Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cowboys - Eagles


Romo just fumbled, leading to an Eagle TD return. At 34-3, I am ready to fire everybody. Coaches, players, Brad & Babe. Everyone.

What a choke. What a bunch of underachievers. I am disgusted. I am also turning the game off.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The rubble is flying in Gaza, again


The IAF fired on Hamas security compounds in Gaza earlier today, apparently with a great deal of success. An estimated 60 aircraft launched on at least 40 different Hamas targets across the territory. At least 155 Palestinians are dead, and many more wounded, the vast majority being Hamas "security personnel" (code for "guys who shoot rockets into Israel day after day").

However, as we all know, Hamas, in its mind-boggling cynicism, routinely places legitimate targets in the midst of civilians; generally, the closer to an apartment block, school, or hospital, the better. So, as usual, Israeli attacks on "security personnel" has resulted in civilian casualties. And, as usual, the Palestinian civilians, and the wider Arab world, fail to recognize how Hamas' bloody-minded grandstanding is at fault for their misery. They, predictably, are in the street shouting "Death to Israel".

Listen, I know I am biased on the Middle East. I am a secular Jew. I was raised during the golden days of Israel - I was 2 when the Six Day War occurred, 9 during the Yom Kippur War. I have received Israeli Bonds as gifts since I was born, and the one effective part of my Jewish education was to recognize and support the miracle of the State of Israel. I am no impartial reporter on this subject. I know that, and I try to be careful to point it out as often as I can in these diatribes.

But, with all that said, I am continuously SHOCKED at the ignorance and willingness to be led into ruin displayed by the sheep-like Palestinian populace. I am continuously shocked at the callousness and cynicism displayed by the Palestinian "leadership", none of whom seem to have any regard for the lives (or the quality of the lives) of their constituency. I am continuously shocked at the same attributes displayed on a regular, predictable basis in the wider Arab world. I am continuously shocked at the relentless dismissal of reality evidenced by European (and American) supporters of Palestine.

To me, it's this simple: If the Arabs stop shooting tomorrow, there's peace. If the Israelis stop shooting tomorrow, they are all dead. Is that simplifying things too much? Maybe, but maybe not.

Either way, stay tuned - it looks like there will be a follow-up ground operation, and no doubt additional Israeli "atrocities" about which I can vent to my hearts content.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Have I touched yet another nerve?

A comment made in response to our list of Classic Scouser Jokes from back in January:

Anonymous said...
they are bad jokes, im a scouse and im not thick and not hairy eeww, i have lived in liverpool all my life and have never been mugged and have never mugged anyone,all of my scouser mates dont work on maccys, i have a three bed roomed house and i have nevr robbed anythink, so i think ya jokes are a waste of time and have u ever been to liverpool, i hate how you have made liverpool put to be a bad place i love liverpool and would never live anywhere else so before you go telling anymore jokes like that think hang on they are people and they do have brains and feelings towards other people. good bye, i wish when you read this that you take these horrible nasty jokes off because thay are not funny.

22 December, 2008 18:02

I'm pretty sure Mr/Ms Anonymous Scouser is having me on a bit. But maybe not. Either way, I giggled...

Is there Middle East hope on the horizon?


Reading various and sundry news sources over the past few days, I've run across some ideas I hadn't considered. There are some changes on the horizon which actually may bring some hope of positive change in the Middle East.

What are these changes, you ask?

Set down your coffee cup. I don't want you spitting hot beverages all over your PC.

The Clintons are going to be running US foreign policy.

I'll give you a moment to digest that one. Feel free to power up your defibrillator. Or dab the laugh-induced tears from your eyes. Whatever you feel necessary.

Yes, that's right. Hill will be driving the Dept of State, with Bill as her trusty first mate, for the foreseeable future. And this fact gives me hope for real, positive change for Israel and their neighbors.

Let's step into the WayBack Machine for a moment and revist the late 90s. The world was a pretty spiffy place, all things being equal. No real wars to speak of. Some terrorism, but nothing to speak of in the Western world. The Irish were all lovey-dovey, Russia seemed to be heading towards some sort of democracy, Bosnia had quieted down, the Chinese were focusing inward, and the Palestinians and Israelis were thiiiiissssss close to a workable two-state agreement.

Bill Clinton fostered a great deal of this rosy picture. He was instrumental in Ireland. You can argue about his effectiveness and wisdom in Bosnia, but the fact remains it cooled off relatively rapidly. The Russians certainly had their own issues to settle, with organized crime and corruption rampant, but the jury was out on Putin, and the Kremlin seemed interested in joining the family of nations, and Clinton did nothing to dissuade them from the idea. What impact Clinton had on terrorism and China can be debated, but the sitting US President gets to take credit for anything positive happening on his watch.

And what about the diplomacy between the Barak government and Arafat? It's difficult to remember those days clearly, since so much violence has occurred since, but those were heady times indeed. The idea of a two-state solution was threatening to become reality. Israel had loosened the grip on the occupied territories, the Palestinian economy was literally booming, the West was falling all over themselves to fork over aid and assistance of every description. No rocks or bullets were flying, no bombers were blowing themselves to pieces.

The negotiations were literally down to the street level. The worker bees on both sides were pouring over the Jerusalem MAPSCO, drawing the new border.

It was a close as we have EVER come to a real, workable, implementable compromise.

Clinton got it to that point.

If it weren't for Arafat, it would have worked.

So, now, eight years later, Arafat is worm food. Hamas may be worse in a lot of ways, but they also aren't duplicitous, grandstanding liars who are completely disassociated from the people they claim to represent like Arafat was (at least, I think they're not). And Bill knows this issue as well as any American politician/diplomat has ever known it.

Clinton knows how close he came to greatness. Argue his legacy all you like, if he had pulled off a solution in the Middle East, he would have gone down as one of the all-timers, up there with Jefferson, Lincoln, those Roosevelt boys, you name it. Hell, he would have RETIRED the Nobel Prize.

And now? He, and the little missus (THERE'S an image for you!), gets a do-over.

While Hillary may be looking towards the White House someday in the future, Bill is working for the history books. He's got a real opportunity to burnish his long-term reputation to the shiniest of shiny bright-bright. She has the opportunity to be mentioned in the same breath as Kissinger, and probably get a few nice pieces of hardware for the mantel while she's at it. He knows the issue. There is as much at stake as ever. Both Israel and the Palestinians are motivated to achieve some sort of solution, although I admit at the moment the respective ideas of that solution don't look very much like each other. Everybody can win here, and the Clintons can become legends of humanity.

There's some Holiday optimism for you!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The dumbest spam ever

Occasionally, I will look thru GMail's Spam folder, just to see what's getting screened off. I must say that GMail's spam detection really is first rate - I almost never see spam in my Inbox, and almost never lose a legit message to erroneous filtering.

Today, I was looking thru the junk, and found what has to be the DUMBEST piece of spam ever. It's supposedly from the FBI, and is a twist on the venerable Nigerian "We are going to transfer millions into your bank account" spam that everyone in the world has received 200 times.

Some of the dumber elements:

1. Why is the FBI sending me email from Mexico?
2. Robert Mueller, the FBI Director himself, is sending it? Really?
3. Robert Mueller doesn't have an fbi.gov email address?
4. Robert Mueller probably has spell check.
5. Robert Mueller probably has a somewhat better grasp of grammar and the written word.

This crap works enough to keep it going, which AMAZES me. People, seriously. If you can get yourself out of bed, get dressed, and find your workplace each day, you are NOT stupid enough to fall for this nonsense.

The entire email, for your edification:


FROM: fbi.02@alestra.net.mx

ANTI-TERRORIST AND MONITARY CRIMES DIVISION
FBI HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
935 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON, D.C. 20535-0001
Website: www.fbi.gov
ATTENTION FUND BENEFICIARY,
THIS IS AN OFFICIAL ADVICE FROM THE FBI FOREIGN REMITTANCE/TELEGRAPHIC DEPT. IT HAS COME TO OUR NOTICE THAT THE C.B.N BANK NIGERIA DISTRICT HAS RELEASED $10,500,000.00 U.S DOLLARS INTO BANK OF AMERICA IN YOUR NAME AS THE BENEFICIARY,BY INHERITANCE MEANS.THE C.B.N BANK NIGERIA KNOWING FULLY WELL THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH FACILITIES TO EFFECT THIS PAYMENT FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM TO YOUR ACCOUNT,USED WHAT WE KNOW AS A SECRET DIPLOMATIC TRANSIT PAYMENT S.T.D.P TO PAY THIS FUND THROUGH WIRE TRANSFER,THEY USED THIS MEANS TO COMPLETE THE PAYMENT.THEY ARE STILL, WAITING FOR CONFIRMATION FROM YOU ON THE ALREADY TRANSFERRED FUNDS WHICH WAS MADE IN DIRECT TRANSFER SO THAT THEY CAN DO FINAL CREDITING TO YOUR ACCOUNT. SECRET DIPLOMATIC PAYMENTS ARE NOT MADE UNLESS THE FUNDS ARE RELATED TO TERRORIST ACTIVITIES WHY MUST YOUR PAYMENT BE MADE IN SECRET TRANSFER , IF YOUR TRANSACTION IS LEGITIMATE,IF YOU ARE
NOT A TERRORIST, THEN WHY DID YOU NOT RECEIVE THE MONEY DIRECTLY INTO YOUR ACCOUNT? THIS IS A PURE CODED MEANS OF PAYMENT. RECORDS WHICH WE HAVE HAD WITH THIS METHOD OF PAYMENT IN THE PAST HAS ALWAYS BEEN RELATED TO TERRORIST ACTS, WE DO NOT WANT YOU TO GET INTO TROUBLE AS SOON AS THESE FUNDS REFLECT IN YOUR ACCOUNT IN THE U.S.A, SO IT IS OUR DUTY AS A WORD WIDE COMMISSION TO CORRECT THIS LITTLE PROBLEM BEFORE THIS FUND WILL BE CREDITED INTO YOUR PERSONAL ACCOUNT.DUE TO THE INCREASED DIFFICULTY AND UNNECESSARY SCRUTINY BY THE AMERICAN AUTHORITIES WHEN FUNDS COME FROM OUTSIDE OF EUROPE, AND THE MIDDLE EAST, THE F.B.I BANK COMMISSION FOR EUROPE HAS STOPPED THE TRANSFER ON ITS WAY TO DELIVER PAYMENT OF $10,000,000.00 TO DEBIT YOUR RESERVE ACCOUNT AND PAY YOU THROUGH A SECURED DIPLOMATIC TRANSIT ACCOUNT (S.D.T.A). WE GOVERN AND OVERSEES FUNDS TRANSFER FOR THE WORLD BANK AND THE REST OF THE WORLD. WE ADVICE YOU CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY,AS THE FUNDS HAVE BEEN STOPPED AND ARE BEING HELD IN OUR CUSTODY, UNTIL YOU CAN BE ABLE TO PROVIDE US WITH A DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY SEAL OF TRANSFER(DIST) WITHING 3 DAYS FROM THE WORLD LOCAL BANK THAT AUTHORIZE THE TRANSFER FROM WHERE THE FUNDS WAS TRANSFERRED FROM TO CERTIFY THAT THE FUNDS THAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO RECEIVE FROM NIGERIA ARE ANTI TERRORIST/DRUG FREE OR WE SHALL HAVE CAUSE TO CROSS AND IMPOUND THE PAYMENT, WE SHALL RELEASE THE FUNDS IMMEEDIATELY WE RECEIVE THIS LEGAL DOCUMENTS.
We have decided to contact you directly to acquire the proper verifications and proof from you to show that you are the rightful person to receive this fund, because of the amount involve, we want to make sure is a clean and legal money you are about to receive. Be informed that the fund are now in United State in your name , but right now we have ask the bank not to release the fund to anybody that comes to them, unless we ask them to do so, because we have to carry out our investigations first before releasing the fund to you. Note that the fund is in the BANK OF AMERICA right now, but we have ask them not to credit the fund to you yet, because we need a solid proof and verifications from you before releasing the funds. So to this regards you are to re-assure and proof to us that what you are about to receive is a clean money by sending to us FBI Identification Record and also Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer(DIST) to satisfy to us that the money you are about to receive is legitimate and real money. You are to forward the documents to us immediately if you have it in your possession, if you don?t have it let us know so that we will direct and inform you where to obtain the document and send to us so that we will ask the bank holding the funds the Bank Of America to go ahead Crediting your account immediately. This Documents are to be issued to you from the World Local Bank that Authorized the transfer, so get back to us immediately if you don't have the document so that we will inform you the particular place to obtain the document in United Kingdom U.K, because we have come to realize that the fund was Authorized by H.S.B.C Bank in London. An FBI Identification Record and Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer(DIST) often referred to as a Criminal History Record or Rap Sheet,is a listing of certain information taken from fingerprint submissions retained by the FBI in connection with arrests and, in some instances,federal employment, naturalization, or military service. THESE CONDITION IS VALID TILL 10 WORKING DAYS AFTER THE EXPIRATION WE SHALL TAKE ACTIONS ON CANCELLING THE PAYMENT AND THEN CHARGE YOU FOR ILLEGALLY MOVING FUNDS OUT OF NIGERIA .GURANTEE: FUNDS WILL BE RELEASED ON CONFIRMATION OF THE DOCUMENT.
NOTE: We have asked for the above documents to make available the most complete and up-to date records possible for the enhancement of public safety, welfare and security of Society while recognizing the importance of individual privacy rights.. If you fail to provide the Documents to us, we will charge you with the FBI and take our proper action against you for not proofing to us the legitimate of the fund you are about to receive. The United States Department of Justice Order 556-73 establishes rules and regulations for the subject of an FBI Identification Record to obtain a copy of his or her own Record for review. The FBI Criminal Justice Information Services(CJIS) Division processes these requests to check illegal activities in U.S.A. An individual may request a copy of his or her own FBI Identification Record for personal review or to challenge information on the Record. Other reasons an individual may request a copy of his or her own Identification Record may include international adoption or to satisfy a requirement to live or work in a foreign country or receive funds from another country
(i.e., Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer, letter of good conduct, criminal history background, etc.)
Email: robertmueller_fbi@infohq.com
fbi.robertmueller@ymail.com

FBI Director
Robert S. Mueller, III

Daily YouTube: Long-overdue Hanukkah songs

We have been remiss in posting videos about the Festival of Lights.

First, the fake Mariah Carey - I'm a bit put off by the bit about killing the Savior, but the rest is mildly entertaining.



And, of course, the all-timer from Adam Sandler:



My favorite Holiday Season song of all - the one that made a bunch of MTV goofballs sit up and take notice of the world around them:



Happy Hanukkah, dear readers!

World news roundup for Christmas Day


Ah, Christmas morning - for a Jew, it's a day when you are guaranteed to have time to enjoy the coffee and the paper to your heart's content. No pressing errands, no sports to tune in; a nice, relaxing morning is a virtual certainty.

So, today I use this time to catch up on events from around this lovely little planet of ours (or not, if Keanu Reeves is to be believed), and the usual spots are all popping as much as ever.

In the Middle East - which, on Christmas Day ought to be a quiet, contemplative spot, but never is - Israel and Hamas are supposedly attempting to renew the recently-expired truce in and around Gaza. Someone (Good Lord, it couldn't be anyone from Hamas, now could it?) is tossing rocket after rocket into the Negev and southern Israel. The Israelis are trying to turn the other cheek, but the picture in this morning's DMN is of crying Israeli children running from a blast site. I remind you that Israel is a modern, democratic, industrialized nation, not unlike Western Europe in terms of lifestyle of its people. Do you think the Italians or the Danes would sit still for neighbors firing explosive devices across the border at their populaces? I know this is not an apples-to-apples comparison, but its not as far off as some of the Palestinian apologists would have you believe.

Long story short, it appears a military move is likely on the Israelis side. Another useless intervention which will further embitter the civilians on both sides and lead to more "Israeli butcher" headlines in the Euro and Arab press.

Will Obama be the game-changer here? It's hard to imagine how, and I STILL don't really understand his position on this one. But there sure isn't any hope anywhere else at the moment.

In southern Africa, Desmond Tutu has called for Mugabe's removal, by force if necessary, and has bashed his own government for sitting on its hands. The cholera news hasn't improved one bit, nor will it. Mbeki clearly isn't making any difference, and clearly won't unless someone lights a bonfire under his a**. And the rest of the world just doesn't have enough at stake to do more than make some noise and levy questionably-effective sanctions. Is it hopeless? No, Zimbabweans have been thru plenty of tough times, although nothing like this in the past 100+ years, and the place is at least still in the news, even if it page 17A of the DMN.

Up on the Horn of Africa, Somalia's warlord-turned-statesman (WHAT?) president Abdullahi Yusuf may or may not be stepping down, which may or may not either kick off full-scale civil war or pave the way for a unity government. This full-scale civil war sort of intrigues me. What, exactly, has been going on in Somalia for the past 20 years if it wasn't full-scale civil war?

The only reason Somalia hasn't become Helmand-South is, I think, it's too hot even for Al Qaeda. Think about that for a moment - the most effective international terror organization in the history of the world hasn't moved into a lawless, ungoverned, wide-open spot in a meaningful way because even they can't be sure they can protect themselves effectively.

That, my friends, is a FAILED state.

In slightly lesser news, some unknown Army captain (a CAPTAIN?) marched into Conakry at the head of a few thousand troops and announced himself as the new Grand Poobah of Guinea. This west African nation had been something of a quiet spot amidst the regional fireworks of the past 25 years, mostly because Dictator for Life Lansana Conte had kept his boot on the the lid pretty firmly. Conte recently keeled over, and now it's the traditional Sub-Saharan Africa scramble, with the guy who has the most guns and the least compunction about using them winning. The US is "examining options", which I take to mean we, at the senior State Dept level, don't know what the hell is going on there at the moment, and don't care too terribly much either.

Yes, indeed, the World pages do make for interesting reading. Count your blessings, fellow Americanos. We're in the midst of relatively tough times, but its one HELL of a lot worse in many, many places this Dec 25.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why Isn't Matt in Colfax?

I stumbled upon this and I have smiled and smiled and smiled and smiled for so long my lips fell off (but they landed in one of the dogs' food bowls which made him smile and smile and smile).
This is how we should all be spending our time.

Thank Goat for Matt!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Daily YouTube: The Mugabe Song

This might be funny under different circumstances...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Today's comedy joke

Not that this describes my house or anything...

A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends, favorite foods, secret fears and hopes and dreams.

A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I love the Internet

In another example of the creativity of humans, here are a bundle of animated gifs (which don't copy/paste worth a darn, darn it) of President Bush dodging shoes and other goodies.

I especially like the Three Stooges clip.

Blackcomb gondola collapse


A tower on Blackcomb Mountain's Excalibur gondola collapsed this afternoon. No one was seriously hurt, and all seems relatively well this evening at spectacular Whistler-Blackcomb Resort in British Columbia.

I have been whisked up Blackcomb on the Excalibur lift a few times in my trips up north and out west. By gondola standards, its not terrifying - for example, the Whistler Village gondola, located about 100 yards to the right of Excalibur, scares the crap out of me. Several spots on that one have you hanging what feels like 50 stories over creeks and ravines.

I have always suffered from serious pucker-factor (if you will excuse the crudity) while on chair lifts and gondolas. The whole hanging from a wire thing is a bit difficult for me to grasp.

Regardless, the good news here is that no one got hurt badly. In addition, this happened far enough out from the Olympics that no one will remember it when the flame is lit on Feb 12, 2010, and the fine folks at Whistler will have plenty of time to give everything a once, twice, and thrice-over.

I just thank the sweet, clean Lord God Almighty I wasn't on the thing when it happened!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Looking for a Holiday Gift Idea -- Try Kiva

Do Something Good in the World.
Make a Gift to Kiva

Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.

Kiva is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.

The people you see on Kiva's site are real individuals in need of funding - not marketing material. When you browse entrepreneurs' profiles on the site, choose someone to lend to, and then make a loan, you are helping a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can relend to someone else in need.
Kiva partners with existing expert microfinance institutions. In doing so, they gain access to outstanding entrepreneurs from impoverished communities world-wide. Their partners are experts in choosing qualified entrepreneurs. That said, they are usually short on funds. Through Kiva, their partners upload their entrepreneur profiles directly to the site so you can lend to them. When you do, not only do you get a unique experience connecting to a specific entrepreneur on the other side of the planet, but our microfinance partners can do more of what they do, more efficiently.

How Kiva Works:

1) Lenders like you browse profiles of entrepreneurs in need, and choose someone to lend to. When they lend, using PayPal or their credit cards, Kiva collects the funds and then passes them along to one of our microfinance partners worldwide.

2) Kiva's microfinance partners distribute the loan funds to the selected entrepreneur. Often, our partners also provide training and other assistance to maximize the entrepreneur's chances of success.

3) Over time, the entrepreneur repays their loan. Repayment and other updates are posted on Kiva and emailed to lenders who wish to receive them.

4) When lenders get their money back, they can re-lend to someone else in need, donate their funds to Kiva (to cover operational expenses), or withdraw their funds.

As all our belts grow tighter and we all get caught up in our own personal misery, sometimes it is good to think of others. For $25, you can change someone's life. Now that should be what the holidays are all about.

Go to!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cholera? What cholera?

We can all stand down from our concern about Zimbabwe. According to Robert Mugabe, there is no cholera. Zimbabwe's doctors, working with the World Health Organization, have it cracked, so you can call off your emergency.

Well, thank God for that. It must be true, right? Because we all know what a firm grip Robert Mugabe has on reality.

I don't think it helped his credibility that he was shooing flies away from his face throughout the entire, hour-long, televised speech. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but I sorta think it doesn't speak well of the state of sanitation in Harare if the President is being swarmed by vermin.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Update from Zimbabwe: A disaster that keeps getting worse

We're way past the point of any good, or even encouraging, news coming out of Zimbabwe. The only question one asks when stories come across with Harare in the dateline is: How much worse is it now?

The answer today is: Lots.

The cholera epidemic has taken hold, with the official death toll now approaching 600. Unofficially, the number is MUCH higher. The total collapse of Zimbabwe's health-care and communications systems means there is no way to really count the number of sick, dying, and dead.

The rainy summer has started and will continue through Feb. Malaria will appear. Cholera will spread faster. The population, already weakened by lack of food and medicine, will become more susceptible to both. The ruined economy, ultra-hyper inflation, and 80% unemployment rate ensure the general population has no hope of escaping the despair or obtaining help. Mugabe's "government" continues to see invading foreign troops behind every tree, and will never open the country up for the kind of international humanitarian aid which would have any hope of averting catastrophe. Mugabe himself will continue to stall and stymie regional and international efforts to get him out of power, or to even share some power, and the situation will not change, except to get worse.

We are witnessing the death of a nation, one conceived less than 30 years ago amidst high expectations, higher hopes, and positive initial results. Looking back to the early 80s, although there were rumors of atrocities in Matabeleland, the average Zimbabwean, white or black, enjoyed a thriving economy, plenty to eat, international goodwill, and a seemingly brilliant future. Now, disaster is upon us, and the only questions are how many will die and how long will it take for them to die.

What can we do about it? Not much. Give to Oxfam and the Red Cross. Pray. If you're ambitious, you might write a note to Kgalema Motlanthe or Levy Patrick Mwanawasa. Write your representative. Suggest to Sir Bob the Knob or Bono the Dog Biscuit they get Band Aid back together. The West isn't going to fix this one. I'm not sure anyone is.

Daily YouTube: Today's entry from the Theatre of the Surreal

Sarah Palin waxes rhapsodic about her blessings from God, while some dude snuffs turkeys behind her.

I'm just trying to picture the conversation as they set up the shot...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Daily YouTube(ish): My son will love this

Some knucklehead dresses up as a Nintendo character and acts out the game. I only post this because my 8-year-old is currently obsessed with Mario.

How did this seem like a good idea?

Story here.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Bonus YouTube: Now THIS is history!

Our soon-to-be ex-President, back in the 90s when he was nothing more than a very successful Governor of Texas. Also featuring local sports-media legend Norm Hitzges.

Norm's prophcy didn't come true. Draw your own conclusions...

Daily YouTube: Yes, I work with these people...

A bit of fried gold from Bill Lundgren (GENIUS) and the friendly folks at Catapult - Dallas...

Another gloomy Monday in Sportsville


The Cowboys spit the bit like champs yesterday, blowing a 10 point lead in the last 8 minutes to lose to the Steelers 20-13.

What a life-force drainer this one was.

While the defense seems to improve with each passing game, special teams remain in the toilet, the offense swings wildly from great to horrible, Romo swings wildly from Jedi Master to erratic, and sideline chaos becomes more of a factor each week.

You can't ask more of a defense than what we witnessed for three and half quarters yesterday. Pressure? Yep. Outstanding coverage? Check. Hard-hitting, near-maniacal play from the linebackers? Got that too.

The only thing the defense lacked was the legs to finish. And its hard to blame them, as the offense and special teams put them in bad situation after bad situation.

The defense played well enough yesterday to win this game or any other you care to name.

While Tashard Choice turned in an exceptional performance in his first start, and exceeded everyone's expectations, we now have to question Marion Barber's toughness. I know that's easy to do from the warmth and cushiness of my couch, and I don't want to meet him in a parking lot after writing this, but EVERYONE expected him to play. What's up with that?

However, I don't know that it would have made any difference if Barber had been in there. Choice did fine, and I doubt Walter Payton could have overcome the outrageous mistakes made by Romo and the rest of the "skill" players.

Romo threw two of the worst looking interceptions you'll ever see, and the third (actually, the first sequentially) was a direct result of TO Owens giving up on a route. Witten made mistakes (where did that come from?), Williams made mistakes, Crayton was his usual non-factor, and it added up to a lot of missed opportunities.

Can someone tell me what the hell the coaches are coaching? I haven't seen such chaos on the field since Kent State (that was dark, no?). Romo looks like my son's 2nd grade teacher, directing confused children to their proper places. How the hell do two key players on opposite sides of the ball (Romo and Henry) try to call a 4th time-out in the first half? And what on Earth is up with 12 men on the field on a crucial third down? Wade seems to have lost complete control of this team. What is going on down there?

And a word about the special teams: DISASTER!

It's nut-cuttin' time now, friends. The Cowboys have to win out, and pray for help. This bunch has a good chance of becoming the most disappointing team in DFW sports history. Think for a moment about what that encompasses, and tell me I'm wrong.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

That's the World of Warcraft That You Play!

A quick note about World of Warcraft:

Our whole family (myself, my wife, and my 11 year old son) have all gotten on the WOW kick now. Many evenings are spent pw3ning noobs, farming for epics, camping Horde, and wasting our lives. The game is highly addictive and it does, in its own special way, bring the family together. It gives us common goals, a hierarchical power structure, and a clear set of rules to follow. That, and believe it or not, it ROCKS! Remember when the family all sat around together playing Monopoly? Well, this is sort of the same bonding experience, except this time your father won't make you cry when he wipes you out -- we're killing Hoard and running through instances TOGETHER!

All that, and after awhile you can get the following song stuck in your head:



And you will ROFLMAO to this Video:




So now it is time to put some Liferoot up for auction in Stormwind. As my son says, "Quick Robin, to the Rolfomoblie!" Then again, he says a lot of things like that after we have been playing for an hour or so.

So WOW, get on the horse (once you hit level 30 that is)!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Today's giggle: 130,000 fake boobs lost at sea

The publisher of Australian men's magazine Ralph (I have no suitable comment on the name...) was all set to include a fake, inflatible boobie in their Jan issue. Unfortunately for them, the 130,000 blow-up teats have gone missing in transit. Apparently, they left the dock in Shanghai, but never arrived in Sydney.

I love it when this blog writes itself...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Mets' new field is still going to named "Citi"

After two massive government bailouts and a total crash in stock price, my former employers at Citigroup are still going forward with their plans to pay through the nose for naming rights to the Mets' new ballpark.

Citi Field is scheduled to replace venerable Shea next year, and Citigroup is reportedly paying upwards of $400 million to have their name on the marquee.

Does this sound like good use of our dough?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday morning scattershooting

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Tony "Thrill" Hill...

- Some poor bastard got "Cincinnatti Who'd" at a Wal-Mart in Valley Stream NY yesterday. Then the crowd got pissed because the store was closing. Suburban NY is not for the faint-of-heart, man.

- Speaking of sorry, sorry humans, those a-holes who shot up Mumbai seem to have finally lost. I guess blasting away in the sub-continent allows Muslim fanatics to check a lot of items off their lists: Jews? Check. Western tourists? Check. Cow-worshipping heathens? Check. Sowing third-world panic? Check. What a bonanza, huh?

- Around the Horn of Africa, Somali pirates are still at it. Most recent victim is a chemical tanker. I just find it hard to believe these characters are as effective as they are. How do a bunch of frickin' goat herders in speedboats capture a super-tanker? Shouldn't the tanker driver be able to floor it and keep going? Boarding a ship in-motion on the high seas is not an easy thing to do, or so I've heard. If said ship is doing 15 knots and throwing up a massive wake, it seems like it would be pretty near impossible, wouldn't it. I guess the threat of an RPG through the windshield is somewhat intimidating, but those things aren't easy to fire from a bobby little speedboad either. Just don't get it.

- In yet more happy Africa news, Nigerians are killing each other yet again. This time it's over which religous-affiliated political party won elections. Good thing the world economy doesn't depend on Nigeria for oil or anything like that. Er, wait a minute...

- On a much lighter note, there's yet ANOTHER monster college football game in the Big 12 tonight. OU vs. Okie State has all sorts of possible ripple effects, and the entire south Plains will be tuned in, including usn's at the CIT Compound. This season, already the greatest ever, just keeps getting better.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Religous humor

A woman walks into the Post Office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards.

"What denomination?" asks the clerk.

"Oh, good heavens! Have we come to this?" said the woman. "Well, give me 50 Baptist and 50 Catholic and one Methodist."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Boomer. Sooner.


Wow, what an ass-kicking THAT was. I expected Oklahoma to win, and win convincingly, but I never imagined 65-21.

If we assume everyone wins out, I think you have to take the Sooners for the Big 12 Championship game, and the National Title. I hate to say it, but I just don't see how Texas squeaks into things now. That was too big a whuppin'.

What a bummer, too. I was looking forward to a good game. Not a total snoozer like that.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Two pieces of SHOCKING news this Friday afternoon

Citigroup, once the biggest financial services firm on the planet, is circling the drain. It's stock, which had stalled around $50 for years, is now selling for $4.

Almost 300 cholera deaths have been reported in Zimbabwe. Is this the summer that finally turns sad Zimbabwe into the Ethiopia of the late 2000's?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The decline of Jerusalem

Editor's Note: This one sat in the Draft bin for some time as well. I forget when I actually wrote it, but it's safe to say it was at least a week ago. Again, don't know if that changes anything....

Interesting article on the Beeb today regarding the plight of Jerusalem. I guess I never really thought about it, but Jerusalem is a mess, it's getting worse, and there is no solution on the horizon.

The problems are several: A massive influx of Chabad/Lubavitch/Hasidic/Haredi ultra-orthodox Jews, an exodus of secular Jews, the Intifada and its aftermath, and the wall all play a part in the decline of the ancient and holy city.

The Haredim, who represent (in my opinion) the worst kind of intolerant, fanatical, ignorant, and vindictive humans on the planet, right up there with any toothless fundamentalist Muslim cleric you care to name, are probably the biggest part of the problem. When they move in, things typically don't go too well for everyone else in the neighborhood.

The Haredim move in large groups, partially because they have a ton of kids, and partially because their lifestyle only works if they are surrounded by their own ilk. That, and they generate such ill will, and stand out so egregiously, they become targets on their own.

So, a group of Haredi families decide a certain neighborhood is to their liking. They come traipsing in, buy properties for far more than they are worth, thus quickly setting up shop, and then start enforcing their will on anyone who hasn't moved out when the moving was good. They are intolerant of women not pretty much burqa'd up (floor length dresses, long sleeves, high collars, and wigs), intolerant of anyone doing anything other than praying on Saturday, intolerant of anyone not keeping the strictest of kosher, and on and on. And they're mean about it too. Harassment, physical confrontation, sneaky stuff, violence, it's all fair game to them. If you're not one of them, you are the enemy. Jewish, Muslim, Arab, Euro, it doesn't matter.

I hate these guys. They are extremists, and I have no patience for extremists of any stripe. They are the Jews that most of humanity dislikes, and I can see why.

Given the choice of living amongst these intolerant jerks or bailing, secular Jews (the Jews who built Israel and won all its wars, by the way) are bailing. And with their exit, there goes most of the municipal tax base – Haredi men don't work, they study Torah, which is a lovely ideal, but if you're going to have 12 kids, get a frickin' job.

As the productive secular Jews leave, the Palestinians also stay away. The Palestinian middle class moved deep into the West Bank years ago. With the Intifada raging a few years ago, they stopped coming to Jerusalem, preferring to do their shopping and living in Ramallah, or along the river, or somewhere the bullets were not flying. Now, the Israelis have built the wall, and coming and going is tougher than it used to be, so the middle class stays where it is, does its shopping where it is, and spends less time and money in Jerusalem.

All of which is to say Jerusalem has become a crap place to live and work. We haven't even mentioned the unending construction of the light rail, which has caused traffic chaos in the city which probably invented traffic chaos.

At some point, the thrill of living and working in the epicenter of religion for about three quarters of the world, one of the most ancient, historical spots on Earth, probably wears off. Then, you're left with asshole neighbors, a shrinking tax base, a lot of dirt and intolerance, and not many good reasons to put up with it.

Update from Sportsville

Editor's Note: This was written last Sunday, prior to Cowboys-Redskins. I'm not sure that changes anything. Just thought you should know.

I need to apologize to all my fans.

I have let you down. I have let myself down. My blogging has been HORRIBLE this football season. If you were to take a peek into the chaos that is the inside of my melon, you might cut me some slack.

Well, some of you might cut me some slack.

OK, none of you would cut me any slack whatsoever. In fact, you'd likely give me a lot more grief than you have.

I feel guilty for abandoning you during one of the greatest college football seasons ever in the history of ever. I've forced you to turn to the likes of Frank DeFord, Rick Reilly, and other ink-stained wretches for your sports insight. What have any of THOSE guys ever done?

I'm so sorry.

My goodness, what a season it has been in D-1 college football, hasn't it? Any debate left regarding the identity of the premier football conference in the land? I didn't think so. You can have your SEC, which is still a fine conference full of outstanding teams. I will take that Big Twelve Conference, if you don't mind. This has been the first weekend since late Sept when there wasn't a titanic clash of national powers somewhere on the Plains, and the pace picks right back up next Sat night in Norman. The delicious scenario of a three-way tie for the Big 12 South looms likely, as I am betting both my kidneys and all of my lungs (what?) on Oklahoma to beat Tech.

I mean, come on. If you're gambling major organs, who do you trust more? Stoops, or that pirate guy?

The poll, bowl, and Championship scenarios are too many, and too complex, for my simple little pea-brain to grasp. All I know is this could be precedent-setting, historical, and a hell of a lot of fun.

And thank the sweet, sweet Creator of Us All we have D-1 college football to hold our attention. Because the local pro sports scene is the worst it has EVER been.

The Rangers are dead, buried, forgotten, etc for the rest of the year, giving us some measure of relief from that misery. However, the boys of Autumn and Winter are faring no better.

The Mavericks? My God, has a window ever slammed shut with so much force and finality as the Mavericks' championship opportunity? This team SUCKS. Somewhere, Avery Johnson is doing shots of Tabasco sauce, soaking his feet in pots of jambalaya, and laughing his New Orleans ass off. The Kidd trade was a disaster, and we're only now seeing just how big a disaster it was. Cuban has proven to be far too much of a player's owner. Donnie Nelson is hiding under his desk, attempting to avoid the public and thus blame for this mess. Dirk is sitting in a massive leather wing chair in his darkened map room, wearing only BVDs and a helmet with a spike on it, taking the occasional slug from a bottle of schnapps, and wondering how his career turned into such a mess. And Rick Carlyle is trying to remember why this job looked like a good idea 4 months ago.

The Mavericks are done. They will not be good again for at least 5 years. The only question worth pondering right now is what does Dirk have to do to get into the Hall of Fame without a ring.

Sad.

The Stars are no better, although it's harder to figure out what the heck has happened at the StarCenter in Frisco. What, exactly, is different this year? Were the now-departed spares like Matty Norstrom so important?

I have no idea. However, it seems like a coaching change may be enough to spark this bunch. I hate to say that, as Tippett hasn't done anything really badly, and he's a stand-up guy. However, for whatever reason, he seems to have lost his room. A new voice may be what's needed. The talent seems to be here – last year's playoff run would sorta indicate it, I think. I see reasons to hope for the Stars, but something has to be done to shake the thing up before it's too late.

And the Cowboys? The biggest disappointment of them all, and the most unexpected. We should know pretty quick tonight whether there is anything left to look forward to this season. If the Cowboys can come out, slow the Redskins a bit, and get the ball down the field some, things may be OK. If we get a whole bunch of drops and Marion Barber 2 yard dive plays, and a couple of three-and-outs, I think we're done.

How were we fooled so badly? How did this team, which looked so good at times last year and early this year, implode so quickly and so completely? How did the coach respected as a defensive visionary fail to build a competent defense out of so many high draft picks and expensive free agents?

It has been more than 30 years since Dallas was completely shut out of the playoffs in every major sport. I fear that streak is about to end.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Off to a novel start


Here is change.gov, the official Web site of the Office of the President-Elect. Very interesting, very novel, worth a look for sure.

I don't know how much substance there is here yet, but it sure says all the right things...

BTW: It looks like the unrepentant right is having a conniption over this. People, take a pill. You'll have lots to bitch about after Jan 20. Why don't you all take a vacation now?

UPDATE: A bit more about change.gov - apparently some pages have been taken down, esp those providing specifics about our new Pres' plans. I agree w/ Boing Boing here - Team Obama got this thing up amazingly quickly. I'm willing to give them some time to edit on the fly.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

It's a new day in America

We have come a very long way...


It's early still, but it seems a foregone conclusion this country of ours has elected a black man to the highest office in the land.

I don't know how this is going to work out. I still have fears for Israel, I'm still not sure how he's going to hold up on the international stage (although I was willing to bet on him when I stepped up to the voting terminal last week - yes, I voted Donkey), and I really fear the unrepentant far right and their divisiveness (although I submit they have a ways to go to match the unrepentant far left).

Whatever.

Let's pause for a moment and consider just how far we have come in a very short period of time.

Would this have been possible 40 years ago? How about 20? For that matter 10?

No way.

Would this be possible in any other "developed" country in the world? Maybe. Alberto Fujimori had a bit of backing not so long ago. Regardless, it's hard to imagine similar events in Germany, Italy, or France, isn't it?

Like I said, I don't know how this all plays out. I am, however, proud of my country tonight.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Not dead, but wishing death upon others


Hello, fans of CIT. I am back. No excuses.

What prompts a post after lo these many weeks of silence? I'm shocked you need ask. If NYG 35 - Cowboys 14 doesn't get me riled, then I am truly beyond hope.

What an ace-whippin'! I am horrified by what I witnessed this afternoon. This team quit, and didn't care who knew it. Mike Jenkins' total give-up on Derrick Ward's final TD was only the most visible instance - the whole defense clearly stopped giving a crap in the third quarter.

If I'm Jerry, I'm firing the entire defensive coaching staff, up to and including Wade Phillips, and I'm doing it tomrrow. Hell, maybe on the plane home tonight. I'm not so sure Jason Garrett is everything we thought he was last year, but let's find out. The first thing Garrett should do as head coach is bench half the defense. I know there's no one behind these guys, esp in the secondary, but my God, there have to be some consequences for the gutless display we saw today.

For those of you out there insisting Jerry fire himself or, better yet, sell the team: It isn't going to happen. You may as well insist the sun set in the east tomorrrow.

I was disappointed by UT's loss at Tech last night, but not upset. The 'Horns left it all out there, McCoy was brilliant down the stretch, it just wasn't their night. My reaction to the Cowboy debacle today is 180 degrees different.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

45-35!


Number 5 Texas beat number 1 OU convincingly today. Texas' resounding 45-35 victory puts the 'Horns firmly in the driver's seat for the Big 12 championship and allows us to use "national championship" and "Mack Brown" in the same sentence for the first time since the Vince Years.

Next week's showdown with Chase Daniel and the number 3 Missouri Tigers (assuming they take care of business against Okie State tonight) looms huge. Is there any doubt where EPN's College Game Day will be on Oct 18?

And, not least, we can start using the terms "Heisman Trophy" and "Colt McCoy" in the same sentence as well.

VERY exciting!

Um, ooookaaaayyyy

Certainly looks safe enough...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ouch

Two ducks go on their honeymoon and stay in a hotel. As they are about to make love, the male duck says, ''Oh, we haven't got any condoms. I'll ring down to room service.'' He calls and asks for some condoms.

The woman says, ''OK sir, would you like to put them on your bill?''

''No,'' he says, ''I'll suffocate!''

The real Iron Man

Football Friday: Texas-OU, 'nuff said


The best weekend of college football is upon us, with many lesser lights also worth a mention. Let's get to it, shall we?

And yes, I know the logo is two years old. It's the best I can find.

Onward!

Colleges

Oklahoma St (+14) @ Missouri
Big stuff in a small town (yes, I've been to Columbia, and I don't recommend it), this one ought to be a shootout. Okie State is not bad at all, but the Tigers have it goin' on. I like Missouri to win, probably by double digits, but I don't know about 14. I'll take the points.

Penn State @ Wisconsin (+6)
Would someone please bury the Nittany Lions? I am so beaten by those third-grade unis and worn-out Joe Pa. Enough. Gimme the Badger Badger Badger Badgers.

Kansas St @ A&M (+3)
I don't think anyone in Vegas has seen the Aggies this year. They barely beat a terrible Army team. Kansas State is no Great friggin' Power, but surely they can beat the lame-o Aggies by more than 3, can't they?

Arizona State (+28) @ USC
It ain't easy being a Sun Devil these days. It probably never is - Tempe is a dump, although Mill Ave has its charms. Regardless, they are a long way from competitive. I wonder how USC will play out the year, but a demolition job here will be a good first step towards redeeming themselves.

Tennessee (+12) @ Georgia
Look no further; here is your Redneck Game of the Week. The SEC has slipped, and Tennessee's demise has been a big part of it. I still love the Big Gay Orange, but Phil is going to have to start paying his players a lot more if he's gonna get competitive again. Georgia mops the floor with the Vols, with a big "wa-hooo" echoing through the empty heads in the stands.

U LA La @ North Texas (+21.5)
Todd Dodge is inquiring about getting his mail forwarded back to Southlake. Poor guy.

OU vs Texas (+6.5)
The Biggie. I can't wait for this one. The Sooners are the better team, Stoops is the better coach, and the stars seem to be in alignment for OU to win and win convincingly. However, Colt McCoy is a one-man army these days. I like the Longhorn defense, although I will readily admit they have seen NOTHING like Bradford & Co. They say never bet with your heart. But, I'm not betting. I'm only running off at the mouth. I like the 'Horns.

Boston University vs the overly large head of Michael Dukakis
I was there during the "Massachusetts Miracle". I knew Lloyd Bentsen and you, sir, are no Lloyd Bentsen. Wait, what?

Pros

Jacksonville (+3.5) @ Denver
Hmm. I like both teams. I really like Cutler, and wish good things for him. However, I think Jacksonville has more. I'll take the Jags.

St Louis (+13.5) @ Washington
The Rams are so bloody awful, but a new coach may give them a bit of life. This is potentially a trap for the Redskins, and I would LOVE to see them step on their weenies. My usual rule is to take 10 points or more when they're given, and I won't break that rule here.

Oakland (+7.5) @ New Orleans
I don't get this. The Rams get nearly two touchdowns at Washington, but the Raiders only get seven and a half at New Orleans? The Saints showed me something against the Vikings the other night, despite the turnovers. Seven and a half is nowhere near enough. Give me the Saints.

NYG @ Cleveland (+7.5)
I keep waiting for Eli to turn into Eli. It will happen. Here? Good a place as any. Go Browns!

Dallas @ Arizona (+5)
The Cowboys will come out and steamroll the Cardinals to silence all the whiners back in Dallas. Adam Jones will have three interceptions and a punt return for a touchdown. All will be right in Cowboyland again next week. Really.

Comedic Value Game of the Week
Not as many choices as usual. This week, usual-CVGW-suspect Detroit is at Minnesota, and the presence of Adrian Petersen gives that game at least a little cred. From here, it looks like Cincinnati @ NYJ is the biggest battle of the inept to be found. The only question is which junior high unis will the Jets be sporting?

Go (insert your team here)!

The best one-line description of the bailout I have seen


From Doonesbury on Oct 9:

"...a game that privatizes profit, but socializes risk."

Put this way, it makes perfect sense. I am finally pissed off.

Feelin’ a landslide a-comin’


Is it just me, or do you get the feeling that the Nov election is going to be an Obama landslide of historic proportions?

I read an interesting MSNBC article today about some of the unknowns which confront the pollsters this year: The Bradley-Wilder Effect, undercounting of big segments of potential voters, and the change in the electorate itself.

The “Bradley-Wilder Effect” is, apparently, the whiteys who won’t vote for Obama based strictly on race, but who are ashamed to admit it when polled. The effect is named for two black candidates who ran for governor in the 80’s – Tom Bradley in CA and Douglas Wilder in VA. In both cases, pre-election poll numbers held steady for the black guy, but the white opponent received substantially more votes than the polls had predicted. This phenomenon has occurred in other elections as well, and there are studies which suggest it might be due to Ed Earl and Viola sitting in their double-wide, repentant enough to know they shouldn’t discount Obama just because he’s a Nee-grow, but still unable to resist the impulse to vote for the honkey just to keep everything all-white.

I think this was a bigger problem in the 80’s. I think we’ve come a long way since then. The phenomenon still exists, but I think the people out there who won’t vote for a brother just because he’s a brother will, by and large, tell you so. I don’t think there are as many closet racists as there used to be. If you’re still a racist in 2008, you’re old school enough to be pretty open about it.

The other two items on the list of pollster-panic-inducers – undercounting the young and the changing face of the electorate – are fairly closely related.

Pollsters call people on their home phones. The problem with this is there is a large, and growing, segment of the population who don’t have landline home phones. Up to 20% of the population is mobile-phone only. And that segment of the population is mostly young. And the young voter is overwhelmingly pro-Obama.

In addition, during the primaries, we saw many, many young and African-American voters hit the polls, many more than have in previous elections. Obama has galvanized these segments of the electorate in a way that John Kerry never could. A lot of people who haven’t voted before are likely to head to the polls, and most of them will be wearing blue.

The financial mess couldn’t have happened at a worse time for the Republicans, as well. The financial mis-management of the country we’ve seen for the past 8 years has come home to roost. I know, a great many things have been in the works for a lot longer than that, but the reality is the average American thinks George Bush broke the world economy. Can either McCain or Obama fix it? Hell, I don’t know. Get us off oil, and anything becomes possible.

The Palin move turns out to have been a mistake. A HUGE splash at first, a major shift in pop culture, and a Vice-Presidential debate that actually got watched, sure. But now the initial steam has been expended and we find out that, while she’s still sorta librarian-hot, if she were a guy she’d have been Dan Quayle’d out of town weeks ago.

The insane “I’m suspending my campaign to go work on the bailout” thing from last week was the final nail in the coffin, if you ask me. I’m sure it sounded great sitting at the conference table. When I first heard it, I was astonished at McCain’s guts for trying it, and thought it had a real chance to work. But it didn’t; it backfired big time.

All this leaves me thinking that we may be on the cusp of some real history here, boys and girls. I am going to go on record as predicting a HUGE win for Obama-Biden. Like, unmistakable-mandate huge.

I’m not going on record saying that’s good or bad. I’m not even going on record as saying which way I’m going to vote (like it even freaking matters – I live in Texas). I’m just saying that’s the way I see it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Daily YouTube: A stroll down Amnesia Lane

From the late 60s/early 70s: Jeannie C. Riley sings "Harper Valley PTA" live in Nashville.

Maybe it's just me, but this seems surprisingly relevant in today's nutty culture.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Full throttle

Then there was the dude who decided to go for a little nude swim in the moat around the Japanese Emporer's palace. It took police about an hour to collect him out of the water.

I sorta doubt the Japanese were as amused as I am.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, CIT


On Sept 28, 2005, we brought a bouncing baby blog into the world. Three years, and 1,600+ posts, later, we've solved nothing, changed nothing, wasted countless hours, had a few giggles, and generally entertained ourselves far more than the rest of you.

Thank you for indulging us. Thank you for reading.

As we go forward in year four, I'll remind you of our two-point plan for world peace and prosperity:

1. We must end our dependence on oil.
2. We must legalize, control, and tax drugs.

It really is that simple.

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Football Friday (sorta): I'm Not Quite Dead Yet edition


Oh, what a wacky week it's been since last I posted. I won't bore you with blather. Suffice it to say, little CIT has been pushed WAAAAYYYYY down the priority list for some time now.

However, we are back, and ready for a bit o' prognostication:

Colleges

TCU (+18.5) @ OU
This has the feel of an upset weekend to me. USC gets knocked off on Thurs, and it's just that time of year. I'm not going to predict a TCU victory, but I do think they cover.

Alabama (+7) @ Georgia
Oh, what a treat. A huge rivalry, a clash of SEC titans, AND Redneck Game of the Week all in one. Go out to the still and get TWO Mason-jars-full for this! I think the Tide wins this one, "Men in Black" or not. Go climb that there teler-phone pole, ring up Earlene and her kids, and holler "Roll Tide!" as loud as you can.

Tennessee (+6.5) @ Auburn
Another SEC biggie, and runner-up for Redneck Game of the Week. This one may be even more rural, but it's not as good a game. Auburn wins and covers, but I'm tuning in for this one.

Colorado (+5.5) @ Florida State (well, its in Jacksonville)
You know, the Big XII has, quietly, become the second best football conference in the land. This isn't as much of a mis-match as it sounds. I sorta like Colorado to go out there and defend some honor for the rest of the conference. An upset? Maybe. A dog covering? I think so.

Army (+27) @ A&M
Army may be bad, but A&M has shown nobody nothing (if I may double-negative you - it seems appropriate for the Aggies on several levels) this year. A&M may toss out a worthwhile effort, just because it's at home, it's finally an opponent they outclass, and it's an opportunity for them to redeem themselves slightly. However, I'm going to take the points, as I believe we haven't seen the bottom in College Station yet.

Arkansas (+27) @ Texas
Arkansas is bad. Really bad. I feel terrible for them (NOT!). With the demise of USC, the door is open for everyone. If Texas wants to get into the hunt, a blowout here is a big first step. Gimme the 'Horns.

Boston University vs the corrupt-yet-compelling soul of Vic Mackey
Michael Chiklis, BU School of Fine Arts, Class of 1985 (or so).

Pros

Denver @ KC (+9.5)
My goodness, Kansas City is bad this year. Denver looks like it might have it goin' on. Now that Cutler is all insulined up, he seems to be back on track to be a star in this league. I sorta like this one. Nine and a half is a lot to give in the NFL, but sign me up this time.

Arizona (+1.5) at NY Jets
Beware Kurt Warner? Oh dear, this is indeed a matchup of spare, middle-of-the-pack NFL teams. However, I'd give up a point and a half and take the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets for a quick payday.

Houston (+7) @ Jacksonville
Houston is becoming the Texas Rangers of the NFL. This team may NEVER get it together. I like Jacksonville, and I like them at home even more. Do I like them seven points worth? Ummm, yeah, I guess.

Baltimore (+5.5) @ Pittsburgh
There might be ten points scored in this game. I think I'd take the Ravens and the under at 34. Now watch Rothlisberger wake up from his coma and pass for 500 yards and 7 TDs...

Washington (+11) @ Dallas
I think the Cowboys win, and I don't think there's much drama. However, 11 points? I wouldn't bet a dime on this game, but since it's play-dough, I'll take the points.

Comedic Value Game of the Week
There's surprisingly few laughers this week. I think it's either Buffalo (whom I sorta like) @ St Louis - any game that involves the Rams has to be considered for CVGW - or Cleveland @ Cincinnati, the battle of the two last places in America I would want to live.

Go (insert your team here)!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Lies of Sarah Palin by Matt Tiabbi

Matt Tiabbi, among other things, write political columns for Rolling Stone. In the latest issue he puts forth his take on Sarah Palin.
Please read His Article and then check what he says against the facts and then make up your own mind.
I know where I stand.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

When smoking was good for you...

Ah yes, the good old days, when tobacco companies did the public a service by supplying wholesome, calming cigarettes to the populace. Some of you probably remember those days, when the cigarette manufacturers bragged about how many doctors preferred their brand, and advertising presented better parenting via tar and nicotine.

Those were simpler times, weren't they?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In Case You Haven't Heard...

EVERYBODY loves that



When I was a lowly High School English Teacher, one of my favorite students turned me on to good old Homestar. At first I found it amusing, then funny, then bust your gut laugh out loud face turn red sweat pouring off your forehead falling off the chair and curling into a fetal ball hysterical. Then I turned my son on to Homestar. We have been bonding over it (for his 11th birthday, I even got him "Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People" and he has been giggling, gaffawing, hee-hawing, and fart laughing ever since) and it has been a "solid" in our ability to get down with each other.

The best part of Homestar Runner is the Strong Bad E-Mail section. My all time favorite "episode" is, hands down: Trogdor. Next, of course (given my past), is: English Paper. Finally, there is the surreal jewel: New Hands.

As you can see, this is some seriously funny stuff on a very strange and endearing level. I just came across a quiz that lets you find out which Homestar Runner character you are most like.

Check it and wet your pants. Tell them Uncle Walt sent you.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monday Night Football comes to Texas


Lots more to come as we go thru the evening, but let's start with a one-word review of ESPN's version of MNF: Blech! The comparison to NBC's job with the argueably bigger Sunday night game is striking. NBC is nearly understated in comparison. ESPN is so loud and in your face, it's difficult to watch.

7:45 First Eagle drive is impressive so far. McNabb is finding open guys with ease as the Iggles march down the field. A big play by Ware to stop Westbrook in the backfield raises some hope, leading to a big third and three and one of the stranger incomplete passes you'll ever see. The Cowboys are lucky to only give up three on that one.

7:50 Nice return by Felix, wiped out by a holding penalty on Pat Watkins - hope this isn't a sign of things to come. They Cowboys have got to cut down on stupid penalities this week. Starting on the 14. Dammit!

7:54 Third and nine already. Great blocking and a nice catch by TO Owens moves the chains. Run blocking has been non-existent on the first two running plays.

7:56 HUGE TD pass to TO Owens. Beautiful pump fake by Romo springs Owens deep. I could have done without the chest bump w/ frickin' Rowdy, but the sprinter's duck going over the goal line was a good un. Liked the Eagle flap as well. 7-0 Cowboys. Nice, nice start.

8:03 Where is the Cowboy secondary? Everyone McNabb has thrown to has been WIDE open. And two more stupid penalties. Defensive offsides? What the heck is up with that?

8:08, 3:07 left in first quarter - finally a third down, nine to go. McNabb throws his first bad pass of the night and the Iggles have to settle for three. You have to like it - the Cowboy D looked like a sieve for most of that drive.

2:45 PLEASE NO FLAGS! What a frickin' run back by F. Jones. No one touched him! 14-6. YEAH!

2:30 Zach Thomas is everywhere on defense.

1:00 HUGE pass defense by Mike Jenkins. I thought that was six. Forces the punt.

:05 Yet ANOTHER huge play. I was all psyched that Romo somehow avoided the sack, then he throws a terrible pass and gets picked off. And now Henry gets totally JOBBED on that interference call - Greg Lewis grabbed his shirt and pulled him into the contact. It's hard to get too pissed, as the Cowboys have gotten away with two pretty blatant facemasks, but this one puts Philadelphia on the one to start the second quarter.

I'm only typing after big plays, but a quarter in and this game has been FULL of big plays. Yee-hah!

14:55 of the second: What was the O/U on this game? I WISH I had the over. 14-13. This is gonna be a shootout!

14:47 Oh crap. Jones muffs the kickoff and the Cowboys start on the 4. And then Curtis jumps offsides. PENALTIES!

14:41 WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? Romo just drops the ball, can't pick it up, then fumbles again, and it's a Eagle TD. Talk about a momentum swing!! What a brain-dead play by Romo!

14:32 How many big plays can one game have? Now Felix Jones runs the kickoff back 50 the 44. I'm exhausted and we're 30 seconds into the second quarter!

10:02 NICE drive. Exactly what the Cowboys needed. 21-20. Boy, this may be the first one to 100.

7:46 This is the single craziest football game I have EVER seen. DeSean Jackson didn't take the ball into the end zone, but the Cowboys didn't pick it up, so the Eagles get it at the two. I have never seen anything like this in my life. I didn't matter, but it's SHOCKING. 27-21 Eagles.

2:00 More stupid penalities keep the Eagles' drive in business. This is a real issue, but not the biggest problem tonight. The Cowboy defense appears incapable of stopping the Eagles.

Halftime: Holy smokes! The offense looks as good as they ever have, but can this defense stop anything? It sure doesn't look like it so far. The front has got some pressure on McNabb, but so many Cowboys have bounced off him it looks like a 5th grade science fair project on reverse magnetism. I hope Wade is wearing some asses out on on defnse right now. They deserve it.

12:45 After a lackluster series, the Cowboys punt. Let's see if the defense can stop anything. They've got the Eagles on the 16 after a good punt by McBriar.

11:50 They hold, but it took a DeSean Jackson drop and a few missed tackles on Westbrook. A MONSTER punt by the Eagle punter and the Cowboys start around the 20. They need a drive here.

5:08 And a drive is what they produce. HUGE run by Barber (and a near-decking of #22) was the big play, and Romo finishes it off with a beaut to Barber on third and 4. THAT was vintage Cowboys. 31-30 Cowboys. Now they need a defensive stop.

End of 3rd The Cowboy defense STILL can't get McNabb on the ground. And they still can't stop the Eagle offense. Is Pat Watkins an upgrade over Roy Williams? That facemask was stupid, but necessary because he got Williamsed (burnt) so badly.

14:17 in the 4th And they can't tackle Westbrook either. How does a 200 lb guy push over from a yard out without jumping? 37-31 Eagles. Last one with the ball wins.

8:52 McNabb has struggled with handoffs and if finally produces a break for the Cowboys. A fumble recovery gets them started around the 30. This is a big opportunity.

4:35 And they cash in. Cowboys 41-37. Time for the defense to nut up. A stop here and the game is won.

3:23 YES! A stop! Another penalty on the punt, but the Cowboys can run this out. If I'm Wade, I don't want to have to rely on this defense for another start.

1:58 Well so much for that. Yet ANOTHER stupid stupid penalty on Ratliff is going to cost the Cowboys the game. That's 10 penalties in this game. Why this team can't stop making idiot mistakes is just beyond me.

1:23 The front is finally getting some pressure on McNabb. The secondary is doing yeoman's work, keeping the recievers covered up for 10 seconds. 4th down.

1:03 YES! That has to be the ball game, right? How many timeouts does Philadelphia have?

Best regular season game in NFL history? It's the best one I can ever remember seeing. I don't know what was better.

The Cowboys still have to work on those penalties, though.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Football Friday: Ike'd up and ready to go (ROCK ME!)


As we await Ike, the lesser-known 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse, what better way to spend our remaining hours on this Earth than picking football games?

Onward!

Colleges

Washington State (+1) @ Baylor
Good heavens, Baylor is favored. I guess that's what happens when you lose to Cal 66-3 in your opener, as Washington St did last week. Still, it's sorta hard to figure. This game got bumped up to prevent God and His little buddy Ike from messing things up. May be over by now, in fact. I think I will break one of my cardinal rules here and go w/ the Bears.

UNT (+44.5) @ LSU
What is Coach Dodge telling his boys this week? "Guys, if we're lucky, the hurricane will blow right thru Baton Rouge and we won't have to go"? Well, the hurricane disappointed. This promises to be a bass-whipping of dreadful proportions. I hope UNT's cut of the gate is worth it.

SMU (+36.5) @ Texas Tech
The over/under on successful tackles may be around 10 in this game, while the o/u on duration is probably 5 hours. With as many times as these two teams will be throwing, this may be the longest game in the history of college football. In about 3 years, if we're lucky and June Jones isn't the snake-oil salesman I somewhat suspect he is, this may be a great game to watch. Not now. Tech covers.

Georgia @ South Carolina (+7)
Yee-ha! The Redneck Game of the Week is BACK, baby! No shirt, no shoes, no problemo, man! Pack your '77 El Camino full of moonshine and your cousins, even the kissin' cousins, and come on down! Which one will there be more of - yards gained on the field, or original teeth in the stands? Georgia covers, by the way.

Michigan @ Notre Dame (+1.5)
Oh. My. God. The world has truly turned upside down. The state of these two programs makes me question everything I thought I knew. Is passive resistance still effective? Is the atomic weight of carbon still 12? Is red dye #40 still bad for you? Nothing is sure any more. I have no pick, only sadness and dreams of better days in Ann Arbor and South Bend both.

OU @ Washington (+20.5)
Bad things seem to happen to the Sooners in the land of the Pac-10. Sorry, Coach Stoops, but I'm taking the points.

Ohio State (+11) @ USC
One of the few legitimate big games in non-conference. I like OSU's willingness to play the big boys early. Everyone is picking the Trojans to kill 'em. I dunno - I keep thinking USC and, especially, Pete Carroll are just a tad overrated. I'll take the points.

Boston University vs. the 1987 ROTC cadet graduates
Dan Haines (whom I have just re-established contact with after 21 years) and Pat Bomberg combine to pistol-whip the ghost of Pat Mancini, causing a late fumble and score. Raise your hand if you have any idea what I'm talking about.

Pros

New England (+1.5) @ NYJ
The tables have turned, or so it would seem. This is certainly not Tom Brady vs. Chad Pennington. Let's see what Bellichick can pull out of the hood of his silly sweatshirt. I'm taking the Pats until proven wrong.

New Orleans @ Washington (pick)
Someone needs to tell me why this game is pick. What on Earth do the Redskins have? Joe Gibbs hung it up because he saw what was coming this year. I think the Redskins have a chance to be really, really bad. Give me the Saints.

San Diego @ Denver (+1.5)
I think history will show that Phillip Rivers is a choke artist. Dude annoys the crap out of me. As much as I am a Norv Turner fan, and as much as I appreciate what he did for the Cowboys back in the 90s, I don't think much of him as a head coach. Shanahan, with his rodent teeth, will win the coaching battle, and the Broncos will win the game.

Pittsburgh @ Cleveland (+6)
Is Cleveland that bad, or are the Cowboys that good? We'll know more after this one. I would love to see the Browns put a whuppin' on 'em, but I sure wouldn't bet that way. Give me the Steelers.

Philadelphia (+7) @ Dallas
Should be a good early season game. There's a real chance that the Cowboys kill 'em. I think the Cowboys clobbered a so-so Browns team last week, while the Eagles got no test at all from a truly horrible Rams team. I think what we saw from the Cowboys was legit, while what we saw from the Eagles was a mirage. I'll give up 7, not happily, and will hope for a big Romo night.

Comedic Value Game of the Week
As always, so many to choose from. This week's honor goes to Miami @ Arizona. I really wonder what the Phoenix area did to offend God so badly that He sent them the Cardinals?

Go (insert your team here)!

Behold: Super-Phone


Well, I did it. I finally got rid of my craptastic Cingular 8125 Windows Mobile phone, and got myself a slick, new Apple iPhone 3G. The 16 gb baby. White. Hereafter to be referred to as "Super-Phone".

As time goes by, I'll provide commentary on its various bells and whistles. At this time, however, all I have to say is: My God, this thing is COOL!

Ike: Storm surge is the problem


Ike is poised to make landfall around Galveston, pushing an incredible amount of water before it. Ike's lack of strength (it's Cat 2 now and not likely to get much stronger) is more than made up for by the sheer size of the storm.

Waves are crashing on top of Galveston's 17-foot sea wall now, and the storm won't make landfall for another 12 hours or so. The island is likely to be completely under water for an extended amount of time.

Here in DFW, it looks like the forecast track has bent back to the left, putting the center of the storm pretty much right on top of us mid-day on Saturday. We can look forward to lots of wind and rain and, with any luck, that's all.

Best coverage is on the National Hurricane Center site, and Dr. Jeff Masters has a good mid-day update on his blog.

Hang on to your tootsies, fellow Texans!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

An impossible day to forget


That morning, I had arrived at the office a bit early and was pouring thru one of several project schedules, prepping for one of my marathon project status calls. I was way behind, in large part because I had spent the previous week in New York, working with my Citibank colleagues.

I was in an early morning, over-workded daze when in walked two co-workers.

One says, "Did you hear two planes have hit the Twin Towers?"

Like an idiot, I waited for the punchline.

I spent much of the morning in denial, much of the afternoon in frustration as the Internet, or our proxy, was slowed to a crawl and the office TV gave nothing but static. My only source of info was good old KRLD, where the anchors were clearly trying to pass along only confirmed facts, and there weren't many of those.

None of us will forget that day.

Here is a collection of the nation's, and the world's, front pages on the morning of the 12th.