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Friday, August 31, 2007
posted at 7:35 PM
The signs were there
It occurs to me that I seem to recall an incident in his rookie year when Michael Vick was signing autographs after a game. I stood in line, very patiently waiting to get to the front of the line so he could sign my custom Atlanta Falcons jersey with the name "Ron Mexico" on the back. Finally, I was next.
I stepped to the table where Michael was sitting and laid the jersey flat so he could sign it neatly in permanent marker. And to my horror, he pulled out a black Shar-pei...
Labels: Michael Vick
posted at 10:19 PM
My job wants me to write a blog that they will use on their website. That's fine, I suppose, and they don't even care if it's political. They just want it to be funny.
I'm told, mostly by people who don't read this blog, that I have one hell of a sense of humor. I usually stare at them, expressionless and mute, until they become uncomfortable and walk away. So, I don't know if it's necessarily true, and that sort of thing is subjective, anyway.
But a lot of what I write about is political, because I know that a great deal of good or harm can be done by those who have their hands on the levers of power in this country. I used to think that due to the Constitutional checks and balances in place, no one person could do real long-term damage to my home, but I don't believe that anymore. People can be reprehensible to the core, but that doesn't mean that they are always wrong, or that we can learn nothing from them. Hermann Goering, for example said:
"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
And it's true.
The United States was attacked on September 11, 2001. Fifteen Saudi Arabs and a few close friends killed some air crew and flew planes into buildings. We have been told for almost six years that everything changed that day. That phrase is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Everything changed, because we changed it.
We let our government convince us that the whole world wanted us dead, and not because of anything we did, only because they envy our freedoms. I look at that sentence, and I shake my head. Someone believed that once.
A lot of people still believe it.
I'm just not scared of terror attacks. I understand that they are within the realm of possibility, however remote. I guess I've just decided to go about my life, enjoy what I can, and try to fix the things I'm able to. I'll probably die in a car crash, of heart disease, or at the hands of another red-blooded American enjoying his Second Amendment privileges.
Pardon the pun, but I can live with that.
So, I suppose the key will be to not think big thoughts when it comes to politics. If I keep it small, maybe I can keep it light, and then a good time can be had by all.
"Ha! Ha! Did you see that hat Hillary was wearing? What is she? A socialite? Ha! Ha!"
"Mitt Romney is a Mormon! I wonder how many wives he has! Ha! Ha!"
"Obama! That sounds just like Osama!" Ha! Ha! He must be a terrorist!"
Damn, someone's already been using some of these. I probably owe some anonymous, post-modern Mark Twain a royalty.
"Look at the tyranny of party--at what is called party allegiance, party loyalty--a snare invented by designing men for selfish purposes--and which turns voters into chattels, slaves, rabbits, and all the while their masters, and they themselves are shouting rubbish about liberty, independence, freedom of opinion, freedom of speech, honestly unconscious of the fantastic contradiction; and forgetting or ignoring that their fathers and the churches shouted the same blasphemies a generation earlier when they were closing their doors against the hunted slave, beating his handful of humane defenders with Bible texts and billies, and pocketing the insults and licking the shoes of his Southern master."
And now I owe the real one a buck, too.
posted at 8:09 PM
I had sat down at the computer with the intent of writing about something, although like usual, I had nothing in particular in mind. But I got distracted, and now I really don't have time.
Millions died for my right to say nothing on the Internet, and we cheapen it with flag decal magnets.
A screed has been planted...
posted at 11:02 PM
Giuliani: Freedom Lover
I was having a good time this week, watching Rudy dealing with yet another brand of sketchiness surrounding his campaign, the discovery that one of his kids supports Barack Obama's campaign, and not her own father's. I have to believe that you may have electability problems when you are not polling first among people that you are actually related to. And these are the people that generally know you best.
Apparently, his daughter and a son from, actually, I'm not sure which of his three marriages, are a bit salty about his actions during the divorce, and perhaps embarrassed about having to look at Mister Mid Life Crisis go through such a hard-to-watch public courtship with the current future-ex-Mrs. Giuliani, while still married to their mother.
Let me correct something: The mother of the kids involved in this issue is Donna Hanover, his second wife, not his first wife, who was his second cousin. I don't know why he hides that fact, it plays well in banjo country.
But the press, voracious as they are, wants to know why, you know, a candidate's adult children would rather vote for anyone but the man who brought them into existence. I mean, that's a pretty big thing to walk away from. Hell, I'd vote for my dad in a second.
But Rudy is frank, and didn't walk away from the question, like he did about so many other things, like deciding to put the crisis command center in the one place in New York that had already been previously attacked by terrorists, or Bernard Kerik, or the radios that he spent $15 million on prior to 9/11 that he knew were inadequate for emergency personnel, or any of that stuff. He didn't tell a big lie, like how he was actually "just like" the firefighters and other rescue workers because he had spent as much time at the pile as they had.
No, he met this issue head on. Why won't your blood relatives vote for you?
"I love my family very, very much and will do anything for them. There are complexities in every family in America. The best thing I can say is kind of, 'Leave my family alone, just like I'll leave your family alone.' "
So, that's actually a piece of good news: Rudy will leave your family alone.
I take this to mean that Rudy will not break up your marriage by trying to have sex with your wife. But that's small potatoes. I also want to believe that Rudy will leave my family alone by not using extra-Constitutional rationalizations to spy on my phone, mail, and Internet communications. I would infer that he believes that a person's private business is in fact, private, and that he would actually seek legal avenues in order to catch criminals instead of running roughshod all over my rights. And he sure as hell won't flip-flop on his many previous public statements supporting a woman's right to deal with pregnancy as she pleases.
No, Mister Nine-Eleven supports a person's right to privacy. The one-issue candidate, the man who would be only a footnote if terrorists had not slammed planes into skyscrapers, allowing him to film a six-year photo-op calculated to one day make him president, yes, he will leave your family alone.
Tell me you believe this, you small-government crusaders who still, with byzantine logic, still support President Bush. Make me believe that you, in your heart, really believe that Rudy is your guy for any other reason besides you think he can win.
He can't win. He won't win. The dirt on Giuliani has only begun to flow, and it's not even new stuff, it's all the same crap that was documented when he was mayor of New York. I'll be interested to see what your breaking point is, conservatives. His support of gun control doesn't bother you, nor his pro-choice stances, his marital infidelities, support of gay rights, out-and-out lies about 9/11, none of these seem to matter to you.
So much left to report. So much left to uncover. Rudy's unraveling will be very slow, and very public, and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. We will leave your family alone, sir. We will be leaving you alone entirely.
posted at 9:59 AM
And, we're back
A double dose of Imus-olicious news today, as it was announced that he had settled his breach of contract lawsuit against CBS for firing him earlier this year. Right before he was canned, he had just signed a new $40 million dollar deal to continue his radio show. No details were released, but I'd guess he's going to get a lump-sum check for about half of that amount, and as with settlements, it's tax-free, babycakes.
The other bit you need to know is that one of the Rutgers players that Imus made fun of is now suing him. Right, no one saw that coming.
Kia Vaughn, who has not felt the need to sue her mother for naming her after a crappy car is, however, suing Don Imus, his producer, Bernard McGuirk, and CBS for "damage done to her character and reputation." Despite the fact that no one knew for sure that she was a money-grubbing opportunist until today, this is not the allegation that led her to file suit.
Imus, you probably recall, in a now iconic bit of semi-alliterative flourish, called the Rutgers women "nappy-headed hos." The upshot?
"Vaughn was humiliated, embarrassed and publicly mocked for the comments." Additionally, her attorney, Richard Ancowitz, said, "The full effect of the damage remains to be seen. This is about Kia Vaughn's good name," Ancowitz said. "She would do anything to return to her life as a student and respected basketball player - a more simple life before Imus opened his mouth on April 4."
Ahh, the simple life...
The sort of life where you go to class a few hours a week, practice hoops a couple hours a day, and the world unfolds neatly in front of you.
But since Imus made his stupid remarks, now she has do these things with the added burden of worrying about a frivolous lawsuit which she can't win. The pressure, anguish and disappointments will be substantial. Someone has to pay. From the article:
'Ho' is a slang term for a prostitute. After the comments were made, Vaughn said at a news conference: "Unless they've given 'ho' a whole new definition, that's not what I am."
Great, you're not a prostitute. I'm assuming you knew that before the incident, and probably weren't shocked to find out that you actually were a prostitute, because, you know, you aren't. And I support that.
I would not even go so far as to mention the inconvenient fact that you trade on your physical abilities and are well compensated for your efforts. That's beside the point.
If a fan in the stands had yelled at you and your teammates the exact thing that Imus had said, would you sue the fan? Of course you wouldn't, because first, and most importantly to you, he's not some rich asshole. The other inconvenient problem for your litigious streak is that this is the United States of America, and your hurt feelings don't amount to a jack squat.
Miss Vaughn, you are going to be a junior (not a term to diminish you, please don't sue me) at a fine university this year. In all likelihood, given your career thus far, you will probably be asked to play basketball professionally when you leave school, and after that, should enjoy a fine post-basketball life. Your whole life is ahead of you, and you want to be known for this? Being Don Imus' punch line is the legacy you desire? Get over it, Kia. I didn't even know your name before today, and now it is spit from my mouth like an epithet. Just get on with your life, and make a name for yourself in your own way. You're not a ho. Stop acting like one.
posted at 8:29 PM
For no reason I can understand, I woke up this morning with a thought that, I think, will help start the healing process between two disparate groups in American society. And here it is:
No demographic has less abortions than gays.
There's your place to start, fundies. All the best to everyone!
posted at 10:06 AM
All credit due to Gunther, somewhere beneath a blue sky...
posted at 10:13 PM
Sound Economic Principles
It's been a real roller coaster of a week on Wall Street as stock markets jump around and nosedive. Traders are nervous, investors are panicked, and I don't give a damn.
It's all abstract, meaningless bullshit. I understand that these billions of dollars that evaporate came from the pockets of real people, and since we're also talking retirement accounts and all manner of investments, some of it was probably my money, too. It makes no difference to me. In spite of everything it would mean in terms of a serious reduction in the quality of life I would experience, I would like to see it all go to hell, and sooner rather than later.
An extended depression in the economy is inevitable, as economists have suddenly realized that extending mortgages to people who cannot possibly pay them back is not simply immoral. It's far worse.
It's bad business.
And even though the wholly bought and paid for Republican Congress changed the bankruptcy laws in the past couple of years to make it damned near impossible for normal people to get relief, when you ain't got the cash, you can't pay the vig. And since "reputable" (hah!) banks don't break legs, they are now saddled with trillions in properties that are worth less than what's still owed, due to the downturn in the housing market.
Burn baby, burn.
Let's see some banks go out of business! I want to see stockbrokers and CEOs, parasites who produce nothing, I want to see them jumping out of windows the way their predecessors did back in more honorable times. People used to take responsibility when they ran the boat aground, now it's no one's fault.
"It's just this damned economy. No one could have foreseen what would happen."
Time to start over.
Let's put a thousand men to work fixing that bridge in Minneapolis. and let's get another thousand to dig those miners out of their tomb in Utah. Why not get another twenty million on top of repairing all of the other decrepit infrastructure in this ticking time bomb of a country? And maybe we'll pay them a decent wage, and repair their injuries when they get hurt, how would that be?
The president said Thursday that he would block any attempt to raise federal gasoline taxes in order to fix the problems we face here in America.
"That's not the right way to prioritize the people's money. Before we raise taxes, which could affect economic growth, I would strongly urge the Congress to examine how they set priorities."
I wonder if trucks and trains full of consumer goods sailing off of bridges would affect economic growth. I wonder if helicopter action shots of minivans full of pretty white kids and their soccer moms being crushed by elevated roadways would make people think twice about going to the mall to buy useless shit they don't need. I'm not a graduate of the London School of Economics, but my guess is that this sort of thing would unsettle people.
President Shitbird refuses to raise the tax on gas, which hasn't been boosted in 14 years, even a nickel, one stinking dollar for every twenty gallons sold. He is incomprehensibly shortsighted. The only people that can't see into the next day are children, the insane, and fucking morons.
Pick any two you like.
This has moved beyond dereliction of his duties as president. This if malice with aforethought. It's bad enough that he has defiled huge hunks of the Constitution, that he has the blood of American soldiers killed in Iraq on his hands, that of Iraqi civilians, and also completely ignored the Presidential Daily Briefing titled "Bin Laden determined to strike in US." His rationale is that if the gas tax is raised, people might actually drive less, and his cormorant oil cronies might see their profits fall from preposterous to merely obscene.
That's all he has knocking around in that little rat brain of his. "What can clown do for you?"*
*You, of course, being a billionaire.
The damage done to this country by this president and people like him is not irreparable. It will take decades to fix, but it is possible. As usual, it will be the working people that have to sacrifice while the blocks are restacked, and the scales move closer to balance. The people who wrecked the house, as ever, will not be inconvenienced by the laborious cleanup.
So I say, let it all go to hell, have the rich and poor alike in the streets selling apples, and let's see how it shakes out. Let the stock markets fall by 80%, the people with mansions will let rooms, we will default on our debts to the Chinese, unite as a country and tell them to suck it.
I'm done with it. I can do with less.
posted at 12:10 AM
Broken Span of Attention
A ridiculous tragedy yesterday as a thousand-foot long stretch of a US interstate highway collapsed and fell into the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. This was not some country road in the middle of nowhere, it was I-35W in the center of one of the larger metropolitan areas in the richest nation on Earth.
When ferries sink in Cameroon or a garbage dump buries villages in the Philippines, we sit back with our usual smugness and sigh contentedly, "How wonderful it is that I live in the greatest nation on Earth, where we build things that last forever, and they stay that way through the grace of a loving and American God."
Why should the wish-thinking that has so infected large portions of the public discourse not filter down to the mundane subject of care and maintenance of infrastructure? It must have, or we wouldn't see these sorts of calamities happening with more and more frequency.
The President this morning offers and prayers and somber good-wishes, but also declared that the costs were Minnesota's to bear, which is odd, since the last I checked, the Interstate system was a federally operated program.
But that's tough love from a Neocon who only believes in Darwinism if it's the social type, or relates to the marketplace. The winners win, the losers die off, and may God have mercy on the souls of your loved ones caught under 200 tons of concrete and rebar.
The sorrow of this event has not turned to anger yet, but it will. I'm on an accelerated program of pragmatic rage, so I was livid within the first ninety minutes of the bridge's collapse. I was even angrier this morning when I started to see some backlash to the assertion that the Bush administration bore considerable responsibility for this tragedy.
"There you go, libs, hating the president for everything. What, do you think he knocked the bridge down himself?"
Hey, there's a delightfully logical response to the questioning of Bush's priorities.
The knee-jerk defenders of this criminal administration tell you that none of this has anything to do with anything else, and especially not war in Iraq. And I know that the Defense budget has nothing to do with the monies that go into maintaining and building American infrastructure.
But it is a question of priorities.
Someone please tell me how investing even half of the $2.5 billion per week that we are currently spending in Iraq in US infrastructure would not make Americans safer on a daily basis. If the president, who incorrectly interprets his oath as protecting Americans from threats (as opposed to defending the Constitution), then repair of infrastructure that we all use every day should be a high priority.
But as usual, sir:
As a person who pays attention, I know that money won't be shifted from the Sunni Triangle to Saint Paul, and besides, we're fighting this war on credit. We haven't even begun paying for this thing. Your kids will pay for it, and theirs as well.
Slap a penny, a dime, a dollar on every gallon of gas sold, and shunt it right into state transportation budgets. The feds will monitor the safety of the infrastructure, and enormous fines will be levied against states where dangerous roads, bridges, etc are found. And just to make everyone happy, those fines will be sent to the Department of Defense for any damned thing they want to spend it on, be it war or just research into how to combat the Soviet threat circa 1961. The caveat will be that none of the money can be spent on defense contractors within states that have been monitored with failing infrastructure.
It's a ridiculous solution to a serious problem, but the president has offered nothing except prayer and warm thoughts. You are The Decider. Make a decision. Do something. American lives are being threatened, yes, but far more by rust and stress than by anything
Keep your prayers. Fix my fucking bridges.
posted at 8:54 PM
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