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.