Sunday, December 31, 2006

What a sweet feeling

There's something to be said about watching your team back into the playoffs in one of the more improbable situations in recent memory. Counting Jacksonville the Chiefs needed four teams fighting for their playoff lives to lose today and all of them did. So, thank you to Pittsburgh and New England for winning even though they didn't have much reason to. And especially thank you to the Niners for knocking off the Donkeys at home. I can't help but smile when I think of that idiot in the barrell or any other number of stupid ass donkey fans having their playoff hopes crushed as their division rival slides into their spot.

So...the Chiefs will head to Indy on Saturday. Obviously, the matchup that jumps out is Indy's last place rush defense trying to stop Larry Johnson. That one could get ugly. However, they're 12 and 4 for a reason and Manning will shred this team if they can't get any pressure on him. Allen and Hali will have to have the games of their lives. It reminds me a ton of the last Chiefs playoff game when they had an awesome offense and no defense and the Colts beat them in Arrowhead. It would be nice to get some revenge against them since they've won their last two playoff games in Arrowhead.

It will be interesting to see what Herm can do in the playoffs. I wish they would stop showing him on TV because he always has a look on his face that is something like this.

Like he just shit his pants and isn't sure how he's going to make it out of the stadium without anyone knowing. Not exactly inspiring confidence in him to make the big decision. But, I'll give him a chance and right now I'm just excited the Chiefs are back in the playoffs.

Wow, that sounded just like the abused Chiefs fan that I am. Much like an abused wife we always think things are going to change next time and they're not going to break our hearts. Look, they made the playoffs this year, next year maybe they'll really be a Super Bowl contender. But, we never learn.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Wie sagt Mann "Dumbass German" auf Deutsch?

BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) -- A 21-year-old German tourist who wanted to visit his girlfriend in the Australian metropolis Sydney landed 13,000 kilometers (8,077 miles) away near Sidney, Montana, after mistyping his destination on a flight booking Web site.

Dressed for the Australian summer in T-shirt and shorts, Tobi Gutt left Germany on Saturday for a four-week holiday.

Instead of arriving "down under", Gutt found himself on a different continent and bound for the chilly state of Montana.

"I did wonder but I didn't want to say anything," Gutt told the Bild newspaper. "I thought to myself, you can fly to Australia via the United States."

Gutt's airline ticket routed him via the U.S. city of Portland, Oregon, to Billings, Montana. Only as he was about to board a commuter flight to Sidney -- an oil town of about 5,000 people -- did he realize his mistake.

Hahaha, this is great. A German may have miraculously won my fantasy football league but at least none of my countrymen have done something this stupid. Unfortunately the only man that might do it is currently president.
The hapless tourist, who had only a thin jacket to keep out the winter cold, spent three days in Billings airport before he was able to buy a new ticket to Australia with 600 euros in cash that his parents and friends sent over from Germany.

"I didn't notice the mistake as my son is usually good with computers," his mother, Sabine, told Reuters.

Yeah, looks like he's great with computers. Unfortunately he's not quite brilliant enough to ask somebody what's up until he gets to Billings Freaking Montana. They don't say it but you know this guy was wearing socks under his sandals.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald Ford eaten by wolves today

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Children's Christmas Eve Program Lacks Holiday Spirit

Christmas Eve is the culmination of a monthlong waiting process known as Advent. It is meant to be a moment of pure joy as the waiting is finally over and baby Jesus, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, is born in a manger. Unfortunately for those in attendance Sunday night there was little Joy in the First Mennonite World from this children's reenactment of the nativity scene.

It's difficult to keep a story fresh when everyone in the audience has heard it since they themselves were children but I believe that more should be expected than was offered from this version. The problems begin with believability.

I went into it expecting to be transported into the world of the Middle East and instead I see a bunch of kids wearing bathrobes. How am I supposed to believe the actors when I can't believe their costumes? Did Isiah really prophesize the birth of Jesus while wearing a University of Kansas t-shirt under his robe? I find that hard to believe considering the university wasn't even founded until the 19th century AD.

Then there's the issue of these wise men. They're rich enough to give expensive gifts but they make their crowns out of felt and cardboard? Please. I'm sure it was a long walk from wherever they came from but I have my doubts that they travelled there in sneakers. I've seen delusional homeless men with more nobility than these kids.

The kid in the KU shirt also was a narrator and his lack of interest was obvious throughout the entire program. It's possible that he feels since he played Joseph two years ago he is above these minor roles but his boredom soon spread to the audience. Standing silent while the rest of the children are singing might seem like a good way to avoid embarrassment but it only drew attention to him and made it clear why he has a reputation as difficult to work with and a director's worst nightmare.

Perhaps these flimsy costumes were a relief since they may have distracted from the brutal acting. Finding a narrator that can actually read might have helped the flow of the story that felt like it started and stopped too many times. Singing the first verse of a hymn between every scene was a little difficult for some of the audience to keep up with and certainly didn't help the continuity issues.

I can't help but question the decisions made in portraying Joseph. Was his dialogue supposed to be like that of a robot? Completely devoid of passion and emotion? Perhaps this was meant to be some sort of an abstract commentary on the attention paid to the mother of Jesus at the expense of his Earthly father. I certainly hope this child's acting skills weren't THAT poor.

Granted I was sitting in the back but from my perspective it looked like they used a plastic doll for the role of Jesus. At least I hope that wasn't an actor giving the most plastic performance of all-time. Mary was somewhat convincing in her role although it was hard to pay attention with all of the clutter around her. I don't understand staging the shepherds right outside the stable and just feet from the wisemen. In fact, the whole play just seemed cramped. I didn't get any sense of long journeys when traveling from Nazarath to Bethlehem consisted of walking 15 feet across a stage.

The lone bright spot was the performances of the youngest children in their sheep costumes. They injected a bit of levity into the otherwise tedious evening. This is probably the only thing that even this director can't manage to ruin. I admit a certain amount of bias as I, myself, once performed on that very stage but it upsets me to see how far things have fallen. These types of haphazard performances may have been par for the course at whatever church this director used to attend but we have certain standards that must be upheld. People come to this expecting to see a spectacle or at least acting that approaches community theater level. The entire point of having actors is to make the audience feel like they are there. Otherwise why not just hire Ben Stein to read the story?

Perhaps mercifully the entire program lasted less than 15 minutes. However I feel for those that make this their only trip to a church in the year. No wonder they stay away when they finally make an effort and have to sit through that. The absence of the famous Christmas carol "Joy to the World" was both noticable and appropriate since there was no joy in this wooden pageant. I look forward to a return of the traditional but still-effective candlelight service on Christmas Eve next year.

The Hardest Working Man in Show Business

James Brown always had the best nicknames. The Godfather of Soul, Sex Machine, Hardest Working Man in Show Business...does it get any better than those? He definitely earned them all. I couldn't decide which YouTube video to post so here's a link to a few of my favorites.


Papa's Got a Brand New Bag!
9 minutes of live footage from 1966
Great footage in a documentary featuring Iggy Pop
This is a Man's World
Sex Machine/Soul Power

Definitely one of the best performers and most influential musicians of all-time.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Out for a while


MLitB will be done for a few days as I leave my safe haven of Lawrence for some family Christmasing down south. Barring anything striking my fancy this should be the last post until early next week. Merry Christmas or whatever you might celebrate (Hannukah, Festivus for the restuvus, or whatever). Enjoy.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Mutually Assured Destruction

Most of you are probably familiar with the idea of Mutually Assured Destruction, the Cold War belief that the fact that starting a nuclear war would mean that your country would be blasted into the Stone Age as well helped keep the situation stable. Today, I found joy in a similar, although much less important and infinitely lamer, situation. A celebrity spat.

I wasn't sure if there was anything dumber than the "controversy" over whether Miss USA or whatever would lose her crown. From what I could gather she isn't 21 and has been seen partying at clubs and kissing dudes. Shock of shocks! Not our dear sweet Miss USA...my faith in humanity is lost forever! It's tough to really even pretend to give a shit because, well, Miss USA? Does anyone still care about that crap?


Anyway, since Donald Trump is involved he sniffed out a way to get the dead animal on top of his head some airtime so he set up this meeting with the girl where he was going to decide whether she was "fired" or not. We're all supposed to believe this is just like his crappy TV show, I guess. So after the meeting he gets his ugly face in front of the cameras, pouts his lips and tells America..."the beauty queen stays!" Everyone rejoices. The plastic girl sort of admits she has a drinking problem and is going to rehab. Later she said something about how she didn't really think she had a drinking problem which is becoming almost as popular as blaming your problems on alcoholism. Like Lindsey Lohan saying she was going to AA but she wasn't planning on quitting drinking. So, umm, what's the point?

So, I'm watching TV or reading something this morning and I see word of a feud between the Trumpster and Rosie O'Donnell. From what I heard Trump really laid into her. Ha, that's funny, I thought. I really can't stand Rosie and her self-rightous jokes. Ever since she managed to make the crappiest show on TV even crappier (the View) she's managed to get her fat face into some controversy. Whether it's making racist jokes or bitching because homophobes were attacking Clay Aiken or whatever. Just go away.

So, I find Trumpy's quotes and they were pretty classic.
"Rosie O'Donnell is disgusting, I mean, both inside and out." He goes on to say that "she talks like a truck driver" and calls her "a disaster."

The Donald also questions, "I never understood, how did she even get on television?" He says he believes that "[Executive Producer] BARBARA [WALTERS] made a terrible mistake putting her on."

He's not done.
Rosie's a loser. A real loser. I look forward to taking lots of money from my nice fat little Rosie.

The evil doers that produce the View had this to say.
"Both Rosie and Donald are high-spirited, opinionated people. Donald has been a friend of The View for many years and Rosie, of course, is our enormously popular moderator. We cherish them both and hope the new year brings calm and peace."

Anybody that cherishes both of those clowns deserves nothing but scorn. So, I was all set to write a post talking about how great DT was for blasting Rosie like that but then I run across a clip of Rosie doing her original comments. And it was funny!

OK, as funny as Rosie can be which is sort of like grading on a curve but she was doing his lips thing and throwing her hair over her head like a giant combover. I'm watching this and I realize this is almost the perfect situation for me. They're destroying each other and I just have to sit back and enjoy it! In a better world they would sue each other and spend their billions until they're broke and I never have to see either one of them again. Mutually Assured Destrucion.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Is Stephen Mara going to have to choke a bitch?

December 20, 2006 -- The son of the legendary late Giants owner Wellington Mara tackled and choked a fellow broker on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange yesterday after the man mocked the team, sources said.

Veteran floor trader Bob Tomasulo, a 57-year-old grandfather, was assaulted and barraged with obscenities in front of stunned co-workers after kidding with Stephen Mara about the Giants' embarrassing 36-22 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, witnesses and Tomasulo told The Post.

"Mara started screaming, 'I'm gonna f- - -ing kill you! Don't f- - - around with my family! Don't insult my family!' " one broker said.

"Bob was like, 'Hey, what is your problem? It's just a game!' And Mara yells, 'No, it's not just a game, it's my f- - -ing family!' "

Tomasulo said the bizarre broker brouhaha broke out at around 10:30 a.m., after he walked past Mara and pretended to do a basketball jump shot, mocking the celebratory on-field routine performed by Big Blue players after touchdowns and sacks.


This is one of my all-time favorite stories. First, because the guy was making fun of that RIDICULOUS jump shot celebration no one wants to see anymore. Second, this Mara guy just flips out, dropping f bombs everywhere on the stock exhange floor!

Umm, dude, it's just a game. Apparently it's not since he had to drop a few more f-bombs on him.
"[Yesterday] morning, I just did that stupid little jump shot, and I said, 'Maybe you have a basketball team instead of a football team.'

"[Mara] just snapped. He charged me like an animal. He charged me like he wanted to sack me.

"At first, he got me in a bear hug and bent me over a trading post. At first, I thought it was a joke. Then he proceeded to choke me. I passed out for a minute."

My guess is that he's just trying to take the pressure off of Eli Manning for choking all time. Ooh, maybe he should watch out for those jokes from now on...

Like the Crusades but opposite

A Virginia congressman warned select supporters of the potential for a Muslim invasion into US government. The first signs of the coming hostile takeover are already being seen as the number of Muslim members of Congress rose to an all-time high of....one. Certain conservatives have been up in arms because this particular congressman, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, has chosen to be sworn in on the Koran instead of the Bible. In fact, this guy, thinks the act "undermines American civilization" as if this country is so weak that a non-Christian congressman could tear it down.

This whole thing just sent me over the edge. Do these people not read the Constitution? Are they unaware that we have protections that guarantee freedom of religion? Or that it explicitly spells out that there will be no religious tests to serve this country? The man has a faith that is not Christianity and the people that chose him to represent them don't care so why do you? Isn't the whole point of swearing an oath on the Bible that this book means a lot to you? It would be ludicrous to try to make this man who doesn't believe in the Bible swear an oath on it and pretend that it means something just because it is "tradition" and supposedly "binds us". Would they be up in arms against me if I were elected (which would never happen. Too many incriminating photos out there...)? My religious beliefs prevent me from swearing an oath at all. Off with my head!

The truth of the matter is that the actual swearing in ceremony for Congress doesn't contain any religious books at all. They put their hand over their hearts and say their pledge and that is it. Afterwards they all head out for their photo ops to show what good, caring Christians they are. Their actions and words be damned because look at this photo of them using the Bible!

Ellison went on Glenn Beck's TV show and the first thing Beck said was "prove to me you're not an enemy of the US." What does he have to prove? He's a citizen of this country and wishes to serve it. Should George Bush have to prove that his belief in what God wants him to do won't affect his judgement if it's not in the best interest of this country? Well, bad example.

Goode wrote in his letter, "if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Koran."
Dammit, wake up, America! These Muslims have an insidious traitorous plot to take over our government by being good citizens and getting the people of their districts to elect them into office! Don't you see how diabolical this is! This, this, this...."Democracy" MUST NOT STAND!

Stop Monk on Monk Violence!

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) -- Two groups of monks clashed on Wednesday at a monastery facility in Mt. Athos, resulting in at least seven injuries, police said.

Fighting broke out between a group of rebel monks occupying facilities of the 1,000-year-old monastery of Esphigmenou, and a group of legally recognized monks on the outside.

The rebel monks, unrecognized by the Orthodox Church, reacted strongly when the outsiders attempted to force their way into the monastery's representative offices in Karyes, the administrative center of the medieval community. They were trying to enter in order to begin construction of a new building.

The clashes turned violent as the occupying monks attacked the intruders with crowbars and fire extinguishers, breaking a door down.

Esphigmenou monastery -- one of 20 in the all-male medieval community in northern Greece -- has been the scene of a long-running dispute between Orthodox Church authorities and rebel monks at Esphigmenou, who bitterly oppose efforts to improve relations between the Orthodox Church and the Vatican.

I don't know all of the details here but you have to feel pretty strongly against reconciliation attempts to fight off invading monks with crowbars.

Baby Lizard Jesus

It's a Christmas miracle!
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Flora, a pregnant Komodo dragon living in a British zoo, is expecting eight babies in what scientists said on Wednesday could be a Christmas virgin birth.

Flora has never mated, or even mixed, with a male dragon, and fertilized all the eggs herself, a process culminating in parthenogenesis, or virgin birth. Other lizards do this, but scientists only recently found that Komodo dragons do too.

"Nobody in their wildest dreams expected this. But you have a female dragon on her own. She produces a clutch of eggs and those eggs turn out to be fertile. It is nature finding a way," Kevin Buley of Chester Zoo in England said in an interview.

He said the incubating eggs could hatch around Christmas.


Hypothetical image of what Komodo Dragon would look like if it were more like Jesus and less like a Komodo Dragon.
Parthenogenesis has occurred in other lizard species, but Buley and his team said this was the first time it has been shown in Komodo dragons -- the world's largest lizards.

Scientists at Liverpool University in northern England discovered Flora had had no male help after doing genetic tests on three eggs that collapsed after being put in an incubator.

The tests on the embryos and on Flora, her sister and other dragons confirmed that Komodo dragons can reproduce through self-fertilization.

Pretty interesting stuff except that they're sick little buggers with a bit of an Oedipus complex.
The scientists, reporting the discovery in the science journal Nature, said it could help them understand how reptiles colonize new areas. A female dragon could, for instance, swim to another island and establish a new colony on her own.

"The genetics of self-fertilization in lizards means that all her hatchlings would have to be male. These would grow up to mate with their own mother and therefore, within one generation, there would potentially be a population able to reproduce normally on the new island," Buley added.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hello, McFly!

Washington Post reports White House, Joint Chiefs At Odds on Adding Troops
The Bush administration is split over the idea of a surge in troops to Iraq, with White House officials aggressively promoting the concept over the unanimous disagreement of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intense debate.

Sending 15,000 to 30,000 more troops for a mission of possibly six to eight months is one of the central proposals on the table of the White House policy review to reverse the steady deterioration in Iraq. The option is being discussed as an element in a range of bigger packages, the officials said.

But the Joint Chiefs think the White House, after a month of talks, still does not have a defined mission and is latching on to the surge idea in part because of limited alternatives, despite warnings about the potential disadvantages for the military, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the White House review is not public.

Seriously, isn't it about time to impeach Bush and Cheney before they can issue another order that plunges this country further into the abyss? If the Joint Chiefs can't convince them escalation is a shitty strategy is there anyone that can? Maybe a fake phone call from God?

"Hello, George? Hey, it's God. Yeah, I'm doin' ok, how about you? No, I do already know that but I'm trying to be polite. Anyway, the reason I'm calling is to let you know that you need to stop being president. Yeah, I know you've had a pretty good run but I really think you've done enough on my behalf. So, if you could just stop doing anything for the next two years that would be great."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Controversy in the Asian Games

A long time ago I posted about a controvery in the Chinese Games when athletes were accused of concealing their gender to compete. Apparently this is a big problem on the continent. Much thanks to Aaron for tipping me off to the Indian medalist stripped of her silver medal for "failing a gender test".

The test reports sent to the Indian Olympic Association on Sunday said she "does not possess the sexual characteristics of a woman," The Times of India reported. The test was administered by a medical commission set up by the games' organizers.

During an awards ceremony held in her native province Monday, Santhi said, "I do not want to talk about it," when asked about the failed tests.

There are no compulsory gender tests during events sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federation, but athletes can be asked to take a gender test. The medical evaluation panel usually includes a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, and an internal medicine specialist.

As Aaron pointed out it's pretty hilarious that it takes four doctors to run the gender test. Aren't we pretty much done once the gynecologist says, "Nope that's not a vagina"?

I have so many questions about this. Do the doctors on the panel take a majority vote? It it at all depressing to go through the trouble of a sex change and then still finish 2nd in the Asian Games? Did someone tip off the authorities after they caught a peak of something in the lockerroom before the race? Have we tested the bronze medalist yet?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Another reason I hate the media

Earlier in the week I posted a link to some CNN story on Paris Hilton defending Britney Spears and her partying. Apparently she had posted this on her MySpace page. Unfortunately it was a fake page. But, hey, why bother to see if that's really Paris Hilton? I mean, it has her picture on it...

Friday, December 15, 2006

Loose ends on a Friday

I just finished up my finals for the semester so now I can look forward to relaxing all day and forgetting everything I crammed into my head this week. I'll be working all during break but that's not a big deal since I have one of the easiest 40 hour jobs possible.

This weekend some of my Lawrence folk are headed up to Omaha for the annual Ugly Christmas Sweater party. Unfortunately I'm currently lacking in that department. Maybe Queer Eye can hook me up.

My partying has declined somewhat in recent months. During my heyday I could put them back with the best of them but with age comes a more temperate outlook. I tend to save it all up for big events like parties or if I really need to blow off some steam and then unleash it all in a drunken fury.

This effect is compounded when I have someone that encourages my alcoholism by drinking a lot with me. Usually it's someone from my time at ISU and sometimes it's someone like Grant. I've gotten to know Grant because he's the boyfriend of a friend of a friend but we always see each other at Bennett's theme parties (annual Fiesta, annual 80's party, annual Ugly Christmas Sweater party, Pity (Stomp 'em!) Party '06, etc.) He's a really nice guy and funny so we always get along really well plus our drinking habits really align nicely. We're usually the guy that's still drinking long after everyone else has gone to bed because we're having a great time talking about whatever we're talking about then and as long as we're up we may as well finish that beer. So, as long as there's somebody to talk to and nobody's telling us to go to bed we're still going to be up.

A prime example of this is the last time I was in Omaha. We do the usual thing and are talking on the dorch when we realize the sun is starting to come. Whoa, it's really late, we think, but continue on, undaunted by the fact that everyone else has either left or is assed out. The next thing we know Leslie is getting up to take her contacts out.

"Are you guys still drinking?!?"
"Uhh, yeah, but we're about done."
"It's 8:30!"
"Oh...really? Huh. I guess we should probably quit."
"Yeah, I should probably walk home. Allison is probably wondering where I am."

As you can see, it's a dangerous combination. I'm going to have to set an alarm or something. Do not stay awake past this point! So, do you think 8 AM is too late?

Only one more thing and I'm going to crash for the rest of the day. My friend, Shawn, sent me this link hoping I would share it with my fives of readers and I'm more than happy to oblige when a story is as awesome as this.
In a late but very strong contender for the title of most curious animal story of 2006, two dolphins in a Chinese aquarium have been saved thanks to the personal attentions of Bao Xishun, all 7 ft 8.95 inches of him.

As the China Daily and others reported excitedly today, the drama began when the dolphins swallowed pieces of plastic from the edge of their aquarium pool in the north-eastern city of Fushun.

Attempts to remove the plastic using surgical instruments failed because the dolphins' stomachs contracted in response.

Now, thought the vets, if only our arms were long enough to reach down and pull the plastic out... Hang on!

Several telephone calls later and Mr Bao, certified last year as the world's tallest man, taking the title from previous holder, Radhouane Charbib of Tunisia, by a mere 2mm, was on his way, from his home in the province of Inner Mongolia.

The 55-year-old herdsmen was able to use an arm nearly three and a half foot long to reach into the dolphins' mouths and pull out the plastic with his hands, as handlers held their jaws open with towels.

How awesome is that? I'd love to meet the person that came up with that idea.
"Damn, these dolphins just won't let us use our tools."
"If only the Fantastic Four were real! Unless..."

I'm not exactly clear on why his arm worked when the tools didn't but I don't really care because this Chinese Spock look-alike is a freakshow superhero! I'm just glad he uses his power for good rather than dangling things over Shawn Bradley's head.

The Offical(ly fake) Tony Snow Interview

Tony Snow responded to my concerns about body counts. OK, not as much my concerns as the White House Press Corps'. There is some good back and forth but I don't want to try to quote the whole thing (although I will comment on a lot of it) so feel free to read it about halfway down the page. You should but here's some interesting parts.
Q Why did he decide to give enemy body counts? That's something that they've generally tried to stay away from.

MR. SNOW: Well, that's a good question. I won't try to -- rather than trying to tell you why the President said what he said -- because I can't give you the exact -- I can't put him on the couch right now -- what I can do is at least offer one possible reason why that's an important data point for Americans, which is there's a lot of concern about U.S. casualties and deaths, as there should be -- 103 deaths in October alone. And there is quite often the impression -- and I've talked about it up here, that our people aren't doing anything, they're just targets. And I think there's a certain amount of unease in the American public because they hear about deaths but they don't hear about what's going on.

He then tries to go into the stale line (that Laura Bush also trotted out yesterday) about covering the "good things" in Iraq and how that apparently includes killing 2000 "enemy" a month. So is this how we're supposed to be looking at the war now, how many we kill vs. how many they kill?
MR. SNOW: I don't know. But I think -- I think the most -- I think it is important that Americans learn as much as possible about what's going on in Iraq, and that's not merely militarily, to get a sense of where the violence is located, how widespread it is, what's going on in civil society, is there hope in certain provinces, what is the full picture in Iraq. And I'm afraid that that is something that people have not fully received. And so we will be talking about the fuller picture, good news and bad news.

OK...well, considering we're 3+ years into this and we're still killing thousands of "fighters", let alone, innocent civilians on top of that, I don't really see that as a very rosy picture. Yeah, there are a lot more of them killed than US soldiers but that doesn't always win a war (see War, Vietnam).
MR. SNOW: The commanders will tell you a couple of things. Number one, when you're fighting insurgents, if they're dead, they're not going to fight you anymore. But the other important thing about counterinsurgency is that it has to be part of a broader program, which we've talked about many times, which involves not merely -- we've talked about Baghdad neighborhoods, for instance, clean hold, but you've also got to sustain those neighborhoods. And that involves creating a police force that is reliable and trusted. It means creating economic opportunities so you don't leave a vacuum behind. It involves creating political consensus in the country so that people have buy-in. So as the generals themselves have said --

Q But that's not happening, which is why he went to the body counts?

Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark.
So, a few thousand here, a few thousand there...hey, how many live in Iraq anyway?
Q And if you look back on numbers that have been given here and in the Pentagon about how many enemy there are over the years, I mean, at one point it's 5,000, at one it's 20,000. So in the last three months, you've killed or captured 5,000 -- it seems like all the enemies should be gone at this point.

MR. SNOW: Well, again, Martha, I know. But I'm just telling you that -- I told you I'm not going to put the President on the couch. I'm offering you a possible explanation. But it is important that people get a fuller picture. And you've heard it from troops, I've heard it from troops, and it should not be limited simply to that. But one also should not assume that people out there are simply dying in vain or that our men and women are not accomplishing things when they're taking on the people who are committing acts of violence that has killed thousands of Iraqis.

So, we're not trying to use body counts to say we're winning the war...except when we are. Once again, Orwell's newspeak rears its ugly head in this administration.

Damn, once I get to talking about Iraq I don't stop so much.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Anger....rising....

G Dub Bush and the First Stepford Wife in People:
“I've got so much on my mind, and this job is so exciting that it's really hard to settle down and plan the next 10 years of our life.”

People's interviewer also mentioned that readers had asked if he takes sleep aids. Bush said generally not, but he does occasionally when he travels.

“I must tell you, I'm sleeping a lot better than people would assume,” he said.

Wow...well, that's just great. Try planning something for the next ten months first. I'm glad it's so easy for him to sleep at night but you can't blame people for believing that he, you know, has a soul.

Another serious post...

I know, this is getting ridiculous. I'll bet you didn't think you'd be wanting me to get back to posts about disgusting porn stars and the like but I will soon. However, there's a lot on my mind. This is a complicated case, Maude. A lot of ins, a lot of outs, a lot of what-have-yous, a lot of strands to keep in my head, man. Lot of strands in old Duder's head.

For instance, two sports figures that were important to me passed away this week. One you might have read about and the other probably not.

We'll start with Lamar Hunt, longtime sports frachise owner and a pretty amazing man. He was the owner of the Chiefs, one of the founders of the AFL, was one of the driving forces behind the merger with the NFL, coined the term "Super Bowl", was one of the original owners of the Chicago Bulls, started an International Tennis league, owned several MLS teams, and helped come up with the Truman Sports Complex. And that doesn't even begin to get to the changes in the NFL that he was championing long before anyone else such as the 2 point conversion in the NFL and instant replay. He's in the football, tennis, and soccer halls of fame. Oh, but we're not done yet. The AFC champions get to hoist the Lamar Hunt trophy and soccer teams play in the Lamar Hunt US Open. He also built Worlds and Oceans of Fun in Kansas City. Needless to say he was a pretty amazing guy.

And everyone mentions how down to earth and humble he was despite being worth billions. John Clayton said he would see Lamar standing at the rental car counter at the airport while all of the other owners piled into limos. He played football at SMU in college but never was more than a backup. However he did so much for the school that they retired his number. He was gracious but embarrassed about the whole thing so he wrote a letter to every other player that wore his number at the school to apologize for it. He owned part of the Bulls until his death and went to many of the games but never even arranged to meet Michael Jordan. Kansas City and Chiefs fans will certainly miss him.

The other person I'd like to honor (what, you're saying being eulogized on MLitB isn't much of an honor?) is my old high school football coach and one of my PE teachers since grade school, Mike Hicks. He was just a really, really good guy. You could tell that he always cared about his players and the students at school and he was nice to everyone. Some of the jock coaches at my school would kind of be asses to some of the kids but he was never like that at all and always had the students' best interests at heart.

I was certainly not the most talented player he ever coached (understatement of the century...) but he always liked me and would joke around. He always asked my parents how I was doing after I graduated.

He'd had some health problems with his kidneys stemming from diabetes so by the time I knew him he was a little bit of a bigger guy but he moved to Kansas to play wide receiver in college. It was always funny when he would challenge one of the players to a race and then whip their butt or get out there showing them how to run patterns and stuff. When I was in junior high it was a big deal because he got his kidney transplant but I guess it gave out a few years ago and he'd been doing home dialysis since then.

The local paper wrote up a story on his impact on the school. He was there for around 25 years so it's hard to imagine the place without him.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Body counts

I can't find a link to this anywhere (CNN has to make room for stories about Paris Hilton defending Britney Spears' partying, I guess) but I just heard a clip of Bush on NPR's hourly news report. In it he said something about how he admitted the US was having some trouble in Iraq but the enemy was also being hit hard and that something like 5900 terrorists had been killed or captured in the last three months. Now I have no idea where they are getting these numbers but it probably wouldn't be that hard to come up it when you don't give any indication about who these people are or evidence that they are, in fact, terrorists, etc. But what really bugs me is that we're now resorting to body counts to convince people we're winning the war (well, really it's trying to convince people we aren't getting our asses kicked). I mean, that worked so well in Vietnam. Every night on the news they'd quote how many North Vietnamese were killed in comparison to Americans and in the end, it just didn't matter.

That's really the point of an occupation like this or trying to fight a war against an ideology or tactic (i.e. terror). Body counts don't matter because there will be a seemingly inexhaustable supply of people willing to blow up themselves or crowds of people looking for work.

The fact is the war is going worse than ever and circumstances are most likely beyond anyone's control. The much ballyhooed "Iraq Study Group" contains a lot of supposedly great suggestions but how many of them will actually work? It's tough for me to take the committee seriously when not a single one of them opposed the war from the beginning. How many are actually feasible? Well, probably not that many. The Pentagon is supposedly requesting 40,000 more troops. However, the top general in the Middle East says "the Army and Marine Corps today cannot sustain even a modest increase of 20,000 troops in Iraq." Their solution? A bigger army and
In addition, the Army will press hard for "full access" to the 346,000-strong Army National Guard and the 196,000-strong Army Reserves by asking Gates to take the politically sensitive step of easing the Pentagon restrictions on the frequency and duration of involuntary call-ups for reservists, according to two senior Army officials.

Hey, thanks for joining the reserves. By the way, you can never quit and you're going to be doing a couple of duties in Iraq. Thanks though.

How long can we try to win an unwinnable war and at what cost?

Sorry, to keep bringing this up but I'm just sick of this crap. The same clowns that got us into this fiasco are now furrowing their brows about finding a "new way forward" that will be announced sometime soon, err...sometime before Christmas, err...sometime after the new year. Great, well, we'll all be looking forward to what brilliant decisions you make, decider. Hey, how about another "listening tour"? And this time try listening to the people that don't agree with you instead of just the ones that tell you how brilliant you are and how the Iraqis will all become Starbucks drinking capitalist voters just as soon as Saddam is gone.

President Bush said Wednesday he would "not be rushed" into a decision on a strategy change for Iraq, saying that in a round of consultations he heard both some interesting ideas and some "ideas that would lead to defeat."

Awesome, it sounds like he's finally going to be rejecting the advice of those people that helped him get into this mess and led us to defeat. Oh, wait, he means the ideas that will actually get us out of Iraq? Damn.

Peter Boyle died

Most people know him as the dad on Everybody Loves Raymond but he was also the monster in Young Frankenstein. This clip where he and Gene Wilder are singing "Puttin' on the Ritz" kills me every time.

Alright!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Saudi Arabia has told the Bush administration that it might provide financial backing to Iraqi Sunnis in a war against Iraqi Shiites if the United States withdraws from Iraq, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing American and Arab diplomats.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia delivered that message to Dick Cheney during the U.S. vice president's brief visit last month to Riyadh, the newspaper said, citing the officials it did not name.

Cheney traveled to Saudi Arabia, a close U.S. ally and the world's top oil exporter, to discuss Iraq and how to break the deadlock in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

During the visit, King Abdullah expressed strong opposition to diplomatic talks between the United States and Iran, which is largely Shiite, the Times said.

Way to go, Bush! Is a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia what you meant by bringing stability to the Middle East?

This is just unbelievable. Unfortunately it's going to be a giant, violent mess whenever we leave so why not just get out now? I'm really failing to see how the presence of US troops is helping at all other than to postpone the inevitable. But apparently pulling everybody out now isn't much of a solution to a damned if you do, damned if you don't. Personally, I'm with the Penguin.

On the bright side there's a minimum of 769 days left until a new president is inagurated.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cause of homosexuality discovered!

It's Soy!

That's right, according to this scientician everyone's favorite bean is "a devil food turning our kids into homosexuals."
Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products. (Most babies are bottle-fed during some part of their infancy, and one-fourth of them are getting soy milk!) Homosexuals often argue that their homosexuality is inborn because "I can't remember a time when I wasn't homosexual." No, homosexuality is always deviant. But now many of them can truthfully say that they can't remember a time when excess estrogen wasn't influencing them.

At first I was a little skeptical but when you start considering how much soy the Chinese eat you can see why they have such a declining population, what with all the gays no making babies.

Oh, and that's not all this evil bean does.
Worse, there's now scientific evidence that estrogen ingredients in soy products may be boosting the rapidly rising incidence of leukemia in children. In the latest year we have numbers for, new cases in the U.S. jumped 27 percent. In one year!

Of course he doesn't actually point to any scientific studies on this subject so it could be something totally related but doesn't soy just make so much sense? People started eating soy one year ago and now we all have the cancer!

Possibly my favorite part of visiting this site was seeing what else they have on this site. They advertise a book called "Conservatives are from Mars Liberals are from San Francisco." It's hilarious because they changed around that one book that was famous like 15 years ago to point out that all liberals act like they're from San Francisco.

They have some pretty famous intellectuals writing for them though. Like Chuck Norris. His last piece was a quality rip on the ACLU (which he renames the Abolishing Christian Legacy Union). If Chuck Norris cares so much why doesn't he just spin kick all the liberals into San Francisco Bay.
So who died and appointed the ACLU as America's religious constitutional watchdog?

Membership for the ACLU is only 500,000. America's population is 300 million. I think it's time that we helped them feel their size!

You tell 'em, Chuck! I'm going to go burn a copy of the Constitution right now!
BERLIN, Germany (Reuters) -- German animal rights activists have launched a campaign against plans to put up a giant ferris wheel in Berlin, saying it would disturb the sex lives of rhinos in a nearby zoo.

A group of investors has unveiled plans to erect a 175-meter high wheel for 120 million euros ($158.9 million) in the German capital, hoping to attract millions of visitors from 2008.

But animal rights activists oppose the project, saying the fully-illuminated wheel would disturb the rhinos' daily routine.

"We're worried that these endangered animals won't breed any more, which would hamper animal protection programs," Berlin's animal rights association said in a statement.

The planned Berlin wheel would be higher than the London Eye, which claims to be the world's tallest observation wheel at 135 meters, according to its Web site.

Wait, so I get to ride a Ferris Wheel and watch rhinos have sex?

But, seriously? $160 million on a ferris wheel? It better do way more than just go around in a circle for that much cash.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Greetings, greetings

I was reading that Jupiter, Mars, and Mercury will appear the closest they will for about 50 years. Kind of interesting, right? Then I come across this quote:
But if you are going to use a telescope, be careful because the planets are so close to where the sun will soon rise, if you linger you might gaze at the sun through the telescope and damage your eyesight, said Michelle Nichols, master educator at Chicago's Adler Planetarium.

So...how long are they talking about lingering?
Hmm...this is pretty cool...hey it's getting bright out...waiting...waiting...OH MY GOD THE SUN I'M BLIND!!

Jack Horkheimer waxes poetic:
"It is a lovely demonstration of the celestial ballet that goes on around us, day after day, year after year, millennium after millennium," said Horkheimer.

"When I look at something like this, I realize that all the powers on Earth, all the emperors, all the money, cannot change it one iota. We are observers, but the wonderful part of that is that we are the only species on this planet that can observe it and understand it."

Personally, I hustle Hustler.

Hey Rumsfeld, fuck off

I'm sorry but I just roll my eyes at crap like this:
In a question-and-answer session, he was asked about his best day and his worst day as defense secretary.

"Clearly, the worst day was Abu Ghraib, seeing what went on there and feeling so deeply sorry that that happened," he said without hesitation, referring to the scandal in the spring of 2004 that triggered worldwide condemnation and prompted him to twice offer his resignation to President Bush at that time. Bush rejected those offers.

Now, I have little doubt that it probably was a really shitty day for him and he did feel bad for those people but my question is, how much did he REALLY think about his role in that? Did he wonder if approving very questionable interregation tactics and mocking those that wondered if they were ethical may have created a culture where that type of behavior might be considered acceptable? Did he wonder if writing notes about whether forcing people to stand 8 hours was torture enough and downplaying the effects of waterboarding might have been playing the role of Abu Ghraib guard from thousands of miles away?

I can't help but wonder if he truly realizes that HE was such a major instrument of the death and chaos that reign in Iraq. Does his arrogance blind him to this truth? Is he trying to avoid being prosecuted for war crimes someday? Does he just blame everyone else? It's all well and good to act sorry and concerned now but they're just words and it's tough to hear them over the din of his actions.

Spy vs. Spy

I'm going to say this Russian spy poisoning thing is fascinating the hell out of me. It's just like out of a movie. First, the journalist Politkovskaya was murdered after being such an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin. Es-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, among others, blamed Putin for the murder. So, 11 days after he goes public with his accusation he falls ill with a mysterious illness. They finally decide it was radiation poisoning from rare polonium-210. Now they've traced radiation onto three different airplanes, a football stadium, a hotel, and eventually all the way to Moscow. Now one of the people who spoke to police might be ill. The Russians are conducting their own "investigation" but are refusing to extradite any suspects to London.

Police believe the poisoning may have happened at a bar as Litvinenko met with another former KGB agent Luvenko. "If it was some sort of liquid, it could have been -- as in James Bond -- a little magic capsule," Clarke told reporters on Thursday.

How often do you actually get this type of spy vs. spy story outside of Tom Clancy books or Bond movies? There are so many questions left unanswered. Obviously, who did it and who ordered it would be first on the list. But I'm curious why they used something as tracable and difficult to find as radioactive material? First, it left him alive for a couple of weeks so he could talk and give evidence. Second, there's a trail to follow. Wouldn't it be easier to just shoot him or poison him in a traditional manner?

Is there any chance someone is trying to set Putin up? I could certainly see it happening but I still think Putin is pretty much a bad dude. He's kept most of the Soviet hardline political crackdowns but turned all of the money over to the oligarchs. But, of course, we should trust him because Bush "looked into his soul." The thing is that the Russians still have a lot more power than people give them credit for because they supply so much of the natural gas and oil to Europe. They caused a shitstorm when they threatened to cut off the supply a while back. Doing so would be somewhat suicidal because of all the money they would lose so I guess we're not that far from mutually assured destruction as we all thought.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Some people are pretty fanatical about their beer

ST. LOUIS: Warm beer led to killing, police say
A St. Louis man was shot to death Sunday night over a warm beer, police said.

St. Louis police say a woman shot her husband, who was about 70 years old, four to five times in the chest after he tried giving her a warm can of Stag beer.

Police said the wife admitted shooting him about 5:40 p.m. in the kitchen of their home in the 5100 block of Terry Avenue. Police said the home had no electricity at the time.

Homicide detectives would not identify the man. The woman, whom police also did not identify, was taken into custody.

Obviously a lot of people will focus on the fact that someone died so needlessly over something as small as an argument over beer. According to Deadspin this occured during an ice storm. So, let's just say you're cooped up with some asshole in the middle of an ice storm and he tries to give you a warm beer. I mean, you're surrounded by nothing but ice and snow and you can't stick the Stags out in the snow? Isn't your house cold? Give me a break!

Actually, this is probably the dumbest homicide since the redneck died over the $20 bet on the South Carolina-Clemson game.
James Walter Quick watched the South Carolina-Clemson game Saturday at his friend's house in Lexington, S.C., about 100 miles south of Charlotte. The Gamecocks came from behind and won, 31-28.

Quick celebrated.

But his friend, Clemson fan Richard Allen Johnson, said the Tigers shouldn't have lost and refused to pay, authorities said. So Quick left the house and retrieved a high-powered rifle from his Chevrolet Corsica.

"He went back in and told Richard, `I want my money or I'm going to shoot you,' " said Lexington County Sheriff James Metts, adding that both had been drinking beer.

Metts said Johnson's wife and several friends told police that Johnson then said: "You can't shoot me, I'm invisible."

And Quick replied, "No you're not."

Apparently he was not.

OK, I don't really know what kind of fucked up shit the Keane's are into but I want it out of my head right now.

I think it adds another level when you think that the real-life Jeffy Keane helps draw this comic now. Anyway I'm guessing he doesn't do much breeding either.