Friday, July 29, 2005


On The Road Again. With Update!

Well it's that time again, my little angels. I may have mentioned that part of my work with the company involves certain liaison type activities between the big cheeses and the lowly grunts. It just kills me to say it. You already know the agony of the lunchroom, where I get to listen to the sorts of jabs from liberal types against conservatives that only come in an environment that is overwhelmingly, massively, left leaning. Captain Burnout is a prime example of this. I am so not part of that mindset. So what is it that it's killing me to say? Somehow I've become, for the past few years, a union rep. And we have some statewide conference going on, that I'll be leaving to attend. I'm sure it will totally suck. I shall endeavor not to be assimilated as I drown in a sea of anti-Bush and anti-Arnold bitterness.

The bright spot? I'm going here. To see this thing here. No pictures allowed though, so that's a bummer. I did get a new phone, so i'll try to experiment with taking some pics with that. I have not the patience for manuals, so I'm going mainly by experimentation. I sent, or at least attempted to send, an early shot of the batcave to myself over email, but it hasn't arrived so far. I might include it in an email later. Apparently there may be some sort of cable or cord which will deliver the pics directly from the phone to the computer. I'll look for that sooner or later, and you'll have plenty of lame pics to look at. Or if you know about that stuff, you can give me some ideas. (Ha ha me brain work, see update below)

Also on the bright side, Young D won't be able to make it, so I'll have the room all to myself. Which means I can write all sorts of stuff for you guys, since no one else I know will be there. Not so bright side, I'll be afk for a week, unable to give you anything til next Saturday. But I should have some good notes saved up by then. So what will you do in the mean time? I have a couple of discussions for you.

First up, Elimidate. In case you're not familiar, this dating show puts one guy with four girls. Over the course of the half hour show, he will eliminate the dates (see how they got the title?) one by one until he is left with the one girl he likes best. I'm not sure if they get a prize or what. In the past, they did the reverse, one girl with four guys, but over the last few weeks, I've only seen one episode with that lineup. The rest have been one guy and four girls.

Now I'm not a complete fool (the question of whether or not I'm a complete tool is still open), and I understand that the producers want to entertain the audience. So I could see the occasional catty gal here and there, but literally EVERY SINGLE WOMAN WHO HAS EVER BEEN ON THE SHOW??? If the producers sat in a meeting and said, "Hey it would be so cool for all the girls to call each other sluts or bitches, make derogatory remarks about each other's physical appearance, and make cracks about how much of a bimbo the others are" I would think sure, maybe that's good for a laugh once in a while, but you're never going to find enough of them so that EVERY SINGLE GIRL ON THE SHOW does exactly that when trying to get the man to pick her. I wouldn't have believed it possible. It's like a car accident, and I can't look away because I keep wondering if there is any woman in her twenties in America who has any class whatsoever? Help me out here ladies. What is the deal with the obsessive need of women to tear each other down rather than lift themselves up? Guys, if you have any insight on this topic, feel free to chime in as well. You've got a week to educate me on the subject. With my readers, that means maybe two comments. Let's go for a record and see if we can break three comments this time. I think we can do it, and here's a second topic that will help push us over the top.

Question: Are you allowed to say that a bad neighborhood is a bad neighborhood if it happens to be the case that a majority of the inhabitants of said neighborhood happen to belong to one ethnic/racial group? Does that make you a racist or something? Or are you in the clear saying it's a bad neighborhood as long as you ignore who lives there? Help us out minorities, we crackers want to know.

Whichever you decide to respond to, be sure to tell your friends so they can come here and declare your genius or ridicule your stupidity. They may even have a comment of their own to share.

Actual Update: The pic finally arrived! And you can see it below in all its semi-blurry glory. I should note that when I say batcave, I'm referring not to the real one from the movies, but the more generic batcave that all men dream of. The secret place that is off limits to women and holds all the secret guy toys we all want. Of course, until I win the lottery, I won't be able to afford my ideal batcave. This is only a temporary refuge. It's where I go to read and write blogs, watch TV and DVD's, play computer games, and as the following pic shows, display certain non-mainstream items. You're seeing the backup computer, Pee-Wee Herman, Timmy!, the roof of an M&M Christmas gift box, part of a Simpsons poster, and part of a sketch done by Ron Lim at a local funeral for Superman. It may very well be impossible to tell what the sketch is, but if you can guess, I will sing your praises for all six of the other readers to see and let them envy your mad detective skills.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Ahhhh How I Love To Savor The Sweet Justice!

So back after Easter, I recounted the trip to the Hall of Elders here. The subtitle was The Celebrated Humping Frog Of Calaveras County. Unfortunately, I don't think my poor use of words could really do justice to the sight I beheld. Now lady justice has smiled upon me in the form of a video that might be considered frog porn. But since no one at your office is likely to have a frog fetish, I'm pretty sure it is safe for work. The video is here. You go look now!

Ummmm Yeah. Did I Mention Ego? Part Eight

So a while back I found someone came here Googling Princess Wolfie, she of the, oh gosh nevermind, suffice to say I once thought she was totally hot stuff. Look around and you'll find her in the archives. Look for Team Magnum stuff. Or beg me if you really need to know and are too lazy to do it yourself. Which is totally legit, since I'm too lazy to look up the links myself unless I know someone's interested. Point is, I was pleasantly surprised by it, and a little curious about who might have done that search.

Secretly, perhaps I was a little peeved that she got the search, and not yours truly. Until now. And in the grand scheme of things, probably not a big deal, but someone Googling Lord Floppington is a nice saucer of milk for my kitty ego. And, you have to admit, you've probably never heard that particular phrase before.

Update: Plus, it takes some of the sting out of both estimates to replace my on life support A/C coming in roughly around $5,000. If only I was naturally cool, I wouldn't have to worry about it.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Take Me Out To The . . . Bad News Bears!?!

Thought I'd go with the theme from last time. However, this time, Carpenter was running the show, so we actually had the right tickets. The game was fun, even though our guys lost. The weather is still hot, which made for excellent viewing of the audience. You know what I mean. And there were like a million ponytails. A young enlisted woman from the local military base, along with the base's color guard, were on the field, and she sang the national anthem. Did a wonderful job. So did the crowd. They were respectful and appreciative, which is always nice to see. But the main reason I was up there was for the Matron's birthday. And apart from the flowers and the card and whatnot, I took her to a movie. I should say that I would have seen The Wedding Crashers, a second time for me, but she had already seen it since I told her how much I liked it. She agreed that it was hilarious. So we picked The Bad News Bears.

The first thing I should tell you is that they were mainly faithful to the original. The second thing I should tell you is to skip the new version and rent the old one instead. The third thing I should tell you is that I did laugh a few times, but for the most part, this comedy left me very slightly entertained. I left wishing I had seen something else instead.

Just on the slight chance you never saw the original version, it's the story of a bunch of loser kids who have been rejected from all the other teams in the league. One mother sues, and the league is forced to add another team. Billy Bob Thornton, a minor alcoholic former minor league ball player turned exterminator, is hired to coach them. Hilarity is supposed to ensue. Sadly, it did not. This is the sort of movie where characters grow. Coach Billy Bob coasts along, using the kids to help him at work instead of coaching them to be better players. The very first game, against the Yankees (coached by greg Kinnear) is finally forfeited by the Bears in the first half of the first inning. They never even got three outs on the Yankees for even one turn at bat of their own. As you can guess, the Yankees, past champions, will be playing the Bears in the championship game at the end of the movie.

After the disastrous first game, the boys all want to quit, which sobers up Coach Billy Bob. He actually starts teaching them to field, hit, and run the bases. They lose the next game, tie the game after that, and start winning after that. They start winning because Coach Billy Bob brings in the daughter of a woman he went with for a few years, who he taught to pitch during that time. She bonded with him as a father figure. He left her and her mother. The only way he gets her to play is to bribe her by paying for clothes and promising to help her get a car when she's old enough. Now they can keep other teams from scoring too many runs. Next they need hitting, and semi-delinquent, possibly too old, but at least in the same grade as the other kids Kelly Leak comes into the picture here. He apparently played for the Yankees and Coach Kinnear in the past, and hates the game because of it. He refuses to join the Bears until a Coach Kinnear encounter ticks him off enough to want revenge. Now all the wheels are spinning and the Bears winning streak unfolds as the kids grow into a real team.

When the Bears have one last game to win to get to the championship, Coach Billy Bob slips a little, ordering Kelly to hog the ball in the field, which ticks off the boy he steals the ball from. Of course they win, but at the warm ups before the big game, Kelly and stolen ball boy get in a fight; the team is divided. Coach Billy Bob admits he gave Kelly the orders, and it wasn't Kelly's fault. His rationale is that the kids want to win, don't they? We know that they just want to play, and it is Coach Billy Bob who is obsessed with winning, to the point of ruining it for the kids. Even during the final game, he has them marching like little soldiers, until finally realizing that they are, in fact, just kids. Even though they have the lead, he takes out pitcher Amanda, whose arm is hurting, and Tanner, the scrappiest kid you ever saw, and puts in a couple of bench warmers. The Bears promptly fall behind, and can't make up the difference in their final at bats. They lose, but in the game of life, they're winners. Which is fine. But how did Coach Billy Bob learn his lesson?

It was because of Coach Kinnear is even worse. He orders his son, who wants to face Engleberg, one of the Bears' good hitters, to walk him, figuring the next kid is an easy out. The son doesn't like it (he and Engleberg have a bit of healthy grudge working between them), but does what he's told. Unfortunately, the pitch gets away from him, nearly hitting the Engleberg. Coach Kinnear charges the mound, yelling at his son about how hitting a batter could really hurt him. Marginally fine so far. But he keeps yelling, thinking his son threw the pitch on purpose to get back at his dad, and eventually pushes him to the ground. Now the kid does get back at his dad, serving up an easy pitch Engleberg hits for a home run.

My main problem with the movie is that it didn't go far enough, either toward a grown up audience or toward a child's audience. The kids go to Hooters after games to celebrate, Coach Billy Bob's stripperish fan club of young women cheer at every game, and a father shoves his son to the ground. Not exactly positive images, or necessarily appropriate for kids who see the movie, but mild enough for a PG-13 which must have been based on language. For any grownup seeing this, you'll either be disappointed (if you never saw the original), or disappointed and angry that they did worse than the original movie if you did see it. Maybe youngish teens are immature enough to find it funny, but really, rent The Incredibles again, and give them a movie worth watching. Come to think of it, if you have kids, you already own it. Rent Spirited Away, which your kids probably haven't seen, and watch it with them instead. It's a movie worthy of your money, and your intelligence. A common team chant in the movie is "We're playing the Giants. What's that mean? Bad news for the Giants!" If you see the Bad News Bears, it only means bad news for you.

Oh and if you for some reason just have to see a movie with Billy Bob Thornton in which he's mean to kids but learns to love them instead, go rent Bad Santa. It's lots funnier. But just remember, it's not a movie for kids to watch.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Comic Book Movies

With Fantastic Four out in the theaters now, and pretty much roundly condemned as a poor example of a comic book movie, maybe it's time to take a look at the genre. FF is not the way to make a comic book movie. Most people agree that the X-Men movies and Spider-Man movies represent the best that comic book movies can be, and they hold up well against movies in general. But can a movie be a good comic book movie, even if it's not necessarily a good movie in general? For our answer, we need to look at The Hulk.

I didn't like The Hulk when I first saw it, but in heavy rotation on cable I've seen it a few more times, and I've liked it a little more each time. Could it have been better? Yes. If I watch it a million more times, will I think it's as good as the X-Men and Spider-Man movies. Definitely no. Was it a good comic book movie? That's a tougher call.

Comic book movies occupy a space all their own. As a (lapsed) reader of comics for a number of years a number of years ago, I know that every time I hear of a new comic book movie, my first thought is "Oh please, don't let them ruin it." There's something extra there, some visceral connection with comic books, that you don't find with some random novel that's been made into a movie. Maybe because the comics themselves never end, there's more of a relationship between the reader and the material. The relationship is dynamic and ongoing. I may look forward to a movie based on a novel I've read, but I'm not personally invested in it in the same way I am with comics.

Lord of the Rings is an exception, but I think it's clear that with it's length (three separate novels), prequel (The Hobbit), and assorted supplementary materials (The Silmarillion and who knows how much else?), it fits more the comic book model. And I said over and over "Oh please, don't let them ruin it." When I saw Fellowship, I don't think I was quite comfortable, I couldn't quite let myself put aside that fear, until the scene when Arwen gets Frodo across the river just ahead of the pursuing Nazgul. When the flash flood was called down, and the boiling rapids took on the ghostly semblance of a charging herd of horses, everything I could have hoped for was fulfilled. That river wasn't the only thing flooding, my eyes were pulling a miniature flood of their own.

We're fortunate now that we live in a time where movie technology is advanced enough to do justice to the world of comics. No matter how good the story, if a comic book movie looks cheesy and cannot render the world of the comic with reasonable faithfulness, the movie will not work for me. I had a similar "flash-flood" moment in Spider-Man, when he was in full swing, webbing around town, dodging traffic. Could something as simple as the motions and contortions of his body while web-swinging, absolutely spot on in the film, have been produced if the movie had been made in 1990? I don't think so. And that effect, and all the other special effects, in lesser, inadequate 1990 form, would have damaged the movie for me.

Of course, now that we can reproduce the world of the comics to near perfection, perhaps it's only right that everything must depend on story now. Hulk was only so-so. I felt like Hulk's powers and abilities were reasonably reproduced, but the story was a little flat. The choppy editing style turned me off at first, but has grown on me. Maybe it reminds me of the panels on any given page of a comic, and the feeling of turning pages as the story goes on.

For The Hulk, I mainly wanted five things: to see Hulk really strong and massive, to see Hulk smash things, to see stuff blowing up, to see long distance leaping, and to see the military in hot pursuit trying to destroy a sympathetic figure. The Hulk delivered on all these counts. Was it a good movie? Marginally no. Was it a good comic book movie? I'd have to give it a marginal yes.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Take Me Out To The . . . Wedding Crashers?!?

So Miss Tori and I were on our way to see some minor league ball in Sacramento. Carpenter had a couple of tickets he wasn't using for games on the 3rd and 17th. We were slightly dreading sitting outdoors for three hours with a temp of 104, but what the heck. I got the tickets a few weeks ago, and after telling her the game was on the 10th and realizing on the 10th itself that the game was really on the 17th, we were finally going to make it. I hadn't made it to the game on the 3rd either. Well we leave Bunktown and make it up to the ballpark. We park in Carpenter's favorite lot. We walk to the gate. And I'm expecting to share all this great ball game fun with her. I've got the story of the little kid who got hit in the face with a foul ball all warmed up. They're going through her purse. And then the ticket scanner gives a funny beep. How much do I suck? This much: I had brought the tickets for the game on the 3rd. The guy tells me we could go and buy tickets since the game isn't sold out, but Carpenter has shady seats, and I'm not going to get stuck in the sun on a hot day like this. So on to Plan B.

There's a nice open air mall right downtown, with food, and movies, and we head there instead. I give her a nice little tour of the shops. We wandered through Doubleday books; I wanted to get a look at the Harry Potter mania. But there wasn't any. There wasn't even any display, no table set aside, no stand up cardboard Harry Potter, nothing. Maybe they all sold out, but you would think there would be some sign of the book somewhere. I dared Miss Tori to go up to the counter and ask if they had that Larry Pinter book cause she wanted to get it for her nephew. I figured it would be good for a few laughs. She declined with a reversal, double daring me to do it. When I started to go up to the counter, she grabbed my arm and dragged me out before I could embarrass myself, or her. And so we ended up at the theater with two choices that fit our timeline: Willy Wonka and Wedding Crashers.

I can tell you that while I want to see Wonka eventually, I very much preferred seeing Wedding Crashers. Miss Tori was up for either one, so we went with Wedding Crashers. Actual well written reviews of all sorts of movies (but mostly not current releases) can be found over at Nehring the Edge. My reviews are rather more crappy, but as long as you're here, you might as well keep reading.

The set up: John Beckwith (Owen Wilson) and Jeremy Klein (Vince Vaughn) are two guys who seem to have jobs as divorce mediators. In their spare time, they sneak into weddings for free food, free drinks, and romance-minded ladies.

You can imagine how it will go; the plot is pretty standard in some ways. You've got guys who in a sense use women, who somehow discover love and realize that a life of carnal lust maybe isn't the right way to go, especially once you're not an early twentysomething anymore. But because they make up back stories to cover themselves as legit guests, John finds himself in love with a girl he's lied to about who he is. Will it ever work out? Will she ever forgive him? You already know the answer.

After an early montage of their experiences visiting several weddings, we have a pretty good idea of the various techniques these two have put together. They're "Uncle Ned's" kids. They're investment bankers from out of state. The guys are both good dancers. They look good for the ladies by making balloon animals for the kids. It's a pretty flawless routine, handed down to Jeremy by the grand mentor of wedding crashers, Chaz. And if you've seen movies from this group of guys (Dodgeball, Old School, Zoolander, Anchorman, Starsky and Hutch etc.), like me, you'll be looking forward to who will be filling this cameo role (Don't worry, Nehring, it wasn't Ben Stiller!).

Then Jeremy and John decide to make an attempt on their biggest wedding yet, the marriage of one of the daughters of the Secretary of the Treasury William Cleary (Christopher Walken, who I can never get enough of). Wilson ends up falling for one daughter, while another daughter pulls a nutso routine on Vaughn. When they're invited to the Cleary family compound for the weekend, Vaughn wants nothing else but to cut and run far, far away from daughter Gloria, while Wilson is determined to go so he can get closer to daughter Claire, who, as you probably can guess, has a jerk boyfriend she's been with for over three years. Wilson calls on the code of the wedding crashers and Vaughn reluctantly comes along. He's right to be reluctant, because Gloria is a total nutjob. We stick with Wilson, Vaughn, and the Cleary family for the rest of the film.

I don't go to the theaters much, because people are jerks; however, this theater was packed, and the audience was great. I have not laughed so hard in a theater in years. I was holding my sides, stomping my feet, and the laughter of the crowd actually drowned out some of the lines from the film. And even though this one is fresh in my mind, it wouldn't be unfair to say that I laughed a lot harder than I did at any of those movies I mentioned above involving this same group of young comic actors. The movie does have some light nudity, sexual situations played for laughs, and for me earns it's R rating with language. It's no Casablanca or Gone With The Wind, it's not ART, in other words, but it's not a sin for a movie to be entertaining and hilarious. If you can get into an R movie, go see it. But make sure you see it yourself first, before deciding to let your mature mid-teen child go.

Actual update: Perhaps I could add a little more. There are what you might consider styles of comedy. Three's Company had a certain style, and then you have a show like Seinfeld, which has another style. Because comedy is in the eye of the beholder, some things some people find funny will be too crude, or too silly, or just too outlandish for others. Similarly, some movies might be typified by the more intelligent-type humor of a Best In Show or A Mighty Wind. This is not one of those movies. But if you liked some of the other movies involving these guys that I mentioned above, if their style of comedy works for you, I'll think you'll find that this one is the best this group has put out so far.

Beware The Scourge Of Nazi Architects!!!

Ok I have to admit that when I first saw this, I figured it was some kind of joke. Someone with all kinds of skills was having some fun. I went and did the whole Google Earth thing, just to see if I could indeed find it at the listed coordinates. After a little bit of zooming here and there, sure enough, there it was, in San Diego, Ca. I can't make all those little symbols by the numbers, but here's the coordinates I got: 32d 40m 33.84s North, by 117d 9m 27.69s West. I took drafting in 9th grade, and I learned two things. First, according to this girl Adrianna, I was rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. If I met her again today, I could not promise you that her opinion would be different. And second, buildings come from blueprints. You cannot tell me that there was not in existence some set of plans, somewhere, that someone saw, that made it obvious what the end result would be. I don't think I could ever be convinced that this was just some wacky coincidence that no one saw coming.

Thanks to NSFW Opie, who got our crack research staff pointed in the right direction on this one.

Actual update: I can't believe I missed this chance: "You stay classy, San Diego!"

Friday, July 15, 2005


Dating Dilemma, Give Your Input

You happen to meet someone. You spend some time together on this first meeting and really seem to click. You definitely look forward to future dates and see potential relationship material here. Unfortunately, this person is out of town for work the next day and will be gone for a week. During this time, you text message back and forth and generally keep up a long-distance flirty banter. You are really looking forward to his return. He gets home late at night, and the two of you have plans to get together the next night. But that day, he tells you he's all tired and it's been hectic, and he cancels, asking to postpone the date without arranging anything specific.

That's the generic version. Witty Sex Kitten wants your input. Her specific details are here. You go look now!

Thursday, July 14, 2005


The Ring + Blair Witch Project = ?????

This short film (maybe 5 mins) I found to be rather disturbing. I urge you to save it til late at night, just before bedtime. Turn all the lights off, give it a minute or so to load and begin playing, and when it's finished, go straight to bed, close your eyes, and try to sleep. I dare you.

Etiquette demands thanks for the tip, but as Ace noted, thanking someone for this is a tricky proposition.

Thanks to Wendy (her film reviews, and Darrell's, are here) for the tip to more info about this film. A brief entry can be found here. Info about the director Chris Cunningham can be found here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Rick James (Dave Chappelle) Mash Up With Tom Cruise On Oprah

Ever hear of something so bad it's good? So wrong it's right? So offensive you can't help but laugh your hiney off?

If you've watched Chappelle's Show more than once, you're the sort of person who would love this link. If, through the over and over reruns, you're familiar with the Rick James bits, you'll love it even more. However, unless you work somewhere really cool, the language is very likely NSFW. And if, through some clever detective work, you wend your way to the main page this comes from, you'll discover that the language, and soooo much more is definitely super duper NSFW. Of course, I would never go there, I'm just taking the word of an anonymous someone on our crack research staff. It's a little old; I debated a while about whether or not I should even post it, but in the end, I just couldn't help myself. With all that said, and hopefully the PG-13 rating of this blog still intact, the clip is here. You go laugh now!

Monday, July 11, 2005


My Little Angels

Ok, my little angels, we need to talk. I happened to be at a certain mexican food type restaurant recently, and had an experience that I think is important to talk about. So there I am, chomping away on chimichangas, having a fine old time. The company is great; Miss Tori and I can look out over the water. It's our usual table. Behind me, a mother and daughter sit. Mom has her back to me, and daughter is across from her, facing my back.

Well we hear this noise from behind me, a nice, quick, loud sound. Being mature adults, we only snicker, perhaps out of consideration of the mom. You see, her daughter had just uncorked a nice burp.

Sally: BURRRP!

Mom: Sally don't do that!

Sally: (giggles)

Mom: (more stern) Don't do that again, it's rude.

Sally: (whiny) Mommmm! I'm sorry.

Mom: Don't be rude like that; don't do that.

Sally: (defiant, in that style common to young teens everywhere) I'm not a baby; you don't have to keep telling me!

Here's the thing, little Sally. If you're burping out loud in public, you are acting like a baby. Just be glad you didn't spitup like a baby at the same time.

There's a thing we don't see much of in our modern age, the old-timey style megaphone. Not that battery powered thing that makes siren noises and stuff and you see the cops use on TV sometimes. I'm talking serious old school, just a big plastic cone with a handle on the side. When it comes to burping, your open mouth is just like a megaphone. If you practice privately, you'll discover you can make it louder or softer depending on how you shape your mouth and how open your mouth is. Keyword: PRIVATELY!

I will grant you, there are certain times, in the company of others (but still not in public), when burping is also okay. When are those times? Well any immature guy, age 12 to about 50 or so, hanging out with certain friends, may feel free to burp at will. I was going to say tough break ladies, you lost out on this one just like you lost out on peeing standing up, but it's a new century, so what the heck. If you're off someplace private with your gal friends, burp to your heart's content. Whatever floats your boat.

But take my word for it, other people don't want to hear it. Now mom's reaction tells me that she doesn't think it's ok. I don't know them; maybe dad burps up a storm in the recliner watching the game, and Sally has picked it up from him. Maybe Sally doesn't know any better.

Here's a trick for you. The next time you feel the need to burp, all you have to do is close your mouth. A burp is just a little gas bubble that drifts up from your stomach. You won't explode if you keep your mouth closed. Most times, it won't even puff out your cheeks, and no one will notice. Let the burp happen, blissfully silent, and then exhale a second later. That's not so hard, is it?

Now tell me, my little angels, is that so difficult?

And don't even get me started on the etiquette of farts.

Note for advanced stealth belchers: There's nothing more satisfying for you, and everyone else but your victim, than"catching" the burp, as noted above, without anyone noticing, and then blowing a little puff of air into your victim's face, giving him a good whiff of whatever the last thing you ate was.)

Megaphone pic from CUNY archives here.

Actual Update:Correction. The photo above is part of a series of recreated old timey sports photos done by Luke Smalley for his book Gymnasium. I found the pic in a review of Smalley's book by Richard Turnbull. The "CUNY archives" link takes you to this review on a page of the CUNY Art History program. Now for a while I won't be able to righteously complain about the stupidity of others. Dang!

Friday, July 08, 2005


al-Qaida In Lodi, One Month Later

You may recall ice cream man Umer Hayat, 47, whose son Hamid, 22, went to Pakistan for a couple of years, spending six months of that time in an al-Qaida training camp before choosing America as the place he wanted to carry out his contribution to jihad.

They're both still under arrest, as are Muhammed Adil Khan and Shabbir Ahmed, both held on immigration violations. New revelations from federal court documents show that the probe has expanded. New info from the Sacramento Bee (annoying registration still required, try user name: Johnny_Newsie, password: lodicell):

- six other Lodi-area men attended terrorist training camps in Pakistan

- both Hayats claim Khan and Ahmed "came to the Lodi Muslim Mosque from Pakistan to groom students for terrorist training camps"

- chain of command, according to the Hayats: alleged Lodi-area jihadists "would take their direction" from Shabbir Ahmed, who answered to his former madrassah (religious school) teacher in Pakistan, Adil Khan. Khan, in turn, took orders from the operator of the terrorist training camp near Rawalpindi, Fazler Rehman - whose "boss" is Osama bin Laden

- Umer Hayat: "Adil Khan's purpose in America is to develop a U.S.-based madrassah which would serve the same purpose as the madrassahs in Pakistan."

- Hamid Hayat "advised he would get his Jihadi mission orders from Shabbir Ahmed, who would get the initial order from Muhammed Adil Khan."

- Hayat's father identified six additional members of the Lodi mosque trained in jihadi camps who "take direction from Shabbir Ahmed" and who were taught to target financial institutions and government buildings in the U.S.

Hayat father and son are currently charged with lying about their involvement with an al-Qaida training camp in Pakistan, but officials are apparently working to build a case involving Patriot Act provisions regarding giving "material support" to foreign terrorist groups. This is the same sort of case that ended in convictions for six men in Lackawanna, New York, who attended al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan in April 2001. They all pled guilty in early 2003.

Prosecutors are asking for a postponement of the Hayat's August 23 trial date while they look for info on the Hayats, if any, in as many as forty government agencies.

Thanks to the Sacramento Bee for the heads up on this continuing story.

Actual Update: See why he's so great? Even on the road, Roger Simon is generous with the links. Thanks for coming by.

Actual Update II: I knew one of the subbing Jawas would get to this story eventually! Check out their take here, as well as Interested Participant, and Chad Evans at In The Bullpen. Check them out.

Actual Update III: Thanks again to all the many, many Simonites who've come to visit. Special thanks to the multi-talented Jamie Irons, who said "Thanks, Roger, for that excellent link." I'll just assume he's complimenting this post, and not Roger's ability to write a post with a link. If you hear otherwise, do me a favor and don't tell me. A guy's got to have some illusions to get him through the night, right?

They Don't Talk Like Pirates . . .

. . . but Steve and Zweibel both post at the semi-new blog Steve the Pirate. There's all kinds of interesting stuff going on there, so go check them out. And just so you know, Zweibel is a man. He's all man, baby!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


The Glory Of Free Time

Computer technology advances by leaps and bounds. Someone decides to put some of that tech to good use, to help make things safer. This person creates a program that simulates what happens to the human body in an accident. Observing the motion of the body as force is applied helps make safer forms of transportation. A wonderful achievement that helps save lives. And then someone takes the program and does this to it. You may be disturbed by how long you watch. If you get stuck, just click and drag the body free of the obstruction.

Thanks to Dancing Flower for the tip.

Monday, July 04, 2005


A Day Of Celebration And Reflection

On the 4th of July, take a moment to reflect on how fortunate we are to live in this wonderful country, with all of the opportunities and freedoms it provides to us. And please be careful with fireworks!

Saturday, July 02, 2005


So What Do I Make Of This Google Search? (Updated)

You may recall that the two biggest searches that hit this site from Google involve a certain medical procedure (not even the embarrassing one!) and ponytails. And occasional others, perhaps involving John Kerry, or some movie or band I happened to see. Stuff like that, real stuff, stuff you’ve heard of.

What you haven’t heard of, except for here, is the story of Princess Wolfie, from her early appearances as the object of a schoolboy crush to her present role over the last eight or nine months as a regular at Team Magnum Cocktail Hours. Screw it, there’s just too many links. Hit the archives, June-August, 2004 for the crush stuff, with the Team Magnum stuff scattered from then til now. Or ask me later if you really want me to do the heavy lifting. But I digress. Thing is, Princess Wolfie is, as you’ve guessed, the blog cover name for a real person, one of the supporting characters on this blog.

So did someone read about her here, lose track of this site, and when looking for it again, Googled the only thing he could remember? I can’t help but wonder about the story behind the search. I’m conveniently ignoring the fact that the single other Princess Wolfie hit apparently involved a character mentioned somewhere on this page of the Age of Lords online role playing game. You know, like AD&D.

Who are you, Princess Wolfie searcher?

Actual Update: Oh wait. This post about sexy tattoos is probably hit more often than the ponytail post.

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