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Monday, February 28, 2005

The Worm Turns III

The Pro-Syrian Lebanese government has just fallen.

This is huge!
BEIRUT, Lebanon — With shouts of "Syria out!," more than 25,000 flag-waving protesters massed outside Parliament on Monday in a dramatic display of defiance that swept out Lebanon's pro-Syrian government two weeks after the assassination of a former prime minister.
1989 indeed.

hat tip Instapundit

A Classic One-liner

Cate Blanchett responding to reporters' questions after winning the award for Best Supporting Actress:
"Will the Oscar change me? Absolutely, asshole!"
A classic one-liner. From Salon.

One grande mocha latte please and I'll have 3 credits with that...

What happens when you ban all the dead white males from the ungraduate college curriculum? You get a course like “The Café and Public Life" now being taught to college freshmen (although to be PC about it I suppose we should call them first-year students or persyns of freshness) at Centre (sic) College in Kentucky.

From Centre College:

FRS 154 The Café and Public Life - Prof. Weston 9:00-12:00 Cheek Emeritus House

The café has long been a storied place for creating public life, from convivial social groups to intellectual salons to revolutionary cells. We will study how the café is a “third place” – not home, not work – where people from different social groups can meet and mix. Caffeine, especially in coffee, tea, and chocolate, has fueled a modern public sphere that promotes hard work and clear thinking. We will make several field trips to different kinds of cafés to see for ourselves how they can be incubators of public life, and to actively create critical discourse ourselves by talking to café regulars.

While I agree that the central premise of the course, that coffee has changed society, merits some academic inqiury, the syllabus looks a little latte (sorry bad pun.) But I suppose you can learn all sorts of good stuff about exploited globalized workers, corporate hegemony, disgruntled baristas, andof course critical theorist Habermas.

My guess is that they will totally skip over coffee literature essentials like the only eponymous coffee-powered superhero: Too Much Coffee Man. More importantly, in my humble opinion, no coffee course could be complete without an homage to the muse of coffee, Honore de Balzac. Balzac's essay on the Pleasures and Pains of Coffee is required reading for all (especially the bloggerati) excerpts in translation below:

Coffee is a great power in my life; I have observed its effects on an epic scale. Coffee roasts your insides. Many people claim coffee inspires them, but, as everybody knows, coffee only makes boring people even more boring. Think about it: although more grocery stores in Paris are staying open until midnight, few writers are actually becoming more spiritual...

The state coffee puts one in when it is drunk on an empty stomach under these magisterial conditions produces a kind of animation that looks like anger: one's voice rises, one's gestures suggest unhealthy impatience: one wants everything to proceed with the speed of ideas; one becomes brusque, ill-tempered about nothing. One actually becomes that fickle character, The Poet, condemned by grocers and their like. One assumes that everyone is equally lucid. A man of spirit must therefore avoid going out in public. I discovered this singular state through a series of accidents that made me lose, without any effort, the ecstasy I had been feeling. Some friends, with whom I had gone out to the country, witnessed me arguing about everything, haranguing with monumental bad faith. The following day I recognized my wrongdoing and we searched the cause. My friends were wise men of the first rank, and we found the problem soon enough: coffee wanted its victim.

Now you can hold your own with the elite band of Centre College "Cafe and the Public Life" matriculants. Barista! More coffee!

A Thought:

A thought, hey isn't Jacques Derrida just another dead white male now?

The Worm Turns, Cont'd.

More evidence that American meddling in the Middle East is producing positive results. Elections in Saudi Arabia where women can actually vote?

C'est Impossible!
Prince Saud al-Faisal on Sunday said the first municipal
elections earlier in February, open to men only, had been such a success it
was possible the vote might be extended to women.

... "We know we want to reform, we know we want to modernise, but for God's
sake leave us alone," he said.
We'll do anything you want...just don't hurt us!

Riffing. How We Make Posts At The Idiom

[19:45] Kid Various: Pope makes surprise appearance at window!

[19:45] Kid Various: is this what we're reduced to?

[19:45] Kid Various: How about "Pope makes surprise appearance at the bathroom!"

[19:46] Kid Various: Now what would be news is "Pope makes surprise appearance at Scores"

[19:46] Mr. Scriblerus: i wonder how many cardinals are lobbying for his job right now?

[19:47] Kid Various: How do you do that?

[19:47] Kid Various: Can you drop mail?

[19:47] Mr. Scriblerus: it's more like becoming majority leader or speaker

[19:48] Mr. Scriblerus: you need the support of your caucus, the college of cardinals

[19:48] Kid Various: Dear College Member:

[19:49] Kid Various: In today's topsy-turvy world of moral lassitude and self-centered greed, the Catholic Church needs a strong leader with a proven record on the issues

[19:49] Mr. Scriblerus: as pope i promise to have more confessions, better hats, etc

[19:50] Kid Various: I sense a post in this

[19:51] Kid Various: Can XXX Associates do Cardinal Vasquez's mail?

[19:52] Mr. Scriblerus: they wish, that's the whole vatican treasury to loot and pillage

[19:54] Kid Various: Cardinal Vasquez's Bishopric ranks #1 in the amount of abortions prevented for calendar years 2002, 2003 and 2004! - Vatican Quarterly Jan. 2005

[19:55] Mr. Scriblerus: Cardinal Vasquez failed to attend mass 36 times in 1983, Cardinal Rossi never missed a mass in 64 years!

[19:55] Kid Various: It's sad that we have been reduced to the politics of personal destruction. Cardinal Rossi knows full well that those were only procedural masses

[19:57] Mr. Scriblerus: Heres' Cardinal Vasquez's hotel receipts when he went on a mission with Sr. Mary Agnes, only one room? Coincidence?

[19:58] Kid Various: There was no room at the inn!!!

[19:58] Kid Various: Cardinal Vasquez slept in the manger...LIKE OUR LORD!!!

[19:58] Kid Various: maybe we should have a papal heart rate meter

[19:58] Mr. Scriblerus: no!

[19:58] Mr. Scriblerus: let's not get too blasphemous

[19:58] Mr. Scriblerus: it's like when you feel that cringe when the south park guys go too far

[19:58] Mr. Scriblerus: a papal heartmeter would be too far

[19:59] Kid Various: well, whatever you say dude ;)

[19:59] Mr. Scriblerus: a mock campaign for pope would be funnier i think, a poke at catholic church politics

[19:59] Mr. Scriblerus: + american-style negative campaing

[19:59] Mr. Scriblerus: the final candidate for pope gets vetted by the devil's advocate you know

[20:00] Kid Various: I thought they abolished the Devil's Advocate

[20:00] Mr. Scriblerus: man i hope not

[20:00] Mr. Scriblerus: that's so cool

[20:01] Kid Various: In the old process of canonization by the Roman Catholic Church, the Promoter of the Faith (Latin Promotor Fidei), or Devil's Advocate (Latin advocatus diaboli), was a canon lawyer appointed by the Church to argue against the canonization of the proposed candidate. The office was established in 1587 and abolished by Pope John Paul II in 1983. This streamlining process has allowed him to canonize nearly 500 individuals and beatify over 1,300, as opposed to 98 canonizations by his 20th-century predecessors.

[20:02] Kid Various: yeah, there has definitely been saint inflation.

[20:03] Kid Various: They have to get that under control, probably by radically raising saint interest rates

[20:03] Mr. Scriblerus: alright, gotta run,

[20:03] Kid Various: later

[20:03] Mr. Scriblerus: seeya

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Better save those pennies, Kid

Kid Various' aversion to certain displays by the opposite sex is well documented. But something tells me he'll be saving his pennies for the particular services of one of these young ladies. I wonder if they make international deliveries?

Assist via Attu.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Worm Turns

Well here is an interesting bit of how do you do that flashed across Kid Various' TV this morning:

CAIRO, Egypt - Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (news - web sites) on Saturday ordered a review and amendment of the country's presidential election law, paving the way for the possibility of multi-candidate polls in September.

The surprise announcement follows increasing opposition calls within Egypt for political reform.

And sooooooo, another piece of the puzzle falls into place.

Of course, the audience that the despot Mubarak was addressing responded in typical toady style

The audience broke into applause and calls of support, some shouting, "Long live Mubarak, mentor of freedom and democracy!" Others spontaneously recited verses of poetry praising the government.

But be that as it may, the first multi-party elections in Egypt for the Presidency is nothing to sneeze at. Make no mistake, a chill wind is blowing for autocracy in the Middle East. Just in the past 2 weeks, one can discern a noticeable shift here.

And this before the Kid even read David Brooks' OP/ED in the New York Times this morning!

This is the most powerful question in the world today: Why not here? People in Eastern Europe looked at people in Western Europe and asked, Why not here? People in Ukraine looked at people in Georgia and asked, Why not here? People around the Arab world look at voters in Iraq and ask, Why not here?

Thomas Kuhn famously argued that science advances not gradually but in jolts, through a series of raw and jagged paradigm shifts. Somebody sees a problem differently, and suddenly everybody's vantage point changes.

"Why not here?" is a Kuhnian question, and as you open the newspaper these days, you see it flitting around the world like a thought contagion. Wherever it is asked, people seem to feel that the rules have changed. New possibilities have opened up.

The question is being asked now in Lebanon. Walid Jumblatt made his much circulated observation to David Ignatius of The Washington Post: "It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq. I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, eight million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world."

Can the worm really be turning?

Kid Various does not like to make predictions on this point. He is rock solid in his belief that freedom and Enlightenment values will take root and flourish in the long term. But betting on the timing of a specific revolution is tricky business.

Still the President said that the Middle East is experiencing it's own "1989" and the Kid hopes to God he's right. Historically speaking, these things don't happen gradually. Things are static for a long, long time. Then one spark lights the fire. Like the fall of the Berlin Wall did for Eastern Europe in 1989. And hopefully how now the U.S. liberation of Iraq will produce a cascade of liberalism throughout the region.

But what is the surest sign that avalanche of freedom is upon us? Even the doughy Old Europeans (and Canada), our erstwhile allies are seeking to jump on the democracy bandwagon.

A fledgling Iraqi democracy?
A free election for a Palestinian government committed to democratic reform?
A peaceful uprising in Lebanon against occupying Syria?
A multi-party election in Egypt?
Multi-party local elections in even *gulp* Saudi Arabia?

Obviously the nay-sayers will cluck their thick tongues, and decry our hubris and arrogance, secure in the certainty that the United States will come to grief in the Middle East, shorn on the rocks of our own ideological naivete. And, of course, their most potent venom is reserved for the President, the know-nothing cowboy who's appalling lack of subtlety so offends their effete, international sensibilities. The bile has been building ever since President Reagan left office.

But, in the final analysis, Reagan was vindicated. The venerations of Reagan that emananted forth from the quarters that previously spewed such hatred toward him during the funerary proceedings last spring were a wonder to behold. And one must ask the question, in 20 years time, is it possible that they will speak of President Bush in the same fashion?

C'est Impossible!

But maybe, just maybe, the doubters should give just a sliver of thought to the question, as the Europeans seem to be doing, what if, like Reagan, George Bush is right?

Actually, the answer isn't as obvious as it might seem. President Ronald Reagan's visit to Berlin in 1987 was, in many respects, very similar to President George W. Bush's visit to Mainz on Wednesday. Like Bush's visit, Reagan's trip was likewise accompanied by unprecedented security precautions. A handpicked crowd cheered Reagan in front of the Brandenburg Gate while large parts of the Berlin subway system were shut down. And the Germany Reagan was traveling in, much like today's Germany, was very skeptical of the American president and his foreign policy. When Reagan stood before the Brandenburg Gate -- and the Berlin Wall -- and demanded that Gorbachev "tear down this Wall," he was lampooned the next day on the editorial pages. He is a dreamer, wrote commentators. Realpolitik looks different.

But history has shown that it wasn't Reagan who was the dreamer as he voiced his demand. Rather, it was German politicians who were lacking in imagination -- a group who in 1987 couldn't imagine that there might be an alternative to a divided Germany. Those who spoke of reunification were labelled as nationalists and the entire German left was completely uninterested in a unified Germany.

New Poll

Condi Rice...Hot or Not?

Condi Rice: Hot or Not?

Free polls from

Kid Various says... UberHOT!!!

Bad Boys, Bad Boys. Watcha' Gonna Do?

Kid Various gives a hearty "thumbs up" to this innovative technique in fighting the insurgents in Iraq.

MOSUL, Iraq - In one scene, the videotape shows three kidnappers with guns and a knife, preparing to behead a helpless man who is gagged and kneeling at their feet.

In the next, it is allegedly one of the kidnappers who is in detention, his eyes wide with fear, his lips trembling, as he speaks to his interrogators.

"How do I say this?" says the accused man, identified as an Egyptian named Abdel-Qadir Mahmoud, holding back tears.

"I am sorry for everything I have done."

In the first week after the elections, the Iraqi Interior Ministry and the Mosul police chief are turning the tables on the insurgency in the north by using a tactic -- videotaped messages -- that insurgents have used time and again as they have terrorized the region with kidnappings and executions.

But this time the videos, which are being broadcast on a local station, carry a different message, juxtaposing images of the masked killers with the cowed men they become once captured.

And it's not being broadcast just in Mosul. It's being seen all over the country.

True it does have a certain whiff of the public confessions during the Moscow show trials, but this is something that can be really effective. In such a shame/honor culture as the Arab world, it's important to show these savages as defeated and broken men. To demostrate viscerally that these are not heroic freedom fighters. They are not glamorous. They are snivelling, cowardly vermin who prey upon the unarmed and the unaware. Often they are equipped by foreign agitators. And that they'll turn on their compatriots whenever they get caught.

Maybe they should bring back the pillory too, so we could throw tomatoes at them.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Surlymeter Rising

When Mr. Surly gets home from work today, he will be quite peeved. He will find his award winning post: Standards? We Don't Need No Stinking Standards, pushed much further down the blog by today's posting activity by Mr. Scriblerus and Kid Various (8 and counting).

Therefore, in keeping with a Friday afternoon tradition, I will have to raise the Surlymeter. The Surlymeter will now officially be at Orange: Way Surly, please take approprite action.
Orange: Way Surly
But don't worry, surliness is his muse. Our loyal readers will reap the benefits.

Living Doll

Kid Various is not freaked out by much. But this story flashes red on the creepmeter.

Tokyo: As Japan produces fewer children and more retirees, toymakers are designing new dolls designed not for the young but for the lonely elderly -- companions which can sleep next to them and offer caring words they may never hear otherwise.

"There has been demand for dolls which can 'heal' you but toys available on the market were mostly for daytime," said Kiriseko.

"I thought that you need to enjoy the night together if you really hope to live with a doll."
That's it. Society has officially collapsed.

Ugh! Is this our future? To spend our last days rocketing toward the grave with Chucky & friends?

The doll can be programmed to "sleep" or "wake up" in accordance with the owner's pattern, saying "good morning" with open eyes at due time or inviting the elderly to sleep with the doll's eyelids drooping.

"I feel so good, g-o-o-d n-i-g-h-t," the doll says before falling asleep if the owner pats it on the chest gently.

Or Yumel may ask, "Aren't you pushing yourself too hard?" when it judges the owner has been going to bed too irregularly or not spending enough time playing with it.

"If you lead an orderly life, Yumel will be in a good mood, singing songs or pleading with you to do something like buying him toys," Kiriseko said.
Or it just might say "Hello, my name is talking Tina and you are a very bad man. I'm going to kill you!"

Oh yeah, Kid Various has seen enough episodes of the Twilight Zone to know to stay the hellz away from freaky life like dolls. And believe you him, he's going to punch his ticket like Hunter S. Thompson before he reduced to this...

"Thank you for giving me a heart-warming baby. I'm no longer alone," an 82-year-old woman wrote while another senior woman said she was raising the doll "as my own child".

Das Pornschen

Looking at the referrals list, Kid Various has noticed that The Idiom has been getting hits from a German gay porn site.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But the Kid wonders exactly what was the leap that got people from looking at various flavors of Knockwurst to our peculiar brand of wit and nonsense.

Was it the gay penguin post? Or the Carnivale pix? Or the strip club turned art studio post? Or the famous "lost" Homo Sapien post? (Check out The Idiom DVD with deleted posts.) Was it David Hasselhoff?

Maybe it was that comment on the HOT MAN LOVE regarding Mr. Surly's Eason Jordan post...

In any case, though the Kid has been sans woman for some time, it is less due to any latent homosexuality than to a more than passing resemblance to the behaviour of August Strindberg (*Striiiiindbeeeerg!) So, you know, he's flattered and all but...sorry.

Now the Kid can't speak for his colleagues, but as far as he is concerned, all gay German readers are welcome! Not necessarily because they're gay (not that there's anything wrong with that) but because we love Germans! There is no race of people funnier than the Germans! We can't get enough of 'em.

So grok our Idiom if you can Liebmann! Life is a cabaret!

Now is the time on Sprockets where we have hot man love...

Touch my monkey! Love him! Love him!

Sperm: the gift that keeps on…coming?

Ok bad joke. But this story is too funny to pass by. An Illinois physician is suing his ex-lover for emotional distress caused by a surprise pregnancy and the theft of his sperm. A Dr. Richard Phillips accuses his paramour, Dr. Sharon Irons, of stealing of his sperm. Although Dr. Phillips says he only had not sex with that woman Presidential-style relations, Dr. Irons wound up pregnant and sued Dr. Phillips for paternity. Dr. Phillips then filed this suit with his claim for emotional distress and theft. The Illinois Court of Appeals let the emotional distress claim go forward, but ruled the sperm was a gift, not a theft.
Court: Man Can Sue Over Surprise Pregnancy

By CARLA K. JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO - A man who says his former lover deceived him by getting pregnant using semen obtained through oral sex can sue for emotional distress — but not theft, an appeals court has ruled. Dr. Richard O. Phillips accuses Dr. Sharon Irons of a "calculated, profound personal betrayal" six years ago, but she says they had the baby through sexual intercourse. The Illinois Appeals Court said Wednesday that Phillips can press a claim for emotional distress after alleging Irons had used his sperm to have a baby, but agreed that however the baby was conceived, Irons didn't steal the sperm. "She asserts that when plaintiff 'delivered' his sperm, it was a gift," the decision said. "There was no agreement that the original deposit would be returned upon request."

Mr. Scriblerus doesn’t know anything about the Illinois criminal code and he is not a criminal defense attorney, but for those of you out there unfortunate enough to have attended law school, like Mr. S, you will recall the endless dry hypotheticals employed by law professors to illustrate a particular point. For the law school nerd in me, this case would present an intriguing, if prurient, and funny hypothetical.

Let’s see how the plaintiff's case stacks up here. If I recall correctly from the folks at barbri, the common law definition of a larceny is the unlawful taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent to deprive him of possession permanently. We certainly have the asportation element, the carrying away, here and I doubt the defendant ever intended to give the property back so we've got the permanent deprivation. The key issue is the taking element. Unless the plaintiff was hepped up on rohypnol during the alleged act, it’s hard to say defendant “took” the sperm from him without some cooperation of his part in “giving” it to her. Bad puns galore.

Now, the common law elements of a gift are: a donative intent, an actual donation, and the acceptance of the gift. Well, you can fill in the blanks and apply the facts to the law yourself. No matter the location of the “donation,” I think the Illinois Appellate Court got it right here.

Maybe Dr. P should have argued it was a larceny by trick, where the taker misleads the rightful possessor by a misrepresentation of fact into giving up possession, but not title, to the property. Or a action in tort for conversion? Ok I'll stop.

I will keep an eye out for the opinion when it’s posted and we'll see if my analysis is on point.

“And they’re coming out the left turn into… another left turn!”

Sirius Satellite Radio announced its exclusive five-year contract with NASCAR to broadcast the stockcar races over satellite radio. Mr. Scriblerus can only think of one thing more pointless than watching NASCAR on TV, that is listening to NASCAR on the radio.

"And Dale, Jr. is coming out of a left turn and going in to… another left turn!"

Maybe the color commentary will add another dimension…

Mr. Scriblerus just doesn’t get NASCAR. A NASCAR race is an excessively prolonged left turn, a high-speed traffic jam, driving around and around in circles. None of which is particularly appealing from this spectator’s perspective. Yet NASCAR is huge. It’s mega-huge. It’s a billion dollar industry and the second largest spectator sport in the United States.

Mr. Scriblerus possesses key components of the general demographic profile of a NASCAR fan. He is male, votes Republican, watches FOX news, drinks beer but still no NASCAR appreciation. Perhaps NASCAR is a pure red state phenomenon and that Mr. Scriblerus’ blue state residency has culturally afflicted him with an effete anti-NASCAR affectation?

But to all the red state NASCAR fans out there, sign up for Sirius, pop a cold Budweiser, tune in to the Daytona 500 and keep voting the way you do so that we here in blue state America can get some freaking tax relief.

This is still not a catblog...

Hey maybe someone really is reading this blog, or should I say catblog?

Protesting the Weekend

So this is what the BBC is reduced to. Since apparently there is dearth of news coming out of Iraq in the past few days that would America in a bad light, the world's "premiere journalistic network" chooses to cover a protest by 40 some odd people in Baquba, because they don't want the day off on Saturday.

You see, Iraq just recently went from a six day work week to a five day work week. Previously, Iraqis only took off on Friday, the muslim sabbath. But several days ago the government instituted a two day weekend, covering Friday and Saturday, that would bring Iraq into line with most of the western world (except for France - which I believe now has a 3 hour work week.)

Unfortunately, some party poopers just can't get down with the long weekend.

Students in Baquba opposed the scheme, backed by outgoing Prime
Minister Iyad Allawi, because they identify Saturday with the Jewish Sabbath.

"We prefer it to be Thursday. Saturday is a holiday for Jews and we are Muslims
and reject that decision."
Yes, it's a Zionist conspiracy.

What the "protestors," a small group of high school students, haven't yet realized is that Saturday is not a holiday for Jews. It is a day for cartoons!

C'mon. Do they really want to work all Saturday and miss "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters?"

Go home and watch Speed Racer, you freaks!

Monkey Business

Kid Various knew that teaching apes to communicate through sign language was a bad idea. What the hell is an ape going to tell you that's useful? Did anyone think that maybe they had discovered a cure for cancer and that the only thing holding them back from sharing it was the language barrier? Teaching them to communicate with humans can only give them bad ideas. Pretty soon, they're going to want the vote. And the Kid has no desire to end up on a random beach, thrashing in the surf, wailing "Damn you! Damn you all to hell!!!!"

And you know, the Kid never thought of it, but it was inevitable that sooner or later it would come down to this:

Two women who helped care for a famous gorilla have sued the foundation nurturing Koko, saying they were fired for refusing to show the animal their breasts, lawyers said on Friday.

The lawsuit says the president of the Gorilla Foundation, Francine Patterson, sought to have the women bond with the gorilla by performing "bizarre sexual acts with Koko."

"Through sign language, as interpreted by Patterson, Koko 'demanded' plaintiffs remove their clothing and show Koko their breasts," the lawsuit said.
That's right. Apes are now sexually harassing people and people are suing over it. Welcome to America Koko. Maybe there really is something to President Bush's tort reform idea after all. Does it have an ape exclusion?
One wonders, however, just why the women aren't suing the gorilla for creating a "hostile work environment."

Oh yeah. Gorillas don't have money. Only Banannas.

[JUDGE] Koko, the Court orders you to pay damages totalling 2.5 million

[KOKO] [Sign for] Aw, this is BULLSH*T!!!

And just what is the sign for "Show us your tits!" anyway? This could be useful for all those times that the Kid runs across deaf women at Mardi Gras.

Pink Pain Project Should Check This Out

Our friends at the Pink Pain Project should check this out:

What do the author of Miss Julia, a helium-filled balloon and Kid Various' college life have in common?

Find out by watching this delightful little animated short.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Mullah Rockety?

More evidence that the USA is winning The War. Former die hard Taliban fighter known as “Mullah Rockety” is convincing Taliban fighters to accept amnesty and join the political process.
hat tip Powerline
"The Taliban has lost its morale," he said, speaking by satellite phone from the heartlands of Zabul province, a Taliban redoubt. "But you have to go and find the Taliban and call to them and ask them directly. If they believe they will be secure and safe they will come down from the mountains."
But even better than the delicious news that we are making progress is that fact that this article is titled
Rocket man gives up rebellion to put the Taliban on road to peace
Which of course can only bring us back to the Elton John/Bernie Taupin song “Rocketman.”
Which, in turn, brings us to the gut wrenchingly funny rendition of that song by William Shatner at the 1978 Sci-fi Awards show. Which then leads back, like all things do, to Star Trek and the fact that Kid Various just bought the entire Star Trek movie collection for $45 bucks. Oh yeah, forgot all about DVD piracy outside the USA.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Penguins in the news

Well, we had to get to the gay penguins sooner or later.

Female penguins imported from Sweden to tempt the famously gay penguins at the Bremerhaven Zoo into heterosexual pair-bond relationships (or at least prompt a dalliance with bisexuality) has failed. Zookeepers were harshly criticized by gay activists for attempting to “convert” the penguins. Other zoos have documented this behavior when the ratio of male to female penguins is out of balance. Determining whether this behavior exists in the wild is complicated due to the outward difficulty of determining the sex of a penguin. This is yet another prime example of the double-edged sword of sociobiology.

Meanwhile in other penguin news, Sean "P-Diddy" Combs has come under fire from PETA for using live penguins in a swimming pools display at a party celebrating the opening of the Hotel Victor in South Beach. PETA objected to the use of penguins as props for human entertainment and for exposing them to the hot Florida climate. Reports confirmed that the penguins were “uncomfortable” at the party. There was no indication whether this was because these penguins were straight. Rumors circulated that the gay German penguins were jealous, and would really prefer the gay-friendly scene in South Beach where they would feel more accepted than at the Bremerhaven Zoo.

Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance.

Alpha Blogger

Today's "The Idiom - Alpha Blogger of the Week TM" award goes to our own Mr. Surly.

Mr. Surly's post Standards? We Don't Need No Stinking Standards, was selected by Punditguy in this week's 127th Carnival of the Vanities. All hail Surly, the Alpha Blogger.

In related news, the Surlymeter has been officially recalibrated to GREEN: Cranky Surly, the lowest level ever recorded on the Surlymeter.

Green: Cranky Surly

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Onion Article Actually Describes Area Man’s Life

An article in this week’s issue of The Onion, America’s finest news source, reportedly describes to a “T” the life of local legend affectionately known as “Dope.”

Just one of the 12,000 young people TFA has burned through since 1990, Cuellen was given five weeks of training the summer before he took over a classroom at P.S. 83 in the South Bronx last September.

"I walked into that school actually thinking I could make a difference," said Cuellen, who taught an overflowing class of disadvantaged 8-year-olds. "It was trial by fire. But after five months spent in a stuffy, dark room where the chalkboard fell off the wall every two days, corralling screaming kids into broken desks, I'm burnt to a crisp."
“Oh yeah, that’s Dope alright,” said Kid Various, blog author and local raconteur. “It’s funny. Usually The Onion is more or less a satire. Taking a grain of truth and stretching it for comic effect. But that’s really Dope’s life. It’s really him.”

“I mean for Christ’s sake, how else can you explain his recent bolting of the educational profession for library science of all things?” Various added.

Monday, February 21, 2005

An observation...

Have you noticed in the blogosphere, the tendency of bloggers to replace common words with “blog” as a prefix, suffix or syllable? For example blogdex, blogophile, blogocracy, catblogging, blogoholic, blogsploitation, catablog to name a few. This reminds me of smurf language, as in “that’s just smurfy” or “go to smurf!”

Or more perhaps precisely on point it reminds me of Marklar. As in Episode 311: Starvin' Mavin in Space:

Kyle: Wait. Wait. I think I can explain this whole thing. Marklar, these marklars want to change your marklar. They don't want Marklar or any of these marklars to live here because it's bad for their marklar. They use Marklar to try and force marklars to believe they're marklar. If you let them stay here, they will build marklars and marklars. They will take all your marklars and replace them with Marklar. These marklar have no good marklar to live on Marklar, so they must come here to Marklar. Please, let these marklars stay where they can grow and prosper without any marklars, marklars, eh or marklars.

Ohhh, I've wasted my life...

Today on a very special The Idiom

Today on a very special The Idiom Afterschool Special, we confront the very real issue of blogoholism.

Do you or your friends think you are spending too much time with your blog? Maybe you should take a moment to answer this questionnaire:

1. Have you ever tried to quit blogging for a period of time and started back in a day or two?
2. Do you resent people telling you what to do about your blogging or voicing their concern?
3. Have you tried to alter your blogging behavior by switching from one form of blogging to another? i.e. posting or commenting, commenting or posting.
4. Do you ever need to blog to get started in the morning or to stop the shakes?
5. Are you envious of people who blog without getting into trouble?
6. Have there been problems connected with your blogging in the past year?
7. Has your blogging caused problems within your household or with your significant others?
8. Do you ever blog to prepare for a party or blog while you are there?
9. Do you tell yourself you can stop blogging when you want to, but continue to blog when you don't mean to?
10. Do you miss days at work or school because of your blogging?
11. Do you have blackouts when you are blogging?
12. Do you ever feel that your life would improve if you did not blog?
13. Do you have hours long discussions about your blog and what are the best posts on your blog and whether or not you should post the greatest hits of your blog or hold a poll about the greatest hits of your blog?

If you answered yes to 4 or more of these questions then the possibility exist that you have a blogging problem. It may be a good idea to attend a meeting of Blogoholics Anonymous and listen to the stories of others who have an acknowledged blogging problem. BA has helped many to regain their lives and to live once again with purpose and direction.

Inspired by Twisty. Maybe we all need an intervention?

We’re Jammin’

In his research for the past post, Kid Various ran across this little consumer gadget.

Given present circumstances, the Kid has no need of it, but on his return to the Land of Milk and Cheesburgers he is definitely going to buy one and have it on all the freakin’ time.

Hah! The Kid has your number you drooling cell phone philistines! No more having a conversation in the middle of a goddamn movie theatre!

Al-Qaeda Needs To Switch To T-Mobile

One of the most popular ways to detonate a roadside IED is to trigger it remotely using a cell phone. But the terrorists really get ripped on the per minute cost during peak hours.

[Mohammed] Ok. Here comes the convoy. Detonate the IED…NOW!

[Ahmed] It’s peak hours.

[Mohammed] What?

[Ahmed] You know how much this phone call costs?

[Mohammed] Ahmed, use your cell phone!

[Ahmed] Dude, I’m roaming…

Déjà vu All Over Again

Twice this week Kid Various has had the Déjà vu experience. Once while getting a security briefing and once while settling into his new office. It’s a very specific feeling. When the Kid was, indeed, a kid – he explained it as projecting a movie onto a wall, freezing one image and then painting that image on the wall, rolling back the film and playing it again.

For just one instant, the moving image would exactly match the image on the wall.

And then it’d be gone.

It’s a cool feeling, but, not to disappoint the flakes who consider it some sort of mystical experience, it probably just has to do with a small glitch in your brain laying down short term memory. Your brain module for “familiarity” misfires.

Interesting how what we think of as one continuous process, perception, is really a bunch of separate processes. You only notice that when something goes wrong. Kinda like when your hammer breaks.

It’s Me Against The World

There seems to be a minor firestorm about some recordings of President Bush that were secretly taped by a friend in which he “alludes to the fact that he may have used marijuana.”

Kid Various read this whole article and he can not find one thing that puts the President in a bad light. Here’s what the President was recorded saying about his marijuana use.

He refused to answer reporters' questions about his past behavior, he said, even though it might cost him the election. Defending his approach, Mr. Bush said: "I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions. You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."

He mocked Vice President Al Gore for acknowledging marijuana use. "Baby boomers have got to grow up and say, yeah, I may have done drugs, but instead of admitting it, say to kids, don't do them," he said.

The Kid may be trippin’, but overall that sounds like a reasonable and responsible course of action on the President’s part. Friends of the Kid know that he favors legalization of all drugs, but if you feel that your past drug use is wrong (it certainly is illegal regardless) trying not hold yourself up as a role model in that case just seems common sense. And Bush’s response is hardly “mocking” Al Gore. It just seems to the Kid that it’s the response of someone who’s grown up and left his dissolute youth behind rather than of someone who holds that time period in his life to be some sort of golden age.

In the drama of modern Presidents who here is King Henry and who is Falstaff?

Kid Various doesn’t personally give a rat’s ass whether Bush smoked marijuana, or was a drunk, or snorted cocaine or had 3 DUI’s. What seems to be important is that the President sobered up, decided he wanted to change his life and became a responsible adult (unlike, so far, Kid Various – but he’s not running for anything.)

All in all these tapes are very flattering to the President. But of course the MSM tries to play it like it’s some sordid revelation. A sordid revelation to say you’re not going to bash gays? Give us a break!

You know it really does give credence to Bush’s phrase “It’s me against the world.”

Just like us here at The Idiom. The whole world’s against us dudes.

Let’s kick some ass.

The Police Blotter Theory

When Kid Various was working on a particular political campaign last year, he was tight with a certain Mayor B. who was helping him out.

This particular Mayor had recently got into a fracas with the local press because he ordered the police to stop releasing arrest information to the local papers. This pissed off the local papers because one thing local press loves to do is publish the “police blotter.”

Mr. So and So was arrested last night at 11:30 pm on a pandering charge. Etc. etc.

Mayor B.’s theory in shutting down the police blotter went like this. His town was a good town with a pretty low crime rate. But the police blotter only shows the town in a bad light, that is, you only see the criminal activity in the paper in the morning. Pretty soon, people come to think of your town in that fashion. People stop moving in. You lose your tax base.

Sound thinking.

And that’s why Austin Bay’s latest essay about why we are winning in Iraq, but no one knows about it struck me as telling.

The biggest display, that morning and every morning, was a spooling date-time list describing scores of military and police actions undertaken over the last dozen hours, Examples: “0331: 1/5 Cav, 1st Cavalry Division, arrests two suspects after Iraqi police stop car"; “0335 USMC patrol vicinity Fallujah engaged by RPG, returned fire. No casualties.”

The spool went on and on and on, and I remember thinking : “I know we’re winning. We’re winning because –in the big picture– all the opposition has to offer is the past. But the drop-by-drop police blotter perspective obscures that.”

Collect relatively isolated events in a chronological list and presto: the impression of uninterrupted, wide-spread violence destroying Iraq. But that was a false impression. Every day coalition forces were moving thousands of 18-wheelers from Kuwait and Turkey into Iraq, and if the “insurgents” were lucky they blew up one. However, flash the flames of that one diesel rig on CNN and “oh my God, America can’t stop these guys” is the impression left in Boston, Boise, and Beijing.

Déjà vu All Over Again

Twice this week Kid Various has had the Déjà vu experience. Once while getting a security briefing and once while settling into his new office. It’s a very specific feeling. When the Kid was, indeed, a kid – he explained it as projecting a movie onto a wall, freezing one image and then painting that image on the wall, rolling back the film and playing it again.

For just one instant, the moving image would exactly match the image on the wall.

And then it’d be gone.

It’s a cool feeling, but, not to disappoint the flakes who consider it some sort of mystical experience, it probably just has to do with a small glitch in your brain laying down short term memory. Your brain module for “familiarity” misfires.

Interesting how what we think of as one continuous process, perception, is really a bunch of separate processes. You only notice that when something goes wrong. Kinda like when your hammer breaks.

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.

Hunter S. Thompson, the founder of gonzo journalism, is dead.

He committed suicide via self-inflicted gunshot wound. Whoa! Who didn’t see that coming?

We had two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a saltshaker half-full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of uppers, downers, laughers, screamers... Also, a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of beer, a pint of raw ether, and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can. The only thing that really worried me was the ether. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of an ether binge, and I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon.

There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.

A Jersey Breakfast

This morning, Mr. Scriblerus will enjoy a truly New Jersey-style breakfast. Taylor Pork Roll, egg and cheese on a fresh hard roll. Taylor Pork Roll or “Taylor Ham” is a Jersey original. Invented by John Taylor in the Nineteenth Century, it is still manufactured by the Taylor Provision Company in beautiful downtown Trenton. Every true blue New Jerseyan appreciates this near non plus ultra of the salted pork breakfast products (with the sole exception of bacon, being the king of course.)

Maybe for lunch I’ll have an Italian Hot Dog.

Vatican University Teaches Exorcism Course!

The Pontifical Academy "Regina Apostolorum"university has begun offering an exorcism course for priests in Rome for the princely sum of $235 Yahoo News reports.

The course was conceived by the Legionaries of Christ, a powerful, wealthy and conservative order founded in Mexico in 1941 that is described as being close to Pope John Paul II. The order is fighting allegations of sex abuse against its founder, Marcial Maciel, who stepped down recently.

Well, it's tough to judge an order just based on allegations of sex abuse these days since its so rampant among priests.

[Revernd Paolo] Scafaroni said the aim of the course to prepare priests and seminarians "to distinguish real cases of diabolic possession from mental problems so they can be referred to exorcists."

The reverend Francesco Bamonte, exorcist in the pope's own diocese of Rome, said he handles only a score of cases of diabolic possession a year, and relies on assistants to filter out requests for his services, "otherwise I would be swamped with requests from people who have no need of me."

Yeah, I assume it's really diffiult to separate those people whose insanity just makes perfect sense from those wacky behavior could only be the result of being possessd by demon.

In its 1999 ritual on exorcism, the Vatican recognized certain signs of diabolic possession, such as the ability to speak foreign or ancient languages that had never been learned, or reactions of repugnance toward symbols such as the Christian cross. [Gabriele Nanni, 46, the diocesan exorcist from the northern city of Modena] said exorcists seek to drive out demons through prayer rather than the incantations,rites and magic formulas of popular mythology. "It's sorcerers who do that, not us," he said.

So let me get this straight. If you're acting kind of deranged and if you get annoyed when someone shoves a crucifix in your face, you're possessed by a demon? Right, makes perfect sense to me. Is that an endorsement for sorcerers as an alternative to exorcism by the way?

You would think the Catholic church would be trying to distance itself from this kind of fringe religious activity, but apparently not. The Vatican updated the ritual on exorcism in 1999! Well, now you know where the church's priorities lie.

God is so going to smite my wise ass one day.

The Onion Movie?

I recently discovered that The Onion, the great satirical newspaper featuring countless stories about "area" men and women, and inspiration for the irony loving editors of the Idiom, is being made into a movie. I don't really think that a movie based on The Onion is such a great idea though. How do you turn The Onion, with all its ever changing component stories, into a movie? You would need someone like Robert Altman who's good at directing movies with multiple intertwining stories to direct, and someone who's also, you know, actually funny. Altman hasn't directed anything funny since MASH. Wasn't he supposed to move to France anyway with Alec Baldwin or something? In any event, Mr. Surly will try to keep an open mind about the "Untitled Onion Movie." After all these are the folks who wrote this classic headline about the 1969 moon landing: "Holy Shit, Man Lands on Fucking Moon!" Couldn't have said it better myself.

Obituary: Hunter S. Thompson

Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson killed himself yesterday. He was 67. Hard to believe he did not kill himself earlier considering his well known, though likely exaggerated, use of mass quantites of drugs. Thompson once said, "I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me." Ironically, drugs were not his suicide method of choice. Thompson chose a messier exit, he shot himself. And I was just watching "Where the Buffalo Roam" the other day too.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Move Over Poochy!

Warner Brothers, hoping to resusitate its animated Looney Tunes franchise after the financial and critical debacle that was "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" has created "re-imaginged" versions -- I would say shitty looking evil versions myself -- of its Looney Tunes characters, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tasmanian Devil, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote for a new Kids WB series "Loonatics" set in the year 2772.

New Looney Tunes

Old Looney Tunes

Ugh. Was anyone clamoring for this? This looks just awful. The Simpsons mocked these kind of attempts to monkey around with icons years ago. Anyone remember the episode where Poochy, the hip to the extreme cartoon dog, joined the Itchy and Scratchy show?

Poochy -- Lame!

Guess Warner Brothers executive don't watch FOX. I wouldn't really care about this kind of thing normally -- what's another crappy animated kids show? -- except this feels a little like someone taking a dump on my childhood memories. When I was growing up, the world had about seven channels on TV. Every kid watched Looney Tunes, along with the Little Rascals, Three Stooges shorts, the Brady Bunch and a few other select shows. We knew all the Bugs Bunny cartoons by heart -- there was nothing else on. As a result, Bugs Bunny is a common reference point for everyone in my generation.

Now that we live in a world of hundreds of channels, the Looney Tunes are no longer part of childhood canon. They are great cartoons, but there are just so many choices now that the Looney Tunes will never have the same audience they once had. It's a shame because, unless they were Amish, everyone my age knows who Bugs Bunny is. Stupid things like Bugs Bunny unite my generation and bring us a little closer together. I don't know what kind of common ground today's kids will have when they're older -- Spongebob Squarepants?

The bigger shame though is that Warner Brothers is playing fast and loose with characters that have been around for over 60 years to try to wring a few more dollars out of them. The executives at Warner Brothers should really try to come up with some new ideas before pissing all over characters that are older then they are.

West is West

In contrast to my wishing everyone a happy Ashoura earlier, I hope that everyone had a nice Carnival.

Here are some recent photos from this Western holiday:

And just one more photo from Ashoura:

Note any differences? Need I say more?

Standards? We Don't Need No Stinking Standards

I caught commentator and former presidential advisor David Gergen doing an editorial on CBS Sunday Morning today about bloggers. Gergen acknowledged the growing power of bloggers in the United States, although until recently he knew very little about blogging. We can all thank Dan Rather for bringing blogging to the forefront of public discourse.

In his editorial, Gergen advocated for civility and journalistic standards to be adopted by the blogosphere. Gergen is no dummy, but suggestions like this show how little he truly understands the Internet and bloggers. Either that or it's wishful thinking. Blogging is free speech in the raw. Every blogger has his or her own standards for what goes in his or her own blog. Civility is in the eye of the beholder. Mr. Surly likes to use a little invective on occasion if you hadn't noticed.

The cause for Gergen's call for civility was the recent resignation of Eason Jordan from the Communist --, excuse me, Cable News Network. This is the same Eason Jordan who chose not report on atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein's regime so that CNN could continue to operate in Iraq. Jordan resigned after allegedly making off-the-record remarks that American soldiers may have intentionally targeted journalists in Iraq. This is a pretty wacky thing for a "journalist" to say without offering proof and apparently he immediately back tracked on the alleged statement. However, the story hit the blogosphere and the end result is that Jordan resigned.

Gergen finds this regrettable. I do not. Gergen, if you take him at his word, misunderstands the nature of free speech. In a free society, there will always be "good speech" -- i.e. the truth -- and "bad speech" -- i.e. lies, hate mongering, innuendo etc.--, but good speech in time will trump bad speech. That's the theory, and for the most part, I think it works.

A lack of journalistic standards for bloggers had nothing to do with Jordan's downfall. Bloggers are basically self-policing. Though accountable only to themselves, if a blogger says something off the wall without proof, that blogger will either be 1) roundly ignored as one of many nutjobs on the Internet or 2) called to the carpet -- by other bloggers. Let's not romanticize mainstream journalistic standards too much either. They didn't keep Dan Rather from going into the deep end. Journalistic objectivity exists for two reasons, 1) so the press can maintain the semblance of credibility with the public so that papers and networks can sell ads for their readers and viewers to see, and 2) so journalists can pay lip service to being objective.

The real problem for Jordan was not bloggers, but that he never came clean, as raised in a PBS Newshour discussion Gergen participated in. The tape of Jordan's actual comments has never been released and Jordan and CNN were tight lipped about the whole affair. Gergen blames the bloggers who kept the story alive for causing Jordan's resignation. CNN caved in to the bloggers. I see it a different way. When the only people talking about Jordan are saying critical things, then Jordan's got a problem. Had Jordan and CNN been more forthcoming and willing to release the tape of Jordan's comments, maybe Jordan would have prevailed, maybe Jordan did not make an outrageous claim without proof. Or maybe the tape would make things worse. We'll never know though for sure now.

The moral of the story is, there are 8 million bloggers in the United States. You can ignore them at your own peril.

I once interviewed Morton Downey, Jr. way back when. He seemed like a really nice guy when met him, not the washed up person he would become. Downey and his television shows were egalitarian, aimed at giving voice to the kind of people who normally didn't have a voice on television. Unfortunately, his shows sometimes resembled a mob, with lots of Jersey frat boys, and he also begat Jerry Springer which, on the whole, is a bad thing.

Downey had one very interesting thing to say to me though which I have never forgotten. He said, "A journalist is merely someone who tells a story. . . .Anyone out there on the street who tells a story they've seen or heard, they're a journalist. Thank God we've got a country full of them. I'd like to see us start using them." Mort was pretty prescient. The reality is now we do have a country full of journalists and they are called bloggers.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

This is Art? Cont'd.

Ironic that Kid Various should be posting about this, given his famous distaste for such places (the Kid is a gentleman above all things after all.)

But this is so creative, the Kid would simply have to pick up a sketch book himself.

BOISE, Idaho (Reuters) - A strip club in Boise, Idaho has found an artful way to prance past a city law that prohibits full nudity.

On what it calls Art Club Nights, the Erotic City strip club charges customers $15 for a sketch pad, pencil, and a chance to see completely naked women dancers.
What’s that sound? Oh, it’s Mr. Surly running to the art supply store…

Scribble Scriblerus, scribble!

Too Much Pressure

The Idiom has just attained small mollusk status on The Truth Laid Bare.

*twitch* Too much pressure! Ack! *twitch*

Unfortunately, this still means you can boil us without us feeling pain.

Sorry Kid

Sorry Kid, looks like you got passed up as a new recruit for the Green Lantern Corps, yet again...

This picture is so funny on so many levels I just had to post it. Plus it gives me an excuse to link to this article again, one of the funniest things ever written on the Internet.

East is East

In case anyone thought that the Westernization of the Middle East was going to be a piece of cake...

Happy Ashoura everyone!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Who wants to live forever?

Ray Kurzweil does. His recipe for immortality is available here. Unfortunately, we all have to wait for another 20 years or so before the immortality technology is "mature" enough to fend off the Grim Reaper for good. So watch out for those RPG's Kid, or Mr. Surly and I will still be toting around your unfrozen head in a glass jar in 2618. Meanwhile, Mr. Scriblerus is going to have another cup of green tea.

Friday on Inside the Actors Studio

Tonight on Inside the Actors Studio...

Welcome to Inside the Actors Studio, I, your host, James Lipton, am honored to have with me the illustrious, incandescent editors of The Idiom, that final bastion of wit and irony in a witless, unironic world. Let us begin with the incomparable questionnaire invented my great friend the great Bernard Pivot of "Bouillon de Culture", Mr. Scriblerus, I beseech you:

What is your favorite word? Ochlocracy.
What is your least favorite word? Sticktoitiveness.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Intelligence and wit.
What turns you off? Whining.
What is your favorite curse word? Bastard. Versatile and politically incorrect.
What sound or noise do you love? Rain.
What sound or noise do you hate? Alarm clocks.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? New York Times Bestselling Author or traveling the earth and having adventures.
What profession would you not like to do? Accounting.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Wait a minute dude, you're like here way early. Mr. Scriblerus, I bask in the warm glow of your luminescence.

Kid Various, Kid. What is your favorite word? Defenestrate. How cool is it that we have a word for throwing someone out a window.
What is your least favorite word? Yogurt. It tastes like it sounds.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? The idea of America.
What turns you off? Bureaucracy. The antithesis of America.
What is your favorite curse word? Shit. I probably use it too much. Somewhere along the way, it just became an all-purpose synonym for "stuff" but using it so much has robbed it of its mystical power.
What sound or noise do you love? RPG's in the morning.
What sound or noise do you hate? RPG's in my bedroom in the morning.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Stand up comedy.
What profession would you not like to do? Anything involving sales.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Dude you are so lucky I'm no longer the "Wrathful God TM." Kid Various, your genius is, as always, effervescent, I wallow it it.

Mr. Surly, What is your favorite word? Boobs.
What is your least favorite word? No.
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? Free time, free money and good friends.
What turns you off? Obtuse people.
What is your favorite curse word? Dick. As in that guy's a dick.
What sound or noise do you love? Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound.
What sound or noise do you hate? The sound of the garbage truck rounding the corner when you forgot to put a big pile of trash out.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Porn Mogul.
What profession would you not like to do? Anything that requires a name tag or uniform.
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? The buffet is to your right. Mr. Surly, your anger is a burning but cleansing flame, you consume me.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Puck Stops Here

What a disgrace! For the first time in 86 years, Lord Stanley’s Cup will not be awarded due to a freakin’ labor dispute. How f*cked up is that?

And how f*cked up is it that Tampa Bay, a team from Florida, gets to hold on to The Cup another year as unearned champions?

Hockey is, obviously, the greatest sport known to Man. And the greatest moment in sports is at the end of the Stanley Cup Finals, when the NHL league President hands the cup over to the captain of the winning team and the captain hoists The Cup over his head.

It brings tears to the Kid’s eyes.

Even if a team the Kid hates winds The Cup, it’s still a magical moment. That one instant where he triumphantly raises The Cup to the roar of the crowd (even an unfriendly crowd) and for that second the promise of the entire season; the tears, the sweat and especially the blood, are momentarily fulfilled.

In other sports, the actual trophy is of little value. Who knows what the Major League Baseball trophy looks like? Or the NFL trophy? Or the NBA trophy? Those teams play for the title, not the object.

Hell, in soccer, the World Cup – isn’t even a freakin’ cup!

But in a sport as cultish as hockey, the title is fine, but what’s really important is the totem. The object of power that you can touch. The thing you can wrap your arms around and hoist over your head. The venerated relic you can kiss.

And you don’t get to keep it, like every Superbowl victor keeps a Vince Lombardi trophy. You have to work to keep it, and if you fail, the totem is handed to someone else, in an age old ceremony as pregnant with meaning as the inauguration of an American President. That’s why it’s so special. That’s why it is so sought after. And that’s why it is a disgrace that a team will keep it until (hopefully) next year without having earned its power.

The greatest moment in the history of sports

This is art?

This is art?

Mr. Scriblerus doesn't get it. But apparently over 1 millon people have gone to see it.

Now this is art:

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

In Other Gay News

The New Brunswick Theological Seminary, adjacent to the Rutgers University campus and one of the nation's oldest schools for training mainline Protestant clergy, made national news this week when it retired its president and reprimanded him for officiating at his gay daughter's wedding.

Former President, Norman Kansfield, is quoted as saying "my bad."

I actually have no strong opinion on the issue of gay marriage. As Howard Stern once said, "gays should be allowed to marry, they should be as unhappy as the rest of us." I would be for legalizing gay marriage if there was some guarantee it would cut down on the number of times in my life I would see news stories feautring Rosie O'Donnell whining.

In any event, I'm just sorry the Seminary doesn't get any press for its real noteworthy feature. It is, to the best of my knowledge, the only institution of higher learning with a building in the shape of a fez.

Compare below:

The Seminary is currently undergoing a major expansion, which I can only hope includes a building designed to look like a giant teepee.

One Fat B*tch, Hold the Mayo!

Now the forces of political correctness have gone just too far. Recently, the fine publication Maxim named the Fat Darrell the country's best sandwich. The Fat Darrell was invented at Rutgers University in the R.U. Hungry food truck, one of the many food trucks open till the wee hours on the Rugters campus and known affectionatley as "grease trucks." The afterglow of this achievement in the field of sandwich making was too good to last. There is now a scandal involving the grease trucks.

Apparently, the sandwich wars are heating up at Rutgers. In the wake of the Fat Darrell triumph, the grease trucks have started selling new sandwichs with names like the "Fat Blunt," "Fat Dyke," and the "Fat B*tch." The Newark Star Ledger has reported that Rutgers University which leases space to the grease trucks has ordered the truck owners to cover up the names of the offensive sandwiches after some students complained.

Some people seem more upset then others.
Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, a statewide gay and lesbian
political organization, said he finds the sandwich names disgusting, grotesque and offensive. "What's going on here is not just giving harmless names to sandwiches. This is how hate crimes begin," Goldstein said. "This is serious stuff. I'm alarmed."

Uh huh. I think somebody has a little too much free time on his hands. Naming a sandwich "Fat Dyke" while probably very insulting to many lesbians is hardly the stuff hate crimes are made of.

I can understand why some students might get offended. The sandwich names are sophomoric. The student body at Rutgers is very liberal (weren't we all in college?) and they are right at that stage where they have been newly indoctrinated in political correctness and are the most righteous.

That being said fuck them and fuck Rutgers. You were offended? Too bad! YOU CAN'T LEGISLATE TASTE. Don't like a sandwich? Don't buy it.

Rutgers being a state institution, I would even think there's some claim that could be made that Rutgers violated the free speech rights of the grease truck owners. I doubt the ACLU will be mounting that case anytime soon though.

Speaking of taste, I wonder what a Fat B*tch tastes like anyway.

Tales of the White Rose

I learned about the White Rose Society while reading a biography of Hitler last year and was completely intrigued by the group's story. The White Rose Society was formed by a group of students at the Universiy of Munich to protest the Nazi Goverment. The members of the group distributed leaflets between 1942-1943 encouraging ordinary Germans to resist Hitler and the National Socialist government. "We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace! " reads one of their leaflets.

In February 1943, most of the student leaders of the White Rose Society, Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, Cristoph Probst, and Willi Graf, were arrested by the Gestapo and soon thereafter executed by guillotine. The other principals in the group were also soon arrested and executed. The story of the White Rose Society answers the question "What did the German people do to resist the Nazis?" Their fate may explain why there was so little internal resistance to the Nazis.

The members of the White Rose Society were incredibly courageous. It could not have been an easy decision for them to stand by their convictions. They must have known how dangerous it was to resist the notoriously brutal Nazi regime. Nevertheless, they persisted and paid the ultimate price for their actions. I'm struck by just how young they look in pictures.

I am amazed that the story of the White Rose Society is little known outside of Germany. The story is just an incredible tragedy. The White Rose Society may have a slightly higher profile though as a new film about one of its members will soon be released. The film is "Sophie Scholl -- the Final Days" and I for one look forward to seeing it. I hope this German language film is soon shown in the United States and finds an audience.

Free the Lobsters!

If you boil us do we not burn? If you grill us do we not sear? Shy-lobster, Fish Monger of Venice.

Pity the lobsters. You dangle those hapless crustaceans over a boiling cauldron... of course you pause to give them a moment to seek redemption from their lobstery deity, then you drop them in. You sadistic bastard.

It is ironic that while you dispatch those lobsters to a hot and watery grave (or execute them via restaurant proxy) your steak-chomping dinner companions wil say, "You're so cruel, how could you do that?!?" Now you can tell your dinner companions that a Norwegian study says the lobsters feel no pain.

A lobster is effectively a bug. The lobster has no "brain" per se, so when it writhes in the pot it's not actually "hurting" it's just trying to get away, a reflex, it does not have a subjective sensation of pain. (Note that the timing of the Norwegian study is critical as the Norwegian parliament contemplates adding invertebrates to its animal cruelty statutes.) And needless to say, this flies in the face of PETA's Fish Empathy Project and its Lobster Liberation efforts. For those of you more than casually interested, well-known author David Foster Wallace published this thorough article in Gourmet Magazine about contemplating the ethical dilemma of lobster-boiling while attending the annual Maine Lobster Festival.

How do you think the cow feels before it becomes a shrink-wrapped T-bone steak in the meat aisle of your local Shoprite? Yes, your steak was bloodily rendered from the lifeless carcass of a once happy animal frolicking hither and yon in the fields. Our modern convenience society has neatly apportioned the division of labor so that you don't have to go out and club a cow to death, butcher it, and grind up the meat yourself to get that Hardee's Monster Thickburger you so crave. Do you really think about the pig's last wishes before you dig into your Grand Slam Breakfast at Denny's? Unless you were working the night shift at the abattoir, I doubt it.

To paraphrase Denis Leary, meat is murder and murder tastes pretty good.

And to you PETA vegans out there, how do you know your salad doesn't scream? Think of the carnage in every bite of that spring mix! Although etymologically that does not make sense here... vegetage? Think of the vegetage you barbarians!

You are an animal, you must kill to live, check it out on the Discovery Channel.

Now, will somebody please pass the foie gras...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Blogroll please...

I am pleased to note that our humble blogroll has attracted some attention recently. For the curious, there are two main categories of blogs included on our exclusive (short) blogroll. The first is for blogs we note of uncompromising taste and acute observation. The second category are blogs that belong to women Kid Various, the Idiom’s only bachelor, would like to date. And yes, ladies he is available, if not convenient.

By the way, Jim at Parkway Rest Stop should note that if anyone is attempting to ply him with average bourbon, Mr. Surly will up the ante and buy him a bottle of Maker’s Mark to keep our little secret. Thanks for all the referral visits. Only 106,677 hits to go and we're in your neighborhood.