Thursday, December 21, 2006

It Came From New York City...

When New York City passed a ban on cooking oils with trans fats for all restaurants, I was definitely against it, but since I haven't been to the Big Apple in over four years, I didn't let myself get worked up about it. But now, like a lot of bad ideas, it appears to be spreading like wildfire, including into my sometimes-stomping-ground, the city of Philadelphia. And now I'm pissed. There's a disturbing trend at the state and local government levels these days towards nanny state policies being put in place to protect people from themselves--my home state of Delaware has already banned smoking in just about every place you can think of. It's all in the name of good health, but it's at the cost of basic civil liberties--our own right to regulate what we put into our bodies (and before anyone comments about illegal drugs, no one has ever died from an acute overdose of cigarettes or fatty foods), and entrepreneurs' rights to run their business how they see fit (so long as they don't interfere with free and fair trade). Are trans fats bad for us? Probably. Do restaurants use more of them than they should (to save a few bucks from their lower cost and longer shelf life)? Again, probably. But the way to truly effect long term change in public health is to create educated consumers, and to legislate disclosure, rather than wielding the Hammer of Bureaucracy to ban products outright.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pettite and McGwire

Like The Blowhard, I'm happy that the Yankees signed Andy Pettite. It was a move that I was against, until he signed a short-length contract. Is he overpaid for an aging, injury-prone pitcher? Probably, but not as much as some other members of the Yankees' staff (*cough*RandyJohnson*cough*), and not as much as they might have for the likes of Barry Zito. The Blowhard has a great analogy for the quality of free agent pitchers this year--go check out his latest post.

Also, the baseball writers are currently voting on players to be inducted into Cooperstown this month, and none other than Big Mac himself is eligible for induction for the first time. McGwire, of course, has been implicated as a steroid user in Jose Canseco's book Juiced. I've read this book (it was over in my Recent Experiences bar for a week or two--did you miss it?), and while I found it entertaining in the same way I found a crack-smoking vagrant's stories about Ara Parseghian and hitchhiking across Ohio with a shiv entertaining, there's not a whole lot of evidence there to back up his wild allegations. Come to think of it, that's a lot like the vagrant's stories too. Nonetheless, one way or another, the Hall of Fame voters will be sending a message this year. If McGwire is denied, they'll be showing current players that the integrity of the game does matter. If he's brought in as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, the message will be loud and clear: home runs and offensive production matter more than keeping the playing field level for everyone, and it's OK to cheat as long as you don't get caught. That sort of attitude is fine for Bobby the Brain, but it's got no place in Major League Baseball.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Pluggage: The Online Soul Repository

I went to go visit my friends in the Washington D.C. metro area last weekend, and actually took a day off from work to go do some touristy-type sightseeing. Unfortunately, I accidentally left my camera at home, dummy that I am. Fortunately, Faxman had his with him, and you can see his pictures from the weekend on his Flickr site, The Online Soul Repository.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Video of the Day 12.06.06

The Iron Sheik has something to say about Michael Richards's use of the dreaded "N-word", in his typical incoherent fashion. Hat tip to Ron and Fez Show.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Discomfort Zones

There's been a lot of hay made in the news recently about certain ordinances recently passed in Farmers Branch, Texas, and similar laws recently put on hold by federal injunction in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. I love this new tactic in fighting illegal immigration. I liken it to the war on drugs.

See, attempts to stop the flow of drugs into the country have been fruitless at best, despite ever-increasing penalties for trafficking and unprecedented international policing efforts. But the simple fact is that as long as demand for drugs remain high, there are profits to be made for the suppliers that are worth risking the penalties, no matter how severe we make them, especially for lower-income people who can make the kind of money they have no chance to make legitimately. No, the only way to stop illegal drugs will be to make people no longer want to buy them--or at least not be willing to shell out the kind of money that keeps the trade profitable. That's pretty damned hard to do with addictive substances--almost to the point of futility.

But illegal immigration isn't an addiction, and these laws in Farmers Branch and Hazleton appear to be an effort to similarly attack an unwanted commodity from the demand side. Illegals want to come here because they can live better below the poverty line here than they can under average circumstances in their home countries. And employers enjoy having them here because they'll work for slave wages. And as long as those two conditions are true, all the fences, walls, border patrols, and armed dirigibles in the world won't stop people from coming here illegally. Instead, we need to make life more difficult for those who've broken our laws to enter this country. We need to make it more difficult for them to find places to live and work, and the only way to do this is to make it less profitable and more hazardous to business for landlords and other businesses to rent to and hire them. Once we decrease the tide of illegals, then it will become harder for the truly dangerous to hide themselves among them, and we can accomplish this through these laws for far less taxpayer cost than we can with more walls and guards.

And yet the ACLU (along with some other groups) still refuses to see the threat to national security posed by unchecked illegal immigration, saying among other things that these laws discriminate against Hispanics. Are laws increasing and establishing penalties for Americans assisting federal lawbreakers--whether they're from Central America, China, or the Middle East--more or less discriminatory than the other plans to build walls and mobilize forces exclusively along the Mexican border? The ACLU's apparently willful narrow-mindedness on this issue, and others pertaining to issues of national security, earns them a permanent link on my Enemies List.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Halloween over, thank God. This is a holiday without much of an upside for me. My bad food habits run more towards chips than candy, for one thing. Sure, there's always the fact that a lot of women use the holiday as an excuse to get dressed up like hookers on the stroll, but the only Halloween party I was invited to this year was at the office, so that aspect would have been ruined by middle-aged women with midsections textured like trays of freshly baked cinnamon rolls. And that was before I got caught up in the opening series of the '06-'07 flu season. There's nothing more obnoxious than trying to get from couch or bed to the bathroom in complete darkness so as to avoid little hands pounding on my door to beg for candy. Actually, in my neighborhood, the most common costume is "thug teenager", and they don't trick-or-treat so much as shank-or-treat. But fortunately, my lights-out strategy worked, due in part, that there were more larger groups of kids going around to one another's homes, rather than simply going door to door. And with good reason--my neighborhood has a higher concentration of sex offenders than the Neverland Ranch. Bring on Thanksgiving--any holiday with customs focused on gluttony and football-watching is one that I'm solidly behind!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Attack Ads

I'm not a big fan of campaign commercials. I make my voting decisions through more-or-less independent research, not propaganda spewed out by candidates, parties, and (especially) special interest groups. But I've got to admit, some of the smear campaigns are just so damned entertaining to watch for their hyperbole, if nothing else. Take a look at this one, where Republican candidate Paul R. Nelson goes after incumbent Democrat Ron Kind for voting against funding body and vehicle armor for soldiers in Iraq (which is inexcusable), but for funding all sorts of odd sex studies (which is just friggin' funny).

But they don't get any funnier...or more true...than this ad produced by David Zucker (of Airplane! and The Naked Gun fame) for the Republican party (hosted by YouTube, hat tip to The Outhouse Times-Picayune for the link.)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My Radio Debut

For all you Beast fans out there...if you've got an XM satellite radio or DirecTV, catch the replay of today's Ron and Fez show on High Voltage. About 45 minutes before the end, I'm on there for a moment discussing Frosted Mini Wheats with everyone's favorite cowbell-slingin' hosts.

Caveat Lector

I'm loving Showtime's new series Dexter, about a CSI tech who happens to be a part-time serial killer, and a sociopath with a conscience, enough so that when I spotted the credit for "Based on the novel....", I had to read it, and then the next one in the series. And suffice to say, I wasn't disappointed...the series thus far has paralleled the novel fairly well, with a few subplots thrown in for television, and the novel is as entertaining and, if anything, even funnier than the show, if dark humor is your thing. The novels are running in my "Recent Experiences" pane this week, with this word of caution: from what I can tell, season 1 of the show is going to parallel the first novel, and I can only assume that if it goes another season, they'll be using plot points from the second novel. Thus the title of the post--translated, "reader beware"--by finishing the novels, I've likely learned most of the series' plot twists for the next couple of years. That's fine with me--I always prefer to read the book before seeing it acted out--but if your tastes run the opposite way, you may want to hold off for a while.

Friday, October 20, 2006

World Series Time

Speaking as a Yankees fan, I can't tell you how happy I was to see the Cardinals finish off the dinged-up Mets last night to advance to the World Series. I'm looking forward to this one--it's not the Mets-Yankees Subway Series many were predicting, but with two Central Division teams squaring off, I think you can safely call this at least an "Amtrak Series".

Now that the season's almost over, it's time to see how I did with my predictions from the start of the season.

AL East: Yankees win, the Red Sox and Blue Jays are out of it by the time August ends. I'm 0 for 1.
AL Central: Some thought the Twins would contend for a wild card; the White Sox were in it till near the end, but I'm still 0 for 2.
AL West: Oakland's moneyball beats out Anaheim and leaves me 0 for 3.
AL Wild Card: No one saw Detroit coming this year...including me. 0 for 4.

NL East: The Mets win easily, the Phils are in it till the end, and the Braves are sub-.500; pretty much the oppositie of my prediction. 0 for 5.
NL Central: The Spirit of St. Louis takes 'em all the way to the Series. 1 for 6.
NL West: The Dodgers edge out the Padres, but Sanny Eggo takes the wild card. This one came down to tiebreakers, so I'm giving myself another hit here to go to 2 for 7.
NL Wild Card: It was the Padres and not the Mets, but I can't really give myself an extra credit for reversing the positions of a division champ and a wild card, leaving me at 2 for 8.

I'm not going to break down the actual playoffs against my predictions since I missed most of the teams that were going to be in, but I'm going to give myself a point for correctly identifying one of the World Series teams, for a final score of 3 for 9, a .333 batting average. If I was playing baseball instead of predicting finishes, I'd be in the running for a batting title, but the only title I can claim this year is that of Nostradumbass.

Go Tigers!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Worst Case Scenarios

The one thing about the extreme right and left is their insistence on attacking anything that comes from someone who doesn't share their world view. Sometimes you need to consider the worst-case scenarios coming from a course of action when the factual truth isn't clear.

Case in point: this article from Newsbusters (a site which I peruse daily, and generally agree with.) They're taking to task the coverage of Richard Branson's $3 billion dollar donation to global warming research, and by extension, the donation itself, citing doubts in the scientific community as the reason for the attack. But what's the harm here? If global warming is real, the worst-case scenario of doing nothing is fairly obvious--eventual human extinction, just like in that great rock-umentary The Day After Tomorrow. But what's the worst case scenario if manmade global warming turns out to be nothing? It's a private donation to a private foundation, so it's not costing a dime to anyone who isn't paying voluntarily. And who knows, maybe it'll help us develop some alternative fuels that can help us stop depending on paranoid dictators who hate us.

This isn't just a far-right tactic, either...check out this article from Newsweek accusing Republicans of overstating the threat of Iran developing nuclear weapons. The worst case scenario of assuming that Iran really is close to developing nuclear weapons? We gain some intelligence on an unfriendly power that's probably harboring, funding, and/or training terrorists, and maybe take some steps to slow them down. The worst case scenario? A hostile power with a nuclear weapon, followed by the end of life as we know it, just like on that reality show Jericho.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I love to play fantasy football, and each year it seems like I end up with more teams than the year previous. I limit myself to one league per year with an entry fee and prizes, and give that team most of my attention--this year, the fee and prizes were higher than ever. So you can imagine how psyched I was when I drew the number one pick--there was no question who I was going to take: last year's MVP, Shaun Alexander of the Seahawks. I couldn't lose with him, right?

Not even a week after the draft, I picked up my copy of Madden 07...and went to my league's message board and left a post with an expletive title, because there was my #1 pick on the box's cover.

Let's look at past Madden cover boys (excluding the big man himself) and their fates (all years listed are release years, not "model years"--the 1999 cover boys were for Madden 2000, and so on):

1999 - Barry Sanders: Shared the cover with Madden, and avoided the retiring before the season started.
1999 - Dorsey Levens: Alternate cover; his '99 season was pretty good, but he was pretty much done after that.
2000 - Eddie George: Yeah, anyone remember him? Didn't think so. He did OK in 2000 but pretty much dropped off the planet due to injuries. Too bad--he dodged the Heisman Curse, only to fall victim to the dreaded Madden curse.
2001 - Daunte Culpepper: Suffered his first knee injury during the '01 season; missed the last third of the year.
2002 - Marshall Faulk: He claims he's coming back, but he suffered what thus far has proven to be a career-shortening ankle injury during this season.
2003 - Michale Vick: Broke his leg in the preseason; missed most of the regular season.
2004 - Ray Lewis: The only defensive player on the box appears to have missed most of the curse. He missed the last game of the season due to injury, and failed to get any interceptions, but other than that, he had an average season for him.
2005 - Donovan McNabb: Hernia. T.O. Your humble blogger laffs and laffs.

Coincidence or spooky curse? It was revealed earlier this week and confirmed today that after three disappointing weeks, Alexander will miss a month or more with a broken bone in his foot. Man, I wish I'd gone with LaDanian Tomlinson.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday Videos

She ain't big, she's a whole lotta woman!

And, in honor of tonight's Law and Order season premiere...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What Would Willie Smoke

Talk about a "dog bites man" story....Willie Nelson got arrested with pot. I don't know about the 'shrooms, but can we just go ahead and decriminalize marijuana already? There has to be a more constructive use of cops' time than chasing after old men smoking a little reefer...especially in Louisiana.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

End of an Era

I love the time of year when Sundays are essentially wasted days, spent on the couch watching the NFL, drinking beer and eating junk food. It's very different this year, and from my perspective most of the changes are positive. I don't have the expensive Sunday Ticket package, though I do get NFL Network, so from my perspective, the extra nationally televised games are a very good thing. I'm going to get to see a few extra Giants games this year that I wouldn't get to see otherwise, and other than when Joe Buck does play by play for games from a remote location, his addition to the Fox pregame show doesn't bother me as much as it does Mike over at the Outhouse Times-Picayune.

But something was missing from my football experience this Sunday. After the Jags-Cowboys game ended, I flipped to ESPN, as I have every football Sunday for almost two thirds of my life, to catch the highlights of the eight or so games I didn't get on NFL Primetime. But it was nowhere to be found...and as I found out yesterday when I went searching for its next airing on good old Google, it's gone for good. Now I understand how some of the younger set felt when they heard the Crocodile Hunter had died. I didn't watch it last night, and probably won't watch much of it in the future--it doesn't matter what they call it; if it's not on Sunday nights and not hosted by Chris Berman, it ain't Prime Time.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fifth Anniversary

Here's hoping that our country, and civilized peoples around the world, will take a moment to reflect today on how important it is to defend our nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic, with action rather than rhetoric, and just how much can be at stake if we fail to do so.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

2006 NFL Predictions

With the new season kicking off (bad pun intended) on Thursday, I thought I'd throw out some predictions to ridicule later, just like you can ridicule my baseball predictions from this spring, even though the pre-playoff "stretch run" has just started.

AFC East:
1. Patriots 11-5 - Even if Branch stays out for the year, Brady still has lots of weapons, and rookie Laurence Maroney will prove an excellent complement to Dillon at RB.
2. Dolphins 9-7 - If new QB Culpepper stays healthy, he's also got a top-tier receiver in Chambers, and the absence of Ricky Williams can only be a good thing.
3. Jets 6-10 - Chad Pennington is iffy at best, the Killer B's won't match Martin's production, and their defense is week.
4. Bills 4-12 - Holcomb or Losman? Who cares? They both suck.

AFC North
1. Bengals 11-5 - Palmer bounces back, the Johnson Boys put in their usual consistent performance, and the defense is solid as ever as Cincy hangs on to take the division.
2. Steelers 10-6 - If it wasn't for bad luck, Big Ben wouldn't have no luck at least until it's game time. He'll bounce back, and the Steelers will return to the playoffs.
3. Ravens 8-8 - Captain Questionable (secret identity: Steve McNair) won't be able to pull off a full season, Boller returns at QB, and Mike Anderson returns to Earth without the Denver O-line.
4. Browns 6-10 - They're the Cleveland Browns. Meh.

AFC South
1. Colts 10-6 - Edge's departure hurts, but not as much as some critics think.
2. Jaguars 8-8 - An average team has an average year. Fragile Freddie misses at least 6 games throughout the season.
3. Titans 6-10 - Vince Young isn't ready, and Volek wouldn't start anywhere else. Neither of them will have a good receiving corps to throw to--their #1 is a #2 anywhere else.
4. Texans 2-14 - Bet you wish you'd drafted Reggie Bush now, don't ya?

AFC West
1. Broncos 10-6 - He won't win a Super Bowl, but Jake shows he's The Snake and not The Mistake. The running back by committee system works better here than anywhere else.
2. Chargers 9-7 - Rivers still has a lot to learn that you can't get holding a clipboard, but he has the tools. Defense doesn't suffer much from LB Steve Foley's idiotic behavior and subsequent shooting.
3. Chiefs 6-10 - The defense improves slightly as the offense continues to age and decline. Larry Johnson accounts for most of his team's total offense, to the delight of his fantasy owners and the chagrin of Chiefs fans everywhere.
4. Raiders 4-12 - Management had so much confidence in Aaron Brooks that they gave Jeff Freakin' George a tryout. That should tell you how this season's going to go.

NFC East
1. Giants 10-6 - It's a homer pick, but this is the best Giants team I've seen in years--maybe better than the squad that went to the Super Bowl in the 2000 season. O-line and defensive tackles are the only question marks.
2. Cowboys 8-8 - They start strong, but T.O. blows up his latest team in only a year after clashes with Parcells. If he wasn't happy with McNabb throwing to him, how happy can he be with Bledsoe/Romo?
3. Eagles 7-9 - The flip side of the T.O. coin--if the Eagles couldn't win with him, how well can they possibly do with Stallworth as their #1 target?
4. Redskins 5-11 - Other than wide receivers, they haven't added much to a team that was mediocre on good days last year.

NFC North
1. Bears 9-7 - Offense wins games, defense wins at least this weak division for Chicago.
2. Vikings 8-8 - Brad Johnson is just like Daunte Culpepper, except old, white, and without the arm strength or ground speed.
3. Lions 5-11 - See the Redskins, except without adding at wide receiver.
4. Packers 4-12 - This team is at the beginning of what will prove to be a long and painful rebuilding process. Favre goes out to a hero's sendoff, but a schmo's record.

NFC South
1. Panthers 12-4 - This is a Super Bowl caliber team, if injury-prone Steve Smith and DeShaun Foster can stay healthy.
2. Buccaneers 10-6 - Chris Simms isn't his father, but this team has great backs and receivers, and a defense that's better than it's been in years. Definite wild card.
3. Falcons 8-8 - Another team that pretty much does exactly what it did last year.
4. Saints 6-10 - Better than last season, but they're not there yet. Brees is an improvement at QB and Deuce's health becomes a non-factor with the addition of Reggie Bush.

NFC West
1. Seahawks 11-5 - A couple of minor adjustments over the offseason will be enough to keep Seattle dominant in this division.
2. Arizona 8-8 - An improved club, but their QB situation resembles that of the Titans with an inexperienced rookie backing up a vet who'd be a backup anywhere else.
3. St. Louis 6-10 - Decent backs and receivers, a weak defense, and a mediocre quarterback add up to a losing season.
4. San Francisco 4-12 - Frank Gore will be a pleasant surprise; Alex Smith will struggle with poor receivers.

Wild Cards
AFC: Steelers, Dolphins; NFC: Buccaneers, Cowboys

Super Bowl Prediction
Panthers over Bengals (after Peyton Manning keeps the Dan Marino analogies alive one more year).

Feel free to critique my picks or submit some of your own in the comment section!

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Beast's Cookbook: Quick 'n' Easy Cornbread

A couple of my pals are coming up to party over the Labor Day weekend, and I've got a pot of my semi-famous Beast's Bitchin' Beer and Two-Bean Chili waiting for supper. But chili by itself doesn't make a meal, so for a side dish, I've got some cornbread waiting to go along with it. You can dunk this cornbread in the chili, but I prefer to put it in the bottom of the serving dish, then put chili on top of it. There's no picture with this recipe, because I think everyone who tries my recipes knows what cornbread looks like, but this is a really simple way to whip up a decent batch. Making the batter takes about 5 minutes--you can pretty much do it all during the commercial break of a baseball or football game. I can attest to that.

1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

3. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together milk, oil and egg or egg whites. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and, using a fork, stir until just combined. Do not overmix.

4. Spread batter evenly in pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cut into squares or triangles and serve immediately.

This recipe also goes swimmingly with jambalaya, gumbo, or other Cajun soups and stews. I've got some recipes for them as well, so keep a look out for them here as well.

Bonus tip: Glad Ovenware is the perfect size and shape for a pan of this cornbread. Put a squirt of cooking spray on it before you put it in the oven.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Vote for Pedro Squidly

My friend Squidly runs a great Seattle Seahawks fan/news site called simply, Hawk News Daily. His site will be in the NFL Preview issue of Sports Illustrated, and they're running a poll to vote for the best one. Head on over and give him a vote!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Yankees vs. Red Sox 08.06

I've been loving the hell out of this series. I was up till the wee hours last night watching the extra-inning victory for my Yanks last night, so this update is probably going to suck. But here's what a day in the life of me and my Red Sox fan friend Pat looks like when a game is on during working hours, in the spirit of Doug Mirabelli's Day, and extracted from our e-mail conversations:

7:30 - Joel wakes up, realizes it’s the start of the 5 game showdown at Fenway. Calls Pat on cell phone, calls him a shitdick 30 times.

7:33 - Joel puts fist through window after seeing footage of A-rod and Jeter botching routine pop up in last night's loss to the Orioles

7:41 - Joel goes down to basement, throws bucket of fishheads to person he has trapped down there…

1:10 - Joel puts feet up on desk, starts watching game.

1:12: Damon rips a leadoff triple into the rightfield corner, Joel lahffs and lahffs.

1:14 – Pat turns on Fox Sports tracker to see man on third and no one out against Jason Johnson. Pat rolls his eyes, unsurprised.

1:17 – Pat sees Derek Jeter has knocked Damon in and fallen behind to Abreu. Thought cloud forms above pat’s head of Jason Johnson wetting himself on mound.

1:21 – Thought bubble appears over Pat’s head of Jason Johnson at 6 o'clock tonight on the shoulder of I-95 with a hobo bindle and holding cardboard sign with “Wilmington” scribbled on it.

1:26 - Joel makes disparaging remarks about E-Rod’s sexual orientation following his latest strikeout.

1:27 - Pat smirks.

1:45 - Joel laughs at the Jimmy Fund babble on the TV instead of the NESN announcers while the game's going on.

1:46 – Pat can’t help but laugh as well.

1:51 – Pat reads Wikipedia article saying the British bought Berkshire county Massachusetts for 400 pounds, 3 barrels of cider, and 20 barrels of rum. Pat shakes fist at screen and says “those rich snobby Indians”. Pat then sees Jason Johnson made it through the second unscathed. Thought bubble appears over head with question mark in it.

2:08 - Joel gets a Coke from the soda machine and notices his change is a Mass state quarter. Thinking this an ill omen, he exorcises any possible curse by taking it to the men’s room, dropping it in a urinal, then using same.

2:23 - Joel laughs as the Red Sox leave the bases loaded. Wishes he had some booze to put into his Coke.

2:31 - Pat rolls eyes. Runs highlight reel in his head of his dramatic, series clinching, 10 inning win over Cardinals in PS2-land last night to make himself feel better.

2:37 - Wang gives up his first run. Joel spits at his screen.

2:38 - Pat cheers for Sox first run…and laughs at Joel’s use of the word Wang.

2:45 - ...and the avalanche of Yankee runs begins.

2:48 - Joel yells out the John Sterling call “Positively Damonic!” at the replay of Johnny D touching ‘em all. Then salutes the replay of Captain Jeter’s followup base hit. Laughs as Johnson heads to the dugout in shame. Says “Johnson” a few more times. Giggles.

2:52 - Pat wonders of groundskeepers had to clean up pile of filth left on mound after Jason Johnson defecated himself on the mound during that last inning. Calls Joel a shitdick for using the term “giggle.”

3:10 - Joel sees bad, bad things in store after Man-Ram’s dinger.

3:22 - Pat raises an eyebrow after Hinske’s double. Hmmm…

3:26 – Pat concludes 1 run is better than none. However, sees another Damon homer in near future.

3:37 - Joel claps and cheers for the Giambino. 2 run lead and we’re still threatening a Boston jobber I’ve barely even heard of.

3:37 - Lowell makes a rare error and Snyder folds like a cheap tent. Pat supposes he can't be too angry at Snyder, he is what he is, but it's been a common theme the last 6 weeks. Get right back in the game, then give the game back. Common theme the last 6 weeks. Pat is about as unsurprised as they come.

3:38 – Pat informs Joel that Kyle Snyder was cut by the Royals in May.

3:39 - Joel applauds A-Rod’s ribbie double—about time he helped them win a game instead of lose one.

3:40 – Pat grumbles, "Get back into the game then give the game back. Same shit, different day."

3:41 - Joel reminds Pat that Aaron Guiel was cut by the Royals too, but the Yankees managed to hang in there through his tenure in right.

3:43 - Pat informs Joel he was simply stating a fact, and that he has admitted many times his anger and frustration over the sox (save for Papi, Manny, and Schill, and a couple others) folding like a cheap tent at the slightest sign of adversity.

3:47 – Pat remembers stating after they lost 5 of 6 to the Devil Rays and Royals that the Sox didn’t deserve to make the playoffs. Reflects on how much he hates being right all the time.

3:47 - Joel reminds pat that even though it looks like the Sox have pretty effectively shit the bed, anything can and often does happen to Joel’s teams. And if that’s not consolation enough, the Sox get to face Sidney Ponson for game 2. Joel’s not sure which will be higher for ol’ Sid, his ERA or his blood alcohol content.

3:51 – Pat thanks Joel for consolation. Closes Fox Sports ticker. Realizes he has lost the ability to feel disgust…as all his disgust was used up after they lost 5 of 6 to the D-Rays and Royals.

3:53 - Joel suggests Pat reopen his ticker, as Mark Loretta has just led off the bottom half with a double, knocking Wang out of the game.

3:54 - Pat gives a jerk-off mimic, feigns excitement. Re-opens ticker anyways.

3:59 - Papi grounds out to the mound. Joel resolves that if the Yankees get out of this with 8-3 lead intact, he’s heading for home.

4:02 – Pat concludes he mentally checked out of work about two hours ago after he got his conference call done. Will fill out one more form then check out patio party.

4:03 - Posada grabs the popup to end the inning, Joel heads for the parking lot, assuring Pat he WILL be calling later.

4:07 Pat gives Joel finger through computer.

Nice to see that a work day can be so productive!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A couple of MySpace!

I made a couple of changes to the site while I watched the last few innings of the Yankees twin killing of the hated Red Sox this evening....

-I fixed the link to the Brooklyn Blowhard's latest blog incarnation. His link was redirecting back to this site. Ironically, I made the error while stone cold sober, but found and fixed it after downing the better part of a twelve-pack of Old Milwaukee Light. For the HTML nerds, I put a - in place of the = in the "a href" tag. If you like this site, you'll like quasi-XM-celebrity Blowhard more...and he updates more often than I do.

-I also put up a link to my very own MySpace page. I'm curious to see if I have any regular readers beyond the Blowhard and the six other people I know in real life. So if you've made my site part of your regular reading ritual (see how I used alliteration there?), then head on over to my MySpace page and add me as a friend. Then you can berate me to update more often and to be wittier when I do decide to post something.

Thanks for reading, everyone, and have a great weekend. I'm going to enjoy the rest of the Sox-Yankees series, and I'll be back next week.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

London Terror Arrests

Anyone still think we're not at war?

At least 24 savages (at the time of this writing, 10 more are being sought) planned to get onto airplanes--fully loaded jumbo jets--traveling from England to the U.S., and blow them up in flight. Anyone still think we shouldn't be actively going after these animals?

The casualties from this attack, had it gone off as planned, could have rivaled or surpassed those from September 11th, and these creeps were armed with "mere" conventional weapons. Anyone still think we shouldn't react to intelligence suggesting that people willing to do business with anyone are trying to get WMDs?

These people continue to attack our civilians as well as our soldiers, while using their own civilians as cover for their criminal activities. They have no government with which to practice diplomacy and try to find a peaceful resolution. Anyone still think we shouldn't defend ourselves?

If you do, do us all a favor: stay away from the voting booths. Keep hiding your head in the sand and let those with the guts protect you.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Read Ben Stein's Article

Here's a great article by celebrity/jack-of-all-trades-smart-guy Ben Stein on the current Israel/Lebanon and U.S./Iraq situations. (Hat tip RealClearPolitics for the link.)

Stein's a smart guy, and pretty much sums up anything I could say about the situation far more eloquently. It would be nice if the U.S. and Israel could avoid stooping to the tactics of our enemies, but the alternative to risking some collateral damage seems to be to sit back and do nothing--in essence, to give in to the demands of terrorist hostage-takers, the direct opposite of generally accepted policies of military and law enforcement agencies around the world. Nations must have the right to defend their citizens against threats; otherwise, government has failed in its most basic purpose.

Kiss vs. Kong

I put a great movie over in the Recent Updates section of my sidebar yesterday. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a great spoof of the film noir genre that is highly recommended viewing for fans of mysteries and comedies.

On the other hand, I also finally got around to sitting through Peter Jackson's version of King Kong--color me unimpressed. The effects were terrific, of course, but there's no way that the film should have come anywhere near three hours long. Many of the characters and the subplots in which they involved themselves were completely unnecessary, serving only to drag out what could have been a decent sub-two-hour escapist fantasy into a drawn-out Lord of the Rings-esque epic. (For the record, I love the LotR series--the end of Return of the King is a bit drawn out, but I understand the need to be faithful to the novels in that case.) If you're into the CGI-animated action "thing", you'll probably find it worth a viewing, but I can't imagine too many people wanting to own Kong to watch over and over again.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Cooking Article

It's a little old, but I came across a great read over at Cooking for Engineers. One of my absolute favorite things to grill is chicken with a beer can up its butt--just slather on some spices (my favorite is Emeril's Essence, which I always mix myself rather than use the storebought variety), stick the can up there, and grill away. The main benefit of the method is that as the chicken cooks, the beer evaporates, keeping the bird nice and perfectly juicy every time. But now, according to CfE, water would work just as well.

I'm not sad, though--I enjoy cooking with beer, and I think it adds a certain flavor to the food. What I really want, though, is one of those Poultry Pal gizmos so I can graduate from Coors Light cans to real beers. A Cajun-seasoned chicken cooked over an Abita Turbodog....I can taste it already....

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Milhouse 'N' Me

No, not this Milhouse...this one--former U.S. Republican president Richard Milhouse Nixon. Unfortunately for my readers, the similarity between your humble blogger and Nixon is not that I'm having a stroke and dying, but rather that I've set up my very own "Enemies List".

And the first inductee is a group I've had a problem with from the first time I heard about them and what they do--the Parents' Televison Council. These opponents of free creative expression have led crusades against just about every TV show I've ever watched, including the cable-only Rescue Me. These people wouldn't bother me if their only goal was to provide advice on show content so that responsible parents can monitor and control what their children watch--that's a useful service; after all, part of being responsible is being informed.

But they can't just leave it at that--they have to make it their personal crusade to see anything that they don't like pulled off the air, through any means necessary, especially via government interference. They just love to get their army of Midwest housewives (by which I mean wives the size of houses) to send in complaints about stuff that they themselves haven't even seen personally, hiding behind the guise of "protecting the children". We all know whose job it is to protect children from so-called "harmful" media content--the parents. They have plenty of resources available to them--all modern TVs and receivers are equipped with the V-chip or something equivalent. And any child with neglectful or irresponsible parents is almost sure to have bigger problems than what they're watching on TV. Stop trying to ruin content suitable for adults just because you're offended by its themes. If you don't like it, change the channel. Or better yet, drop your TV into a full bathtub. Then climb in with it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Virtual Tourism

My friend Pat sent me a cool link yesterday: a site that lets you tour various landmarks around the world through the magic of Google Maps. I just don't understand how Alabama got up to 100 attractions--my adopted home state of Delaware is 4th from last out of the 50 states.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

This One Counts...But It Shouldn't

It's MLB all-star night, and I'm not as excited as might otherwise be expected. I've gotten into baseball much more this year than I have in a long time, thanks to the affordable package available from MLB.TV and joining my friend's fantasy baseball league, but there's something about this all-star game that just doesn't sit right with me. Specifically, that's the fact that for the last few years, the all-star game has decided home field advantage for the World Series. That's just a problem for me, for a couple of reasons. Out of the 32 teams that will be represented tonight, only two will make it to the World Series, meaning that home field, which is arguably more crucial in baseball than in any other championship, will very likely be decided through the actions of players with absolutely no stake in the series whatsoever, and what's more, a good number of them (like Pittsburgh's Jason Bay and Kansas City's Mark Redman) know it. And with the fans choosing the majority of the players, we're not necessarily seeing the best players at their positions--do you think A-Rod is starting at third base because he's having such a great season, or because he's got great national name recognition and a horde of fans from the largest baseball market in the country?

It's not that I don't understand why MLB tried this. The fans were all over the league after commissioner Bud Selig declared a tie in 2002 after the game appeared hopelessly deadlocked. I think the problem wasn't so much with the tie outcome as with the fact that the tie seemingly came out of nowhere. If there had been a rule previously established that a tie game would be declared a draw after, say, 11 or 12 innings for the protection of all the players' health, I don't think there would have been the outcry. No baseball fan wants to see one of their all-star caliber players get hurt in a meaningless exhibition game. I don't think any baseball fan wants to see one of their all-star caliber players get hurt trying to win World Series home field advantage for someone else, either.

My pick: AL wins big, as evidenced by their dominance in interleague play this year.


Just as I welcomed a new site into my blogroll list yesterday, I have to bid fare-thee-well to one today. Semi-regular XM radio personality the Brooklyn Blowhard has brought his excellent blog up and down a couple of times lately, but this time it appears his site has decamped for good. I don't mind leaving a dead link up if the site will be returning soon, but now a scumbag insurance spammer has leeched onto his blog's address, forcing me to de-link him for the time being. Hopefully, I'll be able to have him back up there very soon. Good luck, budday!

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Ever-Expanding Inner Circle

I've got a new link in my blogroll good buddy Mike has started up his own blog, The Outhouse Times Picayune. He's got a great first post about Wilmington Blue Rocks mascot Mr. Celery, and...well, I won't give it away. Give him a read, and for photos of Mr. Celery in action, check out my Flickr site. (Yes, I worked a plug for myself into the post plugging a friend...I'm that damn good.)

Friday, June 30, 2006

Separated at birth?

Former Yankee/current Mets skipper Willie Randolph and schlock star Carl Weathers.

No updates till next week--a safe and happy Independence Day to all of my readers!

Thursday, June 22, 2006


I don't ever want to hear about we're mistreating our War on Terror prisons again. Making naked dogpiles? Flushing pages of the Koran? Not good things, to be fact, out-and-out abuse. Should there be administrative punishments to those responsible, absolutely. And the Gitmo suicides that the mainstream media is very fond of covering right now certainly aren't a good thing, but we're talking three successes out of 40 attempts, and 40 attempts out of about 460 prisoners. Is there that much of a difference between either the suicide attempt or success rates of Guantanamo and other prisons? (For once, that question isn't sarcastic--if any one of my six readers can find me those stats, I'd love to see them.)

None of this compares to the barbarism displayed by our enemies. We put ourselves at such a disadvantage by fighting this battle at our own level rather than stooping to theirs--we follow traditional rules of engagement, fighting soldiers and arresting terrorists; they target civilians with impunity and have no qualms about torturing their prisoners. By no means am I advocating that we should even approach that level--it'd just be nice if the left wing and the mainstream media wouldn't put us at a greater disadvantage by beating the minor abuses by our individual soldiers while more-or-less ignoring the blanket policy of true torture and decapitation used by the terrorists.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Worst Buy

Identity theft is all over the news these days. There are lots of different ways for identity-stealing scumbags to get hold of your personal information, and you can't always protect yourself. Consumers certainly don't need companies that they think they can trust making it harder. Think long and hard before buying your next computer or computer upgrade from Best Buy. And whenever you have to turn in a hard drive or any other storage device that could contain personal information, get their guarantee that it will be destroyed, or at the very least, erased thoroughly with a powerful hard disk eraser. Your identity--and your financial future--depends on it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


An unintentionally hilarious video from YouTube showing one Steeler fan's reaction to QB Ben Roethlisberger's helmetless motorcycle crash.

Naturally, this accident has spurred a lot of debate on helmet laws, since Pennsylvania has none, and Roethlisberger has said in an interview, "If it was the law, I'd definitely have [a helmet] on every time I rode. But it's the law and I know I don't have to and you're just more free when you're out there with no helmet on." My political beliefs generally run toward small-government conservativism--the less governments interfere into our private lives, the better--but isn't it better to require motorcyclists to wear helmets than to spend public funding caring for the ones who have opted to take advantage of the choice not to wear helmets and crippled themselves?

Hat tip to the Ron and Fez Show for tipping me off to those videos.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Another Al Qaeda-related story....on the same day as Zarqawi meets his well-deserved end, the former Al Qaeda target the USS Cole returns to the Middle East to conduct anti-terror security operations. Yet another middle finger to those savages, and a great tribute to the 17 servicemen who lost their lives in the attack on the Cole in 2000.

Photo from AP.


Rot in hell, motherfucker. And congratulations to all the members of the armed forces who made this possible, from the intelligence gatherers on the ground to the pilots who dropped the bombs. Today is a great day for all who oppose terrorism, no matter their persuasions.

Photo from Fox News.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

New Blog Link

I've added a new blog to my permanent collection of links this morning--pretty soon I'm going to have to separate my blogroll out from links to more static websites. Anyway, it's NewsBusters, put out by a watchdog group called the Media Research Center to expose liberal bias in the mainstream media. A noble cause, even if it is the brainchild of the head of the pro-censorship Parents' Television Council, Hank Scorpio lookalike L. Brent Bozell III. (The name just sounds like a parody of a James Bond villain, too!) Check it out, and be sure to check out the entries written by my good friend Michael Rule.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Beast's Cookbook: Man's Man's Cheeseburger Quiche

cheeseburger quiche

Whoever said "real men don't eat quiche" has never tried this one. It's fast, it's easy, it's hearty and satisfying, and you can make it as spicy as you want....if it's too much for you to handle, substitute 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper in place of the Hot Shot and eliminate the Tabasco. Also, if it's too spicy for you to handle, you forfeit the right to urinate standing up. Here's the recipe.

1 pie crust (premade or your favorite recipe)
1 pound lean ground beef, drained
1/2 cup milk
4 Eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Hot Shot!
Dash Tabasco sauce

Brown the beef. Drain and set aside. Mix all other ingredients together, then add beef. Pour into an unbaked pie shell. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. NOTE: You can use a pie pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray instead of a pie crust for reduced carbs and fat.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


There's nothing more frustrating than planning your entire evening around your team's game against their biggest rivals and then having them lose. Unless it's having them go down 9-1, make two quick outs in the 9th inning, then score four more runs, just to get your hopes up before they pop out to end with a loss anyway.

And it's going to get worse before it gets better. Just take a look at the laundry list of injuries they're dealing with during this series:

SP Carl Pavano - bone chips found during rehab start, likely out for the season
RF Gary Sheffield - heading for a minor league rehab start after injuring his wrist
LF Hideki Matsui - out for most if not all of the season after breaking his wrist
CF Johnny Damon - relegated to the DH slot with a broken foot bone
1B Jason Giambi - playing through a neck strain
RP Tanyon Sturtze - out for an indeterminate length of time with a shoulder injury
SP Shawn Chacon - out with a leg injury
OF Bubba Crosby - out with a hamstring injury

That's almost enough to start a completely new baseball team. At the rate they're going, their next homestand will be in Columbus instead of Yankee Stadium. My prediction of a Yankees wildcard berth slips away a little bit as each of these guys gets dinged up.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Beast's Cookbook: Whole Grain Pasta with Seafood Sauce

seafood pasta

A recipe of my own creation. I was actually aiming for something a bit hotter as I was making it, but I was very pleased with how it turned out. The marsala wine gives it a very unique flavor.

3 28 ounce cans tomatoes, peeled and pureed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup marsala wine
4 stalks celery
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 teaspoons chopped garlic
6 ounces tomato paste
8 ounces scallops
8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 ounces crab meat, shredded
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1 pound whole grain pasta

In a blender, puree the tomatoes with their juices. In a food processor, chop the onion. Chop the celery by hand. In a large pot, heat the olive oil until it just begins to smoke. Put in the onion and garlic and sautee until almost transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the celery and sautee for about a minute. Add the Marsala wine, stir. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, stir. Bring mixture to a near boil, stirring. Reduce heat and begin to simmer. Add scallops, shrimp, crab meat, and spices. Stir until well mixed. Simmer until seafood is cooked (about 30 minutes to an hour), stirring frequently. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, top with sauce, serve with whole wheat bread and salad.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Chasing Babe Hank

Barry Bonds trails Babe Ruth by only one home run on baseball's all-time list, having been robbed of #714 last night by Astros' centerfielder Juan Pierre. Barring a complete breakdown of his body or an act of God, Bonds will catch the Bambino, and overtake him soon. After that, the all-time home run crown of Hank Aaron is well within his sights.

Of course, all of this hoopla is generating its fair share of controversy, for a couple of reasons. Bonds has gained the rep over most of his career as an ass, especially towards the media--a bad move for anyone in the public eye, since they'll be the ones shaping the world's opinion of you. But that's really neither here nor there in most discussions of the home run record. What's really got everyone buzzing is Bonds's connection via his personal trainer to convicted steroid distributors BALCO. Should his records count? Should they be marked with an asterisk to denote his steroid usage?

Much as it'll irritate The Blowhard, my answer is no. First off, Bonds really didn't confess to anything, nor has he been caught. "Innocent until proven guilty" is a hallmark of American justice, and shouldn't it apply to the national pasttime as well? Second, and more importantly, moreso than any other sport that I can think of, baseball is a constantly evolving game. There are things in each era of the major leagues that make some aspects of the game easier, and others harder than in other eras. Hitters in Ruth's day didn't have to face the likes of Dontrelle Willis and Pedro Martinez simply due to their ethnicities. On the other hand, you didn't have the late-inning relief specialists you see today in Ruth's day, or even in the early days of Aaron's career. Pitchers tended to throw more innings more often, with less opportunity to rest their arms. And with far fewer teams in the league than there are today, the cutoff for pitchers who made it into the majors was far higher. The fifth starter for the Kansas City Royals (I looked it up--his name is Jeremy Affeldt) would be kicking around the minors at best in the 16-team major leagues in Aaron's rookie year of 1954. The old records make a great benchmark for players and teams to test themselves to try and reach, but there just isn't a case to be made that all eras are created equal--they're apples and oranges, and you really can't compare them, except over drunken "what-if" contests with your buddies.

Am I rooting for Bonds to take the home run crown from Aaron? Hell no. I'm rooting against Bonds every step of the way--"innocent until proven guilty" only applies to punishment, not suspicion--but you just can't take away his records or mark them with an asterisk. At least not until he fails a piss test.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Album Review: Stubbs the Zombie Soundtrack

I find some of the best stuff while I'm on "the throne". I was idly flipping the pages of a very old issue of Computer Gaming World, when I saw a preview for a video game called Stubbs the Zombie--and more specifically, its soundtrack's unique concept. The game is set in a 50's vision of the future, and the soundtrack follows this with Baby Boom-era pop songs sung by modern alternative artists. I was first drawn in by the cover of Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night" by Cake--they're one of my all-time favorites in spite of lead singer John McCrea's shoddy treatment of his audience at a show I was at a few years ago. They do a great job with the song, as I expected, but so does pretty much everyone else on the album. You just have to get past the "poof factor" of some of the songs, and enjoy them for the pop culture kitsch that they are. If you're going to head to iTunes for the best songs on the album, I'd go with the aforementioned Cake cover, followed by the final three songs of the album--Clem Snide's ska-ified version of "Tears On My Pillow", Milton Mapes's twangy rendition of "Lonesome Town", and the Phantom Planet original "The Living Dead". Just to round out the top songs to a square 5, let's go with Death Cab For Cutie's surprisingly faithful remake of "Earth Angel". The only outright miss on the album is the muted vocals of the Dandy Warhols on their cover of the Everly Brothers' "All I Have To Do Is Dream". All in all, this unique concept album gets a high recommendation from me for fans of oldies or indie-punk-emo rock.

Monday, May 01, 2006

A Day Without Immigrants

The immigrants aren't coming to work today--they'll show us what silly geese we are for wanting to know who's living in our country. They'll make us feel really bad for ensuring that those who come here legally get the protections of minimum wage, and even those who break the law to get the basic freedoms of the U.S. Constitution. We're sure going to miss all that money they spend to stimulate the local economy--never mind that many illegal workers only buy the basic necessities here and send the rest back to their native countries.

But if they must go, let's hope they go all the way. Let's hope that in addition to boycotting their jobs, they boycott hospitals and free clinics. Let's hope no illegal children are in our public schools today. Let's hope they move out of their HUD-discounted housing. Let's hope they boycott all of the publicly funded services available to them.

Friday, April 14, 2006

It's Funny Because It's True

From Cox & Forkum, a site which is going on my permalink list. Hat tip to Op-For for the cartoon and hat tip to Vodkapundit for letting me know that the Officers' Club has become Op-For.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Dateline's Wacky NASCAR Adventure

Dateline NBC sends Muslims to NASCAR event in search of prejudice

I guess this really isn't much of a story. Anyone who's read Bernard Goldberg's excellent book Bias (or really, anyone with a modicum of common sense) knows that "magazine" shows like Dateline NBC are 4 parts entertainment, fluff, and shock value to every 1 part "hard news". They love to find the scary things all around us, and point out how evil and racist America is (although I must admit, I love the Perverted Justice pedophile-busting episodes). So they send a group of Arab Muslims to walk around a NASCAR event, which everyone knows is crawling with backwoods Republican-voting redneck racists. And not just any NASCAR event, many of which are held in or near urban areas like Las Vegas, Charlotte, and Dover...they sent them to the race in Martinsville, arguably the most backwoods track on the circuit. So surely, these Muslims wandering around the event with their backpacks got heckled and harassed, right?

Click here to hear what happened.

I wonder if NBC will air the footage showing that even in the heartland, the majority of people are tolerant of others, at least when out in public. Somehow, I doubt it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Star Wars Kid

From the Ultra-Frivolous Lawsuits File:

Star Wars Kid settles lawsuit against classmates

If this Frederica Bimmel lookalike contest winner gets one thin dime out of this, it's way too much. He honestly expected over $300,000 because he filmed himself flailing around like a dumbass with a pole, then left the tape in a school-owned camera and put it back on the shelf for anyone to come along and find. "The youngster from a small town in Quebec says he was driven out of school by classmates who taunted him with chants of "Star Wars Kid! Star Wars Kid!" says the news story. Somehow I doubt this video cast him down from Mr. Popularity to the butt of everyone's jokes. Stupid is as stupid does...hopefully stupid didn't equal payday here.

(In case you've been living under a rock and haven't seen this goofball, you can see the original and all the remixes here.)

Monday, April 03, 2006

2006 Baseball Predictions

The 2006 Major League Baseball season is upon us, with the champs defeating the Angels in last night's Sunday night opener. My beloved Yankees open their season on the road in Oakland tonight at 10:05 my local time--with my body still getting used to the weekend time change, I'm going to be in bad shape tomorrow. Here are my picks for the season, lifted from a comment on one of Blowhard's posts, with the comments updated just a little bit. Yeah, yeah, lazy post, I know. Just wait until tomorrow's update.

AL East: Toronto (my vote for most improved team, and they're young and hungry)
AL Central: Chicago White Sox(the champs prove last year wasn't a fluke)
AL West: Anaheim (still the team to beat in the West)
AL Wild Card: NY Yankees (they edge out the Red Sox and A's)

NL East: Atlanta (pretty much by default)
NL Central: St. Louis (fuhgeddabout the National League, best team in baseball)
NL West: San Diego (absolutely by default)
NL Wild Card: NY Mets (keeping in mind that all of their new players will lose 1/3 of their talent the moment they put on the Mets uniform)

ALDS: Anaheim over Toronto, White Sox over Yankees
ALCS: Chicago over Anaheim

NLDS: St. Louis over Mets, San Diego over Atlanta
NLCS: St. Louis over San Diego

World Series: St. Louis over White Sox

Everyone bookmark this post so you can come back and ridicule me in November.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday Fun

I don't want to completely bum everyone out on a Friday with deep questions, so here's a fun little ditty that's all about God and his wrath. (Caution, contains some not-safe-for-work language.)

Hat tip to the Ron and Fez show.

Toeing the Hard Line

I support the war on terror. I value my safety, and the nation's, over just about everything else. I support the stated goals of bringing to justice Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, who were directly responsible for the attacks on 9/11, as well as those who granted them aid or support, past or present, such as Afghanistan's Taliban regime. also support the unstated benefit of freeing frequently oppressed peoples living under dictatorial regimes, introducing democracy into that part of the world, and hopefully setting up areas in a turbulent region that will at least deal with the West diplomatically, if not as outright allies.

But a very disturbing question came to me during the early stages of the war on terror, not long after we had officially vanquished the Taliban government in Afghanistan and was preparing to set up a constitution and a system of free elections. I've asked it of virtually everyone I've spoken to about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and no one, including myself, has been able to provide me with a satisfactory answer. And that question is this: Given the population makeup of the region, what will the U.S. do if the citizens of one of these countries elect a hardline Muslim government that is unlikely to be friendly to Western countries and interests?

Now, an Afghani man has had to flee his homeland under threat of the death penalty, his only crime being his conversion to Christianity. The U.S. and other free nations have, of course, denounced this. And if this were Iran or Syria, something like this would be glossed over with hardly a second thought, just "business as usual", a token denunciation, and back to the latest Jessica Simpson gossip. (OK, that last part pretty much happened anyway.) The salient point here, at least for me, is that this radical Islamist government is one that we enabled. We set up the elections, we made sure they were handled fairly, and we endorsed the new government when it took power. Aren't we, in some small way, responsible for this government's actions that are so clearly at odds with everything that we stand for? Are we correct in giving them the freedom to choose not to be free? Just how many liberties does the populace as a whole have the right to surrender on behalf of every single individual, including those who didn't vote to surrender said freedoms? These aren't rhetorical questions--I'm still searching for the answers. And I suspect I still will be for a very long time.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Searching for Barney Gumbel

Texas cops go into bars to arrest drunks

In my neverending "erosion of personal freedoms" series, I bring you this little nugget from the state that defines common sense. Thank you, Papa Government, for protecting us from ourselves! Who needs relaxation and enjoyment when we can have the relaxing sensation of total security? Here's my favorite part of the article: "[Alcoholic Beverage Commission] spokeswoman Carolyn Beck says drinking is fine, but people who drink too much can be a danger to themselves and others." Sure--if they drive, they're a huge danger. But not all of us shotgun as many beers as possible then jump behind the wheel. What's next, cops entering cigar bars to arrest smokers? After all, secondhand smoke is harmful, right? Why not come into my house and arrest me for the bag of laundry supplies at the top of my basement steps that I haven't brought downstairs yet? You wouldn't want me to fall and break my neck, after all. Be sure to go into gyms and make sure no one's using the equipment properly. And since once you do that no one will want to work out any more, better outlaw fast foods and delicious desserts--got to keep society safe from obesity and heart disease!

I just hope it doesn't take too long before someone gets the stones to challenge this law--it can't possibly be constitutional to arrest someone in anticipation of a minor crime they're about to commit.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Or it could be a crackhead!

Hat tip to the O&A show.

March Madness

I love NCAA tournament time. And I think my parents and I have the system down pat:

march madness

Yep, that's four screens with four different games on them--every single game being played at any moment. My folks have the March Madness package on the three TV sets and my 15" widescreen Sager notebook serves as the fourth thanks to March Madness On Demand. Add to that fact that I'm near the top of the leader board in Blowhard's pool, and I just have one thing to say:

joel and tvs

Friday, March 17, 2006

Spring Fever

Ah, what a great time of year. The weather's warmer (usually), I'm wearing green and putting The Pogues up in my Recent Experiences section, and I'm all set to watch more of the NCAA Tournament. Only a couple of more weeks till the baseball season--I think I'll get ready by loading up this season's version of one of the many MLB video games for my PC.

MLB signs exclusive game deal with Take-Two Interactive

Dammit. Things like this are the reason why all of the doomsayers keep saying that PC gaming is dying . Take-Two, you see, publishes Sega's 2K Sports line. The 2K Sports line is only released for consoles. So now, if I want to play the 2006 MLB season, I have to either scour the web for a roster update for last year's MVP Baseball or shell out a bunch of money for new gaming hardware (i.e., a console) after I've already spent bundles of money making my gaming PC all it can be. Thanks a lot, Major League Baseball, for buying into the hype and leaving PC gamers out in the cold. At least when the NFL sold its soul to EA Sports and John Madden, it made sure that everyone could get a little piece of the action.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Darwin Award nominees

I'm sure there's a special place in Hell for me for some of the things I laugh at--the deaths of stupid people being foremost among them.

Fortunately, I'm not alone. I'm sure most of my readers know of the Darwin Awards--they're named for Charles Darwin and awarded to dumbasses who help humanity evolve by taking themselves out of the gene pool in ways that suit their intelligence (or at least common sense).

Well, the 2005 awards have already been handed out, but I've got a pair of nominees for 2006 (and yes, I will be submitting them to the Darwin Awards.)

Couple dies naked in running car
Running car+closed garage=dead. It's a simple equation that everyone knows. Well, almost everyone. At least these two went out swingin'...and this line--"experts say carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas, can kill within six to eight hours of continuous exposure"--indicates they were in there for a while. Hubba hubba! (Hat tip to the Opie and Anthony show.)

Miss Deaf Texas killed by train
As if the world needed more proof that looks and brains are too often handed out in inverse proportions. Trains are not like cars--they follow giant metal rails and make enough noise to rumble the ground beneath your feet as they approach....I actually think that just about every train death should be a candidate for the Darwin Awards. My favorite line of this report? "A witness told Austin television station KTBC the train sounded its horn right up until the accident occurred." Oops.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Press Your Luck

In Memoriam: Peter Tomarken

When I was just a lil' bugger, I used to love sick days home from school. The ability to lay around and sleep was almost worth all of the vile medicines my mother would force down my throat. And to top it all off were the gameshows. The Price is Right. Card Sharks. But my absolute favorite had to be Press Your Luck. Creampuff multiple choice questions that let me feel smart, flashing colorful things, and cartoon Whammies--I didn't get some of the pop culture references, but they sure were goofy-looking. Heck, the show even ended up creating a true urban legend. Thank you, Peter, for making my childhood sick days a little better.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


I've been playing a lot of different games lately, and I thought I'd share a few of them here. In no particular order:

  • Running Molten Core for epic loots with my World of Warcraft guild.
  • Playing the blogger stock market with BlogShares. You may have noticed the tiny little graphic on the bottom left of my web page. My trading account has lots of capital, but unfortunately, my tiny little blog isn't worth much money. I've been buying up all of the shares to try and push it higher, but so far it's still the equivalent of a rip-off penny stock that dishonest foreigners try to sell via spam.
  • Playing a variation of Bizz Buzz with friends (including Faxman) sitting around a table at Murphy's during Alexandria's St. Patrick's Day festivities.
  • Signing up for The Blowhard's NCAA Tournament bracket. I confess to not following much college hoops during the regular season, but now that it's getting down to the conference tournaments, I plan on watching quite a bit of it to get caught up for the Big Dance. I'll still get owned, though.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


While checking over the last post, I discovered that my hit counter has crossed over the "magic" 1000 hits mark. Thanks to everyone who's taken time out to read my inane ramblings. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep it going for many, many more.


I'm starting to worry about myself. My long post for last week had a few pretty harsh (in fact, probably overly so) things to say about a president who, for the most part, I respect and support. Now I find myself on the same side of an issue as radical left-wing organization

Fortunately for me, I'm very much an "ends justify the means" kind of guy, so I don't feel at all morally conflicted about this--MoveOn and I want the same thing for different reasons. And it helps that on this issue, MoveOn has been joined by several more moderate groups, and even by one that's their diametric ideological opposite.

All of these various camps are united against one very bad idea: AOL and Yahoo have plans to introduce an "e-mail fee". When you put it that way, it certainly seems like the sky is falling and the internet's usefulness as a personal communication tool will soon be severely restricted. On closer inspection, though, the fee will be an optional component that spammers can pay to make certain that their messages reach your inbox without passing through the spam filters.

Of course, several of these groups have the wrong idea. MoveOn's online petition thinks that the fee will leave "people's friends, families, and favorite causes wondering if their emails are being delivered at all." But this terminology indicates a lack of understanding of exactly what AOL and Yahoo are planning. Senders who opt to pay the fee simply guarantee that their messages don't pass through the spam filters that these providers already have in place. Those who continue to send e-mail to AOL and Yahoo members for free will simply have those messages pass through the same filters as they do right now--and unless they're spam or falsely flagged as spam (an increasingly rare occurrence, as most providers prefer to err on the side of allowing questionable messages through rather than risk filtering legitimate mail), they'll be delivered exactly as normal.

What's not fair is that spammers and other dregs of internet society will be able to bypass these filters at all. It's a matter of privacy--I sometimes come out against privacy advocates, but that's only because I'm a bigger fan of not being blown up than I am of privacy. When it comes to corporate types (who don't protect me from being blown up), I want as little to do with them as possible. I don't want their sales pitches invading on my time--media ads are quite sufficient, as anyone who doesn't want to be subjected to them can avoid them quite easily. But sales calls and spam e-mail is another thing entirely--both of these mediums are essential to my job and my life in general, and the only way I could avoid those advertisements would be to essentially cut myself off from civilization and head off in the woods to eat bugs and wear loincloths. The FTC took a major step in the right direction with their national do-not-call list, but now a pair of large corporations are about to take about three steps back if this dodge continues.

Just this once, I'm going to grit my teeth, swallow my pride, and sign the petition at,making clear the exact reasons why I'm against AOL's plan. Just this once, I encourage all of my readers to do the same.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Any Port in a Storm

If you haven't figured it out from reading this blog, although my actual political beliefs lean towards the Libertarian, I'm a registered Republican who not only voted for Bush, but volunteered on his campaign in 2004, and I still support him to this day.


I've defended his intelligence--although not his speaking skills--against ridiculous accusations of stupidity from the left...but if he can't get his mind around why it might be bad to hand control of American ports over to an Arab nation--or any foreign power, for that matter--then maybe I've been wrong all along.

Those who read my update on Tuesday may think I'm being a bit hypocritical--after all, it's not the country itself who will control the ports, but a corporation based in that country. And after all, aren't the UAE our friends? Sure they are--for now. And as long as the UAE remains friendly toward us (just as we remain friendly toward China), they will be a pleasant and gracious guest (just as Google is).

The trouble comes when relations sour, and diplomacy breaks down. When that happens, the individuals who direct these corporations become citizens of their own countries, first and foremost...or at least so their nations hope. To hammer yet again on the Google example, they could be an excellent tool for spreading propaganda friendly to the U.S. agenda in any sort of conflict. Now imagine that the U.S. and the UAE come into some sort of covert conflict as part of the ongoing fight against terrorism. With the ports under control of their companies, the UAE would have an open door to American soil. Alliances in the Middle East are a hell of a lot less stable than those in Asia--that's just a fact, and it scares the hell out of me.

The fact of the matter is that ports are just borders that we share with the ocean rather than another nation. We don't outsource the Border Patrol in the south to other nations. We'd be foolish to treat our ports any differently.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

When Bluehairs Have Babies

62-year-old woman delivers 12th child

I'm all for science, but sometimes enough is enough. It's not like she hasn't already had children--this one is her twelfth. But the bigger question here is...


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

They Ain't Evil, They're My Search Engine

Why, Google, why?

I had this post all thought out. I was all set to defend you against the heat you're taking from hyperidealists and hacky web comics for agreeing to comply with Chinese government censorship requirements. Google is a private-sector corporation, not an entity of the U.S. or any other government. China has a legitimate, recognized government that maintains diplomatic relations with this country, and U.S.-based businesses are allowed to do business in China.

Imagine what would happen if a foreign company, even one from a friendly nation, set up shop here and decided that one of our federal laws was blatantly wrong. (I know, it's impossible to comprehend.) But let's say they went one step further and decided to outright ignore the law that so offended them. It simply wouldn't fly. They'd be run out of town on a rail by either the public, the media, the government, or some combination thereof before they ever had a chance to get off the ground. Of course most foreign companies comply with our laws, at least overtly, no matter how they feel about them--they're in business to make money, first and foremost. They can't do that in markets that they can't enter. Why should Americans expect our companies to act any differently when they're dealing with another legitimate government? That sort of double standard is a shining example of that American arrogance that gets us the reputation we "enjoy" in other parts of the world. Google complied with the laws of the land, and as a result, they get to keep operating there (at least for now).

But they sure do have a strange way of picking their battles. They obey an unjust censorship law without a word of protest, yet they ignore a federal subpoena from the U.S. Attorney General that's designed to help law enforcement track down pedophiles. Which of these should Google really be fighting in court to best comply with their unofficial corporate motto of Don't Be Evil?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Dick Jokes

Iran has been accused of developing a secret military nuclear program--by France, no less!
The U.N. wants the U.S. to shut down Gitmo and let all the terror suspects go.
The U.S. army has uncovered a Shiite death squad out to kill Sunnis in Iraq.

Did you hear about any of these stories of international importance this week? If you did, you probably had to dig pretty deep, because most of the major news outlets had only one story front and center...unless you're living under a rock, you know it's Vice President Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of one of his hunting companions. And why shouldn't they--after all, if the American public eats up coverage of an anorexic hack actress's fender benders, why wouldn't wall-to-wall coverage of an accident involving the vice president bring in the huge ratings and readership as well? Besides, for the tabloid-esque publications, this could be their only chance to use witty headlines like "DICK BLASTS MAN IN FACE LOL!"

I'm a fairly experienced bird hunter myself. I've never gone after quail, but I can't imagine it's much different than hunting pheasant or grouse. So for once, speaking with some actual knowledge (rather than being made an expert by virtue of having a blog and a keyboard), here are the facts that you need to know. The fault of the accident ultimately lies with Cheney--he pulled the trigger without being 100% certain of what exactly was in his target area, and that's the bottom line. That being said, for victim Harry Whittington to walk into the line of fire without any sort of signal to make his presence known is pretty foolish, and just asking for trouble.

There you go--pretty much the whole story in two sentences. Here's hoping that the media gets over this and back to real news soon.

Friday, February 10, 2006


This just in: Perverts can use the internet to find children to assault!

Well, stop the presses, Mr. Hearst! This has only been going on since IRC was invented in 1988. Yet another reason why we need attentive parents and groups like Perverted Justice.

I've been thinking about creating a MySpace as a way to attract more readers to this site--but I've decided against it since I'm an antisocial ass with no interest in picking up preteens.