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Saturday, November 14, 2009

In Your FACE!

I never liked Anderson Varejao anyway.

T-Shirts

I made some more T-shirts earlier this week. Rather than festoon my blog with pics of each one, I put together this compilation video so you can at least get an idea of the designs. If you don't like them, that's cool. They're not for sale and they're probably not your size anyway.
Some of these are based on tattoo designs, some are just interesting pictures I found on the internet. One is Olivia Munn and two are for the Wild Bunch. They are all unique in the world.

PS. One of the Wild Bunch shirts has this pic on the front breast. I love it.

Nuggets Blow Out The Lakers - 105-79

Lawson jamming, Kobe scoreless in the second half, Artest fouling out, Nuggets winning. What's not to like?

I know these are highlights, but one of the impressive things about the Nuggets these days is how well they play together. Look at the backup, Andersen dropping in Nene's wild shot, Chauncey dishing it off for a nice jam to Melo, passing to JR (or Earl) for the threes.

Now that's how you win games.

In other sports news, Jay Cutler threw 5 interceptions on Thursday. That makes the Orton-Cutler trade feel like a smart move.

Winner: Broncos

Regarding the long-term consequences of another trade, the Broncos face the Redskins this week, who some years ago gave us Champ Bailey in exchange for Clinton Portis.

Denver definitely got the better end of the deal in that one. Portis is good, but he's running towards retirement on a franchise that is in complete disarray. (Worse than the Broncos' off-season!) Champ, on the other hand, has many good years left in him, is still considered among the best corners in the game, and is playing for a team that is doing unexpectedly well despite a rough couple of weeks.

Winner: Broncos

Meanwhile, Denver's worst sports columnist Woody Paige says "Bench Orton, start Simms."

Good idea for a column, Woody. Sure to get all the tongues wagging. But I'm pretty sure Josh McDaniels is smart enough NOT to take your advice.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Calling in Dumb

A couple of months ago, one of my co-workers got fired. He developed a reputation for no call, no shows, being late, and generally being unreliable. One time he had an allergic reaction to nuts and had to be whisked to the hospital, or so he says. I hate to doubt him, but if that were me...I'd tell a nurse, a doctor, someone that, hey, I'm supposed to work today. Can you call my job and give them a heads up?

But that's just me.

Tonight I came very close to pulling a Kevin, as we say now on the job. I neglected to set my alarm and literally, literally, fell out of bed when I noticed the clock read 10:05.

10:05??? I'm supposed to be there by 10:00. Not only that, but I'm supposed to catch the bus at 8:22!

Doh!

Luckily this happened on Friday, the only night of the week when there is a night shift backup. I promptly called him and told him what happened. He was okay with it, but the 2-10 guys had gotten me a sandwich from Jimmy John's in anticipation of my arrival*.

Double doh!

(* Yeah, I work with some really cool guys. That, the company itself, and the fact that they pay me alright makes this crappy schedule thing somewhat bearable.)

Update on Bill Sparkman

Last week I asked of the Bill Sparkman "Census Worker Found Hanged" story this question:

Is it possible that he wanted to make it look like murder, either out of consideration for his family or because of some mundane financial reason (as in, life insurance won't pay on a suicide).
Law enforcement officers in Kentucky are thinking along the same lines.

Thank You, Ayn Rand Assholes

Perhaps it's because I'm pre-disposed to slag on Ayn Rand and her acolytes that I found this queasily written article in GQ so great.
This is because there are boys and girls among us who have never overcome the Randian infection. The Galt speech continues to ring in their ears for years like a maddening tinnitus, turning each of them into what next year's Physicians' Desk Reference will (undoubtedly) term an Ayn Rand Asshole (ARA). They constitute a relatively small percentage of Rand readers, these ARAs. But they make their reading count. Thanks to them, the Rand Experience is no longer limited to those who have read the books. It's metastasized. You, me, all of us, we're living it. Because it's the ARA Army of antigovernment-antiregulation puritans who have spent the past three decades gleefully pulling the cooling rods out of the American economy. For a while, it got very big and very hot. Then it popped. And now the rest of us have to spend the next decade scaling the slippery slopes of the huge suppurative crater that was left behind.

Feeling fisted by the Invisible Hand of the Market lo these past fifteen months? Lost a job lately? Or half the value of your 401(k)? Or a home? All three? Been wondering whence the too-long-ascendant political and economic ideas and forces behind Greenspanism, John Thainism, blind Wall Street plunder, bankruptcy, credit-default swaps, Bernie Madoff, and the ensuing Cannibalism in the Streets? Then you, sir, need to give thanks to Ayn Rand Assholes everywhere—as well as the steely loins from which they sprang.
Someone needs to invent a time machine, so we can say "Thanks, but no thanks."

Oh Snap!

Democratic Senator from Alaska Mark Begich on whether he's going to read Sarah Palin's book:
"Uh, I don't know, you know, I've got so many other, I've got a health care bill to read."
Ouch.

I'm sure Palin's book would be more entertaining, but the health care bill is decidedly more important.

(Ten bucks says the Tea Party crowd is going to read Palin's book before they read the health care bill, if they read the bill at all. Because not only do they have perspective, but they have priorities.)

PS. Speaking of perspective, here's my alter ego Herb kicking Outside the Beltway's Steve Verdon in the nuts in the comments section of this post.

Verdon wrote:
By the way France's unemployment rate as of September 2009 was actually higher than our unemployment rate in the same month, (10% vs. 9.8%).


I fired back:
Ah, but as Al Franken once famously said the rate of medical bankruptcies in France is zero.

So they had .2% higher unemployment but 100% fewer medical bankruptcies? If that's not an outright improvement, I'd call it a pretty good trade.
Like I said, perspective.

Finally....Trials

About fucking time.

From the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution (aka, the Law of the Land):
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.

Clangers

In my reading the last few days, I've read a few head-scratching sentences. We'll call them clangers for the way they go CLANG when you're reading them.

First, in John Gardner's novel Grendel, a retelling of the Beowulf story from Grendel's point of view, he writes in the first paragraph of chapter 7:

As for myself, I could finish them off in a single night, pull down the great carved beams and crush them in the meadhall, along with their mice, their tankards and potatoes--yet I hold back.
Potatoes? The book is set in 4th century Europe. If the occupants of Hrothgar's meadhall wanted potatoes, they'd have to wait another thousand years until the discovery of the New World. Potatoes are native to the mountains of Peru and weren't introduced to Europe until 1536.

This factual error I will forgive, as Gardner is clearly writing a novel that departs from reality more than once. What, I'm going to allow for Grendel the monster, his even more monstrous mother, and a dragon, but I can't let this potato thing slide?

Consider it slid...but that makes it no less of a clanger.

Then there's this post I saw on Boing Boing, which included these laugh-inducing sentences:
Artist Antony Gormley advocates we all give up shoes and go barefoot to get closer to our planet. With naked feet you can actually feel global warming.
Now I'm entirely sympathetic to environmental concerns, but I'm not down with this kind of naivete.

Is that global warming you feel...or just hot pavement? Scientists measure global warming using sophisticated instruments that pick up slight changes over long periods of time, and you expect me to believe you can feel it through your bare feet after going without shoes for a year? Get the fuck outta here. I'm not that stupid.

CLANG!

And finally, there's this from Daniel Larison, writing about a completely different subject:
Even though the attack on Serbia was completely unjustifiable and morally wrong, Orthodox Christians pledged to U.S. and NATO military service would have been obliged at the very least to remain loyal to their governments.
I agree with the point, but "the attack on Serbia was completely unjustifiable and morally wrong?"

Huh? Now I know the Republicans were against Operation Allied Force back in the late 90s, but this is the first time I've ever heard the argument that bombing Serbia at the time was "completely unjustifiable and morally wrong." Not just unjustifiable and wrong, mind you, but completely and morally unjustifiable and wrong.

Now, I'm familiar with the arguments that "we don't have a dog in that fight" (James Baker's famous exhortation about the Balkan conflict as it erupted in the waning days of Bush I's administration) or that we didn't want to get dragged into another quagmire like Vietnam or that fixing the former Yugoslavia was the U.N.'s job, not NATO's. These were the Con arguments at the time.

The Pro arguments weren't always strong --for instance, the most common was the fear that the conflict would spread through the rest of Europe, even though it was a civil war that had NO chance of spreading elsewhere-- but the strongest among them was the moral argument that we couldn't just sit by and watch Slobodan Milosevic start his third ethnic cleansing campaign (the first being against Croatia, the second being against Bosnia) after the siege of Sarajevo, after the Srebrenica massacre, after U.S. sponsored Dayton Accords.

Morally wrong? Completely unjustified? To the Serbs perhaps, who spent most of the 90s killing civilians in an attempted genocide, but to the rest of the world who said, "Enough is enough already!" Milosevic's actions in Kosovo more than justified the NATO bombing of Belgrade for entirely moral reasons. (A bombing campaign, by the way, that was incredibly successful in bringing Serbia to heel.)

I'm not sure if this is sloppy writing on Larison's part (the breathless urgency of his adverbs makes me think so) or if he truly believes that NATO should have just let Milosevic do what he pleased in Kosovo, but when I read that...CLANG.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Snoop Twitters

And tells us what we already know.

Still Standing

I was going to buy Carrie Prejean's book, but then I found out that it doesn't have any topless pics and doesn't mention her "sex tape" even once! Instead, it includes this stuff:
The behind-the-scenes truth of how and why Carrie’s own pageant directors joined forces with the vicious smear campaign against her
The intimidation that kept many of Carrie’s supporters quiet
How Donald Trump defended her—only to back down under pressure from the pageant directors
Why liberals target conservative women for special persecution
How political correctness is becoming a clear and present danger to free speech
Oh God. Girl, you're been hanging out with Sarah Palin waaaay too much.

My advice? Bank every cent you make from this book, every cent. Do not spend a dime. Then go get a real job.

Because there's no future in being a professional victim, and even less in being a professional hypocrite.

(Trick question: Is this anti-Prejean post part of the "vicious smear campaign" or is it "free speech?")

Caught

Here's Sean Hannity admitting that Jon Stewart totally busted him using creative editing to make the latest Tea Party protest look bigger. Points for that, but who does Hannity think he's fooling when he says this?
It was an inadvertent mistake, but a mistake nonetheless.
No doubt, it was a mistake. But inadvertent?

Now I have no evidence, just common sense. Assuming it was edited digitally, the sequence of errors that would result in this "inadvertent mistake" is oddly improbable. What, you looked in the wrong file directory? You queued up the wrong file name? If the video archives Fox News are in that much disarray, it's amazing they can edit anything at all.

And if it was a tape, wouldn't it be a completely different tape from the one in September???

Sorry, Sean, not buying it.

Lou Dobbs Quits

Being a journalist to become an advocate.

CNN President Jonathan Klein, commenting on the departure:

With characteristic forthrightness, Lou has now decided to carry the banner of advocacy journalism elsewhere.
At least he's honest about it.

Anyone want to place odds on him landing at Fox News?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mea Culpa Inadequatus

I was in a foul mood almost as soon as I woke up last night. I spilled my coffee all over my phone and the notes for this story idea I had the other day, then the phone rang. And this was even before I had the first sip.

Then as I peddled up to 7-11 to get some sunflower seeds, I saw this homeless guy sitting beside the trashcan just out of view lest the 7-11 people shoo him off. He was looking at me with needy eyes, sizing me up to see if I would be receptive to his pleas. Before he even made a move, I growled, "Don't even fucking ask me, dude."

The overt hostility of the moment scared even me.

I meant the man no harm, of course, but you wouldn't know it from the way I acted. There was no chance this guy was going to get a dime from me, but would it have troubled me so much to be polite? To say, "No, sorry, man," and move on about my day, without putting any negative vibes into the universe.

I can justify my actions by saying the negative vibes were already in the universe, but that's not justification really. I perpetuated them instead of absorbing them.

And I did it again this morning, although in a more passive way.

The train arrived on time, but it got to my destination late. Somewhat grumpily, I had to wait for the next train and then when I got off, another RTD goon tried to get me to walk my bike.

I had my head phones on, so at first he does the two little fingers thing, telling me in sign language to Walk my bike. I could see him saying it too. I just shrugged, playing dumb, and pointed at my head phones. "Walk your bike," he said louder.

I just kept rolling, leaving him to shout "Sir!" at my back. Surprisingly no bullets pierced my back and he didn't chase after me to write me a "ticket." I got on the bus and waited for him, but he never came.

Maybe he'll bust my chops tomorrow. I deserve it for being such a jerk today.

Common Sense Good Advice From an ER Doc

This ER doctor makes some great points in this amusing post. Among them is that the Smart Cars and Priuses may be green technology, but they are also rolling death traps. It's just science:
1. Drive the biggest vehicle you can afford to drive. Your greatest risk of death comes from a motor vehicle accident. Despite all the data from the government on crash test safety, I can say unequivocally that in a 2-car accident, the person in the larger car always fairs better. Force=Mass x Acceleration. The vehicle with larger mass imparts the greater force.
That's why I say to the well-intentioned enviros...take the bus. You're reducing emissions and if you get into a collision, you're going to destroy whoever you hit.

Here's another one that my Uncle Jim's brother-in-law found out the hard way.
2. Never get on a 4-wheeler ATV. These are the most dangerous vehicle that I know of. ATV’s have produced more quadriplegics than anything else I have seen.
The brother-in-law is not a quadriplegic (Thank God!) but he was severely injured in a very remote, very hard-to-reach place.

They don't ride ATVs anymore.
3. Do not road cycle or jog on public roads/roadsides. This is self-evident.
Yeah, that's what I thought, but then I have all these "experts" telling me to ride in the street. Maybe they hope a few martyred bikers will increase awareness in drivers, but I am not willing to sacrifice my life for that cause.

So the sidewalk it is!

Chain E-mail Conservatism

From a Politico article on Sarah Palin's speaking tour:
In addition to the suggestion that government officials would consider hastening the death of the infirm or handicapped, she began her remarks with a puzzling commentary on the design of newly minted dollar coins.

Noting that there had been a lot of “change” of late, Palin recalled a recent conversation with a friend about how the phrase “In God We Trust” had been moved to the edge of the new coins.

“Who calls a shot like that?” she demanded. “Who makes a decision like that?”

She added: “It’s a disturbing trend.”
Why...the Decider, of course!
Unsaid but implied was that the new Democratic White House was behind such a move to secularize the nation’s currency.

But the new coins – concerns over which apparently stemmed from an email chain letter widely circulated among conservatives – were commissioned by the Republican-led Congress in 2005 and approved by President Bush.
Doh!

What else can be said? That Sarah Palin's ignorance is only matched by her stupidity?

I mean, even if Obama plotted with William Ayers to move the "In God We Trust" over to the side of a coin, who gives a shit? What would that mean anyway? Is that some kind of assault on traditional American values? Moving words around on a coin?

Either that's the most subtle anti-American move in the world, or Mrs. Palin doth protest too much. Taken with the fact that the Republicans of 2005 saw no problem with it, I think it's more likely that Palin is pandering to her audience of e-mail forwarders rather than actually being "disturbed" by this "trend" of Bush-approved coin redesigns.

But hey, that's Sarah Palin for you. You're not a patriot unless you have a flag pin on your lapel, the coins in your pocket say "In God We Trust" right where it always used to be, and your Tea Party sign says, "I hope the President of the United States fails."