Sunday, December 30, 2007

Vote Fred!

Wild, Wild, West

The picture above was taken from just outside my back door at 7:00 A.M. this morning. It's a coyote sitting under a tree and howling at the neighborhood dogs.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Patriots V Giants 12/29/07

I really didn't think it would happen. I didn't think it could happen. But it did. I discovered something worse than Tony Kornheiser doing color commentary on NFL football. It's Bryant Gumbel doing play by play for NFL football.

Update 8:30 P.M. 12/29/07: Well that turned out to be a pretty good game. Patriots stayed undefeated, Randy and Tom got their records and the Giants played stand up ball and kept their starters in the whole game. The NFL definitely made the right move by allowing NBC and CBS to show the game. The NFL Network also scored some good points with their TV ads showing up the cable companies unwillingness to carry the NFL Network. (of course a lot of that has to do with the rates the NFL Network wants to charge)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Aliens V Predator ....Again....

Well they've made another Aliens V Predator movie...that should make my brother happy at least!

Benazir Bhutto

Sadly, her death was entirely predictable.

I was attending USC when Indira Gandhi was assassinated in nearby India. Like Bhutto, Gandhi rose to power as a member of a powerful political family, and served multiple terms as Prime Minister of her country. I had a Sikh and an Indian Muslim as two of my roommates at the time. When I got back to my apartment that night they were throwing a party and had invited all of their friends over. They were literally giddy with happiness.

I could only contrast their reaction to the weay the American people reacted when JFK was assassinated. There were no Protestants in the streets celebrating, the Republican Party did not rejoice. We were all stunned, sickened and saddened.

All in all, it was a pretty graphic demonstration for me of just how different cultures could be, and put the final nail in the coffin of multiculturalism as far as I was concerned. ( I was a Political Science/Internation Relations double major at the time)

There will be plenty of violence and celebrating in Pakistan in the week to come. Hopefully things won't get too destabilized.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Geico Commercial

Recently Joan Rivers has been getting some bad press because of the plastic surgery she has had done.

However this lady hasn't lasted as long in the business as she has for nothing. She captialized on the bad press, and turned it around by playing up the plastic surgery in a Geico Commercial. Good for her.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I just got through watching the last 25 minutes of Tombstone again. In my opinion, it's a pretty good version of the Wyatt Earp story, infinitely better than the Costner version, Wyatt Earp, that came out a year later.

I am generally not much of a Val Kilmer fan. I couldn't really tell you why...I've just never liked him much. However, his portrayal of Doc Holiday is masterful. He definitely deserved an Oscar nomination. I mean, just look at the nominations that year:

TOMMY LEE JONES in "The Fugitive", Leonardo DiCaprio in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?", Ralph Fiennes in "Schindler's List", John Malkovich
in "In the Line of Fire", Pete Postlethwaite in "In the Name of the Father"

Out of that list the only one I would place above him is Fiennes, and the only one to equal Kilmer would be Malkovich. Di Caprio? Tommy Lee Jones? That's just embarassing that there were nominated for those performances. (of course Di Caprio got the nomination via the patented "play a retard" route.) Then For Tommy Lee Jones to win it? For a second rate movie adaptation of a TV series? A crime.

Kilmer's Holiday is one of my favorite all time performances. I'm not a big movie quote geek, but I use some of his lines all the time....especially "I'll be your huckleberry". (nobody seems to get it I the only one who ever saw this movie?)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

60 Minutes / Gays in the Military

I was flipping through the channels and watched a minute or so of 60 Minutes. They were doing a story on gays in the military. Two things:

1) I guess many gays refer to the younger generation as the Will & Grace generation. As in, they grew up watching gays in the media, as on Will & Grace, and so gays aren't frightening or foriegn to them. I can live with that.

2) One of the arguements Lesly Stahl tried to use was that the British military began allowing gays to serve openly in the 90's, and it hadn't affected their military effectiveness. Excuse me? The current British military couldn't even fight the Falklands Islands War today if it had to. It certainly couldn't defend their sea lanes or the British Isles from attack. Not too long ago we had the sad spectacle of British sailors wetting their pants instead of resisting the Iranians in the Gulf. Now I'm not trying to blame this on gays in the military, (the blame lies squarely with the Labor Party and it's neglect and even abuse of military budgets) but to argue that the British military is as effective today as it was in the 1980's is patently absurd.

That being said, I really have no beef with homosexuals. I do thing homosexuality is deviant, and should not be promoted as a healthy lifestyle, but as the Christians would say: hate the sin, love the sinner. I have friends, colleagues and family who are gay, and it honestly has no effect on my relationships with them. In fact some of them were apprehensive, given my personal politics, and how open I am about them. They expected me to get all Rev. Phelps with them. I've had to actually explain to them that I don't have to liker everything about a person to like them as a person, and that I'm sure there are things about me that other people don't like.

I don't think it is a good thing to have gays serve openly in the military, but I am open to the idea, as they young men on 60 Minutes suggested tonight, that times and mores are changing and that it won't cause problems with the current generation.

Journeyman 12/16/07

I was really of mixed minds about this show in the beginning. I was really geeking on the time travel, (even though it was in the People's Republic of San Francisco) but the whole family/soap opera angst thing was turning me off. I do like the way the brother finally came around though in the last couple of episodes. (him meeting up with Oliva was a nice touch) I don't trust the brother's girlfriend though. I think she's going to turn out to be a bad guy....a government agent working for an agency investigating/controlling the time the fake FBI guy who was killed.

Unfortunately there are rumors that the series will not be brought back after the writer's strike.

Life 12/16/07

I really like this show. I like the main characters and their interplay, I like Arkin's fact there's no casting choices I have a problem with. I was having a problem with the pacing though...the first five or so episodes were slow development...and then it seemed really rushed in the last couple of episodes. Then we come to the last three minutes of the last episode. I guess it was an OK plot twist to have the murderer adopt the daughter of the family he slaughtered, but it was way too fomulaic to have the arch villian kidnap her as the cliff hanger. We'll have to see how it develops though....

Heroes 12/16/07

OK...just to catch up.

I'm not as thrilled with this series as I was the first one. The motivations of the Adam/Kensai character for instance. Come on..would you really hold a grudge for 400 years? And what's with the magical blood? Do you also get the healing power with the transfusion? And if not why not...How about a bone marrow transplant...would that grant you the power? And If I had someone with that type of blood, I'd have them in an artificial coma and I'd be using them as a blood factory. After all, we are talking about immortality and the power to bring the dead back to life here!

Hiatus/ Christmas Thoughts

Sorry for the hiatus. It's just been one of those periods where I've pretty much said everything I wanted to say on other people's blogs. I guess I need to start blogging more about what I am writing on other blogs.

I've been involved in some Second Amendment discussions, some presidential campaign discussions, the abortion debate etc.

Then again, this isn't my favorite time of the year. I hate what has happened to Christmas.

Now remember, I am not a Christian. I am a deist. But I am utterly opposed to taking the religion out of Christmas.

Turning Christmas into a secular holiday has just turned it into a celebration of conspicious consumption and greed. Now don't get me wrong, I'm firmly in favor of capitalism. However capitalism is an economic system, not a moral one. We need public morality, now more than ever.

So it's really hard for me not to be a Scrooge at Christmas. At heart I really am a generous person, but don't tell me it's my obligation to be generous. I really hate obligations. (It's a big reason I'm not married)

And I try real hard not to bum out people who really are into Christmas.

Take the staff Christmas party out at work. I never go. My colleagues and friends are always trying to get me to go, but I just can't seem to convince them that I would be a real drag, and that I want everyone else to be able to enjoy the night.

So, Merry Christmas.

Friday, November 16, 2007


For the first time in my life I truly understand the emotional meaning of schadenfreude. O.J. Simpson held over for trial in Nevada, facing life in prison; and Barry Bonds finally indicted, facing thirty years (although most people concede it will only be a couple of years at most).

I'm not exactly happy, but I sure am smug.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day

Today was Veteran's Day. Thank you to all the veterans out there.

What some of you may not know, is that originally today's holiday was called Armistice Day. It marked the official end of combat in World War I. Because communication was so much less sophisticated back then, they had to set a time in the future to cease hostilities to ensure that everyone got the word. So the ceasefire was set for the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. It was changed to Veteran's Day to celebrate all of our veterans in 1952.

It's still celebrated as Armistice Day in France and Belgium.

It's a completely different holiday in other parts of Europe, including Germany, the Netherlands and Austria. It's St. Martin's Day, and celebrates a Catholic saint. (fittingly enough, he was once a Roman soldier)

In most of the Commonwealth (Including the UK, Canada and Australia) it's celebrated as Rememberance Day.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

College Football 11/27/07

Crap. Unbelievably, it looks like USC is now playing for a shot at the Holiday Bowl. To be honest, this loss is easier to bear. It's on the road to a top 5 team. Oregon now have a legit chance at the BCS game if they win out.

In other news, Boston College needed last minute Flutie-like heroics to break the #2 jinx this week and beat Virginia Tech. Tennessee made a dramatic second half comeback over the other USC, South Carolina. The Cinderella season of South Florida has come crashing down with two consecutive conference defeats.

1) Ohio State - won (undefeated)
2) Boston College - won (undefeated)
3) LSU - bye
4) Oklahoma - bye
5) Oregon - won
So for the first time in over a month, no top 5 team lost. Of course two of them had byes this week.
6) West Virginia - won
7) ASU - won (undefeated)
8) Virginia Tech - lost to #2
9) Southern California - lost to #5
9) Florida - lost to #20
So, three losses in the top ten, all three to ranked teams, two to top 5 teams. That's a normal week of college football finally.
11) South Florida - lost to unranked
12) Kansas - won (undefeated)
13) Missouri - won
14) Kentucky - lost to unranked
15) South Carolina - lost to unranked
16) Hawaii - won (undefeated)
17) Texas - won
18) California - lost to #7
19) Michigan - won
20) Georgia - won
21) Virginia - lost to unranked
22) Alabama - bye
23) Auburn - won
24) Penn State - lost to #1
25) Rutgers - lost to #6

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Winds Keep A Blowin'.......

The wind has been blowing pretty hard here the past couple of days. My neighbor came and knocked on my door this afternoon to let me know my tree had fallen on my car. I probably would have never noticed until tonight when I went out to put my trashcans on the curb. My brother and I just spent the last couple of hours cutting it up and moving it off my car.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

College Football 10/20/07

Well a relatively calm week for this year, but

1) Ohio State - won (undefeated)
2) South Florida - lost to unranked
3) Boston College - bye (undefeated)
4) Oklahoma -won
5) LSU - won
So #2 goes down again........
6) South Carolina - lost to unranked
7) Oregon - won
8) Kentucky - lost to #14
9) West Virginia - won
10) California - lost to unranked
So four losses among nine teams that played in the top ten, three to unranked teams.
11) Virginia Tech - bye
12) Arizona State - bye (undefeated)
13) Southern California - won
14) Florida - won
15T) Missouri - won
15T) Kansas - won (undefeated)
17) Hawaii - bye (undefeated)
18) Auburn - lost to #5
19) Texas - won
20) Tennesse - lost to unranked
21) Georgia - bye
22) Texas Tech - lost to #15
23) Cinncinati - lost to unranked
24) Michigan - win
25) Kansas State - lost to unranked
So in a week with five byes in the top twenty-five, there were nine losses, six to unranked teams. And again, this was a calm week.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

College Football 10/13/07

Wow. It happened again. #17 Kentucky just beat #1 LSU in triple overtime. What a college football season. USF now has a real shot at making the BCS title game this year.

In other news, USC looked mediocre again. They've really been hit hard by injuries. But they are back in the BCS hunt if they can win out.....Cal will probably be ranked #1 now.

Update 7:18 PM: Cal is losing 31-21 to Oregon State with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter. It looks like both #1 and #2 lose today.

Update 7:21 PM: It's not over yet! Cal just scored on a 64 yard pass play with 2:31 to go; 31-28.

Update 7:40 PM: It's over, Cal loses....what a season!

Update 11:00 PM:
1) LSU - loss to #17
2) Cal - loss to unranked
3) Ohio State - win (undefeated)
4) Boston College - win (undefeated)
5) South Florida - win (undefeated)
Two losses in the top five, one to an unranked team. Of the top ten teams before play began three weeks ago, only Ohio State hasn't lost since.
6) Oklahoma - win
7) South Carolina - win
8) West Virginia - bye
9) Oregon - win
10) USC - win
11) Missouri - loss to #6
12) Virginia Tech - win
13) Florida - Bye
14) ASU - win (undefeated)
15) Cincinnati - loss to unranked
16) Hawaii - win (Undefeated)
17) Kentucky - win
18) Illinois - loss to unranked
19) Wisconsin - loss to unranked
20) Kansas - win (undefeated)
21) Florida State - loss to unranked
22) Auburn - win
23) Texas - win
24) Georgia - win
25) Tennesse - win
That's seven losses in the top twenty-five, (among 23 teams that played) five to unranked teams. There are six undefeated teams in the top twenty-five. South Florida has a legitemate chance to play in the BCS championship game. That said; Ohio State, South Florida, Boston College, Arizona State, Hawaii and Kansas all have games they might lose. It would not be surprising to see two one loss teams in the BCS game this year.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Does God Play Poker?

I'm watching the World Series of Poker fnal table. The chip leader has just called an all in. The girl friend of one player is calling on God and Jesus to help her man, and the chip leader is asking Jesus to help him win.

Excuse me?

When did gambling become a religious activity?

I can remember when playing poker would have been considered sinful. Now they're holding prayer meetings around the table.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Dad!

My Dad turns 62 today....and he's been semi-retired for a while now, but today he begins collecting Social Security. He quit smoking, got into pretty good shape, and is about to run a 5 K race. Looks like he's got years of retirement ahead of him to enjoy his grandkids. Happy birthday dad, and thanks for providing an interesting childhood for me, and giving me a love of history.
Update 11:30 10/13/07: Dad came in fourth in his age group, running 12 minute miles, which is pretty damn good for your first 5K at age 62.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Saturday, October 06, 2007

College Football 10/6/07

Well another crazy day in college football. First of I have to say that the last touchdown that Stanford scored today should have been called back. The Stanford receiver clearly pushed off. That said, Stanford deserved to win today as much as USC did. Unbelievable performance by their young quarterback. Secondly, LSU's coach showed major league balls in his play calling tonight, and LSU earned their win. I'm really of mixed minds about Notre Dame's win. On one hand, they beat UCLA. On the other hand, it would have been great to see them go 0-12.

Top Twenty Five

1) LSU - win (narrowly) (Undefeated 6-0)
2) USC - loss (unranked team)
3) California - bye (Undefeated 5-0)
4) Ohio state - win (Undefeated 6-0)
5) Wisconsin - loss (unranked team)
So Two losses in the top five, both to unranked teams. This comes after last week with three losses in the top 5, two to unranked teams. In fact, of the top 10 teams before play started last week, only LSU, Cal and Ohio State haven't lost a game.
6) South Florida - win (does South Florida crack the top 5? They've earned it) (Undefeated 5-0)
7) Boston College - win (Undefeated 6-0)
8) Kentucky - loss to #11
9) Florida - loss to #1
10) Oklahoma - win
Four losses in the top ten, two to unranked team, one to #1, one to #11.
11) South Carolina - win
12) Georgia - loss to unranked team
13) West Virginia - won
14) Oregon - bye
15) Virginia Tech -won
16) Hawaii - currently winning (Undefeated 5-0)
17) Missouri - won (Undefeated 5-0)
18) Arizona State - won (Undefeated 6-0)
19) Texas - lost to #10
20) Cincinnati - won (Undefeated 6-0)
21) Rutgers - lost to #20
22) Clemson - lost to #15
23) Purdue - lost to #4
24) Kansas State - lost to unranked team
25) Nebraska - lost to #17
So eleven losses of the 23 teams in the top 25 playing this week. That's after 9 losses among 24 playing last week. At least most of the losses this week were to other ranked teams.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Isn't It Ironic?!?

I'm sitting here watching 60 minutes interview a crusader who is trying to get people to live within their means, and stop using credit cards (among other ways of spending too much). The show fades out to a commercial. What's the first commercial? A Mastercard commercial starring Peyton Manning!

Pro Football 9/30/07

I can't get excited today. Maybe I used up all of this week's excitement yesterday with college ball. However the year is still going screwy...

The Chargers are 1-3 and Tomlinson can't get going.

The Saints are 0-3 and look awful.

The Rams are 0-4 and look awful...Jackson can't get going and is hurt.

The Packers are 4-0 and the Lions are 3-1.

I simply don't know what to think in fantasy football anymore, you might as well flip a coin.....

Saturday, September 29, 2007

It's the Economy, Stupid.....

Here is a series of posts from a site I frequent called IRC Images. The image they were posted under had nothing to do with the economy. (It was a tank crashed unto its turret):

at the rate of inflation with the USD, $5,000,000 is about what we'll be paying for a happy meal shortly.

Jason: You're kidding right? inflation is incredibly low right now......unless you live in Zimbabwe

kirbdog, the dollar has fallen about 25% in the last 3 years. The canadian dollar is now worth more than the USD. With our outstanding debts reaching new highs and the treasury needing the ceiling lifted, it doesn't look like it's going to get any better.

1) That's not inflation. 2) So what? all it means is that it's more expensive to buy things from other countries, and cheaper for other countries to buy things here. That's a good thing

NO ^ considering that america doesnt make anything anymore it actually does matter because you seem to have the right concept but the wrong meaning - 1) its more expensive for america to import goods 2) who is going to buy anything from here when its cheaper to 'cut out the middle man'?

"Inflation is a persistent rise in the general price level, as measured against a standard level of purchasing power" Exactly what Jason said. And its a really really bad thing considering that everything the US buys from other countries will force them to dig deeper in their pockets. And that extra money doesnt grow on trees.

Tell you what. take an economics course, and then come back and explain the difference between the terms exchange rate, and inflation, because they are not the same thing, and not necessarily even linked.

Currently, the dollar is near its worst exchange rate in 50 years, but inflation is at historical lows.

ok, ok inflation smation.... for now - you proved that u didnt take econ. above by stating what you did - that the monetary situation here is 'good' for us, so why try and tell someone else that they dont know what they're talking about when you clearly dont have a fuckin clue yourself? no offence by the way, jason is probably right in the end of it all, because even in econ. 101 it becomes clear that even the smallest change of spending in an area of the 'micro' markets can affect everything dramatically in the 'macro' markets.

anything that decreases imports, and increases exports is good for us

right - so what does the US export?? other than some crops...etc. cause everything here is IMPORTED

Why is there a reflexive need to take any economic news and attempt to use it to show how bad the US economy is?

Besides the fact that there is a Republican administation I mean....

excellent report: $180billion difference between import/export... that aint good my friend. even the democrats couldnt help there

kirbdog> attention...better, not perfect. And exports are rising at double the rate that imports are.

I am kirbdog above. Now this bugged me for several reasons.

First, it was an obvious attempt to take a piece of economic news, and use it to show how bad the economy is. I just don't get it. Our economy is performing better than almost everyone else in the world, and definitely better than any major economy. (We simply can't tell about China...but their economy is certainly growing fast) Our economy is doing great! If a Democratic administration was in office the news would be full of stories about how great everything is.

Second is the obvious ignorance shown. These guys couldn't tell the difference between the exchange rate and inflation, or the effect (or lack of effect) one has on the other. Yet they felt expert enough to interpret a piece of data to bad talk the US economy.

Third, When I provided a link explaining the improvement in our trade deficit, one guy actually went to the site linked, but merely cherry-picked the current trade deficit to again try and run down the economy, and either failed to realize or ignored the fact that the site was talking about how quickly the trade deficit was bing narrowed, and the record pace that exports were increasing. It also explained that much of the trade deficit was due to rising gas prices. He also apparently failed to realize how low the trade deficit is when compared to recent history.

The site I linked to is a report released by the US Commerce Department. It explains:

  • US exports were up 9.8% in the first quarter of this year over the first quarter of last year.

  • Our biggest gain in exports was to China, a huge and growing market

  • We have had 17 straight quarters of export growth since the fourth quarter of 2002

Now why haven't we been hearing about this? Who has been in office since the fourth quarter of 2002?

Maybe the stupid ones are the people who are supposed to be covering economics?

Update 10/1/07 5:45 PM: I've just found out that the Dow Jones has hit another new high, and that the other markets are near their all time highs. I'm all a-twitter waiting to see how the left will explain how this is so bad for our economy. Of course the MSM will probably just ignore it.

College Football 9/29/07

10:30 AM: Notre Dame down 23-0 to Purdue at halftime, and it could easily be much, much worse. Tulane is beating LSU 9-7 with 1:40 to go in the first half. Illinois is beating Penn State 21-17, about to go into halftime. Michigan is losing to Northwestern 7-13 at the half. This has been a crazy year in college football. (pro football too for that matter)

Update 10:45 AM: LSU got a field goal at the end of the half...10-9.

Update 3:00 PM: OK....Notre Dame had the best half of football they've played so far this year in the second half, and made it almost respectable, losing 33-19. Still, Notre Dame is now 0-5 for the first time ever, and it looks like they could have a quarterback controversey.

LSU came back to spank Tulane 34-9. Michigan also came back to win 28-16 over Northwestern.

However, Illinois upset Penn State 27-20 and Colorado beat Oklahoma 27-24; so two top 5 teams lost this week. (Oklahoma and WVU)

Georgia Tech is currently beating Clemson 10-3; Cal and Oregon are tied up at 17-17; Maryland is up 20-17 over Rutgers and Kansas State is up 27-21 over Texas.

Update 4:05 PM: Wow..what a crappy way for Oregon to lose the football game. Well maybe it's poetic justice, that Cal field goal looked good to me. Cal over Oregon 31-24. Texas gets pasted by Kansas State 41-21, so # 7 and #11 both lose. Lots of movement in the BCS rankings this week. How high does USF go?

Update 4:34 PM: Maryland beats Rutgers 34-24. Wisconsin escapes Michigan State 37-34, #10 loses and #9 has a close call.

Update 9:45 PM: I just got back from watching the USC game at a sports bar. Very sloppy game, and the refs made some awful calls. It seemed like every Washington pass play resulted in either a personal foul or pass interference. Let's check out some results:

#1 USC - win
#2 LSU - win
#3 Oklahoma - loss to unranked Colorado.
#4 Florida - loss to unranked Auburn.
#5 West Virginia - loss to #18 South Florida
(That's three losses in the top 5!, Two to unranked teams.)
#6 Cal - won
#7 Texas - loss To unranked Kansas State.
#8 Ohio State - win
#9 Wisconsin - win
#10 Rutgers - loss to unranked Maryland.
(That's five losses in the top ten, four to unranked teams.)
#11 Oregon - loss to #6 California. (Easily the "best" loss of the week)
#12 Boston College - win
#13 Clemson - loss to unranked Georgia Tech.
(That's seven losses in the top 13, five to unranked teams.)
#14 Kentucky - win
#15 Georgia - win
#16 South carolina - win
#17 - Virginia Tech - win
#18 South Florida - win
#19 Hawaii - win
#20 Missouri - bye
#21 Penn State - loss to unranked Illinois.
#22 Alabama - loss to unranked Florida State
#23 Arizona State - win
#24 Cinncinati - win
#25 Nebraska - win
That's 9 losses of the 24 teams in the top 25 that played, seven to unranked teams. Upset Saturday indeed.

Friday, September 28, 2007

College Football 9/28/07

South Florida has just defeated WVU for the second year in a row, and the second huge upset this season. Man it must be great to be on that team this year.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


A new detective show on NBC. Interesting premise. I like the cut-aways that were filmed in a documentary style.

He is a detective wrongly convicted, served 12 years, got a large cash settlement and is back on the job. He enjoys pulling over and harassing his ex-wife's new husband.

She is a detective with a history..apparently of drugs, maybe booze. Also a thing for one night stands and a disfunctional relationship with her Dad, who was also apparently a cop.

Adam Arkin is his accountant (and also a former convict), and lives over his garage. Then there's his (attractive) lawyer.....lots of sexual tension there.

I can already tell that there is going to be a re-occurring "man out of time" thing going on.

I think I'm going to like this one.........

Kitchen Nightmares 9/26/07

Wow...I didn't think it was possible...but Chef Ramsey has found an even worse restaurant this week...Dillion's Restaurant....and the kicker is, it's very close by one of his own restaurants in Manhatten. This place can't make up its mind as to whether it is an Indian restaurant or an American style restaurant. And that is the least of its problems. Most of the cooks apparently don't speak English, and can't cook American style food, there is rotten food in the kitchen and the basement is full of rats and cockroaches.

The General Manager Martin is a total incompetent. Chef Ramsey actually closes down the restaurant with customers in the dining room.

He changes the menu, the dining room, the signage and even the name of the restaurant. It's now called Purnima. But he still is dead set on getting rid of the General Manager Martin, and for some reason the owner appears to want to keep him. Chef Ramsey manages to browbeat the manager into quitting.

This is the perfect show for Chef Ramsey, as it lets him really work himself into a rage and attack people. Also, it's completely fresh, and not a copy of another show, like Hell's Kitchen was a copy of Top Chef. The cherry on top is that he is actually finding dining disasters and hopefully fixing them.

Update 11:00 PM: According to the comments, Hell's Kitchen (UK) came before Top Chef. So he didn't poorly copy someone else's show, someone copied his show and did a better job.......

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Journeyman 9/24/07

Hmmm...looks interesting...too soon to tell for far it seems to be a variant of the Scott Bakula series Quantum Leap..only instead of a science experiment gone wrong, the cause of the jumps is unknown....

Heroes 9/24/07

The season premire! I like the fact that there was limited commercials, but talk about your heavy-handed and blatent product placement! They actually had one of the characters (Claire) be given a Nissan Rogue by her father!

Too early to tell about the new season though......

Saturday, September 22, 2007

USC V Washington State 9/22/07

I went to the USC game today. My friend Germaine asked me to help chaperone a field trip, and I got a free ticket to the game (general admission).

This is the first game I've gone to live since I went to USC from 1983 to 1987. Man things are different. We had tailgate parties back then, but nothing like this. It was nuts...every flat surface on campus or in Exposition Park had as tent set up on it. I'm firmly convinced that at least half the people at the tailgate parties didn't even go to the game.

There was a few new buildings on campus, and at least one road had been replaced with a building or two and some grass. I saw the new Galen center...for some reason I thought it was actually on campus over by Heritage Hall, instead of across Figueroa.

We got to the Coliseum and found our seats behind and to the home side of the periastyle end. There was a little bit of rain in the second quarter, but nothing too bad. At one point it was sunny and dry in one end of the stadium, and sprinkling fairly hard in the other end. This first picture is before the game while the teams are loosening up.

The next picture is USC running onto the field before the game.

This is the opening kick off.

Traveler after a USC score.

Part of the band came up into the stands to help encourage school spirit, even over in the cheap seats with us..

The team coming out for the second half.

and finally the torch lighting at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

USC wins..47-14! Fight On!

Update 9/26/07: I have attempted to fix the photos..the links weren't working anymore. I'll add one more below.... Germaine from the comments and myself chaperoning a dance a couple of years ago. I'm the short, handsome one.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jim Croce

Jim Croce has been one of my favorite artists for as long as I can remember. I used to listen to an 8 track tape of the guy, and his greatest hits album, Photographs and Memories was the first CD I ever bought. (from a Virgin Records store in London no less) Sadly, he was killed in a plane crash on this day, in 1973. It turns out that his third album was released the very next day. His most famous song is probably Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown, but I have yet to hear a Jim Croce song I didn't enjoy. If you aren't familiar with his work, I particularly recommend Operator, and Time in a Bottle.

Here's Operator:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Kitchen Nightmares

I'm watching the new show starring Chef Gordon Ramsey (formerly of Hell's Kitchen) The first episode he's back east in a town called Babylon and a restaurant called Peter's Italian Restaurant. The restaurant is owned by a woman, but dominated by her complete asshole of a brother, Peter. (first of all, why is the restaurant named after him anyway?) The brother comps meals, steals from the till, and browbeats the staff. He spends money on himself that should be spent on the restaurant. He acts like a bad B actor in a bad Hollywood movie about the mob. If it was anybody but Ramsey I'd suspect that it was all fake.

The kitchen was a shambles, and Peter apparently owes money to everyone in the state, and when they come to collect from him, he turns into a cliche goon. Instead of serving the food, he eats it.....and then yells at the staff because the food didn't get out on time.

The best way to fix that restaurant would be to shoot the stupid bastard. I mean seriously, he was such a stereotype it was ridiculous. I can't imagine what is going through his head, and frankly his parents head as they watch this. He's a complete spoiled leech.

It ends with a supposed turn around from Peter that lasted about 5 minutes. I'd be interested in seeing what things are like there tonight........

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Damn Good Week Of Football

UCLA gets crushed, Notre Dame gets embarassed, USC dominates to stay #1. Then I win all six of my fantasy football match ups.

It doesn't get any better than this.

Update 5:30 AM 9/18/07: Dagnabit. ESPN re-calculated the points overnight, and I ended up in a tie in one match, that I lost by bench points. 5 - 1 in fantasy match ups. (It was the league I most want to win also)

Monday Night Football 9/17/07

OK...I'm officially proclaiming this to be the worst announcing team ever for Monday Night Football.

Mike Tirico is simply average. Whoever decided to trade Al Michaels to NBC, (yep that's right, they traded Michaels to NBC for a cartoon character and the right to broadcast the Ryder Cup.) should be fired. With a decent crew Tirico might have been OK, but he can't drag Jaworski and Kornheiser up to mediocrity by himself.

Ron Jaworski was a pretty good QB, and a run of the mill studio analyst, but he doesn't have enough personality for the MNF booth. Again a top flight announcer like Michaels would be able to cover this up. Tirico is not up to the task.

Tony Kornheiser. I have friends who swear this guy is great on Pardon The Interruption. I'll have to take their word for it. I'm not impressed. I'll take Dennis Miller over this guy any day. Is he trying be funny? He spent the 2006 season trying to make Theisman look stupid. He's not worthy to carry Joe's jock. Jaworski will apparently be this year's victim. God, I'd rather listen to Maguire than this guy.

This crew almost makes the three Mikes look like Emmy winners. I almost long for the days of Cosell, Gifford and Meredith.

Come back Michaels...and bring Madden with you.

Update 8:10 PM: Ok...Barkley was more entertaining than Jaws and Kornheiser combined. But if he had whined about Reid and McNabb being underappreciated and disrespected one more time I would have thrown something at the screen.

Sunday, September 16, 2007


OK...I am far from being an Apple geek. In fact I love to make fun of them. I actually wrote a joke last week:

Q. How do you know Steve Jobs has been in your refrigeratior?

A. Suddenly the refrigerator costs $200 more, it shows movies, and it only accepts food from one supermarket.

It kills right?

That said, I have been obsessed with the song in Apple's new commercial. A little work, and I found it on Youtube. I give you Feist, and 1-2-3-4:


Today is both Molly Shannon's (1964) and Amy Poehler's (1971) birthday. Last night NBC showed an episode of SNL with Amy in the cast and Molly as the guest host. Coincidence? You decide.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Take That With Ya!

I was just watching the FSU - Colorado game, and Colorado missed a field goal. On the way to a commercial, the director focused an an attractive lass in the stands (as the directors are often wont to do) and just before the fade out, she turns to the FSU fans and clearly flips them the bird! (she clearly was unaware she was on national TV) Way to go ESPN!

College Football 9/15/07

Well the Michigan - Notre Dame game is certainly ugly. Michigan 31-0 at halftime. At this point Demetrius Jones has to be second guessing himself. If he'd stayed on the team, he would probably be playing at this point. It really is possible that Notre Dame will go 0-12. And then to rub salt into the wound, Ty Willingham's Washington team is beating Ohio State University 7-3 at halftime.

I'm going to be at a poker game for most of the USC game, but I'm predicting that USC will win big, by at least 2 TDs.

Update 3:39 PM: Well, Michigan wins the game 38-0. I'm glad I didn't watch the second half. OSU is now dominating Washington 27-7 with about 2 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. In other news UCF is in the game against #6 Texas at the start of the 4th quarter...2nd and goal, and only down by 6.

Update 3:47 PM: UCF goes for it on 4th and goal and scores. UCF is up 24-23 over Texas.

Update 4:34 PM: Texas wins, 35-32. UCF was in this game the whole way. Go SC..beat the Huskers!

Update 5:25 PM: USC stops Nebraska on their first drive, and then goes 96 yards on their first drive for the score. The fullback rumbles for 50 yds on the first play from the 4 yard line.

Update 8:50 PM: I lost in the second round of the poker tournament. (it was a head to head tournament) I went card dead. I turn on the tube, and USC is up 49-17. This should shut everyone up. By the way, two Trojan teams did end up beating Big-12 teams today.

Update 9:10 PM: Nebraska scores a couple of garbage time TDs, and brings the final score to 49-31. Hopefully the voters actually watched the game, and don't let the final score fool them.

Happy Birthday Coach!

Today is Coach Pete Carroll's 56th birthday...Go Trojans! Beat the Cornhuskers!

Friday, September 14, 2007

College Football 9/14/07 - Upset Special

It's been a hell of a season so far. Michigan is 0-2, Notre Dame is 0-2. Appalachin State has a huge victory over Michigan, South Florida beat Auburn, Air Force beat media darling TCU and is 3-0. As I write this Troy State is beating Oklahoma State 41-10 (and it could be much worse than that...Troy state had a couple of turnovers with 1st and goal, let time run out at the end of the 1st half inside the ten yard line, and missed an extra point...this was an old fashioned ass kicking) with about 3 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.

Update 9/14/07 9:00 PM: Troy State just got screwed by one of the worst calls I've seen so far this year. The Oklahoma State player caught a pass inside the ten, and clearly fumbled the ball....and the only other possible call was incomplete. But for some inexplicable reason, the refs called him down by contact. The replays clearly showed this was a blown call. In a bit of cosmic justice, the extra point was blocked after Oklahoma State scored two plays later. 41-16 Troy State 10:40 to go in the fourth.

Update 9/14/07 9:36 PM: Final score - Troy State 41-23

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Leftist Irresponsibility

First they meddled with the military by trying to convince General Pace to led a coup d'etat against President Bush.

Now they are taking out full page ads in the NY Times (reportedly at a discount) calling General Petreaus a traitor and a liar.

Just how low will the Left go? And when will the Democratic Party call them to account?

Never Forget

Today is the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States by Islamic terrorists. We must not, we cannot forget these attacks. Radical Islam declared war on us, and attacked us on our homeland.

It appears that we are soon going to try to cut and run from the war. What people seem to forget is that our choice is not whether or not to fight radical Islam, our enemies have made that choice for us. Our choice is where to fight them. I for one, would much rather fight them in Iraq than the United States.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Too Good To Be True?

Read the following posts and comment threads:


and then


Now tell me, can this David K character be real? Surely he is performance art.

And my jokes, they killed right?

Friday, September 07, 2007

And Now For Something Completely Different.......

On this day, in 1969, the Monty Python saga began, with the taping of the first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. Here's how it all began: (unfortunately the clip is very slow in loading...)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Keith Freakin' Olbermann?

What the hell was NBC thinking when they decided to have Keith "raving lefty madman" Olbermann be a regular feature on NFL football? Well, their half time advertisers just got screwed...Olbermann's current fans aren't exactly the football type.........Maybe they should have him do the chess championships instead........

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Happy Birthday El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula

Or as we know her today, Los Angeles. On this day in 1781, forty-four Spanish (NOT Mexicans or Aztecs), founded the city. The city was part of Mexico for only 27 years, from 1821 to 1848.

LA is now the second biggest city in the country. Sometimes it hard to like her, but I still love her............

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Holy Crap!

The National Weather Service has just issued a tornado warning for Los Angeles! The announcement just came over the emergency broadcast system.

I thought part of our deal was we had to put up with earthquakes and fires but were spared tornados and hurricanes!

I blame President Bush and global warming!

College Football

The 2007 college football season begins today. (Well technically it began last Thursday) USC is the overwhelming favorite. I predict undefeated and national champion. John Booty has a chance at the Heisman. But USC has a swarm at tailback and wide'll be interesting to see who pulls out of the pack. The defense should be dominate again.

This week USC plays the Idaho Vandals. This won't even be close. USC is #1, Idaho is something like #110. The question will be how long do the starters play? Into the third?

Go Trojans! All the way to the Sugar Bowl!
Update: 11:25 AM: East Carolina University is giving Virginia Tech a tough game today. Va Tech is up only 10-7 with 1:18 to go in the third quarter. Appalachin State is up 31-20 on Michigan halfway through the third quarter. Appalachin State won what used to be the Division II (and has been renamed Division I ...the old Division I is now the BCS Division) championship last year.
Update II 1:00 PM: Appalachin State wins! 34-32 They beat #5 Michigan by kicking a 24 yard FG with 26 seconds left and then blocking a Michigan field goal from the 20 with 6 seconds left.

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my Mom's birthday. She was born on September 1, 1946. She is the youngest of five children. She was Los Angeles born, but has lived all over the world. She lived in the Middle East while she was a girl, and then followed my dad around (usually to England) during his career in the military, only to settle down back in So Cal when my Dad retired.

My Mom didn't have it easy by any means. She had two babies by the time she was 21, and was living in a foriegn country, poor and married to the Air Force as well as my Dad. My life was infinitely easier than hers. I treasure the fact that both of my parents are relatively young (61 and 62 to my 42) because I consider them my friends as well as my parents. We are probably closer than most because we spent so much time as a nuclear family far away from the rst of our relatives.

She shares her exact birthday with Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees. I don't how she feels about that, or even if she is aware of it. But I'll dedicate this one to her anyway.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Too Young To Fight?

O'Reilly just had a guest on who was argueing that 18 year olds are too young to make the decision to enlist in the military. She cited the facts that they cannot smoke or buy alcohol until they turned 21.

OK. That makes sense. I can go along with that.

But I never heard Bill or her bring up the right to vote. The same logic should apply, and we should repeal the 26th Amendment, and return the voting age to 21. (In fact IIRC, one of the main arguements to support the passage of the 26 th Amendment was the fact that 18 year olds were in the military....Old enough to fight..old enough to vote.)

Not mature enough to fight, not mature enough to vote.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My New hero: Sean Salisbury

Well, not exactly new, I was a fan of his when he coached my college team USC while I attended school there.

But this morning on ESPN's Mike and Mike show, he just said that AC/DC's Back in Black was one of the greatest albums ever. You've got to love that.

Now Back in Black is a great album, the second best AC/DC album ever. The best however is Highway to Hell. There is not a bad song on that album. In my opinion, they are few albums that hold up from first song to last. For instance, Appetite for Destruction is one of my favorite albums, but there are some weak songs on it.

But Highway to Hell is awesome cover to cover. Just off the top of my head, so is Boston's first album, Boston. Not a bad song on it.

What are some other perfect albums?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Universe Has Never Been the Same...........

One year ago today the International Astronomical Union demoted Pluto from the status of planet to the diminutive "dwarf planet". I have felt diminished ever since........

Every One Made With Love......

I just got through slaving over the stove and the sink again...... Don't ever make the mistake of letting your friends and co-workers know you can make something reasonably well. Now I'm stuck making deviled eggs all the time. (I'm just kidding..I don't mind..I like making people happy) This was a pretty good batch tonight. Thanks Alton for teaching me how to get perfectly peeled hard boiled eggs last night.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Time to Buy a Lottery Ticket.......

The small blind has Big Slick...King of spades, Ace of clubs.

The big blind has a pair of Kings, hearts and clubs.
A third player has a Jack of diamonds and a Queen of diamonds.

The flop comes King of diamonds, Ace of diamonds and Ace of hearts.
The small blind now has a full boat, and the nuts, Aces over Kings.

The big blind now has the second best possible hand, a full house Kings over Aces.
Player 3 has a great draw, to a flush or a straight.

The turn. Ace of spades.
Small blind still has the nuts, only now it's four Aces.
Big blind still has the second best possible hand, only now his full boat is Aces over Kings.
Player 3 still has his straight draw and his flush draw, and a decent chance at a split pot at worst if he doesn't make his hand. (however I don't know how he stayed in)
The River. OMFG. A Ten of diamonds.
Player 3 hits a Royal Flush. A Freaking Royal Flush.
The small blind shows his four Aces. The big blind shows his full house Aces over Kings in disgust. He's hit a all rights he should have won. There are only two possible hands in all of poker that could have beat him, and four Aces is one of them.

Then player 3 shows his Royal Flush, the other hand that beats the Big blind..but also beats the small blind. The ultimate cooler.

If player 3 did not rush out that night and buy a lottery ticket he was crazy!

I Knew It Was Too Good To Be True!

For months now I thought I'd found that most rarest of objects... a hot looking Liberal chick who was sane. I'm talking about Kirsten Powers. Up to now, she has seemed to be pretty level-headed. Liberal, but level-headed.

However today on the O'Reilly Factor she announced that she thinks that there is a Human Right to freedom of movement. Thus any Mexican who wants to come here should be able to. Bill was just as stunned as I am. I wish somebody would point out to people like Kirsten that not even Mexico believes this. They have some of the strictest immigration and citizenship laws in the world. Read the Mexican Constitution, you'll be stunned. There is not a single country in the world that supports open borders. Canada comes close, but not even they are completely nuts.

A Sign of the Times Pt. 2.......

So I'm cruising home from work listening to KCAL (local Rock station) and all of a sudden a commecial comes on from laser vaginal rejuvination surgery. The commercial was done by one of the DJs who had just given birth to twins and was worried she was permanently stretched out. Fracking great...just what I want to hear about in the middle of drive time traffic! What's next? Will I soon be listening to commercials for rectal rejuvination surgery for those light in the loafers?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Happy Birthdays!

Today is certainly a star crossed day for birthdays! First politically....Fred Thompson (1942). Bill Clinton (1946), Tipper Gore (1948) and Tammy Bruce (1962) were all born on this day.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on the same day, (the same exact day, July 4, 1826 ironically for two of our Founding Fathers) but if Thompson is elected president I wonder if that will be the first time two presidents were born on the same day?

Few people remember Tipper's attack on music with the PMRC, but she shares her birthday with John Deacon (1951) of Queen; Ginger Baker (1939) of Cream and Blind Faith; Ian Gillan (1945) of Deep Purple and (briefly) Black Sabbath; rapper Nate Dogg (1969) of Death Row Records (who has song on 60 singles with rappers like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Warren G.); rapper Fat Joe (1970); and rapper Lil Romeo (1989).

There are also at least a half dozen other international singers born on this date, including Lee Ann Womack.

Famous tennis player and doctor Renee Richards was born on this day in 1934 as Richard Raskind before becoming a woman in 1975.

Star Trek fans will surely know that both Gene Roddenberry (1921) and Jonathan Frakes (1952) share this birthday.

Adam Arkin (1956) who had a re-occuring role (one of my favorites) as Dr. Stanley Keyworth on The West Wing was also born on August 19.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Democratic Circular Firing Squad

Well now we know that there are moonbats even more unhinged than the raving moonbats at the DailyKos. One of them has just accused Markos of being a tool of the CIA! Well this isn't completely unexpected, just another in a long line of attacks by the left on the left.


Sometime film director and noted child abuser Roman Polanski was born on this date in 1933. Nabokov's Lolita (a book about an older man in a sexual relationship with a young girl) was first published in the U.S. on this date in 1958.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Elvis Has Left the Building!

Well, he left it thirty years ago today. Have a peanut butter and banana sandwich for me big guy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Don't drive angry. Do not drive angry

I'm sitting here watching Groundhog Day, for at least the twentieth time. Man this is such a classic! Murray's had some great roles, but he's perfect for this one...I can't even imagine anyone else playing it. If you haven't seen this one, do yourself a favor and rent it won't be disappointed.

You know this is an older movie. Just after he saves a man from choking in a restaurant, he walks past a woman with a cigarette at the next table, and lights it for her.......

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Van Halen..Pt. IV?

Well it looks like Eddie and David have buried the hatchet (and for a wonder not in each other's back) and have actually decided to get the band back together again.

The second incarnation of the band, with Sammy Hagar as the lead singer was actually pretty good, but a much different sound than the original band. Even though we called it Van Hagar, most of us are quite comfortable with the material being counted as part of the Van Halen legacy.

The third incaranation however, with Gary Cherone as lead singer, is better off forgotten.

This fourth line up features Eddie and Alex Van Halen reunited with David Lee Roth. Bassist Michael Anthony who has been along for the ride in the three previous versions is sitting this one out however. Eddie's son Wolfgang is playing bass this time.

Here's hoping they can re-capture the magic.

It's Alive!!

Today is the 82nd anniversary of the passing of the Social Security Act, the largest ponzi scheme in the history of the world. The question now...will it live to be 100?

I'm not betting on it, and if you are younger than fifty, hopefully you aren't either.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Saving Grace Pt. 2

I've seen 2 1/2 episodes now, and I really like this show. If you haven't seen it yet, I really recommend it. Mondays at 10:00 P.M. on TNT. It's got an offbeat message about religious belief, being both critical of, and endorsing it, at the same time. As I said earlier, the casting of the angel named Earl is a work of genius. The actor's name is Leon Rippy, and he is probably best known for his role in The Patriot, even though he's been around since 1983.

The bonus is that it stars Holly Hunter. She is a voice actor in one of my favorite movies of all time, The Incredibles. I really liked her in Always also.

For the Sinister Among Us.....

Today is International Lefthanders Day. Pay a little extra consideration for those so afflicted today.

Sorry Dad, sucks to be you.

(just kidding...but it really is International Lefthanders Day...)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Brave New World......

Today is the 26th anniversary of the IBM PC. It is four years younger than the Apple PC, but quickly came to dominate the personal computer market.

Can you imagine a world without it now?

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Sistine Chapel

On August 9, 1483, the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City was dedicated and celebrated its first mass. It was dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

One of my favorite movies from the 1960's is about the painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo at the command of Pope Julius II. It's called The Agony and the Ecstasy and it stars Charlton Heston as Michelangelo and a surprisingly good Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II. The movie is beautifully made, and a fine example of when movie making was as much an art form as an industry.

Betty Boop

Sixty-seven years ago today, Betty Boop premired in her first cartoon, Dizzy Dishes. Here it is for you in all of its glory:

Jerry Garcia

This is the 12th anniversary of Jerry Garcia's death. He was the lead singer of The Grateful Dead, one of rock's most unique bands. Funnily enough, my favorite Dead songs are the ones that serious deadheads hate, "Touch of Grey" and "Hell in a Bucket" off of In The Dark (their most commercially succesful album) Here's Touch of Grey:

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cape Wind

I'm not a big fan of The Daily Show, but occasionally they get it exactly right.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Sad Day For Baseball....

It couldn't happen to a worse fellow. He's a jerk to his teammates, a jerk to the fans, a jerk to the reporters, and juiced to his eyeballs.

Hank, you're still in first in my eyes....

Monday, August 06, 2007

Enola Gay

The Enola Gay was the B-29 piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima sixty-two years ago today. He named the plane after his mother. In 1980 British group Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark released a song called Enola Gay with thinly veiled references to the attack.


A B-29 called the Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb called "Little Boy" on Hiroshima on this day in 1945. This is the first use of an atomic bomb in war. A second is dropped on Nagasaki three days later. These are the only two uses of an atomic weapon in war to date. They cause comparatively few casualties. (Many more peole died in the fire bombing of cities such as Dresden and Tokyo) In modern terms they are very small bombs, but they manage to convince the Japanese to surrender and end World War II.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Speedy Gonzalez

I just saw a music video on a Spanish language channel (KMEX) called Speedy Gonzalez by a group called the Kumbia All Stars. Here it is:

I mentioned earlier that I had seen a commercial on Spanish language television using him.

Does this mean we white , English speakers can resume watching the Speedy Gonzalez cartoons now? Can Lays bring back the Frito Bandito?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"Video Killed the Radio Star...."

Twenty six years ago today in 1981, MTV went on the air. The first video shown was "Video Killed the Radio Star" (Yes, believe it or not, there was a time when MTV showed music videos.) This ushered in a new age for music, where music videos became more than an after thought.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Back on the Chain Gang

Today is the first workday of the 2007-2008 school year, and the kids show up tomorrow. I'm teaching 7th and 8th grade Social Studies this year. We're also changing over to a new online attendance system and gradebook. Oh well, at least I'll get November off.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Saving Grace

Just saw the first episode. It's definitely not your typical TV show. It was good enough to draw me in for the next show. Holly Hunter is still looking good, and whoever cast the actor playing the angel is a genius.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Spark "em Up!

Haile Selassie was born 115 years ago today. He was the emperor of Ethiopia for 44 years. He died in 1975.

But what is most interesting about his life is the fact that on an island half a world away (Jamaica), he became a living god. A religion was formed in the 1930's among adherents of Marcus Garvey's back to Africa movement. It was called the Rastafari Movement, and it is primarily known by its use of reggae music, dreadlocks and marijuana.

It is one of those things that is almost too weird to be true. But true it is.

Friday, July 20, 2007

"The Eagle Has Landed..."

Thirty-eight years ago today, Apollo 11 landed on the Moon. The dreams of countless generations had finally been realized. Unfortunately we failed to properly follow up on this triumph. We haven't been back to the Moon since December 1972. In fact we haven't left low Earth orbit since then. Many people thought we would have colonized the Moon by now, many of us think we should have. It is a hopeful sign that NASA's post shuttle plans do include a return to the Moon, and an eventual manned trip to Mars. We have the technology to colonize the Moon, we lack only the will.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

R.I.P. Mary Jo Kopechne

Thirty-eight years ago today, Mary Jo Kopechne was killed by Sen. Edward "Ted" Kennedy (Dem.-Mass.).

On July 18, 1969, Mary Jo and five other single women who had worked for Robert Kennedy's campaign attended a party on Chappaquiddick Island with six married men. (None of their wives were present) Sen. Kennedy and Mary Jo left the party together at 11:15. P.M.. According to Sen. Kennedy, he made a wrong turn, and drove off a bridge and into a small lake.

Sen. Kennedy got out of the car, and says he made several attempts to rescue Mary Jo, but she drowned. He then walked back to the party, (ignoring nearby houses) and talked to his cousin, Joe Gargan, and Paul Markham who were both lawyers. All three of them returned to the scene of the crash.

None of the three told anyone else about the crash for the next ten hours. Sen. Kennedy ended up pleading guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident after causing an injury. His sentence was a two month suspeneded sentence and a year of probation.

Despite this tragedy and the cover up, Sen. Kennedy continues to serve as a Senator and even ran for president once. Most people are convinced that the true story has never come out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Whoopi Goldberg

I'm sitting here watching Whoopi on Bravo doing a monologue (it's actually more of a dialog with the studio audience), and I am amazed at how much of what she is saying that I agree with. Her best riff so far is when she talked about how her generation raised their kids without manners and as a result, that generation is raising their children as barbarians.

Whoopi has done this to me in the past. One time she comes out talking sense, and ther next she is a raving lunatic. And you know what, I bet she likes it that way.

The USSR Was Born in Evil.....

Eighty-nine years ago today, the Bolshevik Party ordered the murder of Tsar Nicholas II and his entire family. He had already abdicated over a year earlier. The Communists were already firmly in power, and the only question was which faction would run the country. There was no legitemate reason for these murders. The communists continued as they began.......


Fifty-two years ago today, Waly Disney combined two great American institutions, pop culture and capitalism; and opened up his first theme park, Disneyland, in Anaheim, California.

Walt also exploited an emerging American institution, television, by having the grand opening shown live on TV. Whatever else you think about Uncle Walt, he knew how to make a buck. He took a primitive cartoon about a mouse (originally named Mortimer) and turned it into a trillion dollar, worldwide empire. There are Disneyland parks in Paris and Tokyo, and a Disneyworld park in Orlando Florida. There are at least a half dozen companion parks. (many based on water themes)

It's the Economy, Stupid! (isn't it?) Pt. 2

This is kind of a follow up to yesterday's post about the DJIA. Twenty years ago today (July 17, 1987) the DJIA closed above 2,500 points for the first time in history. (2510) Today the DJIA closed at 13,950 points. Look at those numbers! the DJIA more than quintupled in value in twenty years! Twenty years of almost interrupted phenomenal growth!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Man I'm Getting Old........

Phoebe Cates was born on this date in 1963. That means she is 44 years old this year! What the hell? How did we get so old so fast?

It's the Economy, Stupid! (Isn't it?)

Ten years ago today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average(DJIA) hit an all-time high, passing 8,000 points for the first time.

Friday, the DJIA closed at 13,907 points setting a new record. Look at the past ten years the DJIA has nearly doubled...despite the attack on 9/11 and the Iraq war and occupation. The DJIA fell nearly 700 points or 7.1% the first trading day after the attack, (the largest one day point drop ever) and 14.3% by the end of that week. By Oct. 2002, the DJIA closed at a low of 7,286 points. That means there is a very good chance that by Oct. 2007, the DJIA could have doubled in five years.

Did you hear any stories about this on TV this weekend? Did you read any stories about this in your newspaper this weekend? No? I wonder why not?

I wonder if it has anything to do with a reluctance to credit a Republican president, or Republican tax cuts for this growth?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Computers Twenty Five Years Ago

Here is a link to an article written twenty-five years ago this month by James Fallows about personal computers and word processing. It really is an illustration of just how far we have come. He brags that his computer has 48 K of current (cheap) computer has 1 GB of RAM. He has an 8 bit processing processor is based on a 64 bit chip. He has a 12 inch green TV monitor. I have a 19 inch HD flatscreen. He begins with two tape machines for storage (and upgrades to floppys with 100 K of storage) I have a 320 GB internal hard drive, a 120 GB external hard drive, and my 3.5 floppys hold 1 MB. My flashdrive holds 2 GB) He has a converted IBM selectric typewriter as a printer. I have a cheap ($50) laser printer that is inconceivably better.

One of the dangers he talks about is becoming addicted to the computer. This is in the days before public access to the internet, the world wide web (WWW), ISPs and anything but the utmost basic of graphics. I wonder where he is today, and how he is coping? Well it looks like he is still writing, and still using new technology.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Robert Heinlein

Today was the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the world's greatest science fiction writers, Robert Heinlein. Talk to almost any current sci fi writer, or any of the people involved with the efforts to exploit space, and most will tell you they grew up reading his stuff. I sure did. His wrote excellent juvenile sci fi. Books like Have Space Suit, Will Travel ; Space Cadet ; Rocket Ship Galileo ; and Tunnel in the Sky will sometimes seem formulaic when read today. What you have to remember however is that Heinlein was usually the one who invented the formula. The science can seem quaint and outdated, but again when you realize these works were written in the late 1940's and the 1950's, it helps to put things in perspective. These early works did more than open up sci fi to a wide audience of young boys (and eventually girls), it helped sci fi make the transition from pulp magazine to where it is today.

Perhaps his most famous book is Starship Troopers . Ignore the movie, it is NOT a faithful rendition of the novel. The book is not about space combat. It is often called fascist, but that is a misunderstanding of the book. It is about the responsibility of being a citizen in a republic, and the dangers of mass democracy. The book doesn't glorify the military, it glorifies responsibility.

The transition from his juvenile novels to his adult novels can be quite jarring. (Especially you make that transition while still a juvenile as I did.) His adult novels deal with adult themes, including sex and drugs. (some of his sexual themes include not only incest and homosexuality, but sex with clones of one self) Many consider him one of the fathers of the sexual revolution and counterculture movement of the 1960's. Some of these books are Stranger in a Strange Land ; The Cat Who Walks Through Walls ; The Moon is a Harsh Mistress ; and Time Enough for Love. These books revolutionised science fiction. No longer was sci fi relegated to ray guns, bug-eyed monsters and spaceships. These books grapple with all of the problems of humanity in a thoughtful and logical way. Whatever else, Heinlein will leave you thinking.

These later works do something very rewarding for the Heinlein fan. By various plot devices including time travel, cloning, immortality and the creation of different dimensions, Heinlein ties almost all of his works into one coherent universe. It was a welcome surprise to be reading one of his later, adult, titles and have some of your favorite childhood characters re-emerge. The practice of creating a universe of your own to explore and write in is fairly commonplace today (Asimov's Foundation universe, Weber's Harrington universe, and Niven's universe as examples), but it wasn't when Heinlein did it. Most books were either stand alones, or parts of an explicit series. Heinlein was further challenged in that he created his universe retroactively, long after his most of his books had been written.

Lastly Heinlein has had an effect on the very vocabulary we use today. Many people use his acronym TANSTAAFL (there ain't no such thing as a free lunch) with no idea of where it comes from. It is included in numerous economics and political science textbooks. A less commonly used word, but still seem from time to time is grok. Also, like many sci fi authors he has had his work adopted by scientists and engineers, like the term waldo.

The US Supreme Court Today

I have just finished Jan Crawford Greenburg's recent book Supreme Conflict. It was a pretty interesting book, dealing mainly with the transformation from the Rhenquist Court to the Roberts Court. It talked a lot about the nomination and confirmation process post Roe V Wade.

I was struck by one passage in particular however:

"Jones's experience shows that abortion, for such a controversial and divisive issue, can produce a remarkably lopsided debate during the confirmation process. Republican nominees walk a minefield, knowing vocal opposition to Roe or even criticism of it, could doom their chances. But democratic nominees are assumed to support the abortion right and have been easily confirmed" (pg. 225)

What struck me about the quote was the matter of fact way it was presented, with no further discussion or analysis. The quote is undeniably true, but surely some discussion of why it is true was warranted?

There have been eleven rejected nominations to the Supreme Court. Three of these have been Democrats, five of them Republican.

Two of the three rejected Democratic nominees were nominated by President Cleveland in his second (non-consecutive) administration. William Hornblower was defeated 24-30, and Wheeler Hazard Peckham was defeated 32-41 in a 1894 Senate in which there were 44 Democrats, 40 Republicans, and 4 others. The opposition to these nominees was lead by Democratic Senator David Hill who had opposed Cleveland for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1892. The third was George Washington Woodward in 1845, who was rejected (20-29) by a Democratic majority Senate (34-22) after a failed Senate run in 1844.

So the last Democratic Supreme Court nominee to be rejected was in 1894, and all three were done in by fellow Democrats.

The first of the five rejected Republican nominees was Ebenezer R. Hoar by President Grant in 1870, by a vote of 24-33. The senate was dominated by the Republicans 62-12. The second was John J. Parker, nominated by President Hoover. He was rejected 39-41 (by one vote) in a Senate with 56 Republicans, 39 Democrats, and an independent. His nomination was strongly opposed by the labor unions and the NAACP. Next was Clement Haynsworth, nominated by President Nixon in 1969. He was rejected 45-55 in a Senate dominated by Democrats 64-36. He too was opposed by the NAACP, but he was also attacked by liberal Republicans. 38 Democrats and 17 Republicans voted against him. The fourth was Harold Carswell, nominated by President Nixon in 1970. He lost 45-51, in a Senate divided 57-43 in favor of the Democrats. He was attacked as a segregationist, and his competency was challenged. 38 Democrats and 13 Republicans voted against him. The last nominee rejected was Robert Bork. He was nominated by President Reagan in 1987. He lost 42-58 in a Senate divided 55-45 in favor of the Democrats. He was heavily opposed by liberal special interest groups.

So the last four rejected nominees (and all the nominees rejected in the 20th Century) were all Republicans.

The only Democratic Supreme Court nomination to fail in the 20th century was when LBJ tried to elevate Associate Justice Fortas to the Chief Justice. Fortas was accused of being too political (he was a close confidant of LBJ) and was under suspicion of financial impropriety. (In fact he was later forced to resign as an Associate Justice for financial improprieties) His nomination was withdrawn.

The last Democratic Nominees were:

Ruth Bader Ginsburg - confirmed 96-3, even though she had been a prominent lawyer for the ACLU (The ACLU has formally opposed the nominations of three justices in their 85 year career: Alito, Bork and Rehnquist. All conservative, all post Roe.)

Stephen Bryer - confirmed 87-9

The last two Republican nominees were:

John Roberts 78-22

Sam Alito 58-42

Republican senators are much more willing to vote in favor of Democratic nominees than Democratic senators are willing to vote for Republican nominees.

Special note also has to be made about the treatment Judge Robert Bork and Justice Clarence Thomas have received. Both men were savaged by liberal special interest groups and Democratic senators. No comparable actions have ever been taken against Democratic nominees. Instead, they are treated with deference and respect. Sam Alito also faced a concerted opposition from liberal special interest groups, and a hostile Democratic Senate.

There has also been a curious phenomena of Republican Justices drifting (in some cases racing) to the left and becoming liberals once on the Supreme Court. It begins with Chief Justice Burger in 1969, then Blackmun(1970), Stevens (1975 and still on the Court), O'Connor (1981), Kennedy (1988), and Souter (1990). All six of these Justices were expected to be judicial conservatives, but instead all have been instrumental in some way in preserving the liberal nature of the Court. One explanation for this effect is that Republican presidents tend to nominate candidates that are "confirm-able", meaning that they can garner some Democratic support, and thus have some liberal tendencies. Democratic presidents however feel free to nominate solidly liberal Justices, knowing that Republican senators are much more likely to defer to a Democratic president's wishes. (no Democratic nominee has had even 20 votes against him since Brandeis with 22 no votes in 1916, and then we have to go back to Cleveland's nominees for significant opposition..and it was mainly Democratic opposition) The other common explanation is that conservative justices are "corrupted" by the eastern liberal establishment, and a desire to please the liberal media.

Surely at least some of the points I have outlined above are worth at least a mention when the confirmation process is being discussed?