Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Thanksgiving x2 (Hall Of Elders South And Aunt Sexy)

So I visit both sides of the family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The usual Thanksgiving plan is to hit the Hall of Elders South and make the rounds there before heading over to Aunt Sexy’s place where the Matron’s side of the family gathers.

You should get some background on the Hall of Elders South here. Ready? Ok.

So I get down there, and Patron, Sweetie Pie, and Uncle Dem were there. Sweetie Pie went off to do something or other, and the big sit-down happened. Solemn words were exchanged, appropriate thoughts on the departed Patron Prime, mention of certain birthrights. It was all very medieval. Eldest son and all that. I was surprised. And I sort of thought that might be a nice sort of tradition in the family. Of course I have to kick the bucket to do my part, and I won’t be around to see if anyone carries it on. Maybe I’ll do some ghost blogging from beyond the grave ooooooooooo! Wait. Wrong holiday. So after the ceremony is complete, we go to pick up Code Name Eagle and Little D, and head off to the Ranch, where this side of the family gathers. Special K was off with Special R serving Thanksgiving dinners in a homeless shelter. There is speculation that there must be cute guys working there too.

It was nice to see these friendly faces again. But the truth is the vast majority of these people I only see at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know the names of the elders, grandparent level, but most of the cousins and their kids I can never remember their names. It’s a little inconvenient, but since I’m not much of a talker, it all works out.

Before dinner, Eagle and I play basketball in the driveway with Little D and Cousin No Name, we’ll call him. I’ll have to remember to stretch a little next time, or just go easier on them. Sometimes, we hit golf balls down into the orchards. Somehow I have been fortunate enough to make impressive shots in both. Dinner was great, with all the typical food you think of. After, some of us guys put up the tables and chairs, and the women take care of the food. Don’t hate me ladies, it’s just the way things work out. Plus they always finish before we do. Once that’s done, I make a final goodbye tour, wishing everyone well and all that, and I’m out of there. Next stop: Aunt Sexy’s house.

Ok I guess I should say I try to make the names at least a little bit representative of the person to whom I am referring. Of all the Matron’s sisters, she’s the sexy one. Thanksgiving and Christmas are held at her house. By some happy circumstance, they were running late, and I got there in time to sit down for a second meal. Usually I get there in time for a late dessert, so this was a real treat. All the typical stuff here too.

After we all trooped off to a local park. Maybe a roll call is in order. Elder Prime, Matron, Carpenter, Aunt Sexy, Uncle Sport, Cousin Mentor, Mrs. Mentor, and their three kids. So my cousin’s kids, what is that relationship? I mean, the son of my uncle is my cousin. The son of my brother is my nephew. What is the son of my cousin? Anyway, the two boys Rocky and Leonardo and youngest daughter Little Princess were there. At the park, Rocky flew this glider he has. I know nothing about radio controlled planes, but the kit looked impressive. The equipment, fuel, starter, the remote control itself, it wasn’t some cheesy looking junk. The plane has a six foot wingspan, and is built out of balsa wood and other light materials. You fill the gas tank, start the engine, and hand launch the thing, just like you would a paper airplane, but bigger. Off it goes. And you just fly it until it runs out of gas, maybe ten minutes worth of flying. When the engine dies, you just glide in for a landing. Rocky can get the plane pretty high in ten minutes. It doesn’t have the sheer power to go nearly straight up, you just sort of climb in big circles, doing a few loops along the way. Rocky is a pretty proficient pilot. He can glide the thing almost as long as it flew under gas power. He flew it twice, and both times came in for perfect landings. I was impressed. I guess he’s not a little kid anymore. We headed back for pie, and after that, I was out of there, too.

And a good time was had by all.

Sunday, November 28, 2004


Strengthen The Good

Here’s a recent email from Alan, the driving force and organizer of Strengthen the Good:

Hello members of the STG network!

If you've seen the site recently, you know I've set up STG as a 503(c) non-profit, so we can now offer tax deductions to those making donations. So there's one thing to feel good about.

Here's another:

The C.S. Lewis Bilingual Gymnazium in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Go here to read more:

... but the gist is this: Slovakian teenagers, at a small and poor school set amongs the towers of a Soviet-era apartment block, trying to learn English (which they call "the language of freedom and opportunity,") but with no books.

So I thought we could help build a library, and have something to feel good about along the way.

Got an extra copy of The Fountainhead or Old Yeller or the works of T. S. Eliot lying around? Here's your chance to use them to do some good.

Remember: Don't just fight evil ... strengthen the good!

Best regards,


Saturday, November 27, 2004


A New Challenger (Green Day)

So I thought I would take notes this time in the little Burn Book notepad that came with my copy of Mean Girls. This shall be my concert notepad for the foreseeable future.

I felt like I left a little late for this concert. I gave myself a little less than three hours. Concert starts at seven, and I got there shortly after six. Maybe I should say I got to the vicinity shortly after six. You see, this particular venue has notorious parking problems. Or rather, it’s located within a city with major parking problems.

Amazingly enough, I managed to memorize the last four points in the driving directions and got right there. Unfortunately, I was so busy congratulating myself that I ended up driving right by a very close lot. And then, due to unusual turn restrictions, it took me another fifteen minutes or so to circle back to it. Probably the cheapest parking I’ve ever had in this city. Well lit. Open late. And once I got past the annoying pedestrians (who are probably the same jerks who block me and go slow in traffic), it was maybe a three minute walk from the show.

I didn’t even have to wait in line this time. The doors were open and lines were moving. Naturally I picked one of the doors with a female frisker. You may recall my complaints about women in service industries and wonder why I would make that choice. Or you may recall my complaints about my love life and think her door was the only one I could possibly choose. And you’d both be wrong. That is, if two people even read this. Actually, her line was fastest, and her frisking was very professional.

Way more kids with mom and dad than at the Prince concert, that’s for sure. I hope they’re all going to grandma’s for turkey, or mom will have a long Thanksgiving ahead of her tomorrow. But once in the venue itself, some of them took the easy way out.

You see, in this particular venue, for this particular show, there are no floor seats. It was general admission, and a quick peek at the floor showed lots of people sitting on it. One mom and dad at the t-shirt stand was overheard to say “We’ll meet you here at this t-shirt stand after the show. Not outside, right here.” and three 13 year old boys were off to have fun. Like me, mom and dad will be upstairs in actual seats.

The seats upstairs came in two levels, normal and super steep alpine, where I ended up. I mean, sitting in my chair with my feet on the floor, my feet were level with the shoulders of the girl in the seat in front of me. Who happens to be one of three girls with mom. Pretty steep.

Here’s a mom who might be a fan. The boy with her looks about eight years old. Oh wait, she’s waving down to the floor, and now I see dad and an older boy down there waving back up to her. Dad is waving mom down there, and she’s waving dad up here. Looks like they’re going to meet in the middle. A few minutes later, here comes mom with older boy, maybe twelve, but dad is nowhere in sight. Back to the floor for him I guess. Maybe he’s the fan in the family.

Holy crap. I have to say this place must be at least two-thirds under the age of 16, but I still see an old guy with a ponytail. By the end of the night, I would be relieved to find that he was the only one I saw.

Really no ads here, but they did make interesting use of two big projection screens while the bands were setting up. It was run by Verizon, and I had never seen this before. They put up a number on there to send text messages, and you could call it and send a message and the message would show up on screen. You say they probably censor all the good messages, and maybe you’d be right, but “Mmmmm, heroin” and “I like poo” both managed to slip through. During the first two acts, I got to watch the two girls next to me text message their friend back and forth about where they would meet before Green Day started playing. Hope they found their friend.

Ok the lights start to dim and everyone sitting on the floor below stands and move closer to the stage. The number of people down there probably tripled. Watching the movement down there was very interesting. Those guys that study bird flock flying formations ought to study this sort of stuff. Sugarcult started the show promptly and played for about twenty-five minutes. They were good. They were the first opening act since Bad Religion opened for Pearl Jam that made me want to buy their CD even though I didn’t know any of their songs going in. New Found Glory played next, for maybe forty-five minutes. Almost twice as much time to win me over and they couldn’t pull it off. Not quite as impressive. These two should have been reversed on the bill. But maybe it was planned that way to let the audience cool down before Green Day came on. After seeing Green Day perform, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

But before I get to that, what’s with all the F words from the first two bands? I mean, it was almost like “How much fuck would a fuck fuck fuck, if a fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck?” Blair Witch syndrome or something. By the way, that movie has not held up. Ask me later. Didn’t any of these guys see South Park episode 502?

I mentioned most of the parents are up here with me. I just got to hear two dads discussing the declining quality of mosh pits nowadays.

I was also entertained by the curse of the pole. Up in the seats here, there are supporting columns that can block your view. I’m in the perfect spot and the column blocks my view just to the right of the stage, which I can see fine. But there are a bunch of seats across the aisle from me that feel the full effect of the curse. It blocks a three seat range up several rows. You know I enjoyed watching people straggle up from below, thinking they found these great open seats, and sitting without checking the view. As soon as their butts hit the seats, they jumped up again like there were electrodes in there and moved on to somewhere else. It wasn’t quite as funny when I first got here and did the same thing.

God was on such a winning streak when he made bosoms. Amen.

Ok New Found Glory has finished and we’re getting close to Green Day. We’ve got a guy in a pink bunny suit dancing around on the stage getting the crowd warmed up again. YMCA is playing and he’s doing the dance and everything. I should say I don’t know if they do this in every city, or if it was just an ironic choice for San Francisco. The great thing was that most of the people on the floor knew the hand gestures too. Of course, so did mom in the row in front of me. Thankfully, the three girls got her to stop. The next song on the warmup track had pink bunny leading the crowd, everyone pumping their fists to Blitzkreig Bop. I felt better about the future of this nation when I noticed that these kids who weren’t even born when this song came out could still sing it louder than the PA could play it. The loudness of this audience was just a sign of more to come.

As soon as the last of the “Hey, Ho, Let’s Go!” was shouted by the audience, the lights went out and the monkey song from 2001 began. Don’t tell Incredibly Insightful Robert that I couldn’t remember the name of it. You know the one I mean, where the monkey first realizes that that long thigh bone can smash stuff good. Seeing them walk out, timed to the music, with spotlights and all, it was pretty impressive. Goose bumps. Just another example of excellent stagecraft. I don’t know if these guys just have a good tour manager or if they’re really genuis showmen. And as soon as the last note of monkey song hit, they blasted right into American Idiot. The place went totally nuts! Go buy the album so you can see why they spent about thirty minutes on songs from it, rather than just playing one or two singles.

This audience made me think of the Beatles, and how the screaming of the audience drowned out the band. These kids were loud. I’m not talking about when a band stops and lets the audience sing a line or two from the chorus. These kids were often singing over the lead singer even when the band was in full swing. They brought up a girl from the audience to shoot the crowd with a super soaker. Later, they asked for a drummer, guitarist, and bass player. They brought them up, taught them a couple of chords, and played a short song. Kind of like in that movie School of Rock when Jack Black first organized the kids into a band. The guy on guitar even got to keep it. They got the girl on bass to take a stage dive. I don’t know what happened to the drummer. Oh and here comes dad from the floor three hours later to join mom and the two boys.

Green Day started at nine, encore at 10:20, left the stage at 10:40. A great show. So how does it stack up? Well, Prince had a certain quality. A very tight band, extremely proficient, and excellent at what they do. Green Day plays a different sort of music, and while they say quality trumps quantity, they also say that quantity has a quality all it’s own. Prince trumped Bad Religion/Pearl Jam, but Green Day trumped Prince. It also reminded me of The Who stealing the show on this DVD here. I would definitely see them again, and I think 9,000 other people at the concert feel the same.

Update: Incredibly Insightful Robert even put up a tip that led me to the real title of the monkey song from 2001. Some info about the song, by Mr. Strauss, can be found here. You go look now!

Update II: Sorry for the delay. I spent about nine hours awake on Friday and fifteen hours catching up on sleep. Sleep is good. Thanksgiving details to come.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


Happy Thanksgiving And Stuff

Yeah yeah, I'm thankful for all the same stuff on all the other blogs you read today before you accidentally clicked on this one. Now that's out of the way.

I'll have a concert review, not unlike this one, tomorrow.

Have fun and be safe my little angels.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Miss Straight’s Views On Spoiling. Plus Some Other Stuff

You may recall Miss Straight from this post here.

Here’s a more recent tidbit. Miss Straight’s daughter asked when Miss Straight would be picking her up form this or that after school activity. The response:

Miss Straight: Ride your bike.

Daughter: But I don’t wanna.

Miss Straight: Then walk.

Neighbor Lady also says kids are getting too spoiled these days. I find that I agree.

So what? Yes, but these kids are the ones who will grow up to throw cups of beer at basketball players in another ten or twenty years. Quite frankly, if these kids were just taken over their parents’ knee once or twice, Artest wouldn’t have had to do it. Yes I blame the fans. Why do they get such a thrill from abusing others? These people do and say things they would likely never do to anyone they know personally. And yet doing this to a stranger is somehow appropriate?

Now that I think of it, it reminds me of the way the Dems behaved during the campaign. Just instead of throwing cups, they shot up Republican offices and destroyed campaign signs. Oh and attacked soldiers home from Iraq from behind. Oh and spitting on an Iraq veteran marching in a parade. Oh and rampaged through Republican offices, destroying property and sending people to the hospital. Everyone knows the Dems are the soft mommy party (perhaps the violence noted above can be attributed to PMS?) and the Repubs are the stern daddy. I think we need more stern dads in this country. But hey, I’m open minded. Stern mommies are fine with me too.

Of course, you can’t blame the fans without blaming the NBA for letting it get this far. If the NBA would get rid of these fans we wouldn’t have these problems. If other fans didn’t tolerate the behavior of the jerks, we wouldn’t have these problems. So why aren’t the conscientious fans or the NBA doing anything? It all goes back to the Declaration.

I’ll loosely paraphrase for you. Or if you want quality writing, you can look up the actual text. Jefferson pretty much said it’s easier to take crap. And it’s easier to take a lot of crap sometimes, than to do what needs to be done to correct a situation. But eventually, a point is reached at which taking the crap is no longer an option. I call it the Popeye Point. It happens when you’ve stood all you can stand, and you can’t stands no more.

I’m not saying we should march on our nearest sporting arena with muskets. Using necessary violence to purge those who are lesser is something I’d like to save for when I become benevolent dictator. No, my advice is for the players, and if I were a player, here’s what I would do.

First cup, or battery, or whatever that gets tossed, I’d have my team leave. Hit the showers. Get on the bus. Go. Why should I feel compelled by the NBA to take abuse or be assaulted? Fans don’t like it? Give up the attacker. That’s the part fans play. Bust the guy, and the players can stay and finish the game. If not, game over. Have him arrested and prosecuted. That’s the part the NBA plays. Bar the criminal from the arena. That’s the part the home team plays.

Am I really saying forfeit every game? No. Because it costs money to go to games. It’s very easy to pay $50, or even substantially more for just one person to go to a game. I’m not paying fifty bucks so the criminal next to me can throw stuff at the players. Screw that. It won’t take too many games before fans are eager to point out the criminal in their midst. What if they don’t? Here’s something for you: both teams take a loss, not just the visiting team. Neither team has an advantage in criminal fans then. If they still don’t, here’s another alternative. Flush the fans. Eject everyone in the offending section. How do you know which section? Run dedicated cameras for each section. Record each section of the stands. A cup flies, you’ll know which section it came from easily enough. You may even be likely to identify the criminal from the video alone. But who’s going to pay for the cameras and the people to run them and observe the video when necessary? The criminal. Sue him in civil court to recover the costs. And how do you get away with it all? You put in the fine print on the back of the ticket with the rest of the disclaimers.

Or something like that. I think this election may go down in history as the Popeye Point for red state America. Bush won an undisputed election, Republicans gained in the House and Senate, and even a few Dems are beginning to realize that an insulated, elite bubble does nothing but shield the elites from recognizing that the majority of the country does not agree with them. Have you found yourself wondering if a common culture of values was as important as many of the political issues on which the election was decided? And I don’t mean taxes or defense or education or crime. I mean just common civilized behavior. I’m not going out on a limb when I say that our society has become more rude, am I? There just seem to be more jerks.

Our Nobility Index was at an ebb, slowly driven back since (do I really have to say it?) the 1960’s. I suppose every generation tries to throw off the yoke of the ones who came before, but this time the grand experiment was a little more grand than usual. Maybe it was abortion. Or higher divorce rates. Or the sexual revolution. Some sort of code of honor or citizenship were steadily eroded. What was once considered inappropriate behavior (at least in public) is now often glorified; today, nobody seems to care much about what anyone thinks. How many people do you see every day who ought to be embarrassed by their actions, but aren’t? If your answer is somewhere near zero, you may be one of the people the rest of us are nodding our heads in recognition about.

The Nobility Index sank to new lows by 2000. Even then, things did not immediately improve. There was almost a sense that the will to fight a culture war had been lost. We had become numbed to the impositions on our civic honor. 9/11 changed things for a time. There was a new civility. We realized things weren’t as bleak as they seemed. And then there was the presidential campaign that just ended.

2004 was a long year, and there was plenty of time to for the spotlight to shine on our opponents in the culture war. Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Sean Penn and countless others whose behaviors should have been embarrassing, but weren’t. The perception of John Kerry was that he wasn’t trustworthy, and many of those who worked for him or supported him weren’t so trustworthy either. He never did sign that Form 180, did he? He never seemed like a straight shooter who had some sort of convictions. He never shook the perception of being wishy-washy. And whatever we felt was wrong in our culture and society, there was someone (and often several someones) on the Democratic team that implicitly or explicitly supported it. Or, again, was perceived to support it.

Look, after a time, you can get a feel for the quality of any person you know. You can tell if so-and-so is a good person or not, on whatever scale you use to decide such things. When I think about the New York Times, Dan Rather, everybody who knowingly peddled the phony AWOL story (and that was pretty much all of them), various celebrities, most of the 527’s, Democratic party officials, Kerry campaign spokespeople, most Dem-supporting talking heads, and even Kerry himself, sure, I don’t agree with many of their ideas. The thing is, separately from their political ideas, I just don’t get the feeling that they are good people. Maybe I should be more delicate and say that they don’t seem like the kind of people I would want to know and spend time with on a personal level. These were not the people I wanted to vote for. I’m not going to vote for a candidate if I think he’s not a good person. Once that threshold is passed, then I’ll think about politics.

This election was different because the campaigning and the advertising and the 527’s and cable news and the money were all hugely more intense than in past elections. The super-intense spotlight the Dems were able to shine on themselves only exposed them for what they were. That sounds more dramatic than it is. I just mean that it really stood out that these were the people who oversaw the damage to our culture. We weren’t numb anymore. Now we’re awake.

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Me Sleep Now

More tomorrow.

Friday, November 19, 2004


Team Magnum Cocktail Hour. Part Five

Alternate title: “Who Are You?” “I’m Batman!”

Princess Wolfie took charge. The 70’s pic? No go. She has a contact who can photoshop. And so we’ll be putting our faces onto various superhero/action stars. Princess Wolfie = Lara Croft. Miss Judi = Trinity. Miss Lola = Wonder Woman. Mr Texas = Superman. Sista Girl = Catwoman.

My little angels I could use some feedback. Who should I be? One problem is this goatee I have. Not many superheroes with facial hair. One possibility is Obi-wan. I’m not exactly gray in the follicle department, but maybe we could work with that. Princess Wolfie thinks I should be some sort of evil mastermind, which of course does appeal to me. It can’t be cartoony. I mean, we need a live action person to paste our faces onto. It doesn’t have to be a superhero. I mean, Drinking Buddy might be Indiana Jones. So tell me who I should be. It should be semi-mainstream so people will “get” who I am.

Of course we had beers, so I shouldn’t write about Princess Wolfie in this state. I mean, I pretty much recovered from that whole thing, but there’s other details I should tell you about when I’m in a more sober condition. Ask me later.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


25% Evil + 75% Good = Benevolent Dictator (Now With Actual Updates!)

This site is certified 25% EVIL by the Gematriculator

This site is certified 75% GOOD by the Gematriculator

Told you I’d be a benevolent dictator! Thanks to Sexy Texy for the tip. You can be sure she’ll be well rewarded when I’m in charge, and you can see how evil she is here. You go look now!

Actual Update: My long lost sister, the Empress Kitty, is 18% evil and 82% good. And we all know Luke was more evil than Leia. Just another piece of the puzzle.

Actual Update II: Holy crap, just ran myself through again and I’m even eviler: 34% evil and 66% good.

Great News For Strengthen The Good

Check out this info from Alan, the man behind the mission. How great are you guys to help make all this possible? Thank you so much for your efforts.

No charity profile here--just a quick update.
First, STG (and some other blogs) were profiled today in the New York Times: a link is on the STG site. Kudos to you all.
Second, I've held off on profiling another charity for a while so I could make this happen: I'm very happy to announce that I've established Strengthen The Good as a 503(c) non-profit organization, meaning that we can now offer tax deductions to those who donate through STG. It took some time to do, but now that it's done, we can get back to the profiling.
I have two micro-charities lined up for profile, and will do the first next Sunday, so look for that email.
Until then, thanks for working to strengthen the good.
~ Alan

Wictory Wednesday...

…is a day when we take time to take stock of our nation, where we are, and where we’re going. You may recall that on past Wednesdays, we have pointed to ways to help President Bush and various candidates for senate. Now that the election is over, I figured Wictory Wednesday would become a thing of the past, an honored and fondly remembered part of a successful 2004 election cycle.

Then it occurred to me that all those people didn't turn out to vote just because of the last six months or so of campaigning. Republicans and Democrats both made a major effort ever since 2000 to register and motivate voters, building grassroots networks across the country. So rather than give up the ghost, Wictory Wednesday has been reborn, or born again, if you'll pardon the pun.

Today we're helping the National Republican Senatorial Committee by
donating here. You go look now!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


“Obi-Wan Was Wise To Hide Her From Me” What Movie? (Easy)

So I told you something fishy was up with the Empress. She can be found here. You go look now!

Finally I'm able to put my finger on it.

Lord Floppington confronts his father:

I won't fight you, Father. Posted by Hello

But Lord Vader divines a secret:

Your feelings for your friends are strong, especially for . . . Posted by Hello

Regarding the Empress:

. . . sister. So . . . you have a twin sister! Posted by Hello

What this means, I have no idea. But I'll probably make something up eventually.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Lt. William Update Next Post. Or The One After

So I was all set to fill you in on Lt William. I was even refreshing my memory about how to put up the pics. And then I was distracted by the Empress. And then Clippie called with car trouble. Remind me to put up the lyrics of my whiny theme song sometime. If you’re a fan of The Descendents, you might even be able to guess the song after reading this post. Especially if you go look at Clippie’s last appearance here.

Clippie finished a late lunch at a local cafetorium and found that her car wouldn’t start. After a couple of hours trying to reach other people for help, she finally called me. And she got lucky. No, we didn’t have sex this time either, ya pervs. She got lucky cause I actually answered. I almost never answer the phone. Remind me later if you want to hear about my phone defenses. Anyway, I agreed to help.

Now when it comes to car trouble, my help comes in the form of sympathetic murmurings combined with zero auto knowledge. It may have had something to do with the battery. Lucky for both of us, Clippie noticed another friend of hers walking into the cafetorium. He actually fiddled with stuff. We tried to jump the car, but that didn’t work either. Clippie finally decided to call a tow truck, so we went inside for drinks. I was a good boy and just had a soda. Clippie had a margarita. We both ate chips and salsa.

While she was busy looking in the phone book, I was busy checking out these four girls who came into the bar. For some reason, they each had a bouquet of flowers. Of course, Clippie said I should pretend I was heading to the restroom and stop and ask them what the flowers were for. Yeah, I wasn’t going to do that. Sure, they were good looking and all, but picking up women in bars isn’t my usual routine. Come to think of it, I don’t even have a routine. Gotta work on that I guess. My problem is that I’m just not much of a talker. I’m unsocialized. Ask me later.

And now for the unsatisfying ending. The tow truck guy got there, we got home about twenty minutes ago, and now you know where I spent the last four hours.

Lt William maybe tomorrow or Wednesday.

And there’s something strange going on with the Empress. I think that will come first, tomorrow definitely.

Oh and The Descendents? The song I mentioned above is on the album “Everything Sucks”. Identify the right one and you will be rewarded when I become benevolent dictator.

Update: I tried to do something special for post 100, and you saw post 200 if you followed the Clippie link above. But my counter is getting squirrely, and I’m not sure how close I am to post 300. Gotta start thinking about that. I’ve got at least one Vigilance Squad post that needs to be continued, as well as a mirror universe follow up, both of which have lain dormant for too long. Maybe I’ll get to one of those for post 300.

Saturday, November 13, 2004


Team Magnum Cocktail Hour. Part Four

Sorry for the delay my little angels. So where was I? Oh yeah. I leave jury duty and head to the back up venue. Turns out only Mr. Texas, Miss Lola and Princess Wolfie made it to the primary rendezvous point. Drinks were drunk, and after Mr. Texas had to go, Princess Wolfie and Miss Lola decided to go to another place. I met them there. Shortly after, Miss Judi arrived.

We changed our minds again. 1920’s style dress up for the team pic? Dumped. We kind of came to the conclusion that it would be too difficult to get the costumes. So now we’re thinking 1970’s style. Which could be fun. Now I understand that the goal is to end up with kind of a silly pic, but it also occurs to me that the gals can look good in clothes from any era. Not so sure if that works for the guys. Ok I’ll just come out and say it. I don’t want to end up looking like Disco Stu. We’ll see what happens.

Turns out Miss Judi and Princess Wolfie planned to spend their day off Thursday going shopping, and then going to a wine tasting. Let me tell you not even the pleasure of their company could induce me to spend six or seven hours holding purses while they do whatever it is girls do when shopping. But wine tasting, I could live with.

I know nothing about wine. I’ve never especially cared for it. Things went pretty well. We tried six wines, and there were two that I actually found agreeable. I seem to recall that one of them was from Oregon. Maybe I should have taken notes like the rest of the people there. Maybe next time. I can understand how someone might say they detect a cherry flavor or a hint of raspberry or whatever. But I never developed a clear understanding of what the tannin flavor/sensation and the acid flavor/sensation were. There were some references to dry mouth or coated teeth but I just wasn’t getting it. Have to pay more attention next time.

One funny note. Ok the wine people are friendly. Mr. Sipper directed the whole thing. And boy does he sip. I guess he’s kind of like the stereotypical wine taster you might see in a movie. Even once he has a drink of wine in his mouth, he still manages to do this sippy thing, and sort of the mouthwash swirl type maneuver. Plus the guy is like sixty or something a I swear he said “shit” several times. It was a hoot. Ok back on track. The funny thing was this guy who was chatting up Princess Wolfie. I just figured they were having a regular conversation, but then today she asked me why I didn’t get her back and play defense against this guy.

Well hell’s bells! Oh the irony. Even now I can barely stand it. Ok look. It’s not like I was ear hustling or anything, but I did catch a bit here and there, and it seemed normal to me. Granted I wasn’t looking, so I wasn’t getting any of the nonverbal commo. Maybe she was seeing something more than I was hearing. Or maybe Chris Rock was right. You know the bit I mean, right? Ask me later. So now I really can’t wait for the next wine tasting to see if her “boyfriend” shows up again. Because the whole situation reminded me of that Seinfeld episode where Elaine pretends Jerry is her boyfriend to avoid going out with another guy. Like Jerry, I’m just thrilled with the comic possibilities of holding Princess Wolfie’s feet to the fire on this one.

So how did I see Princess Wolfie today? Well several members of Team Magnum have gotten into the habit of attending certain local sporting events in which Neighbor Lady’s son Pompy participates. But I’m getting off track. This should be a whole other post by now. I have to work on some stuff for LT William; let me take care of that, and I’ll be back later with his story and Pompy’s event. Plus photos!

Update: On the way out of the local sporting event, a passing acquaintance asked Princess Wolfie if I was her hubby. I mean when it rains it pours, right? I managed to keep my poker face up ok. I may have touched on this recently. Remind me later to get into it a little more.

Actual Update: I forgot to mention that Miss Judi made a joke about the wine tasting that she and Princess Wolfie would look for someone to hook me up with. Seeing the wine people, she was really joking! Then again, this was a smaller than usual crowd this time, probably due to the heavy rain or something. But it just goes to show that the idea is beginning to surface, even if only as a joke for now. I really am becoming a helpless bachelor. Holy crap.

Thursday, November 11, 2004


Rejected By The Justice Squad

So this was my third call. You meet in the basement. They call out a big group and send you to a courtroom. Each court has twelve jury box seats and a row of six chairs in front of those. Then the audience portion of the courtroom is filled. Somewhere between eighty and ninety people total. Once everyone is in the courtroom, they draw eighteen people at random to fill the jury box. The questions focus on those people, and eventually, as some are excused, others are drawn randomly from the audience to fill the empty chairs until all challenges have been expended and the final jury has been selected.

First time around was a minor case. I didn’t even make it out of the audience. Second time took two days. It was a murder case. We had a long questionnaire. I started out in the audience. Lots of people eliminated. My hopes began to build, but every time they pulled up more people from the audience, I wasn’t picked. Ok more detail. The challenges are directed to the main twelve, and as one is eliminated, someone from the six chairs in front goes to fill the empty chair. When all six chairs are empty, six are called from the audience to fill them. I was one of the last six in the audience. We finally got called up. At this point, they were looking for two alternates. I was guy five in this last group. You guessed it, guy number four ended up being the second alternate. I failed to make the cut again.

This time was different. First of all, one of my bosses, Little Cheese, was there. She’s funny but scary a little too. Of course I dreaded this because I have no conversation skills, and circumstances dictated that we would spend the day hanging out with each other. We get up to the courtroom, and I was randomly chosen for the big eighteen. Seat number seven, right in the box. YES!

We go through a bunch of questions and break for lunch. Little Cheese and I went to a local Mexican place. Pretty good lunch. I managed to babble successfully on work related issues. I mean, I won’t be getting any dinner party invitations, but I didn’t totally blow it either. Little Cheese is getting a good laugh out of me probably getting to serve all next week. Back in court, we started the eliminations.

Three people were excused for language difficulties. No one was challenged for cause. Then you have the peremptory challenges. Both sides got ten. I’m there in my nice shirt and tie. Looking like a good republican. I figure the defense might boot me. We go through about five challenges each. We’ve drained the six chairs in front and refilled them. Little Cheese is decorously cackling. It looks like I’ll get through. And then the prosecutor dumps me!

This threw me. I mean, I’m a law and order type guy. What’s his beef? All I can think of is that my profession is notoriously liberal. What a gyp.

On the positive side, the Team Magnum cocktail hour was changed again, which worked out good for me. More on that later.

Plus, there was a little sweet justice. I was eliminated at the end of the day. The jury hadn’t been filled. Little Cheese has to go back Tuesday, and there’s a slim chance she might still be picked. So there!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


You Have Been Summoned To The Justice Squad

So you can check for your jury group online. You get the letter warning you your time is up some several weeks in the future. On the Sunday night before your date, you go online and see when, or if, your group has to report. You can see an example of the website and typical instructions for the northern central type California area here. You go look now!

First assignment is to be at court 8AM Monday. If your group isn’t here, the next assignment is to check the website after 11AM Monday for possible afternoon duty. And then it says, do not stay home from work to check the website. Which tells me if you don’t have the internet at work, it’s ok to check after you get home. Which brings us to assignment three, checking the website after 5PM. You can find out which assignment you have Sunday night on the website. I was directed to check after 11AM.

When I got home yesterday, I checked. New assignment: check website after 5PM today. Turns out, the three groups ahead of me were dismissed, but my group has to show up at 8AM Wednesday morning. I swear there are times of the year when my schedule is way open for jury duty, and then other times when it is a pain. Of course I could have put in for a ninety day extension. The last two times I was called, that worked great, schedule-wise, but ninety days from now is just as crap as tomorrow.

Of course, neither of those times did I make the cut and actually get to serve. Just my luck, this time I will. You know I figured since I’ve moved up to wearing ties full time at work, I should do the same at court. But would it make me more likely to be chosen? Don’t get me wrong, I was bitterly disappointed when I was passed over twice. But to be picked now would be such a monumental pain in the butt.

The courts take Veteran’s Day off, don’t they? But do they take it on the actual day? At the office, we get Thursday off. I’ve heard that other people get Friday off, to make it a three day weekend. How full of crap would it be if court is in session Thursday, and off on Friday? I’d lose my day off on Thursday, and on the court holiday Friday, I’d have to go to work. Or would I?

Let’s say your trial was scheduled to last eight weeks, and on Tuesday of week five, there would be hearings for one reason or another and the jury wouldn’t be in court. Would they really expect you to drop in to work for just the one day? More as the situation develops.

On a side note, I’ve got a consultant review tomorrow night, but it overlaps Team Magnum Cocktail Hour, which sucks. I’ll call Princess Wolfie when the review is over and check the status. Since the office is closed Thursday, Team Magnum might be out later than usual. Miss Lola just reminded us again of the team picture. When she says it’s time to get moving, it’s time to get moving. Let me put it to you this way, she’s the one who pulled out a calculator and calculated individual contributions to a twelve person dinner tab. But I say that in an affectionate way, because she’s great.

Monday, November 08, 2004


Bring Me The Zombified Corpse Of Gene Kelly!

Frank J has a dilemma. He promised a Happy Dance if the election went the right way. It did, but he ain’t dancing yet. A Happy Dance Committee has be formed to get to the bottom of this issue. Details on the crisis can be found here. You go look now!

Rumor has it that the committee is deeply divided on the Happy Dance issue. It's now a toss-up between that dancing baby jig, accessorized with appropriate ninja apparel and weapons, and a Yosemite Sam yeehaw heel kicking gun toting roughest toughest rootinest tootinest meanest shootinest hombre north south east annnnnnnnd west of Sarah K. (BANG!BANG!BANG!BANG!BANG!)

There’s still a slim chance that the Happy Dance might end up being a medley of the more colorful celebratory touchdown dances (does the Ickey Shuffle ring a bell?)

Sunday, November 07, 2004


Why I Hate TV Babies

So I don’t really remember the first music I purchased myself, thanks to Columbia House, back in, well hell, must be twenty years ago now. Which is scary in and of itself, actually being old enough to remember things that happened twenty years ago. But back to the music I can’t remember. I think Styx might have been involved. What I do remember was a cassette of Bill Cosby - Himself. One of the bits on there was “Natural Childbirth”. Pretty funny for me, but so was the rest of the tape. I listened to it a lot.

The thing is, practically every TV baby seems to be descended from that one bit. Childbirth scenes on TV would be far less disgusting if they just showed the real thing. They’ve all got the death grip, where childbirth mom squeezes prospective dad’s hand, causing him to writhe in agony. They’ve all got the “You did this to me!!!” rant, where everything is somehow the prospective dad’s fault. They’ve all got the drug moment, where childbirth mom rejects prospective dad’s advice on breathing, instead screaming “Give me drugs!” And after the baby arrives, they’ve all got the breast milk mix up, where one of dad’s male friends accidentally drinks some breast milk from the fridge.

That just tears it. I mean, you either drink milk from the carton, or you pour it from the carton into the glass, and drink it from the glass. I mean I don’t know of anyone who keeps milk in anything other than the carton they got from the store. And even if you did see a glass of what looked like milk, you didn’t put it there, someone else did. Why would you drink from someone else’s glass? And of course, once the mistake is discovered, you have the inevitable disgusted reaction, sometimes followed by the optional “Hmm, that actually tasted good” surprised facial expression. Give me a break.

So that’s why I hate TV babies.

I generally don’t hate real babies.

Saturday, November 06, 2004


Ok So What’s The Left’s Excuse Now?

I thought the Left’s creation of a climate of fear would end election day.

I mean, wasn’t the whole purpose of the assaults, shootings, thefts, vandalism, destruction of property, and tire slashings to intimidate Republican voters and campaign workers so we wouldn’t vote? There’s no excuse for these actions at any time, but I’ve come to accept that the loony left will be disgustingly excitable during election season.

But after an election? They must be loonier than I thought. What fever dream motivates this sort of thing? What goal did they think would be accomplished by this? I know I’m dense, so someone help me out here. Does this mean they plan to keep this up til the next election? And what would that mean for the Democratic candidate in 2008? With any luck for us, four more years of this sort of thing and maybe a third of the Dem electorate will be in jail. Ordinarily I wouldn’t have a problem with this, but who would be left to make or drink Starbuck’s coffee?

And is it just me, or does this sort of stuff make you think that the accusations made by the left about Republican thug stormtroopers are actually more descriptive of their own behavior?

Friday, November 05, 2004


Aside From That, Mrs. Lincoln, How Did You Like The Play?

Oh come on now! Is this really the appropriate result for your future benevolent dictator?

What Famous Leader Are You?
personality tests by similarminds.com

Update: Ok maybe I was a little hasty. The assassination part threw me for a sec. Then I realized I would still have at least six lives left. That should hold me. And since I will be a benevolent dictator, I’ll try and keep things down to just one bloody civil war. Get a sneak peek at the cat army that will be your overlords here. You go look now!

Oh and thanks to Incredibly Insightful Robert for the indirect link here. You go look now!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Savoring The Sweet Justice (Now With Actual Updates!)

Well you met Captain Burnout, dreamy 60’s holdover who more and more typifies the loony left, last week. Well today at lunch I got the sweet justice I was hoping for. Poor CB was so crestfallen. He was in a state of shock. I think I also mentioned that the libs vastly outnumber Drinking Buddy and myself in the lunchroom, but many of them are more rational about it.

Captain Burnout apparently didn’t think that last week’s comment that republicans are into bestiality was enough. Today he said all we (libs) have left is impeachment or pulling a Guardian. You know the article I’m talking about. If not, ask me later. Subtle Boss told him you can’t say things like that. Not the impeachment part. A few minutes later, after Tough Boss had joined the table, CB said the same thing again. This time Tough Boss nearly shouted him down. Even Subtle Boss raised her voice! Both letting him know that suggesting pulling a Guardian is completely unacceptable. Tough Boss went on: “My father voted for Bush. He felt like security issues were most important and Bush was the guy for him. Now I don’t agree, but him holding that view is completely legitimate.”

Way to go Tough Boss. Tough Boss is pro Israel, and she and CB have gotten into it once or twice over that issue in the past. So she’s got that going for her. The fact is, even though she voted for Kerry, she’s still operating in the realm of reality. And you know what? It’s completely legitimate for her to hold her views and vote for Kerry.

I didn’t have to say anything. Just basking in his despair was enough. There’s no need to rub it in or anything, especially after such a contentious election season. Not only that, but I think I’ve mentioned elsewhere that it’s important to lead by example. Rather than get drawn into the muck, I just let the American people do the talking for me. Captain Burnout could benefit from the idea of keeping silent and having people think he is a fool rather than speak and remove all doubt.

What must it be like to be a Captain Burnout? I think it must be sort of like the Vatican felt when Galileo did his bit for science. I heard so many things like I just kept watching the polls in disbelief or how could this happen or I just can’t believe this. It’s as if they cannot accept or comprehend that others might not think the same way as they do.

I was concerned that Bush might lose. I understood that there were people who wanted Kerry. While I believe that voting for Bush was the right thing to do, I also knew he might lose. And I accepted that this could happen. The same is not true in reverse.

Now that I think of it, this election might be the best thing that could happen for the Democrats. Think of it as an intervention. Dems have been collectively set down by their fellow citizens and had their heads dunked in an ice filled men’s room toilet. Sort of like what Alex did to Billy in St. Elmo’s Fire. It didn’t quite take for Billy, but I’m optimistic for the Dems. I spent maybe twenty minutes poking around the net and I did spot a few on the left who seemed to realize that Democrats have a lot of rethinking to do.

Update: Whatever else you think of Kerry, give him credit for a concession speech that accepts the will of the people and calls for unity. This is one high road he actually took, and we should be grateful.

Actual Update: Yeah so I didn't really see it or read it, that's just sort of the impression I got from what I heard. I should have made that clear. If you're the one person who read this, I apologize for any confusion.

Update II: So where do I get the nerve to talk about the high road and not rubbing it in when I just wrote a post like this? Don’t I feel like a hypocrite? Maybe I would if anyone actually read this.

Actual Update II: To be fair, Captain Burnout is easily caught up in parroting rhetoric. I'm sure if you sat him down and seriously asked him, he would admit he doesn't really think Republicans have sex with animals. And I just realized we can now have a little experiment, boys and girls. Republicans have sex with animals. It wasn't until I looked at the words on the screen that I noticed it. So the experiment is this: How many search engine hits will I get for the phrase "Republicans have sex with animals"? I shall let you know.

Kudos To Dakota Blog Alliance

Of course you've heard by now that Daschle has been defeated by Thune in their South Dakota senate race. What you may not have heard is that some good portion of Thune's victory is owed to the members of the Dakota Blog Alliance. I thought it might be nice to honor them again by rerunning this post from 8/24/04.

Actual Update: Just checking the behind the scenes stuff, and this post was most frequently searched for me recently. I guess it really did deserve a second showing. Still showing in second place is the issue of African American deaths in Iraq and the fact that they aren't disproportionate. You can find some samples here and here. Still holding on to third in the request line was this piece on Baseball caps with ponytails out the back.

I just looked at my blogroll and noticed I still don’t have Daschle v. Thune up there. It is part of a group of blogs called Dakota Blog Alliance. I hear of them and sometimes follow links to them from Daschle v. Thune, but usually, because of time constraints, Daschle v. Thune is the only one that is my regular read. Jon Lauck is very generous with links to his fellow members of the Dakota Blog Alliance. I hope the others do the same, and as an alliance of bloggers, I would imagine they do. Let me give you the other members first. All of them deal with politics in South Dakota, and the primary focus seems to be the Daschle/Thune race and the disservice the Argus Leader is doing as the major paper not for a city, but for the whole state. I’m just giving you the taglines of the blogs, with a longer bit on Daschle v. Thune because it’s the one I read.

Inside South Dakota: We are an active group of life-long South Dakotans that are a not-for-profit organization established to promote and defend principled candidates who support the Reagan vision of limited government, free markets, lower taxes, family values, economic growth and a strong national defense.

You can find them here. You go look now!

Sibby Online: In search of the truth.

You can find Steve Sibson here. You go look now!

The Bird: Watching the Issues, Politics & People of the Great State of South Dakota

You can find John Michel here. You go look now!

Quentin Riggins Blog: No tagline.

You can find Quentin Riggins here. You go look now!

Ryne McClaren: A Weblog: I Have A Tendency To Wear My Mind On My Sleeve
You can find Ryne McClaren here. You go look now!

South Dakota Politics: Because all politics is local.

You can find Jason Van Beek here. You go look now!

Daschle v. Thune: Analyzing the Biggest Senate Race in the USA.

Jon Lauck is not kidding with that tagline, and neither is Jason Van Beek. I wrote to Lauck several weeks ago to compliment him on his work. They’re both right, and Lauck’s correctness is founded in Van Beek’s tagline. The Daschle/Thune race is a microcosm for what’s happening in national politics and big media (thus “all politics is local”); because it’s such a good example, and because of Daschle’s power in the Senate, it really is “the Biggest Senate Race in the USA.”

Let’s start with the Argus Leader and it’s boss, Dave Kranz. The Argus Leader is to South Dakota media what the NYT is to national media. Lots of smaller papers only have the resources to use articles from bigger papers. The Argus Leader under Dave Kranz (and if you read these blogs, you’ll see his cozy relationship with Daschle) is a stunning example of one sided candidate pushing. And because Kranz will not present open and honest criticisms of Daschle, the smaller South Dakota papers don’t have access to these types of stories. Well, except for the Dakota Blog Alliance. You see the same sort of thing in the local paper you read, and the SBVT issue is a prime example of news burying on a national scale.

Quite frankly, I don’t know why the smaller independent papers don’t run with the stories on these blogs. Mr. Lauck loads his posts with links. If he had written that last paragraph, you probably would have seen at least seven links. Clearly I am not as diligent as he is. My point with this is that I believe Mr. Lauck has proven credibility. If smaller SD papers are leery of blogs, my answer would be that Mr. Lauck has done all the footwork and it would take minimal effort and resources for an “official” journalist to confirm and write these stories. The Dakota Blog Alliance is doing the most, and best, political reporting in the whole state. Daschle also seems to be very good at refusing to address issues and whining about criticism (not negative attacks, but criticism) from opponents. Does the name John Kerry ring a bell?

You can find Jon Lauck here. You go look now!

One bright spot in official journalism in South Dakota is the Rapid City Journal, which has put out an invitation for weekly Lincoln-Douglas style debates from now to the election. Not just talking points and scripting, but more like position papers, plans and thoughts about the issues facing South Dakota and the nation. Serious, extended discussions, not quick questions and answers. You can find their proposal here. You go look now!

By the way, as of this writing, Thune has accepted the debate proposal; Daschle has not.

We are at a very critical time in the history of our nation and civilization. The people at the Dakota Blog Alliance are doing excellent work for all of us. You owe it to yourself and our nation to check them out.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


California Black

Ok I mentioned Miss Straight last time. She got her nickname because she often says things straight out that other people might be reluctant to say. Not because she’s wrong or crazy, but because of the PC times we live in, especially in California. But maybe she has special privileges because of her race that allows her to say things I can’t.

So Little General, Neighbor Lady, Miss Tori, Miss Straight and I had a group work day recently. The conversations meandered, as they do, leading to a discussion of transfer to a new branch office opening in town, then to moving out of town, then out of state, then to California Black. Miss Straight is African American, with a medium level of darkness. She is a single mom with two mid-teen kids, a boy and a girl. They took a trip to visit relatives in Texas this past summer that opened their eyes.

Miss Straight said at our recent group day that she has given up on dating or marrying again. Unless she moves to Texas. Or more specifically, unless she moves out of California. You see, in Texas, she was pleasantly surprised by the attention she got from African American males. Her daughter was extremely pleasantly surprised by the interest she got from boys her age. Extremely surprised for the daughter because she gets zero attention from boys at her school and in her neighborhood. Miss Straight is an attractive woman, and her daughter is good looking too. The problem? Miss Straight is not light enough complected, and her daughter has even darker skin. So how does this tie in to the title?

Let me take you back a year. This same group went to an out of town training session at which other people from other offices were also in attendance. There was an African American gentleman at this training session who was good looking, according to Miss Straight. I guess she put out the vibe to him, or just chatted with him or whatever, and the result was not positive. She discussed this with an African American woman at the training who also happened to be from the guy’s office. This woman called him a California Black.

California Blacks are black men in California. These men will not date African American women. Or if they do, the woman in question has to be very light skinned. They seem to prefer Hispanic, asian, or even white women. The reason Miss Straight said she might move to Texas is because African American men there will actually date African American women. And at the rate her daughter is going, she might never get a date until she’s out of high school, or out of California altogether.

Until a couple of days ago, I had never heard this term. Could it just be BS from a couple of bitter women? How should I know, but the fact that there’s a term for it tells me that this isn’t an isolated incident. So enlighten me. How widespread is this thing? And why would any man cut himself off from a beautiful woman just because of her skin color?

Thanks to all the hysteria over the election, I'm sure no one will read this and go crazy

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