Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Irrationality

Seriously, I again have to question the wisdom of the idiots who run the stock market asylum. Either (1) the experts really thought that Tiger Woods brought a combined $12 billion in goodwill value to these companies when they were buying these stocks, or (2) the experts are just panicing now. Neither choice (1) nor choice (2) suggests that they really have a clue.

Link.

Tiger Woods' extramarital affairs could cost you if you hold stock in a company he sponsors or a mutual fund that holds stock in those companies.

A new study - not yet published in a journal - finds the market value lost to companies that had the golfer as a sponsor is already as high as $12 billion.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Iran

Link.
I predict this is the single event that will crush the tyrant regime of Khamenei and 'Nejad.
Let it be so.

Dumbass

Link.
Passengers told federal investigators that Abdulmutallab went to the bathroom for about 20 minutes. When he returned to his seat, he said he had an upset stomach and pulled a blanket over him. Passengers then heard a popping noise, similar to a firecracker. They smelled an odor and some passengers saw Abdulmutallab's pant leg and the wall of the airplane on fire.
Here is what I don't get: Why did he return to his seat instead of trying to ignite the explosive in the bathroom, where no one would be able to stop him? And why didn't Richard Reid try to light his shoe bomb in the bathroom where no one could stop him? It doesn't make any sense.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa

We have been following Santa tonight on the NORAD tracker. Currently, he is in Hartford, CT, with Providence, RI his next stop. Ella is beside herself with excitement. She has insisted on sleeping with the shades open so that she can see him if he flies by her side of the house and she happens to be awake.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Somebody hire me

Seriously, I could be a nationally syndicated columnist if this is all it takes.

Column title: "Violence based on hate has to stop"

Now that is going out on a limb. I wonder how he feels about violence based on love? I guess we will have to wait another day for that column.

Also, take note of the disclaimer at the end of the column: "The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ruben Navarrette Jr." In other words, if you are pro-violence based on hate, please don't hold Mr. Navarrette's controversial opinion against CNN.com.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Apples to apples

Let's see:
  • Jewish man plies child with alcohol at man's home. Check.
  • Man sodomizes child. Check.
  • Only people with "an anti-Semitic and anti-fag thing" will think that he doesn't deserve to live out the rest of his years in a mansion in France? No check.

Link.

A prominent Twin Cities lawyer who was in line to become president of the Minnesota State Bar Association was charged Monday with plying a teenage boy with alcohol at his home and then raping him.

The crime is reprehensible whether you are famous person who make movies or an average joe who just goes to movies.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Back on track

After a dismal performance last week against the Cardinals, the Vikes got back on track with a convincing win over a team that came in with a 9-3 record. Highlights here.

Monday, December 07, 2009

This is getting old

Today we attended the funeral for another former colleague taken before his time. Mid-50s and on top of the world until 3 months ago, when cancer took over. I have never been to so many funerals in one year. And only one was for someone over 60, and he was only 62. I'm really getting sick of it.

Tiger

Setting aside the asshole factor, I never in my wildest dreams could have imagined that Tiger would be so arrogant and reckless. If the rumors are true that he basically picked a different woman out of the crowd every time he went out "hunting," and that he had ongoing encounters with several of them, his fall from grace will reach historic proportions. He is Exhibit A for the axiom "the bigger they are, the harder they fall." But the real question is, why did it take so long for him to be exposed? It certainly sounds like this was an open secret, which is a concept from a bygone era. How did he keep a lid on it for this long?

SNL finds some humor in this personal disaster for a guy that I previously considered too smart to engage in such self-destructive behavior. Never in his life has he experienced anything but unending praise and hero worship. Now it is ridicule 24/7, and he has become the butt of every comedians' jokes. It has to be killing him.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

More crazy

Can't Glenn Beck just go away? To me, he makes as much sense as the average homeless guy who walks down the street muttering about the end of the world. But I guess that although I find his schtick annoying, what I find downright scary is the fact that, based on the ratings for his TV show, it obviously resonates with a not inconsequential number of people who don't reside in hospitals for the mentally ill. God help us.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

9-1

Highlights here. I don't know how this is going to turn out, but I do know at least two things. First, the team is playing incrementally better every week. That should concern the rest of the NFC playoff teams. Second, what Favre is doing at 40 is beyond incredible. Today's game may be the best game that I have ever seen from a Vikings QB. He was 22 for 25. That set a completion percentage record for the team. And the three incompletions were two dropped passes, and an intentional throwaway. Oh, and 4 TD passes. The Force appears to be with him right now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tom Petters

Petters may not be national news, despite his multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. In the era of Madoff, that seems to be small potatoes. But to hear him claim that his underlings pulled it all off (billions!) without him having any knowledge because he was distracted while grieving over the death of his son is insulting to our collective intelligence and a disgrace. I don't know how a man like him can look in the mirror.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Problem for Obama

It seems clear to me that Obama is not being served well by his protocol advisors. See here. More importantly, Obama has inflicted upon himself a problem that is likely to hurt him in the 2012 election.

I guarantee that these photos will be prominently re-displayed by the 2012 GOP presidential candidate. I can already see the GOP ads that will be along the lines of the "there is a bear in the woods" ad that Reagan ran so effectively, with these photos and an ominous narrative: "The choice is between a man who begs the rest of the world to like us [Obama], and a man/woman [TBA] who will not bow to anyone."
These are serious unforced errors. Elections should not be influenced by such trivial matters, but they often are. And if Obama's people don't realize now that this is a problem that they will have to deal with during their next campaign, they are stupid.





8-1

Another victory; 27-10. The point difference should have been much higher, but the spread was dead on accurate. Highlights here.

I'm starting to believe that this team might have a destiny. Yet, every season during my lifetime has, ultimately, ended in disappointment.

My earliest memory is (5 years old) crying after the Vikes, 13 point favorites, lost Super Bowl IV to the Chiefs. After that, there were three more Super Bowl losses, and multiple NFC conference championship losses that gradually caused a part of my soul to turn bitter.

So here is to hoping--as much for my 82 year old father who has been a die-hard Vikings fan since they were created almost 40 years ago as for me--that this is "the year."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Whale of an explosion

This is hilarious. This was clearly a guy's idea. "I know, let's blow it up."

Juggling

This is pretty amazing.

3D Sidewalk Chalk Drawings


This stuff is unbelieveably cool. Google the title of this post and you will find a lot more mind-blowing stuff.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Generosity

One of our local football players was making mischief during the bye week.
But one Minnesota Viking did something different last week. He spent a day with egghead intellectuals at a health-care symposium, then gave away $2 million the next day to improve health care in impoverished communities.
And Williams is not alone among the Vikings. AP gives a lot back too.

I'm proud to root for these guys.

Veterans Day

Here is the video of Obama's speech at Fort Hood yesterday. It will be remembered in the same category as Reagan's wonderful speech after the Challenger disaster.


Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Monday, November 09, 2009

It is a game

I expect professional athletes who get paid millions of dollars to show up for every game, if at all realistically possible. But there is a line between suck-it-up and outright stupidity. So, along that line, my view is that that anyone who criticizes Ryan Clark for not playing tonight should go out and stand on a railroad track and play chicken with the train. Make a bet in advance so that you can say that you did it for the money.

Link.

DENVER -- The Pittsburgh Steelers do not plan to play safety Ryan Clark on Monday night in Denver because of concern over Clark's health, an NFL source said Sunday.

Clark has a rare blood condition that nearly caused him to die after his last game played in Denver in 2007. Clark was hospitalized in Denver when complications from sickle-cell trait prevented oxygen from flowing into his spleen. He later needed operations to remove his spleen and gall bladder, and the 205-pound Clark lost more than 30 pounds before he finally began feeling better more than two months later.

Clark received medical clearance to play Monday night, however, the source said the Steelers decided it wasn't worth the risk. . .
How this was ever a close call is beyond me.

November 9, 1989

This is the 20th anniversary of one of the top few most historic days in my lifetime. It causes me to think of my younger days, and a man who greatly influenced the course of world events.

During the first semester of my freshman year in college, ABC aired the made for TV movie, The Day After. I remember having nightmares after watching it and having it really sink in for the first time that the entire country could be virtually destroyed within 30 minutes if a leader in the Soviet Union got an itchy trigger finger. That movie, as much anything, started my course of study in international relations and national security issues.

Two years later, after taking every available course at St. Olaf in those areas, I transferred to The George Washington University so that I could major in international affairs. I wanted to know everything I could about the political systems and military capabilities of the Soviet Union and its satellite countries in Eastern Europe. While I was in Washington, I was also lucky enough to procure an internship at the State Department in the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs. There, I got a behind the scenes look at how foreign affairs regarding military issues operate at levels that don't make the newspapers. It was absolutely fascinating.

During my college years, Reagan was president. Although he was caricatured by his opponents, particularly in Western Europe, as a war-mongering cowboy (not unlike another president 20 years later), I was absolutely convinced that he was pursuing policies that offered the best chance to protect the country from the potential catastrophe of war. And, in fact, his steadfastness in the face of the protests over the deployment of Pershing missiles and cruise missiles in West Germany led directly to the INF Treaty, the first treaty ever to actually result in the reduction of the number of nuclear weapons rather than just limitations on increases in the number of nuclear weapons.

But Reagan's greatest contribution to West Germany was a speech that was heard around the world. It didn't start the snowball, but it definitely gave it a huge boost.




Which leads back to this day in history. It would not have happened, at least as quickly and and peacefully as it did, but for Ronald Reagan. And for that, the Gipper deserves an honorable mention on this day.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Fort Hood

If this NPR story is true (audio below), it seems to me to be less plausible, rather than more plausible, that Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan (the shooter) had actual connections to (as opposed to a shared philosophy with) al-Qaeda. If this story is true, Hasan was desperately trying to bring attention to himself and his murderous and extremist beliefs and his colleagues and superiors were not listening. If this story is true, the fallout is going to be massive.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Monday, November 02, 2009

Benedict Arnold returns home


The traitor returned to Lambeau. And he lit up the Packers with 4 touchdown passes.
I'm sure that today he is thinking that life is pretty sweet. Highlights here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sleepless in Wayzata

I had a gut wrenching, isolated talk with a 10 year old boy tonight at our Halloween party. This boy has endured unspeakable tragedy recently. His Dad, my age, just died; no warning. My words to the distraught boy, which I deemed well selected at the time, seem empty in retrospect. The only thing that I could think of, in general substance conveyed over several minutes, was that "as unfair as this is, you have got to keep going on living your life one day at a time, while always honoring his memory." After an hour in bed trying to figure out how I might have selected my words differently, and still coming up empty, I gave up and got up seeking a way to distract my thoughts. So far, it isn't working.

What do you say to a 10 year old who just lost a parent?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another edition of "Not from the Onion"

I saw this story headline on an airport TV screen today and I had to look it up when I got home (3 hours late) to find out whether CNN was actually serious.
Mate debate: Is monogamy realistic?

. . . . In the age of hookups, friends with benefits and online dating, and as human life expectancy grows, is it still reasonable to expect people to pair up and stay monogamous until death do them part?

"It's realistic that some people can mate for life in the same sense that some people can play the Beethoven violin concerto or other people can ice-skate beautifully or learn a new language," said psychiatrist Judith Eve Lipton.

You have to be exceptionally gifted to maintain a monogamous relationship?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Polanski

One of my few readers has figured out what will enrage me. Hat-tip: DG.

I believe that there is such a thing as a victimless crime. But Polanski's crime does not fit into that category.

Gore Vidal.

In September, director Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland for leaving the U.S. in 1978 before being sentenced to prison for raping a 13-year-old girl at Jack Nicholson’s house in Hollywood. During the time of the original incident, you were working in the industry, and you and Polanski had a common friend in theater critic and producer Kenneth Tynan. So what’s your take on Polanski, this many years later?

I really don’t give a fuck. Look, am I going to sit and weep every time a young hooker feels as though she’s been taken advantage of? . . .

What do you mean?

The media can’t get anything straight. Plus, there’s usually an anti-Semitic and anti-fag thing going on with the press – lots of crazy things. The idea that this girl was in her communion dress, a little angel all in white, being raped by this awful Jew, Polacko – that’s what people were calling him – well, the story is totally different now from what it was then.

A "respected" author suggesting that the 13 year old girl had it coming? And I am anti-Semitic and homophobic for disapproving of an adult male sodomizing a 13 year girl?

I'm not a tough guy, but if any guy said that in front of me and I thought he was serious, I'm not sure that I could resist the urge to punch him. If we aren't committed to protecting children, we are worthless as a society. Gore Vidal is a disgrace of a human being.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Detroit

In 1950, Detroit was the 4th largest city in the United States. I have business there this week. My airfare was $1300. Today, that amount would be more than enough to put 20% down on a decent house there. And they can't even give away land. And the City's football team was the first to ever go 0-16 last year. Other than that, everything is going great.

Adrian Peterson highlight




I'm not going to post the game highlights as I don't want to see them again, but this particular play must be preserved. It will be remembered for a long time. The quote from the guy he ran over was that "He can't be human."


It reminds me of the first play on this Earl Campbell highlight video. I will never forget the hurt that he put on that guy.

Brett Favre's return to Lambeau

Yesterday was disappointing. The Vikings clearly could have won that game but for 2 bad plays and 1 horrible penalty call by an official that wiped out a Vikings' touchdown.* But they weren't going to go undefeated this year, and losing to the defending Super Bowl Champions at their house is not shameful.

I wonder if there is going to be any attention for the Vikes game next week. Let's check the schedule. Oh, yeah, it is the Packers at Lambeau. Homecoming weekend of a sort.

From StubHub.

Time Left to Purchase: 2d 2h 22m
Details
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers Tickets
Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 3:15 PM (CST) at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI
Section: Lower Level Sideline 115
Row: 1
Price:$2,999.00 each
Quantity: 2

This is the most ridiculous price that I could find for a non-suite ticket, but a serious premium will be necessary to score any ticket to this game. It should be fun.

* Peter King: "This game should have gone to OT after a Vikings field goal knotted it at 20, or the Vikings should have had a touchdown with less than a minute to go -- leading to a narrow victory."

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rerun

The NY Times is repeating this story. So I will too. This is an amazing young man.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Another Edition of "Not from The Onion"

"Sicilian prefers prison to house arrest with wife"

Marathon snobbery

As someone who has (1) run a marathon in extreme humidity on a course where the last 7 miles were uphill (Twin Cities: 4 hours 25 minutes), (2) run a second marathon on a flat course in perfect long distance running weather (Phoenix: 4 hours 10 minutes), and (3) walked a marathon with my wife on the hilliest course possible that ended with her in the emergency room after she battled through pain and tears just to finish (Bar Harbor: 7 hours, 3o minutes), I think that I have standing to comment on this New York Times article.

Every weekend during this fall marathon season, long after most runners have completed the 26.2-mile course — and very likely after many have showered, changed and headed for a meal — a group of stragglers crosses the finish
line.

Many of those slower runners, claiming that late is better than never, receive a finisher’s medal just like every other participant. Having traversed the same route as the fleeter-footed runners — perhaps in twice the amount of time — they get to call themselves marathoners.

And it’s driving some hard-core runners crazy.

And my comment is this: "Take the stick out of your butt and your nose out of the air, people." The faster runners never see the people behind them after the first 1/4 mile. Are you saying that it somehow degrades your accomplishment if someone doesn't finish by some arbitrary time that you consider worthy? If the City and the event organizers are willing to leave the roads open and to provide services until everyone who wants to finish gets to finish, why should you care?

And how many of you sub 4-hour marathoners can break 85 on a regulation golf course? If not, by your logic, I guess that you should be banned from even playing the game. I mean, when you shoot 100, it must make a mockery of an 80 that I shot 2 hours earlier. Why, I'm not sure; it just does.*

(*To be clear, I also don't object to organizers setting a time limit, just like I don't object to St. Andrews requiring proof of an 18 handicap or less to play golf there. But if an event or destination wants to market for the masses and you don't approve, don't go. Don't bitch that someone who you consider to be inferior somehow crashed your party.)

This is too weird

Link. The flight voice recorder will eventually reveal the true story.

Contact with the Northwest Airlines plane was lost for an hour as it flew at 37,000ft, sparking hijack fears.

The crew said they had been distracted by a "heated discussion" but officials will check if they had fallen asleep. . .

The plane's cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder have been taken from the plane and are being sent to the board's laboratory in Washington, DC.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not from The Onion

UPDATE: Maybe the first report regarding the "facts" weren't 100% accurate. My sympathy for this guy is now on hold.

Link.
SPRINGFIELD, Va. - Eric Williamson faces an indecent exposure charge after a passerby saw him in the buff in his own home making coffee.

It happened at 5:30 a.m. Monday. Channel 5 reports the woman and 7-year-old boy who saw him naked apparently had cut through Williamson's front yard from a nearby path. . .

They were trespassing, they looked in this guy's window while it was dark outside so he would not have been able to see that they were there, and they then called the police because he was naked in his own house. And the police arrested him. Are you kidding me?

Glenn Beck is insane

He truly is Howard Beale.

Link.
“We call them progressives [i.e., liberals] now, but back in Samuel Adams’ day, they used to call them tyrants. A little later, I think they were also called slave owners,"
- Glenn Beck.

Drunkest guy ever . . .

. . . caught on security camera.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Charley Walters is a dope

Link.
The Vikings' strength is defensive line, with stars Jared Allen and Kevin Williams. But they could make it even stronger by trading for another defensive lineman . . .

Although they already have Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, the Vikings could also add depth at running back by trading a precious draft pick for another running back. (And I could add depth at my canine position by trading Jack the Cat for a 4th dog.) Or maybe, just maybe, it would make more sense to consider trading for a defensive back, a position at which we need immediate help.

How he gets paid for this dribble is one of the great mysteries in this world.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Vikings: 6-0

Highlights. Based on my behavior, my wife declared me to be insane after the Ravens' last second field goal went wide left. She just does not get it. But I love her regardless of her faults.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Interesting question

Link. Read it all.
People can, and undoubtedly will, argue for some time about whether President Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Meanwhile, though, there's a simpler and more immediate question: Does the Constitution allow him to accept the award?

Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution, the emolument clause, clearly stipulates: "And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State."

This sounds like a technicality, but if it is unconstitutional without explicit congressional consent, it is unconstitutional. We can't just decide that we will respect about some parts of the Constitution but not others because they aren't that important. Out of respect for the Constitution, Congress should pass a resolution authorizing Obama to accept the Prize.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Words escape me

Link.

NEW ORLEANS – A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have. Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

"I'm not a racist. I just don't believe in mixing the races that way," Bardwell told he Associated Press on Thursday. "I have piles and piles of black friends. They come to my home, I marry them, they use my bathroom. I treat them just like everyone else."

Bardwell said he asks everyone who calls about marriage if they are a mixed race couple. If they are, he does not marry them, he said.

I don't even know what to say.

Pakistan




The situation in Pakistan is starting to make me very nervous. The Taliban with nuclear weapons would not be a tolerable situation. I hope that people smarter than me have a strategy.

Monday, October 12, 2009

5-0

If you look at the boxscore, you will find that a woeful St. Louis team had more first downs and more total yards than the Vikings. Yet, it was a blowout on the scoreboard, 38-10. (Highlights here.) But not a truly dominating performance. Two weeks from now, after we have played Baltimore and Pittsburgh, we will know a lot more about this club.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Cub Scout camping

My son and I leave tomorrow morning for an overnight Cub Scout camp where there will be approximately 5000 Cub Scouts, plus 5000 parents, and we will sleep in tents. If that is not crazy enough, the forecast for tomorrow is for a high temperature of 37 degrees (with snow flurries) and an overnight low of 24 degrees. Jealous?

Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize

Seriously? For what? Speeches? Listen, I voted for Obama, and I think that he has made some good foreign policy moves, but he has also stumbled. And what has actuallly been accomplished so far?

Richard Cohen is sarcastic:

In a stunning announcement, Millard Fillmore Senior High School chose Shawn Rabinowitz, an incoming junior, as next year’s valedictorian. The award was made, the valedictorian committee announced from Norway of all places, on the basis of “Mr. Rabinowitz’s intention to ace every course and graduate number one in class.” In a prepared statement, young Shawn called the unprecedented award, “f---ing awesome.”

At the same time, and amazingly enough, the Pulitzer Prize for Literature went to Sarah Palin for her stated intention “to read a book someday.” The former Alaska governor was described as “floored” by the award, announced in Stockholm by nude Swedes beating themselves with birch branches, and insisted that while she was very busy right now, someday she would make good on her vow to read a book. “You’ll see,” she said from her winter home in San Diego.


James Joyner notes that Ronald Reagan was not ever awarded the prize despite the fact that he actually won the Cold War without a shot fired.

This smells like a situation where a person is promoted at work over a more experienced and proven co-worker based on looks. It cheapens the award.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Twins win division

Unbelievable. Both going 17-4 in the last 21 games to come from 7 games back in September (and 3 games back with 4 to play, which has never been done bef0re), and the play-in game itself.

This is the quote from Ron Gardenhire, the Twins manager: "We witnessed one of the best baseball games I have ever been a part of in my whole life."

And this is from a writer for the Detroit Free Press after he described the ups and downs of the game: "This was one of the most amazing games any of us have ever seen."

And this from the beat writer for the Twins: "What a night. Unreal."

If I were a Yankee fan, I would be nervous.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Surreal

Favre had an almost perfect game to beat the Packers. It is feels great and weird at the same time. Here are the hightlights. And Jared Allen was an animal on defense. Sometimes it is really fun to be a football fan.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

My sports teams

The next 2 days, and possibly 3 days if the Twins have a playoff game, are going to be so much fun.

Twins vs. Tigers battle for the title on the last day of the season after the Twins were a supposedly insurmountable 7 games back in the last month
For the third time in four years, the Twins enter the final day of the regular season with a chance to win the American League Central.
Vikings vs. Packers on MNF, with Favre at quarterback for the Vikings.
"This is probably the most anticipated game I think, for a regular season game, that I've ever been a part of," Leber said.
I stocked up on Budweiser.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Baseball's code

I really wish that I better understood baseball's unwritten code. Like whether or not it is acceptable to try to steal signs, when it becomes unacceptable to try to steal bases, and when a beaning is not only acceptable, but the beaned batter does not get mad at the pitcher for the beaning, but his own teammate for provoking it. Heck, our manager said that "[t]hey did the right thing” by intentionally hitting one of our players with a baseball at 90 mph.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More Polanski

This has really gotten under my skin in a "Mussolini made the trains run on time so he wasn't that bad" kind of way. From an invited contributer on NY Times editorial page today we find this:

"Of course what happened cannot be excused, either legally or ethically."
But he objects to -

"[t]he almost pornographic relish with which his critics are retelling the lurid details of the assault ."

Meaning, he objects to anyone actually reminding people of the reprehensible nature of Polanksi's actions. And then there is this:

"His past did not bother me . . . "

I guess that he was not bothered like Frank Sinatra was not bothered by the bad acts of the Mafia guys with whom he associated.

And as I mentioned in an update below, Woody Allen has now spoken. A film producer who married his daughter defending another film producer who is a child rapist. I wonder if they have some sort of secret society.

I say, again, what is wrong with these people? He is a convicted rapist and fugitive who gave the finger to the justice system. How can there be two sides to this story?

UPDATE: "The French" don't seem to agree with their Culture Minister, whatever the heck that job is.

Seven Days in May

I really liked Seven Days in May. But this guy, who apparently worked in the Johnson and Carter administrations, is nuts.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Roman Polanski

I used to respect Anne Applebaum's opinion. Not any more. Polanski is a pedophile who drugged and raped a 13 year old girl, pled guilty to the crime, and then fled the country before sentencing and has been living the very good life in France ever since. "We should just let bygones be bygones" is a pathetic argument in his defense. And to call his arrest "outrageous" is, well, outrageous.

UPDATE: Link.
"To see him thrown to the lions and put in prison because of ancient history — and as he was traveling to an event honoring him — is absolutely horrifying," French Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand said after Polanski was arrested upon arrival in Switzerland to attend the Zurich Film Festival, where he was to receive a lifetime achievement award. "There's an America we love and an America that scares us, and it's that latter America that has just shown us its face."
There is a France that we love and a France that disgusts us, and it's that latter France that has just shown its face.

And Whoopi Goldberg says that it wasn't "rape-rape." That might be true; it was child rape.

What is wrong with these people?

UPDATE 2: Woody Allen wants Polanski released. That changes everything.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stupidity

Here is the definition.

"You have got to be kidding me" category

This might be the dumbest public relations strategy that I have ever seen. Also, finding a sympathetic jury might be a wee bit difficult. For Pete's sake, even Barney Frank is against you now.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

All Day

Today's highlights. Not gaudy numbers, but the man is a football player. Check out the play that starts at about 00:24. Rather than just step out of bounds, he decided to punish the defender.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Missile defense

For missile defense supporters, hold the hyperbole. If you don't trust Obama, trust Gates.
"This new approach provides a better missile defense capability for our forces in Europe, for our European allies and eventually for our homeland than the program I recommended almost three years ago," said Gates, who was defense chief in the last two years of the Bush administration and stayed on when Obama took office.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dumbass

Michael Crabtree could be the dumbest guy ever born. The NFL pays by a slot system. The number 9 pick makes more than the number 10 pick, and the number 10 pick makes more than the number 11 pick. You don't get to change the rules by having a temper tantrum. So Crabtree is playing chicken, threatening to sit out a year (and not get paid) and to re-enter the draft next year (where he will drafted much lower and, therefore, paid much less, because he will have established himself as a confirmed prima donna). The stupidness and greed (he has been offered $28.5 million with almost $18 million guaranteed) is astounding. He needs the NFL much more than the NFL needs him. He does not seem to grasp that fact of life.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Federer

You don't have to be a tennis fan to appreciate this amazing shot.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hypocrisy

The true believers almost always turn out to be exposed as hypocrites. Time to expose another.

Popular right-wing blogger: "Debating public policy issues is not "bickering." Disagreeing with a proposal to radically change one of the largest sectors of our economy is not a "game." This kind of gratuitous insult--something we never heard from President Bush, for example--is one of the reasons why many consider Obama to be mean-spirited."

Bush, 2001: "It is time to set aside the old partisan bickering and finger-pointing and name-calling that comes from freeing parents to make different choices for their children."

I'm sure that if I invested the time, I could find many more similar quotes. The point is, I can't stand it when either side takes a self-righteous "we have never done and would never do such a thing" attitude. It is all bullsh*t.

__________________

P.S.: Popular right-wing blogger's past proclamation: "It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Favre


So it is done. The local media followed his SUV from the airport to Vikings HQ via helicopter like he was O.J. Simpson on the run. This is going to be a crazy year. And Zigi Wilf got his immediate payoff; 2000 season tickets sold in 3 hours last night.

Personally, I'm not convinced that he has much left in the tank. However, a used BMW is still probably better than a new Fiat, so why not.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sadness

Today, the wife of a colleague and friend of mine lost her long battle with cancer. She was younger than me, and it is the second death in a couple of weeks of someone close to my age who had been a dinner guest at our house.

I don't need any more reminders that life is short. Please stop.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This is satire, right?

Let's just all go hide under our beds. Oh, we should probably also blow up the Statue of Liberty before the bad guys do.

Link.

MASSENA, N.Y. — It has been nearly eight years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but the fears and anxieties they gave rise to continue to take a toll on the design of public buildings. Even the words “United States,” it seems — when spelled out in the wrong size and color — can be an unacceptable security risk.

Four years ago, when the federal General Services Administration unveiled its plans for a new border-crossing station here in northeastern New York State, the design was presented as part of the agency’s campaign to raise the dismal standards of government architecture. Even many in the famously fractious architectural community celebrated the complex — particularly its main building, emblazoned with glossy yellow, 21-foot-high letters spelling “United States” — as a rare project the government could point to with pride. The Customs
and Border Protection
agency of the Department of Homeland Security seemed to like it too. After years of working closely with the architects, the New York firm of Smith-Miller & Hawkinson, the agency signed off on the final version of the project in 2007.

Yet three weeks ago, less than a month after the station opened, workers began rying the big yellow letters off the building’s facade on orders from Customs and order Protection. The plan is to dismantle the rest of the sign this week. “At the end of the day, I think they were somewhat surprised at how bold and how bright it was,” said Les Shepherd, the chief architect of the General Services Administration, referring to the customs agency’s sudden turnaround. “There were security concerns,” said Kelly Ivahnenko, a spokeswoman for the customs agency. “The sign could be a huge target and attract undue attention. Anything that would place our officers at risk we need to avoid.”

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Life is short

I have had too many reminders of this fact of life recently. But here is another.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Six weeks after Phil Mickelson announced his wife had breast cancer, his mother was diagnosed with the disease and is to have surgery later this week.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on its Web site that Mary Mickelson discovered she had breast cancer last week. She is to have surgery Friday at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the same hospital where Mickelson's wife, Amy, had surgery last Wednesday.

Sarah Palin

As I stated at the time, one reason that I decided to support Obama in the last election was because the idea of Sarah Palin becoming president scared me. It still does. With respect to the current circus, Eugene Robinson, a man with whom I agree with infrequently, states it well:

You can say that all of us who ever took Sarah Palin seriously -- or pretended to take her seriously -- should be deeply ashamed. And you can say that John McCain should publicly apologize for putting the nation he loves at risk by choosing Palin as his running mate. Imagining Palin within a heartbeat of the presidency should be enough to make even die-hard Republicans shudder. . .

The thing is, Palin's unsuitability for high public office has been obvious all along. Tina Fey got it right; the rest of us were far too reluctant to state plainly that the emperor, or empress, has no clothes.

There are basically two reasons the political class and the commentariat continue to speak and write about Palin as if she were a substantial figure whose presence on the national stage is anything but a cruel, unfunny joke. The first is fear -- not of Palin and her know-nothing legions, but of being painted as elitist and sexist. . .

The other reason Palin is taken more seriously than she deserves is that she has a constituency. Heaven help us.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson - RIP


The second cultural icon to go on the same day.

I was never more than a lukewarm fan of his music, but his historical status is undeniable. He was the Elvis of my generation.

Farah Fawcett - RIP


She lost her long battle with cancer today. I had this poster in my bedroom when I was in junior high school.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Iran

In my judgment, Krauthammer offers nuggets of wisdom from time to time. But not everytime.

This time, I think that his advice is not wise.

And I think that he is willfully ignoring Obama's obvious strategy, which is to tread very carefully so as not to taint the demonstrators as American stooges. Obama is prudently content at this point to let Britian do the heavy rhetorical lifting.

So far, I approve of Obama's moves, but this is a fluid situation. 48 hours from now I could be agreeing with his harshest critics if he doesn't adapt adeptly.

This is a big moment. A really big moment.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Book review

I have not done book reviews before. This will be my first, and it will be terse.

My Mother gave me a copy of Nelson DeMille's "Wildfire". The plot is right up my alley, and my wife (and Google) attested to the quality of this author's other works, none of which I had read. Sounded perfect.

I enjoyed the book to a degree, as I covered the 500 pages in a few days. But, overall, I found it stupid for several reasons including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The premise is that the US Government has a secret contingency plan which provides that if a nuclear weapon is detonated in the United States and there is no substantial negative evidence within 30 minutes of detonation that it was not the work of Islamic radicals, the US would automatically and without discussion launch 122 ICBMs at Islamic countries from Morocco to Pakistan and wipe them all out. No presidential authorization would be needed to launch these 122 missiles that would kill at least a billion people, and would contaminate the entire planet indefinitely. Under this plot, the President had to take affirmative steps to stop the launch of 122 nuclear missiles, not specifically authorize such launches. Hence, part of the plot is to have the President distracted and out of communication during those 30 minutes.
  • The hero, along with his wife, identifies the body of their friend and colleague in a morgue, the victim of a gruesome murder. After they leave the morgue and go back to their B and B and while they are unraveling a conspiracy of apocalyptic proportions with only hours available, they are uncontrollably horny and decide to use one of those hours to have sex.

I will stop there. The book was not an uninteresting read, with all of its flaws. But it made the early James Bond movies seem remarkably plausible in comparison, including the "Mr. Bond, here is my plan, you cannot stop me, and have a seat over there and enjoy some Scotch while you watch me destroy the world" final chapter.

If plots like this still make the NY Times bestseller list, I need to seriously consider a different line of work.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You want to do what?

It isn't that I don' t understand the issue but, still, this story has a strong "say what?!" factor for me, so I can only imagine the gut reaction of someone who is a more casual observer of the news of the day.

After so much bad news, it scarcely seems possible. But having regained a financial footing as well as a bit of their old swagger, major banks are racing to pay back billions of taxpayer dollars. Many insist they will do so by year-end. . .

But now that big banks seem to have stabilized, regulators are trying to determine how and when these institutions should be allowed to return their bailout money . . .

Weather oddity

The fact that I was even tempted to do a blog post about the weather (much less that I yielded to the temptation) may be a sign that I should shut this thing down. Anyway.

The Twin Cities blasted into a heat record Tuesday with a high temperature of 97 degrees, breaking the previous record for the date by eight degrees.

Meanwhile, as Granite Falls hit 100 degrees at 5 p.m., Grand Marais was recording 34 degrees, giving Minnesota both some of the nation’s warmest and coolest temperatures simultaneously.

Strange, indeed.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Did he really say this?

This guy just signed a contract for over $50 million for the next 6 years.

When the Super Bowl XLIII champion Pittsburgh Steelers make their trip to the White House Thursday, one of the players largely responsible for their victory over the Arizona Cardinals says he won't be attending.

Linebacker James Harrison said he'll pass on the invite from President Barack Obama. . .

"This is how I feel -- if you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don't win the Super Bowl. As far as I'm concerned, he [Obama] would've invited Arizona if they had won," said Harrison.

Well, yes, when you have a ceremony to honor the champions of a sporting event (no matter how silly how that may be in the first place, particularly when it happens many months after the competition ended), it is better to invite the champions, not the runners-up. I hope to heck that this is a joke and this guy is not really this stupid.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What ails conservatives, as described by a conservative that I can respect

Posner.

My theme is the intellectual decline of conservatism, and it is notable that the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings. That the policies are weak in conception, have largely failed in execution, and are political flops is therefore unsurprising. The major blows to conservatism, culminating in the election and programs of Obama, have been fourfold: the failure of military force to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives; the inanity of trying to substitute will for intellect, as in the denial of global warming, the use of religious criteria in the selection of public officials, the neglect of management and expertise in government; a continued preoccupation with abortion; and fiscal incontinence in the form of massive budget deficits, the Medicare drug plan, excessive foreign borrowing, and asset-price inflation.

By the fall of 2008, the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Conservative intellectuals had no party.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Excuse me?

Current banner headline on CNN.com:

"LIVE BREAKING NEWS: News briefing on future of Miss California USA Carrie Prejean".

Seriously?

Monday, May 04, 2009

Kentucky Derby

For reasons that aren't entirely explainable because I'm not a horse racing fan generally, I have always loved the Kentucky Derby. This year was a classic, the second biggest upset in history. Because I can, I will preserve it forever on this blog.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

John Edwards

There are degrees of asshole-ishness. By any measure, John Edwards clearly deserves an A+.
After the former presidential hopeful confessed his betrayal, Elizabeth Edwards writes in her new book, "I cried and screamed, I went to the bathroom and threw up." . . .

Edwards admitted the hanky-panky to her days after declaring his candidacy in 2006 . . .
Let me recount. First, cheat on your wife who is suffering from terminal cancer. Second, convince her to back your bid for president. Third, only after she commits and you publicly announce your candidacy, you reveal to her that you have been cheating, a fact that is sure to be exposed and will cause her incredible public humiliation, on top of the deep personal hurt.

Once again, a scene from one of my favorite movies seems appropriate, although I include it only for the last line.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The real world

Today, our son was told by one of his best friends that the "friend" didn't want to be friends anymore. The reason? Because our son is Hispanic and adopted. The friend later called to apologize, apparently on his own initiative, and to request a play-date.

I'm not looking forward to the cruelty of junior high school.

All good things must come to an end

An amazing streak ends.

Not unlike shooting 59 for even the most talented golfer, a no-hitter requires a rare combination of skill and luck for even the most talented baseball pitcher. But, as far as I know, no one has ever broken 60 on a regulation golf course four times in a row.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Twitter

I don't get the Twitter rage, and I'm not going to try to get it. I'm just going to ignore it the same way that I have ignored other crazes among some folks, like NASCAR and The Food Network. If Twitter makes the people who use it a bit happier, good for them.

But some people just can't ignore something that they don't understand why anyone would be interested in, so instead they lecture in a holier-than-thou-way about what other people should be doing with their time.

I really enjoy unintentional self-parody.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I've got to get me one of those!


Story.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - The Finch Arboretum is being overrun by ground squirrels, and Spokane Parks and Recreation is bringing in some special artillery.

The agency is using a special machine called the Rodenator Pro to detonate some of the estimated 100 to 150 squirrels tearing up the grounds.

Shades of Carl Spackler, the gopher-hating groundskeeper from "Caddyshack."

The Rodenator Pro pumps propane and oxygen into the tunnels of squirrels, then sends an electric spark that causes an explosion. The shock waves kill the squirrels and collapse their tunnels - but in a humane way, the agency said.

Chipmunks, not squirrels, are my problem.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Vet's dog murdered

Link.

All it took was the gunshot fired outside his Walker County home to trigger training ingrained in former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the lone survivor of a dramatic battle in Afghanistan in 2005.

He did a sweep through the house. Checked on his mother. And bolted out the door, where he found dead his beloved Labrador retriever, Dasy, a dog given to him to help him recover from his own wounds and the loss of his fellow Navy comrades.

Read the rest.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Simple explanation

This was sent to me by e-mail, so no link.

The financial crisis explained in simple terms

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Berlin . In order to increase sales, she decides to allow her loyal customers - most of whom are unemployed alcoholics - to drink now but pay later. She keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around and as a result increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi's bar.

Taking advantage of her customers' freedom from immediate payment constraints, Heidi increases her prices for wine and beer, the most-consumed beverages. Her sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic customer service consultant at the local bank recognizes these customer debts as valuable future assets and increases Heidi's borrowing limit. He sees no reason for undue concern since he has the debts of the alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert bankers transform these customer assets into DRINKBONDS, ALKBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These securities are then traded on markets worldwide. No one really understands what these abbreviations mean and how the securities are guaranteed. Nevertheless, as their prices continuously climb, the securities become top-selling items.

One day, although the prices are still climbing, a risk manager (subsequently of course fired due his negativity) of the bank decides that slowly the time has come to demand payment of the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi's bar.

However they cannot pay back the debts.

Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations and claims bankruptcy.

DRINKBOND and ALKBOND drop in price by 95 %. PUKEBOND performs better, stabilizing in price after dropping by 80 %.

The suppliers of Heidi's bar, having granted her generous payment due dates and having invested in the securities are faced with a new situation. Her wine supplier claims bankruptcy, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor.

The bank is saved by the Government following dramatic round-the-clock consultations by leaders from the governing political parties. The funds required for this purpose are obtained by a tax levied on the non-drinkers.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Panama canal

Most of us will never get the chance to go through the Panama canal. This is the next best thing. It is quite cool.

Impeach the SOB already!

Via John Cole.

This stimulus bill is huge, so disastrous, and so harmful to our country that even though Obama has been in office for less than a month, I think it’s already fair to label him as one of the worst Presidents in American history. – John Hawkins, Right Wing News

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

PETA's latest protest

The Westminster Dog Show.
So why's PETA doing this? Neo-Nazi dogs, of course.

Their goal, according to a post on the PETA website, was to draw a parallel between the KKK and the American Kennel Club. "Obviously it's an uncomfortable comparison," PETA spokesman Michael McGraw told the Associated Press.

But the AKC is trying to create a "master race" when it comes to pure-bred dogs, he added. "It's a very apt comparison."

The group passed out brochures implying the Klan and AKC have the goal of "pure bloodlines" in common.

Click the link above to read an effective and humorous mocking.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Good story

I see a movie.
Jan. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Florida State University safety Myron Rolle is bypassing an immediate chance at a multimillion-dollar contract in the National Football League to study at Oxford University.

Rolle, a three-year starter for the Seminoles, is accepting a Rhodes scholarship to study at the school in England . . .

He graduated in 2 1/2 years with a degree in exercise science and is pursuing a master’s in public administration, Florida State said when it announced in November that he was among the 32 scholarship winners. He will work on a master’s degree in medical anthropology there. . .

The New York Times said Rolle has been told he was projected to be one of the top 49 picks in the NFL draft, with the potential to go higher with a strong performance at the league’s scouting combine.

The top-picked safety in 2008, Kenny Phillips of the New York Giants, made $3.8 million this season, including bonuses. He was selected 31st overall.