver relief supplies for Katrina victims. The visit, which was on behalf of the Church of Scientology, was part charity and part recruiting drive for the controversial science-fiction based religion: The couple visited shelters and doled out 1,200 tetanus shots to relief workers while Travolta "showed a demonstration of the 'assists' that the 'Volunteer "Ministers"' are giving and which are 'helping' individuals overcome the trauma of loss of homes and loved ones," the (Church of Scientology press) release stated. For those unfamiliar with the group's recruiting methods, an "assist" is a type of massage that Scientology's "volunteer ministers" use to lure people into learning about the "religion." Scientology is a religion based on the belief that an evil alien named Xenu visited the earth 75 million years ago and implanted a race of "ghosts" from which only Scientology can protect us. The religion has been embraced by a number of noted celebrities. It has also been warmly received by people looking for a story more interesting and believable than the most recent Star Wars movie.


  • Singing/dancing/reality TV poster couple Britney and Kevin Spears announced the birth of their first child together on Britney's website this week: The proud parents revealed: "We are ecstatic to announce the birth of our son. Everyone is happy, healthy and doing wonderful. Thank you all for your love and well wishes!! Love Britney & Kevin." This is the first child for Britney and, as far as he knows, the third child for Kevin, who dumped his pregnant girlfriend Shar Jackson as soon as he "got a shot at the big-time." The child's name has not yet been revealed to the press, although Las Vegas odds are 7-to-1 that his middle name will be "Ray" or "Bob." Doctor's report that the baby is healthy and fit, in spite of being born with a three-pack-a-day smoking habit.



  • Las Vegas odds makers are still reeling over this week's announced break-up of newlyweds Kenny Chesney and Renee Zellweger. Chesney is known for such country hits as "She Made Love To My Tractor" and "Look At My Abs, You Three-Tooth Redneck Gal." Zellweger is best known for Cold Mountain, Chicago, and some movies that actually aren't annoying. The couple, who met this past January and got married in May, are ending their marriage after four months together. A source close to the couple says "I'm shocked. I'm honestly shocked. I know that celebrity marriages are often flakey and unpredictable, but four months? Who'd ever have guessed they'd actually last that long?!"
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    Thursday, September 15, 2005

     

    Back Under House Arrest



    We had this problem once before, and I posted about it then and got some advice that (we thought) solved the problem. Well, it turns out that the problem isn't solved. I've picked up a few more readers since that last post, so I'm posting again, hoping that we'll get some more ideas.


    This is Anne Murray. No, this isn't the Canadian singer of the same name, this Anne Murray is our cat. I'll give you some information about the cat and the problem: We've had this cat for almost four years, and she's just over four years old. We got her from the ASPCA, and she was declawed when we got her. Right after we had some remodeling done this past spring, Anne Murray started doing her business on the floor beside the new wall instead of in her litter box. We thought that she was doing this because she didn't like the smell of the remodeling, or that she was protesting the fact that we'd had some glass doors walled up (she used to lay in front of those doors every day). We put her under house arrest in the basement, where she lived until we thought we had the problem solved.

    The solution that seemed to work was to give her a second litterbox in the area where she'd been pooping and peeing on the floor. We cleaned the area extensively to get rid of the smell, and then we put that second litterbox in the room, and that seemed to solve the problem. When we let her out of the basement, she started using her new litterbox almost exclusively (ignoring the old one in the basement), and we thought the problem was solved.

    A couple of weeks ago, she decided that she didn't want to use the new litterbox anymore. She started doing her business in a new place in the same room. She is back under house arrest now, living in the basement, because nothing we've tried gets her to poop in the litterbox again.

    Here's a list of things we've tried, and things that have failed:

  • Nature's Miracle is a product that, supposedly, removes the smell of cat urine and cat feces, and causes a cat to lose interest in doing her business in a given area. Well, that's BS. The stuff didn't work at all for us. The smell didn't go away, and the cat continued to poop and pee in the same spot on the rug.


  • We moved her litterbox to that new area of contention in the living room, hoping that if she really wanted that area as her bathroom, at least she'd use the litterbox there. No dice. She continued to poop and pee on the floor, right beside the litterbox.


  • We've tried that aerosol spray "pet training aid" stuff, the stuff that you're supposed to be able to spray on the floor and it'll make the cat not want to do her business in the area. The cat's response is "FOOL! I fart in your general direction!"


  • We tried changing the brand of litter in her litterbox, and now that she's under house arrest in the basement, she has at least started peeing in the litterbox in the basement. However, she absolutely refuses to poop in the litterbox. She poops on the floor, beside the litterbox. We clean it up off the basement floor every day.


  • I'll tell you how I would solve this problem if it were up to me... Anne Murray would go back to the ASPCA for being a defective cat. However, whenever I mention this idea to Wendy, there is great wailing and crying and gnashing of teeth and rending of garments. She doesn't want to get rid of the cat, and she's sure that sending her back to the ASPCA would be a death sentence.

    She's probably right. I don't think there's a big demand for four year old cats that poop on the floor.

    She couldn't be sent to a farm to live outdoors because she's declawed and has no way to defend herself.

    Personally, I think that regular, prolonged, violent beatings would help. If beating the cat didn't get her to stop, then I'd just have someone start beating me so that cat poop would be the least of my problems.

    We're at the end of our rope.

    Help?


     

    News, Links, Etc.



  • Michael and Sharen Gravelle of Wakeman, Ohio, have eleven adopted children. And they're far from ideal parents:

    The children - polite and well-dressed - seemed ordinary enough to neighbors, who hired some of them to help bale hay and saw them playing in a yard filled with toys. But the 11 children - all with conditions ranging from autism to fetal alcohol syndrome - were far from having a normal life, authorities said. Their adoptive parents allegedly forced several of them to sleep in homemade cages about 3 1/2 feet high.


  • 9/11, as tragic as it was, did help turn New York's Mayor Giuliani into a national hero. Hurricane Katrina won't be having the same affect on New Orleans' Mayor Ray Nagin. A number of people have mentioned all the school busses that sat, unused, during the hurricane. Why didn't Nagin use them to round people up and move them out? According to him, that's not his responsibility. While Giuliani's presence in New York during the 9/11 crisis was constant, Nagin has already relocated to the Dallas area and bought a home. And shortly after Dubya took responsibility for the federal mismanagement of the crisis, Nagin stepped up and basically said that the mistakes he made were still someone else's ultimate responsibility. Watch this video at Political Teen and you'll hear Nagin say "If I would have known that the Calvary wasn't coming in three, two or three days, I would have probably planned things a little bit differently." Way to pass the buck, Mr. Mayor.


  • Political Teen also has a great newsclip of Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden questioning Judge John Roberts during his hearing. You've heard of "good cop, bad cop?" Well, consider this "bad liberal, worse liberal." How this kind of hectoring, interrupting and general abrasiveness qualifies as "questioning," I don't know.


  • Hurricane Katrina isn't the only disaster to hit some of the underprivileged children of New Orleans. For some of them, their day to day life is a perpetual disaster. A mother who donated time at a refugee base in Texas reported the following dialogue between herself and one little girl of about five years of age:


    Me: Hi sweetie, I like your braids. Can you tell me your name?

    Her: My name is Shayla

    Me: That’s a pretty name Shayla, do you know your last name?

    Shayla: My name is Shayla, that’s all I know.

    Me: Okay, how about your mommy, do you know your mommy’s name?

    Shayla: I call my mommy mama.

    Me: Okay, but what do other people call her? What does your daddy call her?

    Shayla: I don’t have a daddy.

    Me: Oh, okay what about your neighbors or your aunts and uncles; what do they call your mommy?

    Shayla: One time my aunty called my mama bitch, they got into it and the police came and took my aunty away. My mama got took to the hospital because my aunty stabbed her.

    Me: That must have been really scary for you.

    Shayla: (shrugs) it was better then when she got shot, Jesus almost took her then. She gave me her jell-o at the hospital


    I hope you know what I mean when I say that, when this is over, I really hope this child's life doesn't go back to "normal."


  • Where Have You Gone, Ronald Reagan is one of my favorite blogs, and it's really on a roll lately. Check out the new WHYGRR Media BS Advisory System. WHYGRR is also the source where I learned about the voice of reason known as Louis Farrakhan (I refuse to identify him as "Reverand," since that term usually denotes that someone is a man of God), and his assertion that whites blew up the levees in New Orleans in order to kill blacks. Are there really people, black, white, or otherwise, who take this nutjob seriously?


  • Since Hurricane Katrina, Cindy Sheehan has been out of the spotlight for a couple of weeks. That must be driving her crazy. That's the only reason I can think of for her most recent, most desperate grab for attention. Her latest stunt actually makes Sean Penn look good by comparison.


  • Hat tip to D-Dot's Rants for the heads-up on this one... Here we go again, folks:

    Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was declared unconstitutional Wednesday by a federal judge ruling in the second attempt by an atheist to have the pledge removed from classrooms. The man lost his previous battle before the U.S. Supreme Court

    U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge's reference to one nation "under God" violates school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God."


  • The Write Jerry tipped me off to this sad story:

    A soldier home on leave from Iraq was electrocuted after stopping to help a motorist who hit a utility pole, state police said.

    Army National Guard Sgt. Dale Martin Hardiman, 39, of Stonycreek Township, came into contact with downed electrical wires as he tried to help the car's driver early Saturday.

    "He was being a good Samaritan," said his mother, Virginia Hardiman.


    We have heroes abroad and we have heroes at home... and sometimes, they're the same person. God bless Dale Hardiman, and God rest his soul.



  • Wednesday, September 14, 2005

     

    Don't Feed The Bears



    Think of this as a public service announcement. It's something I'm posting simply because it's a topic I care about and it's worth taking the time to post it if even one person reads it and thinks about it or looks into it.

    This is also an area where my feelings are passionate, and drift close to a mindset associated with those flakey, granola eating, tree hugging hippies. You have no idea how much that bugs me. To find myself agreeing with PETA about anything just makes me want to crawl out of my skin. Nonetheless, on this one topic, I'm in favor of.... (Oh, God, it hurts me to say this)... I'm in favor of animal rights.

    There, I said it.

    The topic is bears.

    I have strong feelings about bears, and I don't have any idea why. I can't explain it. I've never been involved in any way with preserving or protecting bears, I've never spent time with bears, and I don't believe that I was a bear in a "past life." Nonetheless, for whatever reason, I'm pretty adamantly pro-bear, and I'm pretty strongly in favor of healthy and rational bear-human relationships.

    That is to say, I don't believe that there should be bear-human relationships. I think that the best thing that humans could do for bears is to leave them the hell alone.

    With all of that in mind, please excuse me while I climb atop my soap-box and rant and rave about bears:

  • Point One: People shouldn't keep bears in captivity

    Bears don't do well in zoos. Elephants don't either, and some people argue that no animals should be kept in zoos. I'll leave the elephants and other animals for someone else to rail about. I'll just stick with the bears.

    Naturally, bears are roamers. They travel in search of food, that's just the way they're built. If you check the internet for stats, you'll find that nobody agrees exactly how far a given bear of a given type will roam in a days time... but the one thing that all sources agree on is that they roam. And they roam far further than they're allowed in the confines of even the biggest zoo.

    When bears are kept in captivity they basically go insane. They sit there in one small area, denied the ability to follow their natural instincts, and they lose their bear minds. It becomes obvious too, as they pace and sway their heads back and forth. This isn't behavior bears display in the wild. It's just basic psycho-bear behavior. When you look at bears in zoos, you're looking at crazy bears. Once you know that, it takes the fun out of it, anyway.

    On occasion, bears escape from zoos and... well, you can probably figure out what happens when a crazy bear is loose, roaming the suburbs. It happened at a nearby zoo in December, 2003. It wasn't pretty.

    Zoos aren't even the worst of it. Circus bears go crazier, sooner... and in Europe, it's still legal in most places to keep bears in captivity and force them to perform. They typically pull their teeth to try to make them harmless, and keep them tied and muzzled, except when they're being made to "dance." I can't imagine why anyone would want to see this kind of thing. It really makes me sick.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those nutcases who's ready to burn zoos over bear rights... but I think it's appropriate to share this information and, hopefully, help change a few minds. If more people speak out in opposition to keeping bears in captivity, maybe there'll be fewer captive bears. That's all I'm sayin'.


  • Point Two: People shouldn't feed, hunt, or otherwise mess with bears in the wild

    OK, my opposition to bear hunting is a hard sell... especially to bear hunters. The case against feeding wild bears, however, is easier to argue, especially since it's illegal in many (if not most) places in the US.

    And there are a number of good reasons why it's illegal, too. For one thing, bears can really get grouchy. It just ain't a good idea to attract them. For another thing, bears are far better off eating their own natural foods than eating human foods. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society's research, bears that eat human food are a third less active and usually overweight. Human food makes bears fat and lazy. And why wouldn't it? It makes us fat and lazy, after all. Well, anyway, I know it damn sure makes me fat and lazy.


  • I realize that getting people to agree with me on bear captivity and bear hunting isn't really likely. Still, if by writing this, I can get a few people to decide that they'll not try to feed wild bears if they ever have the opportunity, I'll be happy. Bears have a hard enough time coexisting with us as it is. Heck, a lot of the time they can't even get along with other bears. Bears are dangerous to people, and we're dangerous to them, too. A lot of the time, when we cross paths, bears end up being exterminated. That's unfortunate. Sometimes, contact with humans is fatal to bears in ways that are so sad, even the coldest heart is bound to feel a little sympathy.

    Ya know, maybe while writing this, I've realized why I have such sympathy for bears. They're big and often loud, they generally just want to be left alone, junk food makes them fat and lazy, they can be mean, and they don't get along with anybody. No, I wasn't a bear in a "previous life," but maybe I'm a bear in this one.


    Tuesday, September 13, 2005

     

    Bad Cop! No Donut!



    Just for the record, it's not just poor black people who are looting the stores in New Orleans. It's also cops.

    This is a pretty funny bit, and it's real. MSNBC sent a crew into a Wal-Mart that was being looted in the wake of Katrina. Once inside, the crew talks to a few unapologetic looters. Then they come across a couple of cops (and yes, they're black female cops) who are stealing shoes. Literally filling a shopping cart with them. When confronted, one of the cops walks away, dazed and upset, saying that she's just there "looking for looters." She doesn't have much of a response when the reporter points out that they are surrounded with looters.

    Yeah, there are worse things a person could do. Still, this is one cop who needs to lose her job.

    Click the image to go to Flurl.com and watch the video.


     

    Dubya Takes His Lumps



    From Bloomberg News, the Prez steps up:

    The number of people trapped in their homes or ill-equipped shelters and the inadequacy of the immediate relief effort showed flaws ``at all levels of government,'' Bush said in response to a question during a news conference today with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani in Washington. ``To the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility.''


    There you go. To the degree that the federal government screwed up, the buck stops with Dubya. He said so.

    I'm curious to see if New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin or Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco will find the backbone to step up, too.

    Of course, the fact that the Hurricane happened at all is still Dubya's fault. Just ask any liberal.


     

    The SouthCon True Hollywood Story, Sept 13, 2005



  • Oprah Winfrey crawled down from the top of her pile of money to demand that America apologize to the victims of Hurricane Katrina this week. "I think... this country owes these people an apology. This makes me so mad," the talk-show magnate said. This should not have happened. Nothing I saw on television prepared me for what I experienced on the ground." Oprah also insisted that America promise the victims that the country would never, ever, ever, ever have another hurricane. At press time, Oprah hadn't yet made up her mind as to whether or not the country should go to bed without any dinner. Nonetheless, representatives for the multimillionaire said that it is "highly likely" that Oprah will make the country "stand in the corner and think about it's behavior." America was last seen sulking in it's bedroom, hoping that Oprah is only mad about what we did, that she still loves us, and that she'll continue to buy us stuff.

  • Oprah's template for talk-show television is the most successful in the world. Still, actress/model/singer Tyra Banks plans to do something new and radically different with the debut of her own talk show. According to Banks, You have to look at that stuff and say, 'How can I make it different?' ... I think a reason a lot of talk shows fail is they try to be the next Ricki Lake or they try to be the next Oprah." Viewers of Banks' new program can expect a radical departure from the mold of American talk shows: " I just taped a show on cheating, because I feel like women are very interested in that... I'm also interested in body image... I'd love to interview Jessica Simpson and Beyoncé. ... We're most definitely going to have celebrities on the show. Jenny McCarthy came on and talked about her divorce and her new movie. We had Randy Jackson talking about American Idol. …" Americans are eager to experience this radically different new experiment in talk-show programming, and can only hope that Oprah doesn't take away our TV privileges before we get to see the upcoming episodes.


  • Film-maker and round crybaby idiot Michael Moore is said to be working on a film about Hurricane Katrina. Recently, he told the New York Daily News "Do not listen to anyone who says we can discuss all this later. No, we can't. Our country is in an immediate state of vulnerability. More hurricanes, wars, and other disasters are on the way, and a lazy bunch of self-satisfied lunatics are still running the show." More is expected to dispatch a film crew to New Orleans immediately, but not to go himself, much as he did when he sent a film crew to Iraq while working on Fahrenheit 9/11. However, sources close to Moore say that he'll likely join his crew in New Orleans "as soon as a decent Cajun restaurant is open and functional." Meanwhile, Moore is busy dispensing religious advice to American conservatives. In a letter addressed "To all my fellow Americans who voted for George W. Bush," Moore says "Do you believe in Jesus? Really? Didn't he say that we would be judged by how we treat the least among us?" Moore went on to blame those who voted for Bush for Hurricane Katrina: "You did this to us, to the world, to the people of New Orleans.". Not to be outdone, Howard Dean hastily held a press conference, during which he rubbed Miracle Whip in his hair and said that God hates Republicans because they cause cancer.


  • Country music singer and annoying blonde Faith Hill spent this past Sunday giving out relief supplies in hurricane ravaged Gulfport, Mississippi: Red Cross officials and a few beefy Highway Patrol officers - part of Hill's security detail - would not grant local reporters an interview with the country superstar. Kevin Titus, a Red Cross spokesman, told the Sun Herald that Hill did not want media attention, because she feared the event would appear too much like a "PR campaign," rather than a relief effort. Hill was followed by her own camera crew and reporters, instead. Hill happened to have her own camera crew and reporters with her because, as Sean Penn will tell you, there's no point in trying to help people if you don't bring along your very own publicity people. After distributing the goods, Gulfport residents thanked Hill for her efforts and for having the good sense to at least not sink a rescue boat. Faith Hill is best known for her hit songs "Love Something Something Love Whatever" and "Heart Love Something Whatever Yawn." She has 64 daughters with her husband, fellow country music doofus Clint McBrooks (or whatever).



  • Until recently, Bo Bice has been best known for three things:
    One, not winning American Idol.
    Two, not getting a hair cut.
    Three, having a far cooler sounding stage name suggested by Google News when you search for news items about him. (Did you mean "Bob Ice?")
    However, if Bo has his way, he'll be remembered as the singer and songwriter behind "We Can't Change This World," a song he has written about Hurricane Katrina. By writing and performing "We Can't Change This World," Bice has distinguished himself from other musicians who've donated their money and hard work to the Katrina relief effort. A friend of Bo's tells The SouthCon True Hollywood Story that "other musicians have given all kinds of stuff, but Bo has now given something really meaningful... he's given them his fifteenth and final minute of fame."


  • Rapper Kanye West refuses to back away from controversial remarks he made about President Bush during a televised Red Cross fundraiser for Hurricane Katrina victims earlier this month. West has been instrumental in drawing attention to the fact that the Bush administration is responsible for Hurricane Katrina, that Katrina hit only poor areas of New Orleans and bypassed wealthy and middle-class areas, and that even in the poor areas that it did hit, it only affected poor blacks and bypassed poor white people. Liberal activists have praised West for having the courage to decry George Bush and his racist hurricane, and West has been bolstered by the support: Speaking after his performance at "ReAct Now", West again insisted the American nation treat their impoverished underclass "like it's not really there.... Everybody's always concerned about theyself (sic)." West, who's career is based on his linguistic skills, continued, saying that "America's always been pushing the (impoverished) under the counter... And what happens if you're cleaning the kitchen and you're always dusting something under the counter? If you spill something, it's going come up and be in your f*****g face." This may have been another Katrina reference, or may have simply been a housekeeping tip for West's fans. Either way, it was certainly poetic and eloquent.


  • Past installments of the Southcon True Hollywood Story are available here:
    September 6, 2005
    August 27, 2005

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    Monday, September 12, 2005

     

    The Roberts Hearings: Name That Hag



    The Roberts confirmation hearings began today pretty much as expected, with grandstanding from the left and... well, a little grandstanding from the right, too, to be honest. I thought that Tom Coburn, the pro-life Republican Senator from Oklahoma, spoke particularly well... and Evan Bayh, a Democrat on the senate from Indiana who introduced Roberts, impressed me more than any other Democrat I heard today.

    Bayh has a reputation as a somewhat conservative Democrat, at least by today's standards. If his party has any intentions of winning the White House in '08, they'll team him up with Joe Lieberman as their ticket. They won't, though, and they'll lose again. And that's probably for the best. God knows we can't afford another eight crippling years like the Clinton '90's.

    Being a sometime political junkie, I suppose the speeches and grandstanding during the hearing weren't enough for me, so I continued watching the speeches and grandstanding that took place after the hearing, and that's when the biggest distraction of the day infiltrated my television screen.

    Did anyone else watch the post-hearing press pandering?

    If so, can ANYONE name that wrinkled old hag who stood behind each of the senators and attempted to steal the spotlight?

    I don't know who she was, but that dried-up old biddy really got on my nerves, standing back there, nodding and mumbling under her breath, making grand gestures of support for those she agreed with and mocking those she disagreed with.

    I think I'd have been as annoyed by this moth-eaten troll even if she hadn't been mocking the conservatives and nodding vigorously for the pinkos... but, of course, she was doing exactly that. Can't someone at C-Span or the networks ask these idiots to move along, rather than let them trash the coverage?

    Since it got on my nerves so much, I decided to share the old buzzard with you...


    Click the picture above to watch the old hag agreeing enthusiastically with Ted Kennedy, even mouthing the word "Absolutely."




    You can click this pick to watch her do the Durbin Head Bob.





    In this last clip, Republican Jeff Sessions remarks that he thought that Judge Roberts' remarks were so eloquent, he was almost moved to tears. Click the pic to watch the hag shaking her head and, in disgust, mouthing "Puh-LEASE."

    Whoever this prune is, I hope they're able to keep her from wandering back in front of the cameras in the future.

    Saturday, September 10, 2005

     

    The Exorcism Of Emily Rose is Wonderful



    It's been a great year for movies. Sin City and Batman Begins were both outstanding, and I didn't expect to see a movie I'd like more than either of them this year.

    Today, I saw The Exorcism of Emily Rose. It's my favorite movie of the year so far. I absolutely loved it, and I don't mind saying that I spent the last half-hour of the movie with tears streaming down my face.

    I don't care what the secular movie critics say. This movie is wonderful, and I recommend it to anyone with Christian faith, especially my Catholic brothers and sisters.


     

    The Home-Movie Editing Begins



    Every year, around Christmas-time, we send an elaborately produced home movie on DVD to friends and family. It's typically just a capsulated version of all the home-movies we shot over the past year.

    And, every year, the movie gets more and more elaborate... to the point that I have to start working on it earlier and earlier each year. When I say "elaborate," I mean opening titles, a score (which I steal from other movies and CDs), credits, etc. I really go all out. I've already started doing the "post-production" for this year's DVD so it will be ready by Christmas.

    This is my way of dealing with my frustrated dream of being a movie director. Sigh.

    Anyway, I have finished producing the opening title sequence for this year's home movie. Everyone here seems to get a huge kick out of it. This year's theme is, surprise surprise, super heroes.

    I've uploaded it to the server in a streaming WMV file, which takes about a minute to load on a DSL or cable connection. If you have nothing better to do and want to watch the 90 second opening credits for this year's home movie, please humor me by clicking here.

    All apologies, of course, to Stan Lee.

     

    Why I Threw The Newspaper Across The Table This Morning



    Wanna see the most patently transparent, shamless and offensive political cartoon I've seen in ages?



    Oh, I dunno... maybe what Uncle Sam should be saying is "Next time, when you're told to evacuate, GET THE %&%# OUT!

    Then again, I'm a conservative, so I still buy into all that "personal accountability" crap.

    The Democrats and liberals are shameless... they're gonna play this "Blame Bush for Katrina" game during every federal election for the next God-knows-how-many years.

    It's sick.

    As usual, Day By Day hits the nail on the head:



    Derek Gilbert nailed it, too:

    The next time you see New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin on TV complaining about the government’s failure to help, remember this photo:

    And then ask: Why didn’t Mayor Nagin use his city’s school buses to carry people to safety when he ordered his “mandatory” evacuation?



    But Democrats like Nagin and Blanco couldn't be accountable for any of this, could they? Democrats, after all, are never accountable for ANYTHING.


    Friday, September 09, 2005

     

    Exorcism of Emily Rose



    Ever since we first saw the trailer for "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" several months ago, I've been psyched to see it.

    It might not speak well of me that I love horror movies, and I especially enjoy the ones with a "God Vs. Evil" theme, like this one seems to have. "The Exorcist" is my favorite horror movie, and one of my top ten movies of all time.

    I'm excited because tomorrow, my friend Jamie and I are going to go see "The Exorcism of Emily Rose." I'm seeing it with Jamie partly because Wendy shudders and runs for cover every time we see so much as the preview for the movie... and she refuses to even consider seeing it with me. I'm also seeing it with Jamie because he eats these kinds of movies up, too.

    I know that the review meter at Rotten Tomatoes isn't particularly good for this film, but I'm still hopeful that I'll find things to like in the movie. The biggest complaint seems to be that the movie isn't really very scary. Honestly, I'm fine with that. It's really not that often that a horror movie actually scares me. If it gives me something to think about, though... that's really worth my time. The Catholic News Service gave it a pretty positive review, and that review seems to imply that the movie takes the subject matter seriously, so that bodes well. I'm not going to go in expecting a great movie... so if it's at least pretty good, I'll get my money's worth. I'm sure I'll post a review at film geeks.


    Thursday, September 08, 2005

     

    The Best Investment I Ever Made



    Last year, about a week after Halloween, I was browsing through some Halloween clearance stuff at Wal-Mart. On a whim, I paid a buck fifty for a "Scream" mask... exactly like the mask to the left, there. I didn't think much about it at the time, I just thought it might be good for a laugh now and then. I expected it to be used for a prank or two and then lost forever in one of the kids' toy-chests, or packed away with some seasonal decorations and forgotten about. I was wrong. This mask has turned out to not be a trivial purchase. It has turned out to be the single greatest investment I've ever made. I'd almost be willing to call it my prized material posession. It's right up there with the microwave oven and the PC. I can't imagine going back to living without it.

    When Wendy and I unpacked the groceries I bought that day at Wal-Mart, she saw the mask and smiled and asked me why I'd gotten it. I told her I thought it might be good for a prank, and she liked the idea. She and I immediately concocted an elaborate prank to play on the kids right then and there. We set the video camera up downstairs in their play room so that it would secretly tape the events without being noticed. I then wrapped myself in a black sheet and put the mask on and hid behind this big ol' ugly yellow chair in the playroom. When the kids came into the room, I jumped up from behind the chair and they screamed their heads off. The best thing about it was that it was all on video, so we were able to put it on our big end-of-the-year home-movies DVD that we mail out to friends and family. Here's a screen-grab of the prank from that DVD.

    After that prank, I put the mask in the bottom of my sock drawer, but I never forgot it was there. From time to time, about once a month, I find a good use for it. Nine times out of ten, that good use is to scare my wife out of her wits. Thanks to that mask and my total lack of a conscience, I have been slowly driving my wife insane for the past year. My favorite thing to do is to wait for her to go to the bathroom late at night... then I sneak down the hall and put the mask on and stand in the hall and wait for the bathroom door to open. That usually produces a good, satisfying scream. Then she reminds me that she hates my mask, she hates me, and it's a good thing that she's already gone to the bathroom.

    Today I felt more creative and more devious than I do on a normal day, so while Wendy was in class, I produced a complicated dummy in the basement, using a coat-hanger, a rake, one of those black sheets, and my scream mask. When Wendy got home from class, she went down to the basement (to do laundry or get something out of the freezer or whatever) and encountered my "Scream dummy." The first thing I heard was the sound of the basement door being opened... the next thing I heard was a shriek of terror and the sound of frantic footsteps as my wife made a hasty retreat.

    That was an hour ago. I've spent the past hour rolling around in the floor, laughing until my sides hurt.

    I know, I'm an evil, horrible person.... but I wouldn't sell that mask for a thousand dollars.


     

    God Bless Macy Gray



    I mentioned this in the comments section at another blog, and I thought it was worth pointing out here, too...

    There's been a lot of praise and recognition for Sean Penn, who (ostensibly) donated his time and labor to the rescue effort in New Orleans. You can read about his glorious efforts here and here and here and here and here, for instance.

    Like I said, Penn ostensibly tried to rescue some Katrina victims. What he did in reality was go to New Orleans with his personal photographer and his entourage of Hollywood cronies for a photo-op, where he helped out by sinking one of the rescue boats.

    Macy Gray is a darn good R&B vocalist (her song "I Try" is one of my favorites), who went to the Astrodome and spent her time handing out clothing and toiletries, just like anybody else would do. She didn't take a photographer, she didn't play it up for attention, she just got in there and did what she could do.


    I haven't seen Macy's efforts mentioned much, at least not in comparison to the praise for Penn's botched attempt to steal the spotlight. Articles about Macy donating her time are typically brief "human interest" stories. Articles that praise Penn typically portray him as some kind of savior.

    Could that be because, as a black woman, Macy doesn't do much to advance the cause of white liberals?

    Hmmmmmmmm?

    Oh, it couldn't be... white liberals are incapable of that kind of subtle racism, aren't they??


    Tuesday, September 06, 2005

     

    The SouthCon True Hollywood Story, Sept 6, 2005



  • Canadian songbird/stork hybrid Celine Dion has criticized the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, and lashed out at law enforcement officials who are trying to stop looting in the ravaged city of New Orleans. "I open the television, there's people still there, waiting to be rescued, and for me it's not acceptable, Celine railed on Larry King Live. The number of Katrina victims currently waiting for rescue inside Celine Dion's television is still unknown at this time. Regarding looters, the "My Heart Will Go On" singer said "...they're stealing 20 pair of jeans or they're stealing television sets... Maybe those people are so poor, some of the people who do that, they're so poor they've never touched anything in their lives. Let them touch those things for once." In response, federal authorities have abandoned rescue efforts and are now air-dropping televisions and blue jeans on the greater New Orleans area.


  • For some celebrities, participating in hurricane-relief fundraisers and donating money isn't enough. In a daring and courageous act, actor/director Sean Penn flew to New Orleans (with his entourage and a personal photographer), surveyed the damage, assessed the rescue efforts, and with no regard at all for his personal safety, bravely sank one of the rescue boats. All Headline News reports: Penn had planned to rescue children and adults in the flood waters, but apparently forgot to plug a hole in the bottom of the vessel, which began taking water within seconds of its launch. Penn who is known for his political activism, was seen wearing what appeared to be a white flak jacket and frantically bailing water out of the sinking vessel with a red plastic cup. As the boat sank, Penn could be heard shrieking "I've been to Iraq! I've been to Iraq! I've been t-bbbb bubbb blubb blub blubbb blubbb..." Crestfallen rescue workers placed a call to several major Hollywood studios, saying that since Spicoli hadn't worked out so well, maybe they could send Bill and Ted, Jay and Silent Bob, or possibly the cast of Wayne's World.


  • Speaking of the cast of Wayne's World, Mike Meyers seemed about to hurl during a September 2nd NBC hurricane-relief fund-raiser when his co-presenter, Kanye West, did a little "free styling." Abandoning pre-scripted remarks designed to elicit donations for the Red Cross, rapper West attacked President Bush and stated that he believed that the delay in rescuing some victims in New Orleans was racially motivated. At least, that may be the message he was trying to convey: "You see a black family, it says, 'They're looting.' You see a white family, it says, 'They're looking for food.' And, you know, it's been five days because most of the people are black... I've even been shopping before even giving a donation, so now I'm calling my business manager right now to see what is the biggest amount I can give, and just to imagine if I was down there.... and those are my people down there. So anybody out there that wants to do anything that we can help, with the way America is set up to help the poor, the black people, the less well-off, as slow as possible... George Bush doesn't care about black people." Rolling Stone has called West a "sentimental R&B-poet," and it's easy to see why, given the eloquent command of the English language that he displayed last Friday.


  • Not all rap artists are as willing to "keep it real" as Kanye West is. Rapper and actor Nick Cannon, for instance, has released a new album called Stages, the first single from which is called "Can I Live." Breaking with rap music's time honored tradition of foul language, glorification of violence, and lyrical themes about rape and brutality, Cannon's "Can I Live" is a pro-life song in which Cannon thanks his mother for not aborting him when she conceived him at the age of seventeen. The premise of the song features Cannon speaking to his mother from within the womb, and the lyrics are, in part: Mommy I don't like this clinic / Hopefully you'll make the right decision / And don't go through with the knife decision / But it's hard to make the right move / when you in high school / how you have to work all day and take night school / hopping off the bus when the rain is pouring / what you want, morning sickness or the sickness of mourning? The video for the song features Cannon singing while hugging his real-life mother, and a chorus of children wearing t-shirts with the song's title emblazoned upon them. The song is smart, thoughtful, and unique, with a memorable melody and lyrics that could be sung in any church. It may be the most worthwhile rap song ever recorded. It's sure to be an abysmal commercial failure.


  • Wrapping today with a sad story, it seems that actor Bob Denver died last Friday at the age of 70. Denver is best known for having played Gilligan on the campy cult-favorite TV show Gilligan's Island, and for having played Maynard G. Krebs, the "hip" best friend to the title character on The Many Loves Of Doby Gillis. In 1998, Denver was busted for receiving a Fed Ex delivery of 30 grams of marijuana, and it has long been rumored that Dawn Wells, who played Mary Anne on Gilligan's Island, was his supplier. In fact, it's believed by many that authorities wanted Denver to cooperate in naming Wells. His check-book, it is said, contained several entries logging suspicious payments to Wells. Denver never identified Wells, or anyone else for that matter, insisting that the package must have been from a "crazy fan," even after authorities trashed his home and confiscated his marijuana pipes. Rather than rat anyone out, Denver took the punishment dealt out to him, six months of probation. Good job, little buddy. Good job.


  • Click here for the previous SouthCon True Hollywood Story.

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    Monday, September 05, 2005

     

    Happy Labor Day



    Labor Day is a huge deal in our small industrial town. Local and state politicans come out for the festivities. Today at the parade we got to meet Virginia's current governor, Mark Warner. You'll be hearing about him when he runs for president in 2008. He's a friendly guy, and I wouldn't vote for him in a million years!

    We also got to meet Virginia's current Attorney General and next governor, Jerry Kilgore. My wife was wearing her old "Kilgore For Attorney General" T-Shirt from the 2001 campaign. Jerry's wife, a very nice lady, stopped and chatted with Wendy about her shirt. Jerry himself seemed to crack a smile about it when he shook our hands.

    We took a lot of pictures, and Wendy did a great job posting and describing them at her blog... so rather than write my own post about the Covington Labor Day Parade, I'll direct you to her summary and pictures.


     

    Blog Party: Three Wishes



    Sometimes, the topic of a blog party really inspires me to write. And write and write and write. Other times, I come up empty.

    This is one of those other times.

    When MCF first announced his "Three Wishes" blog party, I thought it would be a simple enough assignment. There's plenty of room for creativity there, right? Just come up with three wishes. No problem. You can go in basically any direction with that. You can do serious wishes, or you can get whimsical and write something outlandish. Or, you can wax nostalgic and write about the kinds of things you wished for as a kid. Then again, you could get autobiographical and make wishes that reveal something of the person that you really are, the events that have shaped your life, and the things that really matter to you. Coming up with three wishes should be easy..... But, try as I might, I'm drawing a blank.

    The last time MCF hosted a blog party, the topic was "your five favorite places." I saw an opportunity for humor with that, and wrote about parts of our home. I had a good time writing that entry, and the feedback indicated that readers got what I was trying to do and seemed to get a kick out of it.

    This time, I'm totally lost. I can't get a foot in the door here. I can't figure out a direction, can't come up with the tone I want to take or the message I want to convey. I can't even conceive of a potential target audience for whatever I might write. Usually, that's the starting point for me, and usually it gets me jump-started. I think about a given person; my wife or my son or my mom or one of my friends... and I can usually come up with something aimed at that hypothetical target audience. This time, nothin'. The harder I try, the blanker the blank I'm drawing becomes.

    So, in desperation, and with a great deal of shame, I present the following three wishes, thrown together simply to get myself off the hook.

    The first thing I think I should wish for is a new butt. Lots of people wish they could remake a given part of their body that they're unhappy with, but that's not the case here. I really need a new butt. My old one has a crack in it.

    The second thing I'll wish for is relevant to the punch line of the following joke:

    George W. Bush agrees to meet with Cindy Sheehan, and Cindy brings along Michael Moore to the meeting. As the three of them stroll through a wooded part of the president's Crawford ranch, they come across an old lamp. They rub it, and a genie appears. The genie says "I can grant three wishes to the person who finds me and frees me, but since three of you have done that, I'll have to grant you each one wish."

    Michael Moore cuts in and says "Well, clearly I should go first. I wish I had my own planet where everyone there would do exactly as I say. Life on Earth is too screwed up. Too many people don't see the wisdom of my opinions. I want to have my own planet where I'll be in charge." So the genie snaps her fingers and Michael Moore disappears, having gone to his own planet.

    Cindy Sheehan says "I wish I could join Michael on his planet. He's been the driving force behind everything I've done for months, and I don't know what to do without him." So the genie snaps her fingers and Cindy disappears.

    The genie looks at Dubya and says "You get the last wish, Mr. President." Dubya thinks for a minute and says "First, let me get this straight. Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan have both left the planet earth?"

    The genie says "That's correct, Mr. President."

    The president shrugs his shoulders and says "Hell, I guess I'll just take a Diet Coke."

    So there's my second wish. A Diet Coke.

    And my third wish is that I could come up with something as creative as the "Holiday Wish" monologue that Steve Martin did on Saturday Night Live in 1991.

    There you have it... a new butt, a Diet Coke, and a funny monologue.

    Hey, I told you I had nothin'.

     

    More About Music



    After the music meme from a few days ago, music remained a topic of conversation here and at several other blogs I read.

    Nothing has emphasized the age difference between Wendy and me as much as this meme does. Not only don't I have any favorite songs on her list, but I don't recognize half of the titles.

    The Hidden Blogger refuses to see the light about the wonderful music of U2. Oh, well... whattayagonnado? The guy obviously needs to cling to this belief. May Bono have mercy on his soul.

    MCF ambitiously posted his top 100 songs of all time... he also has a nice little round-up of blogs that have posted the music meme among his phantasmic links this week.

    I thought about posting a personal top 100 songs, but there's no way I can pull that off. Instead, I'll post the contents of a mix CD I made recently, which I consider to be the best mix CD I've made in a long time.

    If I were a superhero and they did a movie about me, this would be the soundtrack.

    01) Battle without Honor or Humanity by Tomoyasu Hotei (commonly thought of as O-Ren Ishii's theme from Kill Bill Volume 1)

    02) B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad) by Outkast

    03) Let Go by Frou Frou

    04) Rise Inside by Killswitch Engage

    05) 23 by Jimmy Eat World

    06) The Collector by Nine Inch Nails

    07) Mashup-Every Breath You Take and Stand By Me by The Police and The Drifters

    08) Smack My Bitch Up by The Prodigy

    09) Take Your Mama Out by the Scissor Sisters

    10) Battle Axe by the Deftones

    11) The Waiting Line by Zero 7

    12) Boom by Big Head Todd and the Monsters with John Lee Hooker

    13) Leper Messiah (Live, from the Some Kind Of Monster EP) by Metallica

    14) Sunspots by Nine Inch Nails

    15) Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime by Beck

    16) Mashup-For No One and Close To Me by the Beatles and the Cure

    17) My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion cover) by New Found Glory


    Sunday, September 04, 2005

     

    Crawford Grows Uglier By The Minute



    Let's see, the list of those supporting Cindy Sheehan now includes:



    The first five items on that list are probably no surprise to you. The rest of the list, however, might have you shaking your head. Let me explain:

    The dogs of liberals
    Because liberals who think for themselves might not stay "on message," moveon.org is doing it's best to keep them homogenous:
    MoveOn.org is leaving nothing to chance as it tries to make Sheehan into a national icon. It supplied demonstrators with advice on media relations. ("When talking to reporters, it is OK to keep repeating the same message over and over. It may feel strange to do that, but the reporters are used to it.") MoveOn.org designed printable placards for participants proclaiming "Dogs for Cindy" and "Moms for Peace." It directed vigil hosts to declare "if you have pets your guests could be allergic to."


    Code Pink
    Some people have never even heard of the women's political protest group called Code Pink. I hadn't until recently when they started catching hell for protesting outside of Walter Reed Hospital, waving signs that reminded the veterans inside that they'd been "Maimed For Lies" and that others had "Died For Halliburton."


    The image above is from one of Code Pink's protests. I'm sure that there are women in Code Pink who aren't as ugly as the one in this picture.


    Here's a Code Pink member waving an interesting sign. I'm not at all sure how to interpret it. It may be that she's unwilling to believe that Bush defeated Kerry with such an undeniable margin last November. Or, it might have nothing to do with Bush. I like the sign in the background, which I believe Prince has adopted as his new name.


    And then there's this. Remember, for these kinds of people, it's all one big issue. War, abortion, women's rights, etc. If you disagree with them about anything, you're their enemy, and they are opposed to you. I suppose the uniformity of liberalism is appealing, in a way. After all, you don't have the burden of sorting out your own opinions and beliefs on each issue, one at a time. Just find out the accepted liberal positions on every given issue and adopt them all as your own, no questions asked.

    White Supremacists
    That's right, the white hoods and cross burners share Cindy's opinions about the war in Iraq, and they've rallied to join their sister in arms.

    It's not surprising, really. Sheehan hasn't even really tried to hide her hatred of Jews:

    "My son," Sheehan rants, "joined the Army to protect America, not Israel." "It's okay for Israel to occupy Palestine ... but it's not okay for Syria to be in Lebanon." (Conversely, one wonders: if Syria's longtime occupation of Lebanon never troubled her, why does Israel's "occupation" of "Palestine" fill her with such rage?) And foulest of all: "Neo-conservatives [read: Jews] killed my son."


    It's no wonder that anti-Semites like those at National Vanguard look at Sheehan and see one of their own:

    One of the most important steps that Whites are taking these days (and, we all must admit, that millions of non-Whites have already taken) is a recognition that Jewish power is toxic to any society that allows it to exist. (And allowing it free rein is tantamount to suicide.) Jewish power is behind the drive for racial mixing, open borders, raceless globalism, and international capitalism, just as it was behind racially-destructive international Communism.... Whatever mistakes Cindy Sheehan has made or will make, and whatever defects in her understanding, her story is a moving testament to the horrible injustice and irreparable harm done to our people by the Jewish supremacists.


    Ghosts and tens of thousands of angels
    No less of an authority than Cindy Sheehan herself has proclaimed that her son Casey, who died serving his country, is on her side from beyond the grave. According to Cindy:

    "I can just hear him saying, 'George Bush, you are really an idiot. You didn't know what you were doing when you killed me. You didn't know what you were getting into.'"


    Cindy claims the angels are with her, too:

    "I know that they are in heaven," Sheehan said, "and I know that that's why this movement is growing because we have tens of thousands of angels behind us that are supporting us, that are saying, 'Well, you know we died and that was really crappy, but we hope that our deaths are going to make the world a better place,' and it's up to us to make sure that it does."


    Can you imagine the scene in Crawford as the angels, the cross burners, the dogs and the ghosts and the Code Pink sign wavers all converge to rise up with one voice?

    The lyrics to an old Tool song come to mind:

    Some say the end is near.
    Some say we'll see Armageddon soon.
    I certainly hope we will.
    I sure could use a vacation from this
    Bulls#!+ three ring circus sideshow...."



     

    Horrified Observers of Pedestrian Entertainment



    I just saw Henry Rollins mention this group on his IFC show. They're called H.O.P.E., Horrified Observers of Pedestrian Entertainment. They won me over right away, when they were shown protesting the release of a Nelly album.

    If there is anything going on in this country that deserves to be protested, it's the continuing release of Nelly albums.

    They also have a CD exchange program, wherein children who are given the Ashley Simpson CD as a gift get the chance to trade it in for real music by the likes of The Ramones or Ray Charles.

    Go check their site out. And, God bless 'em. God bless 'em, every one.


    Friday, September 02, 2005

     

    That Darn Music MEME



    As usual, I'm the last one on the bus.

    Here are the rules for this music MEME, which everybody else has already done:

    A.) Go to musicoutfitters.com
    B.) Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function and get the list of 100 most popular songs of that year
    C.) Bold the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. Do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about).

    I think Jerry had a good idea with regard to changing the font color, so I'm gonna steal that.

    Green will indicate a song that I particularly enjoy. If a song is red and stricken out, that means I'd rather eat rotten eggs than ever hear that song again.

    I also want to point out that my masked pal with the hidden blog graduated the same year that I did (1987), and he had the unmitigated audacity to mark both U2 songs off the list. I'm mostly doing this MEME so that I can, in turn, highlight both U2 songs as favorites, and thereby bring balance to the force.

    Here ya go. Keep in mind that a regular font indicates that I have no emotional reaction to the song at all:

    1. Walk Like An Egyptian, Bangles
    2. Alone, Heart
    3. Shake You Down, Gregory Abbott
    4. I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me), Whitney Houston
    5. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now, Starship
    6. C'est La Vie, Robbie Nevil
    7. Here I Go Again, Whitesnake
    8. The Way It Is, Bruce Hornsby and the Range
    9. Shakedown, Bob Seger
    10. Livin' On A Prayer, Bon Jovi
    11. La Bamba, Los Lobos
    12. Everybody Have Fun Tonight, Wang Chung
    13. Don't Dream It's Over, Crowded House
    14. Always, Atlantic Starr
    15. With Or Without You, U2
    16. Looking For A New Love, Jody Watley
    17. Head To Toe, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
    18. I Think We're Alone Now, Tiffany
    19. Mony Mony, Billy Idol
    20. At This Moment, Billy Vera and The Beaters
    21. Lady In Red, Chris De Burgh
    22. Didn't We Almost Have It All, Whitney Houston
    23. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, U2
    24. I Want Your Sex, George Michael
    25. Notorious, Duran Duran
    26. Only In My Dreams, Debbie Gibson
    27. (I've Had) The Time Of My Life, Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes
    28. The Next Time I Fall, Peter Cetera and Amy Grant
    29. Lean On Me, Club Nouveau
    30. Open Your Heart, Madonna
    31. Lost In Emotion, Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam
    32. (I Just) Died In Your Arms, Cutting Crew
    33. Heart And Soul, T'pau
    34. You Keep Me Hangin' On, Kim Wilde
    35. Keep Your Hands To Yourself, Georgia Satellites
    36. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), Aretha Franklin and George Michael
    37. Control, Janet Jackson
    38. Somewhere Out There, Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram

    39. U Got The Look, Prince
  • (Do NOT confuse this with the awful Roxette song "You've Got The Look", from the 90's)

  • 40. Land Of Confusion, Genesis
    41. Jacob's Ladder, Huey Lewis and The News
    42. Who's That Girl, Madonna
    43. You Got It All, Jets
    44. Touch Me (I Want Your Body), Samantha Fox
    45. I Just Can't Stop Loving You, Michael Jackson and Siedah Garrett
    46. Causing A Commotion, Madonna
    47. In Too Deep, Genesis
    48. Let's Wait Awhile, Janet Jackson
    49. Hip To Be Square, Huey Lewis and the News
    50. Will You Still Love Me?, Chicago
    51. Little Lies, Fleetwood Mac
    52. Luka, Suzanne Vega
    53. I Heard A Rumour, Bananarama
    54. Don't Mean Nothing, Richard Marx
    55. Songbird, Kenny G
    56. Carrie, Europe
    57. Don't Disturb This Groove, System
    58. La Isla Bonita, Madonna
    59. Bad, Michael Jackson

    60. Sign 'O' The Times, Prince
  • (This is one of Prince's best songs ever... my all time favorite Prince song, "The Cross," is on this same album)

  • 61. Change Of Heart, Cyndi Lauper
    62. Come Go With Me, Expose
    63. Can't We Try, Dan Hill
    64. To Be A Lover, Billy Idol
    65. Mandolin Rain, Bruce Hornsby and the Range
    66. Breakout, Swing Out Sister
    67. Stand By Me, Ben E. King
    68. Tonight, Tonight, Tonight, Genesis
    69. Someday, Glass Tiger
    70. When Smokey Sings, ABC
    71. Casanova, Levert
    72. Rhythm Is Gonna Get You, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
    73. Rock Steady, Whispers
    74. Wanted Dead Or Alive, Bon Jovi
    75. Big Time, Peter Gabriel
    76. The Finer Things, Steve Winwood
    77. Let Me Be The One, Expose

    78. Is This Love, Survivor
  • (I hate Survivor. I absolutely despise this band. I hate Survivor more than I hate life itself. I didn't even like the "ROY! ROY! ROY! commercials. This world is hardly large enough to contain my hatred of Survivor.)

  • 79. Diamonds, Herb Alpert
    80. Point Of No Return, Expose
    81. Big Love, Fleetwood Mac
    82. Midnight Blue, Lou Gramm
    83. Something So Strong, Crowded House
    84. Heat Of The Night, Bryan Adams
    85. Nothing's Gonna Change My Love For You, Glenn Medeiros
    86. Brilliant Disguise, Bruce Springsteen
    87. Just To See Her, Smokey Robinson
    88. Who Will You Run Too, Heart
    89. Respect Yourself, Bruce Willis
    90. Cross My Broken Heart, Jets
    91. Victory, Kool and The Gang
    92. Don't Get Me Wrong, Pretenders
    93. Doing It All For My Baby, Huey Lewis and The News
    94. Right On Track, Breakfast Club
    95. Ballerina Girl, Lionel Richie
    96. Meet Me Half Way, Kenny Loggins
    97. I've Been In Love Before, Cutting Crew
    98. (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right To Party, Beastie Boys
    99. Funkytown, Pseudo Echo
    100. Love You Down, Ready For The World

    I remember every song on the list except for "Right On Track" by the Breakfast Club. At this point, I associate almost all of those songs with K-Mart and Burger King background music, and I have no reaction to them at all. Honestly, who at this point really feels anything at all when they hear, for instance, "Meet Me Half Way" by Kenny Loggins?

    I want to point out, by the way, that in 1987 I was listening heavily to Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Iron Maiden, etc... the songs I really enjoyed that year never got played on top 40 radio.


    Thursday, September 01, 2005

     

    Bad Habits Come Back To Haunt Me



    One of my bad habits is that I rely too heavily on a spell checker. I've never taken the time to try to improve my spelling skills, I just hit the "check spelling" button and if it doesn't find anything, I think I'm done.

    Another of my bad habits is that I don't proof e-mails before I send them. I proof them afterwards. Sometimes as much as a day or two later.

    I've just realized that earlier this evening, I sent an e-mail to a family we go to church with, which read in part:

    "We thought we'd invite you guys to come over Saturday for a cock out."

    Oh, death, where is thy sting?


     

    Getting Science Off It's Butt



    I've believed for some time now that some scientists are in such a rush to harvest embryonic stem cells for research mostly because they like new technology and new potential, not because they really believe the primrose promises they make us.

    From my point of view, two recent medical advances seem to support my belief.

    Faced with measures by the Bush White House that limited their access to embryonic stem cells, it seems that some scientists have found ways to continue stem cell research without destroying embryos.

    Scientists at Harvard are working on a way to harvest stem cells from skin. The article in that link indicates that said cells would be useful for research, but have limited (if any) medicinal usage. Other advances might prove more promising, as scientists in Seoul work with stem cells found in umbilical cords.

    Of course, this still doesn't mean that stem cell research really will cure cancer and AIDS and encephalitis and every other horrible disease in the world... and something tells me that we'll hear far less about it's supposed amazing potential if these new developments remove the subject from the political arena.

    (Hat tip on the Seoul story: the liberal blog, Red What and Blue.)


     

    Fixed?



    Alright, I think I fixed the stupid thing. Let me know if anybody sees anything that doesn't look right. I added a texture behind the left and right columns, just to make them more distinct and, theoretically, to make the primary column in the middle stand out a little more. Maybe. Heck, I dunno at this point.

    Anyway, if this version looks OK with everybody, I'm going to stop fiddling with the template and get back to irresponsible, closed-minded right-wing nutcase ranting.

    And thank you, with all sincerity, to everyone who's left comments and sent feedback while I was working on this. It's really been helpful. Jerry, I think I figured out how to do those "absolute" codes, and from what I can tell, everything stays in place when you shrink the browser window.

    Anyway, it looks good on Firefox and IE on our newer PC running Windows XP, and it looks good on Firefox and IE on our older one, running Windows 98. If you're browsing with a brower other than Firefox or IE, you should stop doing that this instant. How rude of you.If nobody else sees any other glaring oddities, I'm gonna leave the stupid thing alone for a while.


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