Friday, August 31, 2007

The revolution will have a sinus infection

I'm not big on conspiracy theories, but it seems pretty much undeniable that the extremely rich are getting extremelyer rich, while the not-extremely-rich are getting, uh, poorer. Also, the number of uninsured people is getting higher and higher, and all Dear Leader can think to say is that people can always go to an emergency room.

We are moving towards a system (if we're not already there) where the wealthy and powerful elite get all the health care they need while the poor and wretched are forced to fend for themselves in the emergency rooms of the world.

Perhaps when Bush and his cohorts begin to relaize that the cooks and busboys are sneezing in their foie gras because they can't get any treatment for their colds and flus, then there will be change.

Or not. Perhaps this is all predicated on the idea that the sick will not be able to revolt against the system because they need bed rest.

Full disclosure: I have a PPO plan and still entertain dreams of actually having enough money someday to benefit from the Bush tax cuts. This still pisses me off.

I see ya won first prize!

By special request, lyrics to the greatest song about freeballin' Scotsmen ever written:
Well a Scotsman clad in kilt left a bar on evening fair
And one could tell by how we walked that he drunk more than his share
He fumbled round until he could no longer keep his feet
Then he stumbled off into the grass to sleep beside the street
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
He stumbled off into the grass to sleep beside the street

About that time two young and lovely girls just happend by
And one says to the other with a twinkle in her eye
See yon sleeping Scotsman so strong and handsome built
I wonder if it's true what they don't wear beneath the kilt
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
I wonder if it's true what they don't wear beneath the kilt

They crept up on that sleeping Scotsman quiet as could be
Lifted up his kilt about an inch so they could see
And there behold, for them to see, beneath his Scottish skirt
Was nothing more than God had graced him with upon his birth
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
Was nothing more than God had graced him with upon his birth

They marveled for a moment, then one said we must be gone
Let's leave a present for our friend, before we move along
As a gift they left a blue silk ribbon, tied into a bow
Around the bonnie star, the Scots kilt did lift and show
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
Around the bonnie star, the Scots kilt did lift and show

Now the Scotsman woke to nature's call and stumbled towards a tree
Behind a bush, he lift his kilt and gawks at what he sees
And in a startled voice he says to what's before his eyes.
O lad I don't know where you been but I see you won first prize
Ring ding diddle diddle I de oh ring di diddly I oh
O lad I don't know where you been but I see you won first prize[!]
A cappella with harmony available.

And don't forget, real men wear kilts.

Be careful what you wish for

Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast:
The weaselly Democrats are too fucking frightened to take on this lunatic [Bush], even if it means that thousands more American families receive the knock on the door that no one wants to hear. No price in American lives is too much to pay for them to keep their jobs and not have to expend the effort to explain to the Fox Noisebots in their districts what's really going on. God knows the Republicans won't do it; they're too busy getting off -- and making money -- off of the war effort.

That leaves the military. We know that Congress won't live up to its Constitutional duty to remove this guy from office before he can do any more harm to the Constitution and to our country. We are now left with only the hope that the military will rise up and say "Enough."

A military coup -- that's what it's come to, folks. Because that's the only thing that will rescue us form the clutches of this monster.
A few minutes later, she posts the ominous news that "[m]embers of the 1st Battalion 265 Air Defense Artillery have mobilized and are on a plane headed first to Ft. Bliss, then for federal active duty in the capital region." Although it's probably nothing, I am a bit concerned about calls for a military coup of some sort. They don't always go well.

Seriously, though, I have generally figured that if anyone has the capability to call Bush on his bullshit, it is the military leaders. I will never advocate any sort of military coup, just based on knowledge of history, but it may not come to that. (Fred Kaplan did offer an interesting argument last year that "a military coup in this country right now would probably have a moderating influence.") The U.S. may just run out of combat-ready troops soon, anyway, which presumably would force the civilian leadership to pay more attention to the military leadership.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thank you, Senator Craig

Just when I thought all the news this week was going to be dour political crap, here comes yet another not-so-shockingly pervy Republican to dominate the headlines (but, really, he's not gay. I honestly don't care if he is or not.)

To be clear: I feel no sympathy for this guy's plight at all. People who make a career out of trying to control other people's lives behind closed doors generally don't get my sympathy. But, really, what exactly did he do that was illegal? (h/t to Volkh Conspiracy)
It's hard to work up much sympathy for Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho). He had a perfect legislative score from traditional-values groups, a zero rating from gay civil-rights groups, supported the Federal Marriage Amendment, and refused even to commit to non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in hiring for his own Senate staff. But what exactly was criminal about his conduct in that Minneapolis airport bathroom?

From the arrest report, here's what Craig allegedly did: (1) put a duffel bag at the front of his stall; (2) peered through a crack into an adjoining stall; (3) tapped his foot; (4) moved his shoe over until it touched an officer's; and (4) ran his fingers along the underside of the stall divider. That's it.

Given the long history of police fabrication of evidence and entrapment of gay men in these sting operations, there should be no presumption that the officer's version of events is correct. But assuming for the sake of argument that Craig did everything the officer alleged, how was it the basis for a criminal charge that could get him a $1,000 fine and/or ten days in jail?
I don't get it--what exactly was the crime here? Sure it was lacking in panache (I think that word fits here), but how exactly is that a crime? If he'd run something other than his fingers along the stall divider, sure, but give me a break. The officer should have said thanks but no thanks and marveled at how effective his shoes must be at getting dudes' attention. No harm done.

Honestly, my libertarian concerns here even seem to trump my Schadenfreude over the poor Senator.

Anyway, thanks for taking my mind off things for a bit.

UPDATE - Lawyers, Guns & Money has some good commentary & links.

UPDATE II - From Whiskey Fire, sweet, sweet hypocrisy. And insanity.

Save the Redheads!

According to this month's National Geographic, redheads may be extinct by as early as 2060. This would be a true tragedy.

In tribute, (i.e. any excuse to put up pictures of hotties) here's another clip of Elizabeth Kucinich:



Not to mention Amy Adams:



And of course, Alyson Hannigan:



Then again, there's the danger of this:



Oh, I almost forgot Lindsay:

A little more on Sir Shits-a-Lot

First off, thanks to Mikey for his contribution to my earlier Ted Nugent post.

I also have to share these thoughts from Gordon at Alternate Brain:
I'm forced by way of disclaimer to say that I used to kind of like Ted Nugent. I knew he was a wingnut, but I liked his stand on the 2d Amendment and the fact that he eats what he kills. I don't do it myself, but I think hunting is fine.

That said, fuck him.
Newshounds has the story (via the Rutland Herald)of how Sir Shits-a-Lot repeatedly crapped himself to avoid service:
(Nugent claims) that 30 days before his Draft Board Physical, he stopped all forms of personal hygiene. The last 10 days he ingested nothing but junk food and Pepsi, and a week before his physical, he stopped using the bathroom altogether, virtually living inside his pants caked with excrement and urine. That spectacle won Nugent a deferment.
It's probably worth a quick review of what Herr Nugent said and did.

I concur: fuck him.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A visit from Captain Obvious

Ted Nugent is a nut job and a hypocrite.

Just thought you should know.

Drunken terrorist joggers, oh my!

I haven't posted all week, partly because I've been really busy, partly because I've actually been in a good mood, and partly because my daily scan of the liberal pinko blogosphere hasn't yielded much to raise my ire.

Until now.

I will take the liberty of posting the sordid tale in its entirety:
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Two people who sprinkled flour in a parking lot to mark a trail for their offbeat running club inadvertently caused a bioterrorism scare and now face a felony charge.

The sprinkled powder forced hundreds to evacuate an IKEA furniture store Thursday.

New Haven ophthalmologist Daniel Salchow, 36, and his sister, Dorothee, 31, who is visiting from Hamburg, Germany, were both charged with first-degree breach of peace, a felony.

The siblings set off the scare while organizing a run for a local chapter of the Hash House Harriers, a worldwide group that bills itself as a "drinking club with a running problem."

"Hares" are given the task of marking a trail to direct runners, throwing in some dead ends and forks as challenges. On Thursday, the Salchows decided to route runners through the massive IKEA parking lot.

Police fielded a call just before 5 p.m. that someone was sprinkling powder on the ground. The store was evacuated and remained closed the rest of the night. The incident prompted a massive response from police in New Haven and surrounding towns.

Daniel Salchow biked back to IKEA when he heard there was a problem and told officers the powder was just harmless flour, which he said he and his sister have sprinkled everywhere from New York to California without incident.

"Not in my wildest dreams did I ever anticipate anything like that," he said.

Mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Mayorga said the city plans to seek restitution from the Salchows, who are due in court Sept. 14.

"You see powder connected by arrows and chalk, you never know," she said. "It could be a terrorist, it could be something more serious. We're thankful it wasn't, but there were a lot of resources that went into figuring that out."
Have we as a society become so fucking paranoid that the first thing you think of when you see "powder connected by arrows and chalk" is that it just must be terrorist-related? I'm willing to give the average terrorist the benefit of the doubt and presuppose that he would not want to draw lines on the ground directing everyone to his bioterror materials. Of course, I'm not a terrorist, so what the hell do I know?

I am also flummoxed by the comment "It could be a terrorist, it could be something more serious." What, uh, exactly would be more serious than a terrorist???

Besides, if you've ever been to a Hasher party (which I have), you would know that they are generally far too drunk to be a danger to anyone in a GWOT sense.

I suppose we should thank Karl Rove and his ilk for making everyone so damned paranoid that I am afraid to use baking soda in my own fridge anymore for fear the maintenance guy will call Homeland Security on me.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Hmmm...does this mean someone can take out a mortgage on their implants?

I haven't actually read this article about "plastic surgery loans," so I don't know all the details of the financing options. My question is this: if you default on the loan, can the bank repo your new breasts?

Seriously, think about it.

Hey, hey, Rudy G, you're no firefighter, you're a damn Yankee!

Okay, that was my lame attempt to come up with a protest cheer. This was after reading this bemusing piece on how Rudy G spent about twice as much time in the months after 9/11 attending and travelling to and from Yankees' games instead of at ground zero, somewhat undercutting his claim that he was at ground zero more than almost anyone else. Like we needed any further proof that he's a scrub.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mighty Orbots???

I somehow missed these gems of '80s cartoon shows:



There really was a show called Dinosaucers. Somehow, history has mostly forgotten the show...can't imagine why.

I actually remember M.A.S.K., a little bit.

Basically, though, it would appear that everything is a derivative of Battle of the Planets, Transformers, Gobots, and Speed Racer, or some combination thereof. I'm especially amazed they were able to attach a plot to Pole Position.

I'm leaving Jem out on purpose, by the way.

While we're at it, enjoy some '80s commercials as well:



Where do people get these from? VHS tapes generally don't survive that long.

One final question: wouldn't being hit by a giant piece of fruit provoke some reaction other than laughter? I guess I just don't get Bonkers.

This one is just painful to watch...poor George.

T'underin' Jaysus, do ye think I'm dead?

For no reason whatsoever, I now present the full lyrics to Finnegan's Wake:
Tim Finnegan lived in Walkin Street, a gentle Irishman mighty odd
He had a brogue both rich and sweet, an' to rise in the world he carried a hod
You see he'd a sort of a tipplers way but the love for the liquor poor Tim was born
To help him on his way each day, he'd a drop of the craythur every morn

Whack fol the dah now dance to yer partner around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you? Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

One morning Tim got rather full, his head felt heavy which made him shake
Fell from a ladder and he broke his skull, and they carried him home his corpse to wake
Rolled him up in a nice clean sheet, and laid him out upon the bed
A bottle of whiskey at his feet and a barrel of porter at his head

Whack fol the dah now dance to yer partner around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you? Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

His friends assembled at the wake, and Mrs Finnegan called for lunch
First she brought in tay and cake, then pipes, tobacco and whiskey punch
Biddy O'Brien began to cry, "Such a nice clean corpse, did you ever see,
Tim avourneen, why did you die?", "Will ye hould your gob?" said Paddy McGee

Whack fol the dah now dance to yer partner around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you? Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

Then Maggie O'Connor took up the job, "Biddy" says she "you're wrong, I'm sure"
Biddy gave her a belt in the gob and left her sprawling on the floor
Then the war did soon engage, t'was woman to woman and man to man
Shillelagh law was all the rage and a row and a ruction soon began

Whack fol the dah now dance to yer partner around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you? Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

Mickey Maloney ducked his head when a bucket of whiskey flew at him
It missed, and falling on the bed, the liquor scattered over Tim
Bedad he revives, see how he rises, Timothy rising from the bed
Saying "Whittle your whiskey around like blazes, t'underin' Jaysus, do ye think I'm dead?"

Whack fol the dah now dance to yer partner around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you? Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

Whack fol the dah now dance to yer partner around the flure yer trotters shake
Wasn't it the truth I told you? Lots of fun at Finnegan's Wake

Fashion Industry = American Politburo?

I started having this thought after watching Zoolander for about the 50th time recently about how undemocratic the "fashion" business is. By that, I mean the decision from on high to introduce new styles or bring certain styles back, presumably because it is the only way to ensure that people will spend a shitload of money every year on overpriced clothing. (NOTE: Aside from the handful of links above, I have done no research whatsoever into the economics of clothing. I just know that I never pay attention to what is "in" this "season.") To me, it all seems very communist. Actually, I like the term "fashion fascist," now that I think about it.

I typically buy all of my clothing at one of three locations, and don't get rid of anything until it falls apart. I do occasionally spend a gift certificate somewhere more chi-chi, and it was during one of these trips that I had something of an epiphany: the saleswoman was trying to sell me an obscenely expensive argyle sweater. Given that it was 2007 and I am in my early 30's, I asked why the hell would I consider spending $100 on a butt-ugly argyle sweater.

"Because argyle is back," she said.

I pondered that for a moment, then calmly explained that, if argyle is indeed "back," that means that it must have gone away at some point. That also means that it will go away again, and I will be out $100 for a sweater that I could only wear for one "season." Screw that. To be fair to her, though, it really does seem to be back.

To give you an example of my thriftiness, I own three suits. Total. These suits were purchased in 1995, 1999, and 2001. They all still fit, and they are all still in prime condition (ironically, the newest one is showing the most signs of wear). Apparently, fashions have changed regarding cuffed pants legs or something like that, but I just figure anyone who spends enough time looking at my feet to develop an opinion about the stylishness of the part of the pants that might accidentally brush the ground is not someone I need to be overly concerned about, because they will eventually bump their head on something sharp and go into a coma and I won't have to listen to their fashion tips anymore.

The reason I am posting this now is because I came across this while looking for something for Zeta:

Argyle is back and perfectly styled for your Yuppie Puppy. Dress your pup in the hottest trend!
I think that should be the sign that a trend has gotten too hot when it can be used in the same sentence as "Yuppie Puppy." I think my dog would rip my throat out while I slept if I tried to turn her into a "Yuppie Puppy," and I think I would let her do it if it had come to that.

Today's global geography lesson

I have always been a fan of maps, but I must admit I haven't spent as much time looking at them lately as I did when I was a kid. It recently occurred to me that I have a certain obligation, as an intelligent human and taxpaying American, to understand the geography of these countries we are occupying, because I'm not sure the folks in charge fully understand it. I'm happy to share a bit of what I have learned, although "what I have learned" mostly amounts to a broadened understanding of my own ignorance. Iraq's geography includes tribes and ethnoreligious groups we rarely hear about on the news. Two maps particularly intrigued me:
--Iraq: Distribution of Ethnoreligious Groups and Major Tribes From Iraq: Country Profile [map], CIA, January 2003 (215K) and pdf format (216K)
--Iraq: Distribution of Religious Groups and Ethnic Groups from Map No. 503930 1978 (163K)
I had never heard of the Yazidi before this week, although they may have been the subject of an earlier post. I also had no idea the Mandaeans were still around. On the ethnic side of things, you have the Kurds, the Iranians, the Turkomen (not to be confused with Turks), the Assyrians, and so forth. That's at least three different religions (four if you count Sunni and Shia separately, along with Yezidi and Madaeanism, not to mention random Jewish and Christian populations) and five languages (Arabic, Kurdish, Aramaic, Persian, and Turkic).

Afghanistan is even more fun (so to speak). I'm not even going to try to count all the provinces. The 11 ethnolinguistic groups listed on at least one map are also quite diverse: some Iranian language family, some Turkic, a little bit of "Other" thrown in.

Given how determined some people are to have a single official language here in the U.S., I kind of wonder if we can ever really understand the hodgepodge that is these two countries.

Man, that's kind of depressing. I hope you were at least enlightened a little.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Memo to Democrats: Stop being wusses

Dear Democrats (you know who you are):

The election is a long way away, and yet you seem to already be fretting about how mean the Repubs are going to be to you if Hillary or--gasp--Al Gore gets the nomination and makes electioneering that much more of a challenge. First off, the Repubs aren't exactly awash in popularity right now. Second, it's not like you don't have a lot of time between now and the election to, you know, campaign. It has been pointed out so many times that my head hurts that the Repubs' use of fear, and fear alone, as a campaign strategy is only effective if you let it be effective. Now quit your damn whining and start doing something, or else I'm going to start an American offshoot of Poland's Beer Lovers' Party, and we're going to win us some elections.

Sincerely,
CP, Esq.

"Unnecessary 'quotation' marks"

I find the "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks to be a fund diversion (h/t Orin Kerr).

A somewhat moronic pastime for my friends and me during periods of drunkenness in college was to put unnecessary "finger quotes" around literal phrases (e.g. After your date, do you plan on having "sexual intercourse?")

Yes, we were dorks. Still, it's "nice" to see the tradition "continued."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

His journey to unintentional self-parody is complete

I think I will start a whole separate category for making fun of Bill O'Reilly, because he makes it so dang easy. First he was warning us of roving gangs of lesbians, and now here is a humorous deconstruction of how he may be stiffening his loofah for Matt Damon. The jokes write themselves, I tell you.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The sins of the father

It seems Bush the Elder, awash in criticism of Bush the Lesser, is sad about the whole affair. I say suck it up and reap what you have sown--I second the thoughts offered by No More Mr. Nice Blog, who clearly had more coffee in his system when he wrote his post.

No good deed goes unpunished

This was strange cognitive dissonance. An op/ed from a Californian appears today, discussing the kindness of Texans, including one who stopped to render aid when his hippie-mobile (sorry, Prius) broke down by the side of the road. Then there is an article about a shootout that killed three people in Dallas--two people stopped to help what they thought was a motorist who had just had a wreck, but then said motorist shot both of them and killed himself.

There's really no point to this post, other than to say it's a fucked-up world, and most Texans really are very nice.

Friday, August 10, 2007

So romantic...so sad...

Watch out for lesbian gangs

The comedy practically writes itself.

Hey, if America can do it...

Zimbabwe. Not the number one place you think of for political freedom. Now their new warrantless wiretapping law has as its justification...wait for it...the U.S. warrantless wiretapping law!!!

How proud we should be.

Fuck.

I crown thee King of the Understatement

Rudy G., who may very well be able to fellate himself soon (at least politically speaking), had this to say about himself:
"I was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers. ... I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them."
Michael Palladino, head of the Detectives Endowment Association, the union of NYPD detectives, had this to say in response:
"As a result of their hard work, many are sick and injured. The mayor, although he did a fine job with 9/11, I don't think he rises to the level of being an equal with those men and women who were involved in the rescue, recovery and cleanup."
Shorter version: no you are not. Delightfully understated, I say.

Now please stop playing that annoying song!!!

Amy Winehouse is in rehab.

Insert ironic comment here.

Generation Chickenhawk in action!!!

Mitt Romney, on the courageous service of his progeny:
"One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president."
Yes, this is true American valor. I can't wait for the Michael Bay film that's sure to follow--let's call it the "Flying Romneys" and cast Matt Damon as Tagg. There's bound to be a part for Clint Eastwood, too.

P.S. - No disrespect is intended to Clint Eastwood or Matt Damon. Your movies rock. I'd like to see Clint play Bourne, Sr.

Whoa, these things are bad for us???

Remember the fun with plastic bags we were having earlier this week? Turns out they really are quite bad for the environment.

Woman sifting through plastic bags

Please please please do not use them as water balloons!!!

SFW?

The latest conventional wisdom is apprently in: John Edwards is the "angry" candidate. My question is: why aren't more people angry?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Rah-rah-sis-kum-bah!

Yet another actual Iraq veteran smacks down yet another rightwing bully on live TV, yet I doubt much will change about the "debate."
During a debate on MSNBC’s Hardball this evening, retired Air Force Lt. Colonel Robert “Buzz” Patterson, a right-wing radio host, gratuitously attacked Iraq war veteran Jon Soltz, the chairman of VoteVets.org, exclaiming “I am so happy you’re not serving in Iraq right now, stabbing your fellow men and women in uniform like you do back in the states.”

Patterson claimed that Soltz didn’t know what he was talking about because he “didn’t get the memo” that “we’re fighting al Qaeda in Iraq.” “You know what, I don’t need the memo because I was in Iraq,” responded Soltz. “You read the newspaper, I was in Iraq. That’s the difference between you and I.”

Patterson muttered back that he had “been to Iraq too,” but Soltz laughed at his claim. “Are you talking about your rah-rah-sis-kum-bah cheerleader tours that the White House took you on or are you talking about as a soldier who took the country?”
(Emphasis added)
It doesn't take much of a stretch of Godwin's Law to point out that the last time there were widespread "stab in the back" accusations, bad shit happened.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007

A new low in creepiness

A Republican Florida state legislator apparently offered oral sex to a large black man in a public park bathroom because he was scared of him and figured that would make him go away. Also, he was only in the bathroom to get out of some bad weather (why he was on foot in a park is not directly explained.) Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast has the money quote:
Scared of black men. Scared of the weather. Scared of their own shadows. That's your tough-guy Republican party for you.

Save the environment--throw a water balloon!

I purchased some provisions at my neighborhood Target the other day, and something stuck in my mind. There is generally no "paper or plastic" option at Target, so I went with plastic. I noticed the following ambiguously helpful list on the side of the bag:
10 WAYS TO REUSE YOUR TARGET BAG

1. Tiny Trashcan Liner

2. Doggy Duty

3. Water Balloon

4. Roadtrip Rubbish

5. Soggy Laundry

6. Ice Pack for Head Lump

7. Toiletry Tote

8. Kitty Litter Liner

9. Tomorrow's Lunchbag

10. Care Package Padding
Some of these are very good suggestions, while some are a bit odd.

1. Tiny Trashcan Liner - True, it beats buying brand new trashbags. I use shopping bags for my bathroom trash can, so I have the peace of mind that my dirty Kleenex will be safe in a polyethylene cocoon for a long, long time.

2. Doggy Duty - What's up with the alliteration? Still, I can think of no better place to dispose of my dog's disgusting daily dookie.

3. Water Balloon - WTF? First off, how? Second, why? Third, how does this help anything???

4. Roadtrip Rubbish - Nice alliteration. See #1 above.

5. Soggy Laundry - Is this to lock in the moisture, or to create a strain of super-intelligent mildew?

6. Ice Pack for Head Lump - Actually, this is a good idea, unless you turn around and use the melted ice as a water ballon.

7. Toiletry Tote - Huh?

8. Kitty Litter Liner - I have a better idea: put some litter in the bag, then put the cat in. Leave a hole when you tie the bag off, so the cat can breathe, then you have the problems of cat waste and shedding all contained in a single bag!

9. Tomorrow's Lunchbag - I shouldn't have to note that you should not use this option if you have already used the bag for item #8.

10. Care Package Padding - Uh, have you ever actually held one of these bags? They're not exactly generous in the mass department. You would need a hell of a lot of them to pad anything at all valuable and/or breakable. Having that many of them would somewhat obviate the benefit of re-using them. Besides, then you'd be depriving your recipient the joy of perusing your local newspaper or playing with your bubble wrap, and that would be cruel.

In conclusion, readers, do your part to save the environment by finding the most alliterate use for your old plastic shopping bags. Happy hunting.

Dear Iraq insurgents...

...when can America expect a thank-you note for our largesse?
The US military cannot account for 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to the Iraqi security forces, an official US report says.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the Pentagon cannot track about 30% of the weapons distributed in Iraq over the past three years.

The Pentagon did not dispute the figures, but said it was reviewing arms deliveries procedures.

About $19.2bn has been spent by the US since 2003 on Iraqi security forces.

GAO, the investigative arm of the US Congress, said at least $2.8bn of this money was used to buy and deliver weapons and other equipment.

Correspondents say it is now feared many of the weapons are being used against US forces on the ground in Iraq.
I'm sure these 190,000 weapons were not intended as a gift, but you should still at least say thank you or send us some cookies.

Oh, and also, please stop killing people. I know, I know, we're doing it too, but two wrongs hardly make a right, do they?

Acid cat

OK, one more:

Dune bunny

Too cute not to share:



Free Geek Hall of Fame membership to everyone who gets it.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Lots of fun at Makem's wake

I only just heard about the passing of Tommy Makem, the great Irish folk signer, via Jesus' General, and I am enjoying the playlist he created in Mr. Makem's honor. You may also enjoy my playlist, which is still something of a work-in-progress:


Friday, August 3, 2007

Bridge blues

I was horrified and saddened to learn about the bridge collapse in Minnesota. This is actually the same highway I drive on several times a week, except it's about 1,500 miles south of where the collapse occurred. While the collapse of one bridge does not automatically mean other bridges are in danger, this is as good a time as any to look at bridge safety overall. The picture is not pretty--according to Burnt Orange Report (using Federal Highway Authority reports), 193 bridges were rated as "structurally deficient" by the Department of Transportation in 2006. I've had a hard time making it through the 33-page report, so I don't know if any of the six bridges I frequent made the list. I will eventually find out, but that's not really the issue--all bridges should be routinely maintained and checked for safety standards. Tell your representatives.