Thursday, November 29, 2007

A-Political Moment

My 10 year old son just showed this to me. I feel responsible for fostering his sense of humor and will take all slings and arrows you may want to toss at my laughing face.

Daily YouTube: Aaron Downey wins a fight w/ one punch

Today's clip features former Dallas Star player-man Aaron Downey (still rattling around the league, btw) knocking the stuffing out of an opponent with one punch, followed by Razor Reaugh going absolutely nuts over it.

Good times.


The worst football game ever played

Last night (er, I mean Monday night - this one spent a couple of days in the "Draft" folder), America was treated to the most boring, ugliest, least compelling, and most unwatchable football game ever played.

I am, of course, referring to Pittsburgh 3 - Miami 0 on Monday Night Football, which was an insult to the institution of Monday Night Football, the sport in general, and its fans.

The grounds crew in Pittsburgh decided that the playing surface at Heinz Field had become too badly beaten during recent high school playoffs and a college game to be effective for a Monday night NFL game. Their solution? Lay new sod OVER the existing, beaten up grass. This, with rain predicted all day and into the evening on Monday.

Anyone who has ever laid sod in his/her yard knows that fresh sod is a mess. It slides around and turns into chocolate pudding when the relative humidity gets high, and turns to liquid in the rain. And that's when you lay it on top of tilled soil. Putting it on top of existing grass seems like it would make the situation even worse, right?

And so it did.

Lets forget this was a bad matchup under any circumstances. The Dolphins are barely an NFL team this season, with no offensive weapons to speak of, NOTHING at quarterback, a defense which is constantly on the field, shaky special teams, and inexperienced coaching. And don't even get me started on that worthless Ricky Williams - hurt after six carries? Oh dear. How much would you like to bet he's out for 3 or 4 weeks? Dude ought to be in JAIL for the amount of money he's stolen in his career. And what the HELL are the Dolphins doing taking him back? They have no one to blame but themselves.

Never mind all that. This could have been Patriots-Colts and it still would have been a horror show. The playing surface at Heinz Field would have embarrassed the six-man team from Borger High School. I am simply shocked the Pittsburgh Steelers allowed their field to turn into The Bog on national TV. I'm shocked the NFL would permit it.

The way I see it, the NFL owes its fans for last night's travesty. And how are they going to replay us? By screwing us out of pretty much a game a week for the rest of the season with their stupid little pissing contest with Time Warner and Comcast over their NFL Network.

Thanks, you a-holes. Remember - what comes around goes around. You reap what you sow. A stitch in time saves nine. Feel free to add any other inane cliches you think might remotely apply here.

I'm pissed...

BTW, Mike Celizic, the MSNBC Sports "columnist" who routinely either puts me to sleep or makes me shake my head in the sheer wonderment that someone pays him to express his opinions, actually writes a sensible column on the asinine NFL Network-cable J.O.S. today.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

A new-old U2 video hits Interweb

Now playing on YouTube, the never-released video for "Red Hill Mining Town", off Joshua Tree.

The story, as I hear it, is U2 were set to release the song as a single, but decided not to at the last minute as Bono couldn't belt it out night after night on tour. Since the single wasn't released, the video was binned as well.

After viewing, I have to say that Western Civilization didn't miss much by not seeing this thing for 20-ish years. I guess this is all there was to videos back in 1987, and we've come a long way since then. I'm pretty underwhelmed.

And what is up with Bono's hair, anyway? I've heard it called "Jesus hair", but I still think "super-mullet". Either way, it's not good. I could definitely do without the sweaty wife-beater and the gratuitous underarm hair as well.

Whatever. Its a new-to-you U2 video, so what's to complain about?

Friday, November 23, 2007

A little more on The Ticket's Greg Williams

A few days ago, we posted a link to Richie Whitt's Unfair Park blog entry giving some details about his convo with The Ticket's MIA Greg "The Hammer" Williams. Richie has since written a longer piece regarding Williams.

Looks like Greggo wound up on the wrong side of a cocaine problem (is there a right side?), has been, or is still, in rehab, and plans to return to the afternoon-drive airwaves sometime next week.

The question raised by all this is: How welcome will he be, both by his co-workers and his audience. No one has been harder on drug-using athletes than Williams, and the resulting apparent hypocrisy could be overwhelming. Many accused The Ticket of turning hypocritical in the wake of Carter Albrecht's tragic death - there was no trifecta talk after that event. I'll definitely cut Rhyner and company slack on that one - Albrecht's death was a horrible, close-to-home tragedy which may or may not have been the result of outside chemical influences. Williams' "do as I say, not as I do" actions may be harder to swallow.

The upshot, for me at least, is The Hardline has not missed a beat without Williams. More Corby Davidson, more Wilonsky, guests dropping in, most notably the under-rated Kevin Scott and good old Richie Whitt himself, has more than made up for Williams, who was was in noticeable decline prior to his sudden Oct 12 mid-show departure. Always prone to the mis-speak and random goofball comment, Williams was, in the months leading up to his disappearing act, often guilty of tuning out the show around him, making inane and irrelevant comments, and being clearly out-of-sorts. If that's the Greggo who's coming back next week, um, buddy, don't bother...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Oh, yeah. There's a football game tomorrow...

My God, I have been HORRIBLE about football postings this year. I'm ashamed and apologetic, especially to those of you who made a mint last year, betting the exact opposite of my picks. Remember me in your will...

Well, it's never too late, especially when you write a blog no one reads. So, let's talk Cowboys-Jets for a moment, shall we?

The Cowboys are favored by a stunning 14 points over the lowly Jets. As I've mentioned before, point spreads over 10 in the NFL give me a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. I wouldn't touch this game as a gambler with Medieval jousting lance. However, with that said, the Cowboys should, SHOULD, kill 'em.

Some reasons the Cowboys might not kill 'em:
  • With all apologies to Wade Phillips' 3-4 genius, this defense is not that good. The Redskins, with a friggin SEC QB not named Manning, exposed this thing for what it is. And what it is is a suspect group that struggles to mount a consistent pass rush and has big holes when the safeties are asked to cover.
  • Special teams are, in a word, scary. These guys give up some big returns almost every game, and the Jets, for all their patheticness, can return kicks. I can easily see 14 points coming off special teams mistakes.
  • Running game. What running game? JJones and MBIII looked to have a little something last year, when they each had a specific role. The suspect JJT, writing in the DMN this morning, made a good point when he put forth the hypothesis that these guys are being mis-used when they alternate series, which has been the case more often than not this year. Romo the Jedi Knight and the suddenly-prolific TO Owens have been producing enough, more than enough, to cover for the near-absence of a coherent running game, but you'd think this weakness would jump up and bite Dallas eventually.

Even with all that, I'm still thinking Cowboys, and perhaps a laugher.

And, for a BIG change, the early game is not a time-waste. Detroit is not as silly as usual, and I still am not sold on Green Bay. I think this is a decent game. I'm going to go against my heart and pull for the Packers, but mostly because I want to see them come into the Partially Domed Rathole on 114 next week with the big record, setting up a major stop-down for everyone in the DFW Metroplex of Love.

And the late game? Well, Time Warner and the NFL Network are still miles apart, so I'll have to settle for highlights on ESPN. I hate that these organizations can't get their you-know-what together, and I'm getting the short end of the stick shoved up my wazoo as a result. But that's another post for another day.

Go (insert your team here)!

Thanksgiving musings

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite of the big hollerdays (my favorite minor one - Patriot's Day, also known as Marathon Day in the old college haunt of Boston), and it's worth a few moments to tell all seven of you why.

As Jews, we don't do the Christmas or Easter thing, so Thanksgiving has always been the big family holiday for us. We've never had much in the way of tradition around the day, just that we try to get as many family members as possible under a single roof, which is a good enough tradition for me. The more the better. I sincerely hope we can gather more each year, both family and friends.

The best Thanksgivings for me have occurred in two places: Our house and my uncle and aunt's house back in the day.

Thanksgivings in our house, esp since we moved to the palace in Frisco a couple of years ago, are great, and I hope to have it here more often than not. It's difficult with some wrinkles in the extended family which have come up recently, and I certainly don't mind going elsewhere for Thanksgiving dinner. But I really like having a lot of family at our place. It was one of the big reasons I wanted to build this joint in the first place. Having the kids running around upstairs, and good, interesting conversation in every room, lots of wine bottles opened, TONS of food filling the kitchen, both ovens going, it's all great. I especially like it when the weather is Thanksgiving-ish - cold, even grey, never a given in Texas. It makes the house seem warmer. Love it!

The very best Thanksgivings, however, were at my uncle and aunt's huge old house in Western Massachusetts. The house was perfect for large gatherings - I have no idea how big that place was in terms of square feet, but, trust me, it was gi-normous. Getting there was a bit of a challenge, so we always stayed for the long weekend, which was part of the greatness. It was always cold, snow was a player several times, and it felt very, very American, and I mean everything good about being American. I always thought, and still think, that's what Thanksgiving ought to be. I hope we establish that sort of feeling at our house when we host the meal.

Other things I like about Thanksgiving - football (of course); lots to drink; lots of laughs; a meal I actually like to eat (NEVER happens during Jewish holiday - I hate most Jewish food); lots of activity in the house; lots of sports talk, politics talk, kid talk, guy talk; no work worries for a few days; the start of the Holiday Season (which I like even if we don't do Christmas); the change in the weather.

Thanksgiving is, nearly without fail, my favorite day of the year. I look forward to it every year, and some of my best memories are from Thanksgivings past.

I hope you and your family have a Thanksgiving to enjoy, even savor. I hope you enjoy your time with your loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Daily YouTube: Unusual soccer skills

While we're on the subject of elephants who play sports, here's a mighty grey pachyderm putting on a skills clinic.

My Introduction

Just a quick post to introduce myself and get my feet wet in the CIT world. Indeed, I am the Curmudgeon's younger brother -- I don't even know what nomenclature this would classify me as -- perhaps "Disgruntled 40-year-old" or maybe just "Stinky". Regardless, here I am.

I am, as I said, 40. My hair is both graying and falling out at the same time I seem to be rapidly losing weight (probably due to the stress of my new job -- more on that in a minute). But this is neither hair nor there (wha-ha-ha).

Politically, I lean to the left -- sometimes really left. Dennis Kucinich, although unelectable because he actually makes sense and speaks from his heart, is my mouthpiece. I supported Carol Mosely Braun in the last election.

My reading habits reflect the dichotomy that tends to seep into many aspects of my life-- I am an avid reader of both Poetry and Comic Books. My favorite poets are Russell Edson, Charles Simic, Stephen Dobyns, and of course, above all, for sweeping majesty and that tightening testicle raw emotion, my lover, my friend, my holy trinity wrapped up in a great gray beard, dear departed Walt Whitman.

My taste in comics runs from typical superhero fare from Marvel comics and the less known Image comics (especially my and my son's favorite Invincible and my personal favorite, The Walking Dead) To a new facination with horror comics. I am no fan of DC comics, as they tend to talk down to their audience and their continuity has become confusing and preposterous.

I have much to say about the state of education today, having been a High School English teacher for 9 years and now a Charter School Administrator (at Sierra Montessori Academy), but I will save all this for a later post, when I have more time and feel more confident in what I have to say (no matter how puerile or wonky).

Just wanted to say hello.

So, "hello"

I'll be back soon. Have a Happy Slaughter of the Mal-Treated Turkeys Day!

First big cold front of the season

Here in beautiful, nearly-crime-free Frisco TX, we're experiencing our first big "norther" of the season.

For those of you not from Texas, a "norther" is a massive cold front blowing down from the wilds of western Canada, virtually unimpeded by trees, hills, or manmade structures between the tundra and the DFW Metroplex of Love. Think about it - what's between us and the Great White North? Bismark ND? Omaha? OK City? Not much.

The sky turns the color of a battleship, the wind turns in the blink of an eye from warm southerly to biting northerly, and the mercury drops like Lindsay Lohan's knickers. It's rather dramatic.

When I woke up this morning, the temp down the street (courtesy of was a balmy 68 or so. Now, at 10:30 Central, it's 54 and dropping fast.

It's late November, and it's about time.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Double Bonus YouTube: Thai pitching prospect

Lifted shamelessly from Geeding's blog (still a must-read). This one combines my son's love of elephants with my love of a decent pitching prospect.

Marriage humor

Bonus YouTube: Referee humor

Where we, once again, pose the question: Why is watching a dude get hit in the gresticles funny?

Top 5 Cowboy Thanksgiving memories

On the DMN Cowboy blog today: The top 5 most memorable moments (some good, some not so good) from Thanksgivings past.

My favorite was Jason Garrett's triumph over hte Packers back in the glory days, which came in at #3.

Louisiana humor

Two tourists were traveling through Louisiana. As they approached Natchitoches, they started arguing about the pronunciation of the town's name. They argued back and forth until they stopped for lunch. As they stood at the counter, one tourist asked the blonde employee, ''Before we order could you settle an argument for us? Would you please pronounce where we are very slowly.''

The blonde leaned over and said ''Burrrrrrr Gurrrrrr Kingggg.''

Daily YouTube: All the Cowboy QBs

Every QB who has ever thrown a regular season pass for Your Heroes.

That stretch from Aikman to Romo is pretty spare...

Labor Armageddon in France?

French civil servants of many different stripes are currently on strike, protesting (relatively) new President Nicolas Sarkozy's efforts to drag the French economy out of the 1960s and into present-day Western Europe.

Sarkozy was elected on a platform of reducing the incredibly inefficient socialist labor bureaucracy and making French business competitive on the global playing field. The French workers, conditioned by decades of socialist labor union coddling, are not too terribly thrilled with the idea of having to actually work for a living, and are letting Sarkozy know it.

I expect Sarkozy to stand his ground. He was elected to get control of this thing, to reduce unemployment from the stratospheric current numbers, to increase efficiency, and to generally make French goods attractive on the world market, which they currently are not. He had to have expected a showdown with the local commies was coming sooner rather than later, and has to have a plan for it.

This is no more than round one in what promises to be a long battle, one Sarkozy has to win if France is ever going to be relevant again.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Amazon Kindle

This one blew right past me over the past few days: Amazon is just about to release it's own e-book reader, the Amazon Kindle.

For $400, you can purchase the Kindle device, which sounds like it has some very cool features. It has wireless connectivity to the Amazon Kindle store (via FREE Sprint EVDO), where you can purchase books for about $10 a pop, subscribe to magazines and newspapers, and purchase content from many mainstream blogs. All of your content gets downloaded directly to the Kindle via wireless (amazingly, FREE - stoke of genius on Amazon's part), with most books downloading in a minute or less.

The CNET review sounds encouraging, more or less. Their take is that content is too expensive and there aren't enough options for where to buy it, which sorta sounds like the original iTunes argument.

I stumbled across the Kindle while browsing Amazon for some maps and books (the wife and I are headed to NYC for a little Holiday Season fun - look for some travel blogging in the not-too-distant future) and had to stop down to read all about it. I am so ready for a real e-book reader, with wireless access and a good ergonomic design. It sounds like the Kindle is pretty darn close. Definitely worth watching.

UPDATE: The Kindle is the cover story in this week's Newsweek, which just hit the old mailbox today.

UPDATE UPDATE: Oh dear. The other side of the coin. Mark Pilgrim gives a litany of reasons why the Kindle is a steaming pile of Amazon hypocrisy and a soon-to-be disaster. Cory Doctorow chimes in with a few additional points as well.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Turkey Cannon

Not as much fun as it sounds, the Turkey Cannon allows you to cook a turkey on your grill in fairly short order, while keeping the interior from drying out.

Interesting concept, probably a good one, but if you're going to put the word "Cannon" in the name of your product, there needs to be some launching of some sort involved.

Traffic, taxes, and tolls: Alliteration can be fun

As a resident of exurban Dallas, and one who's job takes him all over the metro area on a regular basis, I've developed some hot sports opinions regarding the transportation grid in our fair burg.

I'll sum those opinions up in a single word for you: INADEQUATE.

Roadwork in the Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex of Love is omnipresent. If we aren't building a High Five, then we're extending a North Dallas Tollway or slogging through expansion of a State Highway 121 or widening an Interstate 35. If I had any brains at all, I'd chuck this consulting thing and buy a motor grader and a back-hoe or two and go into road construction.

It's everywhere.

But I've noticed a huge disparity in the projects that get started and, more importantly, that get completed. Toll roads like the aforementioned North Dallas Tollway, which was completed on schedule and is now a WONDERFUL part of my daily commuting life regardless of where I'm headed (and which probably tacks an extra $20 grand onto the value of my house), get started and completed on schedule. Publicly funded projects like the also-aforementioned I-35 south of Dallas seem to drag on for YEARS, with no end in sight.

State Highway 121 thru Denton and Collin counties is another great example. Publicly funded for years and years, the project to make a real highway out of what was essentially a country road has dragged on and on, making the road virtually impassable since the late 90s and probably irrevocably destroying an aging bedroom community called The Colony. Here lately, though, ownership of the road and the project has transferred to the North Texas Tollway Authority and there is hope that 121 will become a viable alternative route across the northern part of the area before I'm too old to drive it.

What has prompted this post is an opinion piece in the Metro section of today's DMN. In it, Duane Green rails a bit about the concept of double taxation, which has become the rallying cry of the anti-toll road contingent in these parts. Green points out that he's paying taxes to build roads in the form of a $0.20-per-gallon gasoline tax, so why should he have to pay a toll to a private company for the privilege of driving their toll road in addition.

It's a legitimate point.

To be fair, Green also points out that this tax has not increased since 1991. His solution is to raise the tax (he suggests raising it a nickel a gallon) in an effort to make state funds more available to complete the projects underway and to start new ones.

Seems reasonable, right?

I'm not so sure.

Here's the fiscal conservative in me coming out (I used to call it the "fiscal Republican" in me, but GWB has pretty much killed that sentiment, but that's another post for another day), but I just don't have faith that the state government can manage these projects as effectively as a private enterprise.

The NTTA, love 'em or hate 'em (and I LOVE them), gets stuff done. Why? Because there's a profit motive for them to do so, of course. My take: Dude, if you can build the roads, I'm happy as heck to pay my Toll Tag bill every month.

I trust NTTA to manage their people, projects, and cash a lot more than I trust Rick (Gov. Good Hair) Perry and his minions. And who takes over after Perry takes up residence at the Naval Observatory in a few years? Hell, this state almost elected Clayton Williams governor a few years back. Does he, or someone like him, need to be running around with responsibility for my $0.25 a gallon? No effing way!

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I fundamentally think more roads and more internal combustion engines driving more miles are not sustainable solutions to the problem. We ultimately need to break the paradigm, for any of about 2 million reasons. However, electric vehicles aren't getting here quickly enough, and I have a major problem with people who insist light rail and busses are practical in our sprawling Metroplex of Love. They're not now and never will be.

Here's the upshot to me: We have a real need for improved transportation in this area. Roads are it, for the foreseeable future. How do we most expeditiously build those roads? Answer: We don't let the nincompoops in Austin manage it. We let the wonders of free enterprise do it for us.

Good question

There’s so much comedy on television. Does that cause comedy in the streets?

-Dick Cavett

Bonus YouTube: Ride along on a high-speed police chase

Ft Worth police recently chased a 24-year-old loser from near Hulen Mall in Ft Worth over to sunny Oak Cliff - that's about 40 miles for those of you keeping score at home. At the end of it, Jose Garcia (the above-mentioned loser) does a total give-up. Looks like he's familiar with the "face down on the pavement with your hands behind your head" instructions from the Boys in Blue.

The thing that grabs me about this chase is how often innocent civilians are placed in harms way. The cops have Garcia illuminated with the Night Sun helicopter. Should they just back off and let the helicopter keep up with him, or is it too easy for him to elude it? I dunno, but this would have scared the crap out of me if I were cruising down Marsalis Ave that evening.

Daily YouTube: D-3 football highlight of the century

Division III football powerhouse (?) Milsaps defeats Trinity on the most ridiculous play ever in the history of ever. Discuss amongst yourselves.

Farmer humor

A farm boy accidentally overturned his wagonload of corn. The farmer who lived nearby heard the noise and yelled over to the boy, "Hey Willis, forget your troubles. Come in and visit with us. I'll help you get the wagon up later."

"That's mighty nice of you," Willis answered, "but I don't think Pa would like me to."

"Aw come on boy," the farmer insisted.

"Well okay," the boy finally agreed, and added, "but Pa won't like it."

After a hearty dinner, Willis thanked his host. "I feel a lot better now, but I know Pa is going to be real upset."

"Don't be foolish!" the neighbor said with a smile. "By the way, where is he?"

"Under the wagon."

Um, ouch?

Lifted from Barry's Wise County blog (which is a daily must-read, btw):

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dallas radio's big mystery - semi-solved?

For the past several weeks, America's favorite radio station, KTCK Sports Radio 1310 - "The Ticket" - has been working with a man down. Greg Williams, one of the Ticket Originals and one-half of the the top-rated afternoon drive program The Hardline, has been missing in action since disappearing mid-show back on Oct 12.

Since that time, no one connected with The Ticket or parent company Cumulus Media have had ANYthing to say about fan-favorite Williams.

Williams (he of many, many nicknames, including The Hammer, The Ham-Bonita, Huggy Bear, The Husky Hugger, and on and on) has battled addiction in the recent past. His bad back led to serious problems concerning prescription pain pills and a stint in rehab back in 2004. Over the past few months, he's appeared to be confused and distracted on the air, and has been suffering from an "allergy" attack which has left him barely intelligible for weeks on end. There has been much informal speculation that Greggo (another nickname) has relapsed and is back in the Lindsay Lohan Suite at a local rehab center.

Fueling the speculation was The Hammer's left-high-and-dry broadcast partners, who worked in obscure references such as playing Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" as return music, followed by a pre-recorded drop of Greggo shouting "No! No! NO!" I'm not so sure they've got his back.

Well, word from the great Richie Whitt on Unfair Park is that he's spoken to Williams, the absence is drug-related, he's been in rehab, and he wants to come back to The Hardline by the end of the month.

I am a huge fan of The Ticket in general, The Hardline in particular. The show is an integral part of my day, and never fails to provide laughs no matter what sort of day I've had. Williams has been a HUGE contributor to the overwhelming success of the station. To a guy on the outside, it sure seems like The Hammer deserves another chance. But it's not me he abandoned in the middle of a show...

Gay-Rod finds some humility

Alex "Gay-Rod" Rodriguez and his agent, the Baseball Anti-Christ (aka Scott Boras) have gone back to the Yankees, hat in hand, and humbly accepted the Yankees original contract offer, less the $21.3 million the Rangers would have been on the hook for if Gay-Rod hadn't opted out of his original contract.

It's no secret that I am a Gay-Rod hater, and have been since he was here in Texas. The guy is the KING of the meaningless stat. How many late-inning, no-one-on-base, we're-losing-by-7-runs homers did he hit as a Ranger? How often has he disappeared in the playoffs as a Yankee? There's no question Gay-Rod is one of the most physically gifted athletes to ever put on cleats, but he's a shrinking violet. He doesn't have the mental toughness to hold up when the pressure is on.

I wish nothing but failure on the guy. And, in this case, I got it.

Gay-Rod and Boras completely misread the market Rodriguez would attract. His initial demand for 10 years/$350 million was greeted by the sound of crickets. After a mutual "we're not talking to THEM" with the Yankees, Rodriguez quickly came to the realization that the Yankees are the only team who are going to pay him anywhere near what he wants.

This is a failure more for the Baseball Anti-Christ than Gay-Rod. Boras clearly gave his client horrible advice and totally misread the situation. Gay-Rod comes out of this mess looking greedy and stupid, but he's still going to get the richest contract in the history of sports (10 years/$270 million or so) for the second time in his career.

Its just nice to see loads of bad press for both of these jerks.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The biggest news ever in the history of this little blog

And I am totally NOT overselling it in the headline.

We have the biggest, most exciting news ever in the 2-plus years this blog has been polluting the Internet. And that news is: We have been joined by a new contributor.

My brother, Dan Elkin, has agreed to come on board here at little CIT as co-blogger. Starting really soon, you'll see his fine work appear in this space, alongside the drivel I contribute on a somewhat regular basis (OK, OK, a lot less regular than it used to be).

A few words about Dan: My bro is two-years-and-a-bit younger than me, which also makes him a 40-something white guy. He's married, has a kid (a son who's now 10), and lives in the wilds of Northern California. He's the top dog at a charter school in the area since the summer. Prior to that, he was a high-school English teacher for many years.

Dan is my polar opposite in many ways. Much more politically liberal, much better read, and a deeper thinker than I am, he's going to lend a much different take to the offerings here at little CIT. Which I think is great.

My reasons for inviting Dan to contribute here are pretty varied, but it boils down to my obvious diminishing of interest in keeping this thing going. I've invested a lot of time and effort into this blog, but I was at the point where it was either shake it up big-time or close it down. I think this is going to be a big, and welcome, shake up.

At any rate, please welcome Dan to the forum, and keep reading!

Daily YouTube: The Japanese are not cool anymore

...if they ever were.

Maybe if the dude actually had some rythm...

The polar bear joke

A young polar bear comes home from school and says to his mom, "Mom, am I a pure-bred polar bear?"

"Of course you are, dear," she replies.

The next day, the young polar bear asks his mom, "Are you sure I'm 100% polar bear?"

"Yes, dear. You are 100% polar bear," she tells him.

The next day, the young polar bear asks his mom, "You're sure, mom? I'm all polar bear? No other type of bear thrown in somewhere?"

"Yes, dear. I'm completely sure. You are all polar bear. Nothing else," she answers, slightly exasperated.

The next day, the young polar bear asks his mom, "Are you sure I'm completely polar bear? You and dad are 100% polar bear? The grandparents? We're all 100% pure polar bear?"

The mother polar bear is now at her wits end. She says, "Yes, dear. We're all 100% polar bear. You could not possibly be more polar bear. Why do you keep asking about this?"

"I'm <bleep>ing freezing."

Dark Side? What Dark Side?

It's difficult for me to believe that, one year ago, I was wishing nothing but doom and failure on the Dallas Cowboys.

I was tired of the Pear-Shaped Football Genius. Tired of Bondo-Face. Tired of TO Owens. Shocked, amazed, and a bit gleeful that unknown Tony Romo had replaced grizzled, crafty, veteran, and statue-like Drew Bledsoe in the backfield. It looked like the slow circle of the drain had accelerated, and the Cowboys were headed for NFL oblivion.

And I was jiggling the handle, trying to coax the team down past the trap and into the sewer system, laughing maniacally.

Remember that? I sure do.

Yesterday, as the Cowboys imposed their will on the wilting NY Giants, I found myself actively, even enthusiastically cheering for this team. Without a shred of self-consciousness either, I must add.

As an adherent to Junior Miller's Rooting Rules, I, as a Dallas resident since my early childhood, can jump on and off the Cowboy bandwagon as often as I like. And, finally, there are things about this team worth jumping back on the bandwagon for.

So, we find ourselves on Monday morning, clearly atop the NFC East. The offense looks pretty darn good - Romo is clearly the find of the last quarter-century. The defense is not what I think some of the more optimistic amongst us expected - the Giants ran the ball well, until the scoreboard forced them away from it - but it's not the hollow shell it was last year. Special teams may be a bit shaky - the rookie kicker hasn't killed them yet, but the kick coverage has come dang close to it a few times.

Is it lightning in a bottle if it keeps up all year? Can it keep up all year? Is anyone shocked if the Redskins walk into the Rathole-on-114 next week and punch the Cowboys in the nose? Come to think of it, YES, I think we'd all be shocked if the Redskins do anything other than line up to take their ace-whippin' like the docile little playthings of an overgrown brat/owner they are.

All I know is Sundays are fun again. What more do you want?

Friday, November 09, 2007

My new hero

Thirty-five-year-old Brian Poulin of Hebron CT was recently arrested for calling 911 numerous times and demanding police bring him more beer.

In his way, this guy is a genius.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Howard Zinn encourages us to revolt

From today's Freep: Former BU professor, and current public annoyance, Howard Zinn spoke to students at BU last night, encouraging them to join him in "withdraw(ing) our obedience from our government" over the war on terrorism.

My favorite quote from the story:

"What's being told is that we are fighting in Iraq for democracy. We are occupying in order to bring democracy and freedom to the Iraqi people," he (Zinn) said. "If you look at the history of American occupations, look at the history of U.S. interventions in other parts of the world - where have we brought democracy? There's no evidence of America bringing democracy to the countries that we occupy."

Umm, Japan? Germany? Afghanistan? OK, maybe the last one is shaky, but the first two certainly seem to qualify.

I support non-violent activism. Its necessary and important. But get your facts right. Especially your historical facts, and double especially if you're supposed to be an historian.

DRM is pure evil, and Major League Baseball is its latest dupe

From our old friends at Joy of Sox yesterday:

The morons at Major League Baseball, who have not quite embraced the digital age, started selling game videos via download a while ago. Like all responsible providers did up until very recently, they employed DRM software to limit distribution of their product. Apparently, it worked just fine as long as you stayed within the lines.

OK so far, right?

Well, not so much.

It seems that in late 2006, MLB switched DRM providers without making any provision for downloads previously purchased. So, if you spent $3.95 to download some of the pennant race games from the Red Sox first championship season in 86 years, you're SOL right now.

Major League Baseball is so tone-deaf, and so unresponsive to their fans, and such a lousy custodian of the Great Game, it makes me want to barf.

My latest pet peeve

Those spiffy, automatic, touchless towel dispensers in men's rooms are a beating.

Oh sure, the idea is great. The less you have to touch in a men's room, the better. I'm all for that.

But, the execution...

I feel like an absolute moron, standing there with dripping hands and face (yep, I'm one of those guys who always splashes water on his face when washing his hands - no idea why), doing my version of the Thai hand-dance in front of the sensor on the towel dispenser. And what does said towel dispenser do in response? NOTHING. No towel. And then, when I'm ready to give up because the water has run down my sleeves and dripped all of the front of my shirt, I make one final gesture at the machine. And here comes the towel.

Oh, and the towel that finally gets dispensed? What am I supposed to dry with 4 square centimeters of paper anyway?

I have yet to figure out rhyme or reason to these things. What gesture will reliably work (I mean besides ripping the thing off the wall and smashing it to pieces on the floor)? Any suggestions?