The Therapy Sessions
Friday, April 30, 2004
My take on rap
I never liked rap much, and hip hop sucks too. Maybe it's because I'm just a suburban white boy and the lyrics mean nothing to me.
Face it, more often than not, I'm on the man's side.
But these rap lyrics have been translated into language that sets my pale toes a'tappin':
(1) "I am an aficionado of exceptionally large female posteriors; on this subject, I am neither able to prevaricate nor make pretense."
(2) "Law enforcement officials seem intent on confiscating my current narcotic harvest."
(3) "Indeed, my credentials are more than sufficient, I repeat, more than sufficient for me to cease activity at this point in time."
(4) "Let us harken back to the halycon years of my adolescence, when I was as of yet not very well known within the community, nor did I have any means to electronically receive messages."
(5) "The emergency services in this locality are of inferior quality."
(6) "Excessive inebriation on my part inevitably leads to a telephone call, attempting to terminate my solitude by engaging in intercourse with a woman of loose morals."
(7) "Upon my word of honor, I will never try to emulate a passe or banal mode of communication."
(8) "Please pass me the amplification device, so that I may extend my present line of discourse. The alliance of particular Californian neighborhoods is a portent of imperilment."
This is either the start of something momentous or a one-shot curiousity that was a lot funnier after a few White Russians.
(1) "I like big butts and I cannot lie."-- Sir Mix-a-Lot, Baby Got Back.
(2) "Cops, come and try to snatch my crops"-- Cypress Hill, Insane in the Brain.
(3) "2 Legit, 2 Legit To Quit"-- the estimable (MC) Hammer.
(4) "Back in the days, when I was a teenager / before I had status and before I had a pager." -- A Tribe Called Quest, Excursions.
(5) "9-1-1 is a joke in yo town"-- Public Enemy.
(6) "When I get drunk, I stumble to the phone / and conjure up a bitch to bone when I'm alone." The Alkaholiks, Only When I'm Drunk.
(7) "We solemnly swear to never bust a style that's bunk." Digital Underground, Rhymin' on the Funk.
(8) "Give me the microphone first so I can bust like a bubble / Compton and Long Beach together, man, you know you in trouble." Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Nuthin' But a 'G' Thang.
(From Norbizness via Marcland)
My paper tiger
A few months, I took up running in the morning, while it's still dark. My faithful companion is my dog, Titus, who marches along in front of me, on the lookout for bunnies, cats and other dogs.
Last week, a curious thing happened. Titus saw a cat pacing around one of the driveways ahead. Titus growled a little, but his growl was, as usual, hesitant and half-hearted. But usually, this was enough for a cat. The cat will run away, and Titus will give chase, at least to the end of the leash.
But Tinkerbell is a ballsy cat: she stood her ground. Titus was noticeably flustered as he padded into range, and the cat's stare was fixed on him. He did not chase. If he had even given a hint of a chase, the cat would have scurried off. Titus just ran in front of Tinkerbell. After we had passed in safety, Titus looked up at me with a look that said "Jeez, master, that was a close one!"
But now Tinkerbell has his number, and she knows it. Each time we run by, she makes a point. She walks to the end of her driveway and stares Titus down.
He is now frightened of a cat that is a fourth of his size.
It is the shame that he must now endure this because he lost his nerve on his first showdown. The Feline Street knows that my badass Border Collie is a wimp.
Animals interpret this situation as shame. I can see it in Titus's eyes.
But if he was a European dog, he would be quite proud of his refusal to stand up for himself.
Marty wakes up at home with a huge hangover.
He forces himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins and a glass of water on the side table. He sits down and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed. Marty looks around the room and sees that it is in is in perfect order, spotless clean. So is the rest of the house.
He takes the aspirins and notices a note on the table "Honey, breakfast is on the stove, I left early to go shopping. Love you."
So he goes to the kitchen and sure enough there is a hot breakfast and the morning newspaper.
His son is also at the table, eating.
Marty asks,"Son, what happened last night?"
His son says, "Well, you came home after 3 A.M., drunk and delirious. Broke some furniture, puked in the hallway, and gave yourself a black eye when you stumbled into the door."
Confused, Marty asks, "So, why is everything in order and so clean, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?"
His son replies, "Oh that! Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your pants off, you said, "Lady, leave me alone, I'm married!"
a self-induced hangover $100.00
broken furniture - $200.00
breakfast - $10.00
saying the right thing - priceless
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Guns and civilization
Glenn Reynolds via AfricaPundit:
[I]n the face of evidence that an armed populace prevents genocide, the human rights community has largely gotten behind a campaign to ensure that there will be no armed populaces anywhere in the world.
It seems to me that the human rights community has things exactly backward. Given that the efforts of the international community to prevent and punish genocide over the past several decades have been, to put it politely, a dismal failure, perhaps it is time to try a new approach. International human rights law is supposed to be a "living" body of law that changes with the needs of the times in order to secure important goals -- chief among which is the prevention of genocide. Given that the traditional approaches of conventions and tribunals have failed miserably, the human rights community should be prepared to endorse a new international human right: the right of law-abiding citizens to be armed.
I have no problem with that.
When I lived in Sierra Leone, the country was largely peaceful. Most farmers got by on very little, and for them, gun ownership was out of the question (of course, cost was a major factor). The civil war there started on the Liberian border - small bands of armed boys went into towns, looting and raping. Anyone who protested was killed.
Many of those peaceful, nonviolent farmers are dead today.
In the US, we too had a time where a large percentage of our population farmed. Living far from others out in the countryside, they - like the African farmers - were prime targets for bands of criminals. Except the United States never saw the kind of lawless genocide that Sierra Leone may just now be emerging from.
I believe that the prime difference was the fact that American farmers were generally armed. Criminals certainly existed in the United States in the 1800's, but armed bands ravaging town after town did not. Being a lifelong criminal was risky - sooner or later, you were going to end up on the wrong end of a farmer's gun.
There are many risks to having an armed citizenry, but as Sierra Leone illustrates, there are risks to having an unarmed citizenry as well.
Civilization exists because of the gun, and human rights campaigners with allergies to gunpowder would do well to remember it.
Prior to the gun, learning how to kill effectively took many years of work by strong and dedicated men (swinging swords, throwing spears, shooting arrows are not easy). Being a fighter was a way of life. Men who lived this way had to make a living, and that living was generally parasitic: they lived in the countryside, stealing what they wanted. They watched the roads: traveling in those days was risky business. A merchant had no chance against two swordsmen with years of skill. People made a living by knowing how to kill effectively.
The gun, however, was an equalizer. It is easy to use, and it is deadly in anyone's hands. With a gun, an elderly woman with little training could take out a man built like a warrior. Such power has a tendency to make a thief think again.
Before the gun was generally available, only a fool would live beyond the safety of a town. The general availability of guns coincided perfectly with the advance of farmers into the fertile fields of the countryside, where the nearest neighbor might be miles away. The increased productivity of the farmers allowed towns to prosper, and they were able to concentrate on other jobs. People, when armed, were able to spend more time adding to what they owned instead of hiding it.
The problem in Africa is not too many guns. It is too many guns in the wrong hands.
The family farmer with a gun is usually no threat to anyone.
It is the bandit that is the problem.
Try explaining that to the human rights community, which takes no lesson from the fact that it only prospers in societies protected by good people, armed with guns.
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
He's so cruel!
Bush Urges Seniors Back to Work:
Bush Urges Seniors to Get Back to Work
Author: $7 Trillion National Debt Cited
Posted: 12:43 PM (-0600 TZ)
WASHINGTON (GWB) -- President Bush signed a job-training bill into law Friday to ease the elderly back to work and 'end senior loafing as we know it.' Bush told a cheering group of nursing home residents that, 'There is no free lunch. Cooking and cleaning keeps us fiscally fit and gives seniors moral fiber.' Amidst much laughter he added that, 'We all know you folks can't get too much fiber.'
I don't think so.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
Brave Sir Robin
Brave Sir Robin ran away....Spanish Troops Complete Iraq Withdrawal.
Sing! All together!
Bravely bold[good] Sir Robin, rode forth from Camelot,
He was not afraid to die, oh brave Sir Robin,
He was not at all afraid to be killed in nasty ways
Brave brave brave brave Sir Robin.
He was not in the least bit scared to be mashed into a pulp
Or to[And] have his eyes gouged out and his elbows broken;
To have his kneecaps split and his body burned away
And his limbs all hacked and mangled, brave Sir Robin.
His head smashed in, and his heart cut[gouged] out,
[And his liver removed,] and his bowels unplugged,
And his nostrils raped, and his bottom burned[burnt] off,
And his penis split . . . and his . . .
(The music is jolly and bright, as if triumphant. Robin is not at all happy with the lyrics.)
Brave Sir Robin ran away.
Bravely ran away, away.
No, no, no.
When dangers reared its ugly head
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.
Bravely taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat.
Bravest of the brave Sir Robin
[Petrified of being dead
Soiled his pants then brave Sir Robin
Turned away and fled.]
I thought this was pretty funny: Hey Crackhead
Yes, you. You sick fucker. On Wednesday morning I emerged from my girlfriend's building by U.N. Plaza to find that you had sawed the tops off both the sparkplugs on my motorcycle. At the time, I had no idea why anyone would do that. Other than the sparkplugs, the bike was untouched. Some kind of bizarre vandalism? A fraternity prank gone awry? I had no idea. All I knew is that I looked like a huge douchebag riding the Muni to work in a padded motorcycle jacket and helmet.
Because the bike was immobilized I got a $35 street sweeping ticket that night. Thursday I had it towed to the shop ($45) where they replaced the sparkplugs and the boots ($50 including labor). They explained to me that "people" - I use the term loosely here - like you break off the tops of spark plugs and use the porcelain tubes to smoke crack. As an engineer and former MacGyver fan, in a way I think this is kind of cool. But then I remember that I just paid $100 for YOUR crackpipes, and I get angry again.
Crackhead, it was really good to have my bike back though. I rode home from the shop with a couple of spare sparkplugs and a smile on my face. I figured the next time I parked at my girlfriend's place overnight I would have to buy some crackpipes and tape them to my bike as a peace offering. Overall, I wasn't that upset. Despite having to ride the bus for three days and dropping a hundred bones at the shop, I had gained some fascinating knowledge, a new set of sparkplugs, and a pretty funny anecdote about how fucked up you are, and how our paths once crossed briefly in the night.
But you couldn't just let sleeping dogs lie, could you Crackhead. You couldn't just stay in on Friday, watch Letterman through the window of a home electronics store and then call it a night. You couldn't rest on your laurels. Two porcelain sparkplug crackpipes just wasn't enough for you, was it Crackhead? You just had to come back for more.
This morning, a scant fifteen hours after I rode it out of the shop, I found my motorcycle violated once again. This time you only took the right one - maybe you were having an off night. At least this time I had a spare sparkplug and the tools to fix it - or so I thought - having ordered a 73-piece toolset from SEARS.com last week. But no, the sparkplug socket in my new toolset was for American sparkplugs. So I had to go down to the neighborhood Ace hardware. They had an 18mm socket that would fit over my sparkplug, but it was for a 1/2" drive ratchet. My toolkit only has 1/4" and 3/8" ratchets. So I had to buy a 1/2" ratchet along with the socket. Even though the clerk took pity on me and gave me the senior citizen discount (I'm 25) it still cost me $22 all told. Now, you might say that I should have just gotten a 3/8"-to-1/2" drive adaptor instead of springing for the whole ratchet. And to that I say "Shut the hell up, Crackhead, I'm not finished. And besides, I was eventually going to buy a 1/2" ratchet anyway so it's probably not worth it to take it back now."
OK, now I'm rambling. But the point is, Crackhead, that you have done me wrong. Now, I get that you love crack. That is totally understandable. I've heard it is really fun, at first, and quite addictive. What I don't understand is,
YOU ARE A CRACKHEAD. WHY DON'T YOU OWN A CRACKPIPE?
I am an engineer. Do you ever see me shaking down bums in the Loin for a calculator and sliderule? No, you don't. Because engineering is the main thing I do, I went and bought myself a calculator. The main thing you do is crack. How do you get by without a crackpipe? The other crackheads must clown on you non-stop. I mean, the fucking saw you used to saw off my sparkplugs is probably worth five or ten bucks. Why not sell or trade it for a crackpipe? You really haven't put much thought into this, have you?
Please, Crackhead, please don't tell me you sold your crackpipe to buy crack. Even a stupid crackhead such as yourself couldn't possibly be that stupid.
I've decided that taping crackpipes to my motorcycle would be tantamount to appeasement. You have crossed a line, Crackhead - specifically California Street. You have come onto my own street and you have desecrated that which I hold dear. You have stolen from me, and you have caused me to spend the last half hour writing this post instead of engineering shit, and it is concievable, if not likely, that my boss could find out about this and fire me. I am hella pissed at you dude.
Here are my options as I see them:
1. Write a note saying that I have coated both of my sparkplugs in rat poison and tape it to my bike at night. You can thank Tim for that one, it was his idea.
2. Don't write a note, but just coat both sparkplugs in rat poison. This is probably closer to a punishment that would fit your despicable crime. I'm sure this is super illegal and shit, but it's not like anyone is going to miss you, Crackhead. Don't fool yourself.
3. Wait in an alley near my bike armed with my new stainless steel mirror-finish Ace Professional brand 1/2" drive socket wrench, my 18mm sparkplug socket, and my searing rage. It's pretty heavy and well balanced. I am not a large man, but I am angry.
In conclusion, Crackhead, why don't you just do both of us a favor and buy yourself a crackpipe? It will both enhance your crack smoking experience and save me a lot of time and felony assault charges. Think about it.
*** If you are not the Crackhead that took my sparkplugs, please disregard this posting ***
(From the Radical Cowboys)
Those lovable Germans
From Espresso Sarcasm: Talking Trash...
BERLIN (Reuters) - Berlin has introduced five talking waste bins which say thank you in three different languages or scream "goal" to help promote a cleaner city.
The talking waste bins -- which curiously say thank you in French, Japanese and English but not German -- are located in an area popular with tourists at the central Potsdamer Platz and at the Zoo train station in the west of the city.
You would have quite a lawsuit on your hands if you tried that here.
Can you imagine a garbage can that only spoke Spanish? Or even worse: an Ebonic trash can?
Grimace? Are you OK?
I get nervous whenever I see the McDonald's flag flying at half mast. Part of that is the worry that one of these guys might know of a national tragedy before I hear of it.
But we all know that Grimace has been looking well lately. He's always struggled with his weight, and he's lived a hard life of booze, drugs and women. But lately, there have been massive disappointments and he has been arrested by Officer Big Mac several times (Drunk and Disorderly Conduct, Possession of a Controlled Substance, Public Nudity). Mayor McCheese has even called him a threat to the values of McDonaldland.
Of course, the sad days in McDonaldland this time have more to do with the death of a businessman, but is there a far more terrible story coming in the future.
God! If you must take the life of a large purple fantasy creature, might I suggest Barney?
Millions of parents would be thankful.
Speech upsets college president
Would somebody tell me why this is a story?Cheney Speech Upsets Westminster Prez
FULTON, Mo. — Westminster College's president told his campus he was so "surprised and disappointed" about Vice President Dick Cheney's attacks on John Kerry during a Monday speech that he is inviting the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to visit for a reply.
Monday, April 26, 2004
I'm voting for Toomey
As a voter in tommorrow's Pennsylvania primary, I have not been sure how to vote.
Arlen Specter just made it much easier:
The rest of Mr. Specter's considerable power derives from his ability as chairman of a key Appropriations subcommittee to personally earmark hundreds of millions of federal dollars each year for projects back home. Mr. Specter is unapologetic. "My adversaries accuse me of voting for pork," he told me last year. "I call it bringing home the bacon."
Sunday, April 25, 2004
Euroworld, here I come...
Weekly World News via Tim Blair:
Member nations of the European Union have announced plans to discontinue their status as individual countries in order to merge into one giant theme park!
The new park will be called EuroWorld and will cover the entire continent of what is now known as Europe. The decision was made by the EU countries in response to their collective realization that no one in Europe has had an innovative idea in well over a century.
With nothing new to offer visitors, the European countries decided to stop pretending they were still relevant, and to start celebrating their colorful pasts.
"Our stagnant continent has been a virtual museum for decades," explains an unnamed EU representative. "Many could argue that we already were nothing more than an amusement park. The decision to legally become a large theme park is really only a formality."
Each country will now be an exhibit within the park. For example, what was once known as Germany will now be the Germanland exhibit. Only traditional German foods such as bratwurst, sauerkraut and beer will be permitted in Germanland.
The citizens of each European country will now be considered "Euro hosts." The Euro hosts will be required to dress in traditional ethnic outfits from their respective homelands to better entertain visitors.
Thus, Germans must wear lederhosen at all times, Scots must wear kilts, and so forth.
"It's better this way. I remember vacationing a few years ago in Holland and nobody was wearing wooden shoes. And very few of them lived in windmills. I was outraged and demanded my money back from my travel agent," comments sociologist Alan Kennedy, a consultant to the EU for the theme park initiative.
Extracted from QandO:
John Kerry: 'I don't own an SUV,' said Kerry, who supports increasing existing fuel economy standards to 36 miles per gallon by 2015 in order to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil supplies.
Jon Henke: Uh huh. Well, he didn't earn that 'flip-flop' reputation for nothing. Here's what John Kerry said when he talked to the Detroit News...
"We have some SUVs. We have a Jeep. We have a couple of Chrysler minivans. We have a PT Cruiser up in Boston. I have an old Dodge 600 that I keep in the Senate. ... We also have a Chevy"
Well. It seems like a minor issue. It is entirely possible that John Kerry is so ridiculously wealthy that he simply doesn't know how large his car fleet is. He might find himself in his summer home, opening the south garage to find the PT Cruiser. "Oh gee, I forgot I bought this one. Let's take her for a spin!"
But then it might be taken as indicative of what I believe is John Kerry's biggest weakness: his desire to tell everyone what they want to hear.
Environmentalists will hear that he doesn't like SUV's. The United Auto Workers will hear that he has a fleet of American cars, the bigger the better. The Japanese will hear talk about he loves his Toyotas, and hippies will hear how he loves his hemp oil-powered car.
It's a little thing, but campaigns often boil down to little things: Bush I's befuddlement in front of supermarket scanner, unable to even give a ballpark figure for a gallon of milk. Dukakis riding in his Abrams, looking like he was off to shoot down the Red Baron. Al Gore impatiently sighing during a debate, showing the world what a dickhead he was.
And then there are things like this, from Chuck (left as a comment on Q and O) :
Well, I know that Kerry used to have a Lincoln Navigator because I was almost run over by him on Nantucket about 4 years ago. We were walking across Main Street and he came roaring down the road leaning on the horn for us to get out of the way. It's a cobblestone street and pedestrians have the right of way. He was at the wheel and the license plate was HEINZ57 (no lie). Prick.
It is a simple question, John: How many cars do you own?
What does it tell you that this guy has a credibility problem about his cars?
Saturday, April 24, 2004
Don't hurt Bin Laden!
In a heated discussion between Ariel Sharon and George Bush today, Sharon expressed sympathy with America's terrorism problem, but warned him in no uncertain terms that physically harming bin Laden was well out of bounds. Sharon insisted that Bush abide by the Israeli-designed Runway to Peace, a six-stage plan to establish a lasting peace between Americans and Islamic nutjobs pledged to their utter destruction. Sharon's prior remarks indicating that he favors the continued existence of America at peace with al-Qaeda have drawn widespread criticism from the international community. Secretary-General Kofi Annan accused Sharon's administration of abusing its superpower status by unfairly siding with the United States, ignoring the legitimate grievances of al-Qaeda.
Swimming black copsJoe Kelley's The Sake Of Argument:
NORTH MIAMI, Fla. -- The North Miami police department dropped a swimming requirement for applicants, saying they need new officers and want to encourage blacks to sign up.
North Miami police say they are dropping the requirement for a year. They say few departments require swimming and their officers rarely save people in water.
Officials also believe the requirement discourages African-Americans and Haitian Americans from applying. The issue surfaced a year ago when a Haitian-American city councilman asked police to drop the requirement because he said blacks historically can't swim.
FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT:
How about we just broadcast to all the North Miami bad guys that if you’re being chased on foot by a black police officer, you should just jump into one of the many canals and ponds and swim across to the other side?
I agree. This is ridiculous.
Don't piss off the Jews!
Leading Egyptian Journalist: The Jews are Behind Every Disaster or Terrorist Act
"If you want to know the real perpetrator of every disaster or every act of terrorism, look for the Zionist Jews. They are behind all the violent and terror operations that have occurred everywhere in the world. [They do this] first of all in order to slap [the label of the attacks] on the Arabs and Muslims, and second to harm them, distort their image, and represent them to the world as terrorists who endanger innocents. What is even more dangerous is that after every terror operation they perpetrate, they leave a sign, clue, or traces meant to show that the perpetrators are Arab Muslims."
If this is true, I seriously want to be on Israel's side.
Them Jews is clever.
It's like they're a super race of ultra-intelligent aliens with incredible Arab-defaming technology.
They are undefeatable. I suggest we be their friends. We will be assimiliated, and maybe they'll let us intermarry.
It might not be too bad.
But do not oppose them! Look at what a bunch of clueless fools they turned the Arabs into! Everywhere they are so full of hatred and resentment they can hardly tie their shoes. Their societies are failures, their governments are despotic, their economies are flatlined, and their innovation is non-existent.
You don't want the Israelis turning those ray guns on us.
Friday, April 23, 2004
Oh, my formative years...
Yeah, so I was a camp counselor.
What's so funny? Actually, I was pretty shitty at it.
Many bad memories. For one, I was harrassed by the camp dance instructor. It was horrible. She wanted to know why my cabin of boys never took her dance classes when they had the option.
At first, I thought she was joking. It slowly dawned on me that she was serious. This woman was a professional dance teacher at a high school in NY state, and she had to ask such a question? My answer - because they're boys - didn't satisfy her. She persisted, telling me it was my job to inspire my boys, to get them to try new things, different things.
Gay things, I thought.
Actually, I didn't think that. I was way too PC at the time to think such things. But I knew what would happen to the unlucky boy who publicly choose to go to dance class during his free period. Didn't everyone? I mean, where did this woman teach? Wimpy High?
I told her I would work on it.
At the next signup, I told the boys that dance wasn't just for girls, and it was a great way to stay in shape.
Many great athletes dance to improve coordination, I said.
Name one, the brats demanded.
I couldn't. I was trying to describe Michael Jordan, but they saw Richard Simmons.
A week later, I was met by the music teacher again.
You said you would try, she said. Things hadn't changed, and this must be my fault.
"I can't force them to go," I protested.
But she was off to see my boss. The whole time I'm thinking: how the fuck did I get myself into this job?
My boss was a cross between the Captains Steubing and Kangaroo. He lived in a land of kids, where he played an authority figure. But persistent adults - like my dance teacher - could manipulate him like a puppet.
When he spoke to me, his words sounded familiar: it's a counselor's job to inspire the children and get them to try new things, he said. When I told him that none of my boys had any desire to go to dance class, he rumpled his brow and began to look worried. I thought he understood for second, but then he sighed.
"We've never had this problem before," he said.
I found that hard to believe.
Now my cabin of 7-8-year-old boys had something of a discipline probem.
No really, it's true!
8-year-olds - surprisingly enough - tend to hold rule breakers and rebels in high esteem. My cabin had more than its share. These rabble-rousers were regarded as leaders. And I did not have much help keeping order. My co-counselor was from New Zealand. He took one look at our cabin of rich American brats and decided he'd rather chase grown American women. Not that I blamed him, but he left the job of maintaining discipline in my hands.
So I had group of boys with whom I needed a punishment. Corporal punishment was out (our society has a problem with counselors hitting kids) and the most frightening weapon I had was to send the kids to see Captain Kangaroo. Even they thought that was like being pelted with marshmallows. To maintain control, I needed a penalty so severe that these young boys would cringe at my rightous anger and comply.
And like a sign from God, some bitch was pressuring me to send my boys to her dance class, a fate they considered worse than death.
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Mandatory dance class for boys who made my shit list. The first - and last - boy to suffer this fate was some kid named Aaron.
Aaron - the prick - was a leader of the insurgency against me. He was the corpulent offspring of obscenely rich parents. They had left him at camp, with me, for ten weeks (most kids stayed for two) - while they summered in Italy. But, knowing Aaron, I understood. His parents actually tried to give me a tip - a fifty dollar bill - for taking him off their hands.
The boy was arrogant and whiny, but intelligent. He watched me operate for six weeks before he made his move. From his past experience, he knew when I was bluffing. He shared this information with his peers, using his status as a "veteran" to win the favor of the other boys.
He had to be crushed. Little did I know that he was such a pussy.
Aaron crossed the line when we were canoeing. He went out too far, and he refused to come in when I told him to. The other kids laughed and thought he was deleriously funny.
For his optional period that day, Aaron had chosen archery. I informed him (with delight) that as a result of his antics on the lake, he could never be trusted with a weapon.
I told him that he would be going to dance class.
He turned the most furious shade of red I have ever seen a person get.
"You can't do that!" He roared at me.
"I just did," I said.
The other boys began teasing him immediately. I was surprised when Aaron sulked off compliantly toward dance class. I watched him just to make sure he wouldn't bolt off at the last moment and hide behind a tree. He didn't.
I would learn later what happened. Aaron - in the process of pirouetting with the girls - collapsed into a sobbing, quivering mass of lard. He told the teacher everything right there.
She somehow passed an eight-inch-brick through her tightly puckered asshole.
I ended up getting into even worse trouble with Captain Kangaroo - not that it mattered. Whenever he saw me, he wouldn't even look me in the eye. That meant he no longer thought you were his buddy.
And let's just say that the dance teacher never said another word to me.
And that is one reason why I don't like other people's kids.
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Take a brat to work day
Today is "Take A Child To Work Day" at my company.
The place is crawling with little people. Normally quiet breakrooms are filled with chirpy voices, and solemn halls echo with giggles.
I hate it.
Alright, I admit it: I don't (under most circumstances) like being around other people's kids.
I don't make small talk very well with adults. Making it with children is even worse. A lot of people make their voices high pitched and happy, and they ask banal questions to the youngsters.
Homey don't play that. Hell, I used to hate that shit - even when I was four.
And there is the fact that many kids today are just uncontrollable brats. The whine and cry without the slightest provocation, and they are always bored and unimpressed.
My response to this has to be restrained: if some coworker's kid defies me and pisses me off, I can't crush them. I have to smile and act like I enjoy little brats.
So I put on my best Stepford smile and try to get away.
So, naturally, kids love me. They know I want them to beat it, and they find this intriguing. They chase me, pile on me, force me into their games, play tricks on me and tell me their lame jokes.
Women who devote their lives to understanding children don't understand why children tend to congregate around the grumpy guy reading the magazine.
Somebody get these kids away from me before I go insane!
With anti-child biases like this, it is only natural that I once found myself as a camp counselor.
Maybe that is how I got so warped.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Guess the Dictator or Sit-Com Character
Local radio providers whine
Satellite Radio Makes the Locals Sweat
Summary: local radio providers are trying to get government to force the satellite radio providers to stop providing local weather and traffic in their biggest markets.
My take: For the last month or so, I have enjoyed listening to round-the-clock traffic and weather on my car XM. It has saved me time in the morning, and it has reminded me to take my umbrella when I leave the car. Once I have this information, I'm free to listen to music.
The companies that run regular terrestrial radio - which provides the horrendus, repetitive, commercial-packed radio stations I used to listen to - are going crazy about this. It's unfair!
I have news for them: competition is always unfair. If it was "fair," no one would ever win. If I were playing basketball with Michael Jordan, it would hardly be fair: he has years of practice, height, smarts and strength going for him. Fair does not mean that I have decent chance to compete. Fair means that Michael and I stay within the rules of the game, rules which specifically favor neither of us.
The rules of capitalism are simple: if the customer is willing to pay for something, he should be able to get it (provided that "it" is lawful).
Under these rules, sometimes companies win. The horror!
And winning is exactly what XM and Sirius are doing. Anyone who has listened to them knows why.
Technology is always improving, and consumer options are always increasing.
These pouting companies - who have been crushing their competition for years - now appeal to the government to protect them when they are threatened.
They say they want "managed competition" that would restrict the satellite providers from giving their customers what they want (and are willing to pay for).
It's protectionism, and it is the ticket to economic stagnation. Any government that would give them such protection is overly powerful. There should be no redress for these companies.
That's competition! It's called capitalism, and you better get used to it (or go to Europe where they might entertain such silly ideas like managing competition).
I like Rumsfeld
News conference, found via QandO
Reporter's question: So at the outside, (the length of stay in Iraq) could be extended again?
SEC. RUMSFELD: You could put it that way, if you wanted to cause people concern. On the other hand, you could take what I said and report it that way, which I would find accurate. (Laughter.)
World ends! Women and minorities hardest hit!
Oh yeah, it's about time to trot this story out again:Women, particularly minorities, lag behind white men in pay.
Like many stories about the pay discrepency, it mentions the problem with little discussion about the reasons for the problem. Politically motivated? Maybe. Outright sexism may be one reason, but the others are more benign.
First, women tend to work in fields that pay lower in the first place. Teaching and nursing are female dominated. That is changing, but it takes time. Most non-profits are staffed with women, and women tend to be drawn to fields involving arts and music, which generally pay less. Women engineers are rare. This is changing, but it is changing slowly.
Second, women tend to take time off to raise children. My wife took six months off for each of our children and she currently works four days a week. Staying home with children is not easy, and it is not for everyone. My wife does this because she wants to (I don't think she would be able to stay home all the time - her sanity around children has limits). Many women I used to work with have quit their jobs entirely - in some cases permanently - to be at home with their kids. This causes 70's-style feminists to roll their eyes, but it is really a cause for rejoicing: in our society, people have the freedom to live the lives they want to lead, and they aren't held hostage to their jobs.
Paleo-feminists! Repeat after me: THIS IS A GOOD THING.
I love this site. It is where I found this:
And the Ass Kicking Kerry picture, currently residing on my sidebar.
(Thank you to Michael Roy Hollihan)
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Sshh! Don't tell anyone!
However, various sources in the Gaza Strip identified the new leader as Mahmoud Zahar, a veteran Hamas official who escaped an attempt on his life last year when the IAF fired missiles at his home. One of Zahar's sons, Khaled, was killed in the attack. Zahar himself was lightly wounded.
'According to the movement's internal regulations, Hamas has filled the place of Rantisi, but we have decided not to announce his name,' said a Hamas statement issued in Gaza City.
That would be MAHMOUD ZAHAR, who lives in a blue house at 14 Happy Jihad Lane in Gaza, one block east of the The Smiling Martyr's Quik-E-Mart.
P.S. And keep it a secret that he likes to take a morning jog at 6 a.m!
(Story found via Best of the Web)
Well, it will calm them down...
Cannabis 'Scrips to Calm Kids?:
As a California pediatrician and 49-year-old mother of two teenage daughters, Claudia Jensen says pot might prove to be the preferred medical treatment for attention deficit disorder even in adolescents.
'Why would anyone want to give their child an expensive pill ? with unacceptable side effects, when he or she could just go into the backyard, pick a few leaves off a plant and make tea for him or her instead?' Jensen asked the Drug Policy Subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee earlier this month.
A History Teacher: "Yes, Billy, your book report was ...ummm...interesting.
But I really don't think that Spongebob Squarepants was a character in The Red Badge Of Courage.
And how exactly does Homer Simpson factor into this book?"
'We Built This City' ranks as the worst record ever
1. "We Built This City" Starship 1985
2. "Achy Breaky Heart" Billy Ray Cyrus 1992
3. "Everybody Have Fun Tonight "Wang Chung 1986
4. "Rollin'" Limpbizkit 2000
5. "Ice Ice Baby" Vanilla Ice 1990
6. "The Heart of Rock & Roll" Huey Lewis & The News 1984
7. "Don't Worry, Be Happy" Bobby McFerrin 1988
8. "Party All the Time" Eddie Murphy 1985
9. "American Life" Madonna 2003
10. "Ebony and Ivory" Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder 1982
Not a bad list. I would add a few..."Rockin' the Suburbs" by Ben Folds comes to mind.
Oh, the poor dears...
Duke University cuts out 8 a.m. classes
Duke University is eliminating 8 a.m. classes and trying to come up with other ways help its sleep-deprived students, who too often are struggling to survive on a mix of caffeine, adrenaline and ambition.
Give me a break.
Iraqi artist says thank you...
This picture of the statue was made by an Iraqi artist named Kalat, who for years was forced by Saddam Hussein to make the many hundreds of bronze busts of Saddam that dotted Baghdad. This artist was so grateful that the Americans liberated his country, he melted 3 of the fallen Saddam heads and made a memorial statue dedicated to the American soldiers and their fallen comrades. Kalat worked on this night and day for several months. To the left of the kneeling soldier is a small Iraqi girl giving the soldier comfort as he mourns the loss of his comrade in arms. It is currently on display outside the palace that is now home to the 4th Infantry division.
Hey, let's abandon these people!
John Grogan: Excuse me: It's 'public' education:
OK, parents, ready for today's pop quiz?
In Pennsylvania, where nearly one-quarter of middle-school teachers who took a competency test failed, the best corrective action is to:
a. Shoot the messenger.
b. Send up smoke screens.
c. Keep taxpayers in the dark in the hopes no one will notice the problem.
d. Tell the public it has no right to information about public employees paid with public dollars.
e. All of the above.
If you answered 'all of the above,' you no doubt work for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, that proud purveyor of the 'see no evil, hear no evil' school of quality control.
It is instructive - and wonderful - how few and optional have been references to Yasser Arafat in discussions of Wednesday's developments. In a life of terror, his only service to peace was his demonstration, at Camp David in July 2000 with President Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, that the most that Israel could ever offer in the way of concessions is less than the current Palestinian leadership will accept.
Former NJ governor and 9/11 Commission member Tom Kean is getting a bit uppity about calls for Commission member Jamie Gorelick to recuse herself now that the infamous 1995 'Wall' memo has been declassified.
Several commissioners rejected Sensenbrenner's call for Gorelick to step down.
'People ought to stay out of our business,' said Kean, former Republican governor of New Jersey.
Uh, it isn't your business, governor. It's ours. We're the folks paying for your little commission. You work for us, not vice versa. And if we want to poke our nose into what you're doing, then we we'll do it to our heart's content.
This was something I didn't know about the Korean War.
Apparently, Stalin was watching:
Harry Truman did so, when he sent General Douglas MacArthur to the relief of South Korea. What were the Koreans to us? And yet, the people of Western Europe held their breaths in horror, waiting to see if America would save the Koreans -- for if we did not, then Stalin, the most feral of all the 20th century monsters, would be emboldened to invade Western Europe. Revisionist historians may jeer at such an interpretation, yet I have interviewed an American naval attachee who described to me a young German woman rushing to embrace him in the streets of Bonn, when news of the Inchon landing came, saying, 'you have saved us!' And I know from the history of the former Yugoslavia that Marshal Tito told his cabinet the same thing -- that MacArthur's daring action had prevented Stalin from marching into Yugoslavia, into Italy, into West Germany, and beyond.
Monday, April 19, 2004
My big-ass footprint
Earth Day Footprint Quiz
TOTAL FOOTPRINT 26 ACRES
IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 24 ACRES PER PERSON.
WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 4.5 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE ACRES PER PERSON.
IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 5.7 PLANETS.
All that because I eat meat and drive to work? Ah, the hell with it.
Of course, this all comes from the same midset that believes the maximum population of Earth was 2 billion people....
These people actually believe that because I had a pork chop last night, some kid starved in Africa.
Now how exactly does that work?
Hillary Clinton: Now can we talk about health care ?:
Think for a moment about recent advances in genetic testing. Knowing you are prone to cancer or heart disease or Lou Gehrig's disease may give you a fighting chance. But just try, with that information in hand, to get health insurance in a system without strong protections against discrimination for pre-existing or genetic conditions.
OK, Hillary Clinton: If you were the CEO of a struggling insurance company, would you offer insurance to a group of patients with pre-existing or genetic conditions ?
If you say no, you are guilty of hypocrisy, asking something from others that you would never demand of yourself.
If you say yes, you doom your company to bankruptcy. Think of your employees, stockholders (and yes they do matter), and the people you already insure. They trust you to run a solvent company.
In reality, Hillary wants this burden on the government.
Government is skilled at removing red tape: just look at your tax return. They'll clear up the complicated world of health care up in a jiffy!
As we all know, Washington has piles of money lying around looking to be spent. And the federal government will never go bankrupt, no matter how silly its business practices are.
But hey, if she has her way, there will be a massive new group of voters massively dependent on the government, inclined to vote democratic just to keep the checks coming to them.
No word on where that money will come from...the people who will earn it aren't yet of voting age.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
The ongoing debate
I picked this up from Who Knew? They got it from Roger Simon
I've been visiting the BBC Arabic site in the last few days and I found a forum where people from many Arab countries -including Iraq - post their opinions about some hot topics, the main of those is Iraq and terrorism of course. I wasn't surprised to see that most Arabs (especially from Egypt, Palestine, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Syria) are forming one side of the debates while Iraqis and people from the rest of the gulf countries are taking the other side. But I was surprised when I found that the almost all the Iraqis who took part in the debates are on our side, maybe 95% of Iraqis expressed their rejection to the violent behavior of some Iraqis and condemned the terrorists attacks on both Iraqis and the coalition saying that the Arab world must stop supporting the terrorists and the thugs from inside Iraq. It's also surprising that many of those Iraqis live in areas that are recognized to have a public anti American attitude in general like A'adhamiya, Diyala and Najaf. I feel that those people are still afraid to voice their points of view in public in such hostile atmospheres but the internet is providing them freedom and safety to say whatever they believe in.
The PDB bites back...
I don't make fun of Bush enough around here - with good reason: The rise of John Kerry has presented me with the greater of two evils.
But I did think this was clever. Unfair, but clever:
Saturday, April 17, 2004
So who will be the next new leader of Hamas?
Hamas leader killed in Gaza City blast
Ah, Rantisi. We hardly got to know you. Nice work, Israel - It is good the Jewish state is taking out the trash in such a timely fashion.
Jeez, the Palis haven't even retaliated for the assasination of the murderous scumbag Yassin yet!
I know they wanted to, but something prevented them.
Couldn't have been that ten-foot concrete wall, could it?
UPDATE: Rantisi is still dead. The Arab street is enraged!
Gee, I never saw that coming. You never read stories about how the Arab street is filled with "mirth," "unrestrained glee" or "whimsical delight," do you?
Mirth? Isn't that the same crap that the cheapest of the three kings tried to pawn off on the baby Jesus?
Is this Irony?
OK, it's probably not irony. But it is fitting:Cop Wins Doughnut-Eating Contest :
ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. (AP) — A patrolman from Wisconsin left his opponents in a cloud of powdered sugar dust by downing 9½ doughnuts in three minutes to win a doughnut-eating contest for police officers in suburban Chicago.
Terry O'Brien of the Town of Geneva Police Department in Lake Geneva, Wis., said he was destined to win Wednesday's contest because law enforcement runs in his family.
"Actually, it was my father, who's deceased," O'Brien said. "He was a Chicago cop, a lifer. Today is his birthday."
For the second year in a row, the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (search) held the contest at its annual conference. The Dunkin' Donuts World Cop Donut Eating Championship (search) attracted 40 contestants from the U.S. and Canada.
Master of Ceremonies Ed Nowicki said he was amazed by what it took to win this year.
"I thought they'd do seven [doughnuts], maybe they'd do eight," Nowicki said. "I couldn't believe 10!"
Money raised through the entry fee and T-shirt sales was donated to the Law Enforcement Memorial Fund and the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association scholarship fund.
Update: I like Rick's comment: No, it wasn't irony. It was destiny.
Victor Davis Hanson
The United States was wrong to go to war to take out a monster who deserved to be taken out but nevertheless should stay to ensure stability in a country that it has no right to be in.
Yep. That about sums up the strange, incoherent position the Left finds itself in.
Friday, April 16, 2004
Who said it?
One of these quotes came from a great American and statesman and the other might as well have come from John Kerry.
Which is which?
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
"Let every nation know that we believe in liberty, and we want it to spread. If it takes a nudge to liberate a country, we will be steadfast in supplying that nudge - up until the point when it becomes a push. If it needs a push, we need to get France and Germany to help. And if it requires shove or a slam, we'd rather not do that - unless the UN and NATO give us full and unwavering support, and we probably wouldn't even do it then. We will support our friends, because having friends makes you popular. But if friends like democratic Israel are costing us friends among the despots, that may be different (but it may also be the same). I believe that important distinctions need to be made between the survival and success of liberty. Liberty, you see, can survive without necessarily spreading, as long as it successful (robotically, a finger shoots into the air, as if something profound has been said). But if it costs money to aid the spread of liberty, let it known to all nations that America would prefer federally funded health care!"
Kerry's initials aren't JFK for nothing!
Why does't this stuff get any press?
Iraqi Nuclear Gear Found in Europe
UNITED NATIONS, April 14 -- Large amounts of nuclear-related equipment, some of it contaminated, and a small number of missile engines have been smuggled out of Iraq for recycling in European scrap yards, according to the head of the United Nations' nuclear watchdog and other U.N. diplomats.
Mohammed ElBaradei, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned the U.N. Security Council in a letter that U.N. satellite photos have detected "the extensive removal of equipment and, in some instances, removal of entire buildings" from sites that had been subject to U.N. monitoring before the U.S.-led war against Iraq.
Thursday, April 15, 2004
More iowahawk. The guy just cracks me up.
GORELICK: BUSH FAILED TO FIX GORELICK FUCK UPS
Sept. 11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick said today that she planned to grill witnesses from the Bush administration to 'find out why they failed to stop me when I allowed thousands of known criminals and terrorists enter the United States between 1993 and 2000.'
'This is simply incomprehensible,' said Gorelick, a former official on the Clinton administration's Department of Letting In Dangerous Foreign Terrorists. 'Some of these people were so bad, the Clinton White House seriously considered returning their campaign donations.'
What the hell are Peeps? I hate the damn things; my wife and son love them.
I glad that science is finally studying them, using chemistry to answer the seasonal question: What the hell are they made of ?Peep Research
Thanks to David.
I couldn't have said it better than Myria:
There are some subjects I avoid discussing here or anywhere else, avoid even mentioning if I can. Abortion is a good example of this, a subject upon which any reasoned discussion is almost impossible. Mention the subject and extremist will appear, like the ghosts of SCOTUS decisions past, to duke it out in their eternal verbal war where no position is too extreme, no argument too ludicrous to be made, no quarter can be given or accepted. Both sides are so full of it that they stink to the high heavens, but, far worse, they are predictable in the extreme. Give me the context and I can write the arguments both sides will use, and likely write them better than they can. We’ve all heard the arguments so many times that we know them by heart, are sick of hearing them, and we just tune out or go away whenever the subject comes up. The two extreme sides have become so extreme, with no peace possible short of total and utter victory and the complete and utter anihilation of one’s enemies, that any real discussion on the subject has become next to impossible.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
That damning PDB
WHITE HOUSE RELEASES PDB
White House officials today released the contents of the controversial August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) memo that was the focus of acrimonious 9-11 commission testimony last week.
Entitled 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S., Donuts in Breakroom,' the newly declassified document warned that 'according to 1997 reports, bin Laden is poised to launch an assault in the US, sometime in the next two to fifty years, concentrating on cruise ships, cities, the Pacific Northwest, airlines, Orange Julius stands, national parks, The Daytona 500, or possibly Wrestlemania XXII: Summer Smackdown,' using a variety of methods up to and including 'chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, suicide operatives, LSD, specially trained attack monkeys, laser cannons, and/or truckloads of surplus Fizzies.
Damn Bush for not seeing it! It was right there before his eyes!
The winning side
Mark Steyn via Instapundit :
Now here's the more important question: Are the Iraqi people on the American side?
This is very true.
The Iraqis only want to be on the winning side.
Freedom and democracy are nice concepts, but survival is more important.
Iraqis have learned well under Saddam that backing the losing side has dire consequences. They've seen the upstart democrats slaughtered, and they know what happened to rebel Kurds and Shiites.
They question whether Americans will see this through. There is ample reason to believe that America's attention span is limited, and that the US will pull out before Iraq is stable. In such a calamity, anyone who cooperated with the Americans will be massacred.
Most Iraqis - sensibly - are sitting on the fence. Waiting and listening.
Iraqis listen when Kennedy says Iraq is Vietnam, and Byrd talks about pulling the troops out now. When Iraqis hear things like that, no one wants to be on our side. The police won't do there jobs, the soldiers won't fight, the governing council waffles and the thugs like Sadr gain support.
Comments like these are tantamount to treason, because they will get Americans killed.
The battle about whether we will go to war in Iraq is over.
American troops are in the field, and there is no substitute for victory.
The United States will not lose Iraq militarily. Our soldiers know it, and enemies know it. Kidnappings and roadside bombings are not signs of military strength. They are pinpricks, and they have no strategic significance.
This war is ours to lose, and this war is the most important war we have fought since Korea, perhaps even since World War II.
Our enemy's only hope is to cause us - through displays of their sheer barbarity - to lose our will.
On the Left, they have already succeeded.
Monday, April 12, 2004
Ready to change the channel...
Sure we can lose, and by far the most likely way for us to lose is for us to give up. In the last 30 years we are perceived to have done a lot of that, and our enemies have watched carefully. They know they have no hope of defeating us militarily but they don't think they have to.
The reason we were attacked in September of 2001 was because bin Laden believed we'd fold and surrender. He more or less expected America to respond the way the Spanish did after 3/11. Our enemies now understand that it won't be that easy, but they still hold out hope that eventually we'll lose our nerve.
As brilliant as I think bloggers like Steven Den Beste are, I think they have a weakness. To be fair, it is a weakness that cannot be corrected, because it means looking at Americans and seeing inside their souls. No one can do that.
Den Beste is analytically brilliant, and his perception that there is Jacksonian core of the American electorate is dead on, but there is something that cannot be anticipated: the fickleness of the American people. This is the attention deficit society, all too eager to change the channel.
Den Beste knows this about Americans, too. And he knows that there is no predicting when Americans will just give up and turn their attention elsewhere. Especially if they feel (wrongly) that they can get away with it.
From the news, it sounds almost like some politicians are contemplating a losing "Iraqization" of the conflict there, as a quick way of getting our troops home.
And I really hope I am wrong. I never wished to be as wrong about something as I hope to be about this.
I find myself given to doubts. Will my country be able to steel itself for the task ahead? If we succeed in Iraq, we have a chance. We will have put ourselves on the side of democracy, and the Arab world might - in the series of revolutions toward which it is headed - might just blow our way, to the side of representational democracy.
But if we fail, Islamic theocracy will seem to be the only option that the Arab world has left to replace its decrepit governments.
Will my country be stared down by a second rate mullah how doesn't even have the support of a tenth of the populace of Iraq? Will we retreat before the brutality of the thugs of Fallujah? Or will we destroy them, achieve the democracy Iraqis want and help them build something better - something that just might stand as a beacon to the reast of the Arab world?
I don't know.
My country is trying to fight war on the cheap. Low costs, low casualties.
But our enemies are not fighting that way. They would - if neccessary - launch human wave attacks - losing a hundreds for every dead American.
They see this as THAT IMPORTANT. We see it as an optional war - something that most Americans hope we win as long as it doesn't have any real cost.
I fear now that we will lose in Iraq, if only because of a loss of will.
But I don't fear the ignomity of defeat.
I fear the consequences of that defeat. It will embloden the Muslim fundamentalists everywhere, and it will encourage them to bring the battle here.
It will not end in Iraq. A chaotic, civil war-torn Iraq would just be the beginning for them.
I fear that if we leave Iraq by our own choice, we will soon be fighting again in Arab territory. We will come back furious, the horrible anger of a country trying to right a wrong.
In that dark future, we won't be at all concerned about civilian casualities.
We will be trying to cause them.
From Moxie via QandO:
This is an emailed anecdote from a reader. I reprint here....
'I am an accountant. One woman came in with a significant income.
After doing her taxes and getting her itemized deductions to $12,000+ (including a whopping $150 charity deduction through her company) she received a $5,000 refund.
I then explained her taxes and made a point of showing how much was the result of the recent tax cuts.
She said she would rather not have the cut, they should use the money for schools and she would be voting Democrat to 'fix the problem.'
I said she could give the money to any school she wanted to...
She said she gave plenty (remember the $150?)
I then went back into her taxes and dropped it to the standard deduction ($4750) and explained that just because she was entitled to the itemized deductions, no law required that she take them.
She told me to put the deductions back the way they were.
She signed her taxes in silence and left in a huff. As she left she said 'You clearly don't understand'
She wanted to tell everyone that she was a compassionate person who wanted more money for schools...
Yet she wanted every penny she could get.'"
Saturday, April 10, 2004
Easter Bunny goes down
I support things like this:Easter Bunny Whipped by PA Church Group
A church trying to teach about the crucifixion of Jesus performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny and breaking eggs, upsetting several parents and young children.
People who attended Saturday's performance at Glassport's memorial stadium quoted performers as saying, "There is no Easter bunny," and described the show as being a demonstration of how Jesus was crucified.
Get that bunny. Kick his cottontail! Smash his colored eggs!
My God, what have we done?
This is a job for ....PETAman!
What we are up against...
Maman, I murdered my Jew:
Adel, filled with maniacal hatred and envy, fell on his victim with a kitchen knife and fork. He used them to stab Sebastien in the head and neck until he was exhausted. When he was sure Sebastien was dead, he went up to his flat, and knocked on the door, awakening his mother Zuhara. She told the police that she was shocked when she saw her son covered with blood, thinking at first that he had been injured.
A few moments later he told her he had murdered Sebastien. 'Maman, I killed my Jew,' he stuttered. 'I did what God commanded me. I had to do it.'
This looks interesting: Jailed eco-activist a folk hero to some, a terrorist to FBI
Arrow, 30, was born Michael Scarpitti but says the trees told him to change his name...
OK, that's about enough of that.
Some consider him a hero, some consider him an eco-terrorist....the rest of us just write him off as a flake. A flake who blows things up.
What price for eternal life?
Pills for Everyone!
But what was great news for (nyse: PFE - news - people )Pfizer and Lipitor could send shivers through the ranks of employers, insurers and millions of consumers themselves. The biggest implication of the new study is that Lipitor and other statins, now taken by 11 million Americans at a cost of almost $14 billion a year, might also benefit tens of millions more patients than doctors had ever expected.
This could prevent hundreds of thousands of heart attacks annually--yet it would add tens of billions of dollars to the nation's already-bloated bill for prescription drugs.
Medicare is DOOOOOMED! DOOOOOMED, I say!
Why, it is a portrait of John Ashcroft, composed completely of little porn people:
Very creative. But somebody must really have some extra time on their hands.
Er... at least their free hand.
From Hublog via Quotes, Thoughts, and other Ramblings
What Sadr knows that the West does not
Both the Saddamites and the Sadrites fear elections and will do all they can to prevent them. Their fears are not groundless. In every one of the 17 cities where municipal elections have been held so far, victory has gone to democratic and secularist parties and individuals. And it is no accident that these are precisely the cities where attempts at fomenting insurgency have failed.
Democratic and secularist figures have also won all the elections held by professional associations representing medical doctors, lawyers, teachers, academics and businessmen.
Friday, April 09, 2004
Ending povertyCharles Krauthammer:
At the time, we really did not ``have the means to (end poverty)'' because we did not yet know how to banish poverty and hunger. Today we do.
The answer is not foreign aid, which is corrupting and often worse than useless. In many cases, it actually further impoverished an already poor country. Enriched urban elites bought luxury goods, while donated food and socialist controls drove down the local price of food, ruining the farmers on whom these subsistence economies had depended.
We now know that the secret to curing hunger and poverty is capitalism and free trade. We have seen that demonstrated irrefutably in East Asia, which has experienced the greatest alleviation of poverty in the history of man. In half a century, places like Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea have gone from subsistence to First World status. And now free markets and free trade are lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty in India and China.
This is all very true.
But as our experience in the US demonstrates, we can never eliminate "poverty."
Because poverty itself is a relative term.
In the US we have virtually eliminated starvation, drought, pestilence and homelessness. (Oh yes, I am aware that these things still exist, but they are confined to a group that is almost always either drug-addled or mentally ill. They are beyond help.)
We now define poverty in terms of access to prescription drugs and good schools.
Yes, the "poor" will always be with us.
The expensive, environmentally-friendly nuclear weapon
Oh my God:
The upgrading of the older Minuteman III missiles has been under way for several years. The air force is in the process of replacing the decades old solid fuel rockets of its 500 Minuteman III missiles. Actually, a test of a 33 year old Minuteman I rocket motor showed that the motor (actually, a long tube full of slow burning explosives) still performed according to specification. The last of the Minuteman III missiles will receive their new motors by 2008. It costs about $5.2 million to replace the rockets on each missile. The new rocket motors, which have to comply with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) rules, will have a shorter range than the original motors (which was classified, but thought to be nearly 10,000 kilometers, based on where the missiles were stationed and where likely Russian targets were.)
EPA regulations? These are nuclear missiles!
Thursday, April 08, 2004
As somebody who supports experiments with drug legalization, these kinds of stories interest me: Dutch Government to Weigh Cannabis Clamp Down.
The debate is ongoing. And I'm eager to see our European friends' experiment with drug legalization work out.
Quite simply, I think "The Drug War" is a waste of time and resources. Interdiction ends up driving up prices, which serve as a powerful incentive to smugglers and dealers. The drug cartels - and the drug dealers - fear the massive price decreases that would come about with some degree of legalization.
I'm not that frightened of my neighbor buying a joint at a liquor store and smoking it in his backyard. And if the cost of that joint offsets the taxes I pay for my local schools, so much the better.
With harder drugs, there must be a way to get hard core addicts into programs where their use can be controled and moderated. Free drugs would be a potent lure to such treatment programs, and it would free addicts of the need to commit crimes in order to feed their habits.
Decimated drug lords.
Happily stoned hippies, discussing the plot twists of Simpsons episodes for hours on end.
And extra tax money for politicians to waste?
What's not to like about that?
The Department of Creating New Departments (DCND)
All AgitProp, all the Time:
Well, it took sixty years, but it finally happened.(Granted, this item may not be terribly significant for anyone that didn't attend a French school, but anyway... Ironically, La Vanguardia published this in the 'Living' section...)
Remains of the author of 'The Little Prince''s plane are finally found
Paris. (EFE). - Remains of the plane flown by French pilot and writer Antoine de Saint-Exupry, author of 'The Little Prince', have been found off the shores of Marseilles sixty years after his disappearance, according to the Department of Submarine Archeological Investigations (DRASSM).
Jeebus, the French really do have a department for everything, don't they?
The Department of Submarine Archeological Investigations? You've got to be kidding me!
I guess this is how one third of the French population can be employed by the state.
When the nanny state begins to collapse under its own weight, this country is going to be hit.
Tim Kane writes in the New York Times that claims of 2 million jobs lost since 2001 may be quite overblown. In fact, with 138.3 million Americans working, that's 600,000 more people than when Bush was inaugurated.
Once again, the problem lies in the difference between the establishment survey, and the household survey. This article is a very good primer on the differences between the two, and the shortcomings they have in telling us the specifics about employment.
Everyone run! Kerry's actually giving specifics!
Uh oh. This can't be good:Kerry Unveils Economic Plan
He says he's going to create 10 million jobs.
10 million jobs.
No foundation in reality, and it sounds like this number came out of the one-upmanship in some bull session.
"Let's have Kerry say he'll create 3 million jobs!"
"No, 5 million!"
"10 million! I win!"
There are only about 9 million unemployed people in the US.
My God, if anyone actually believed John Kerry, they should be concerned about the coming worker shortage!
But later, shockingly, Kerry begins sounding like a president:
Kerry said that, if he is elected president, he will not let government programs outside of security and education grow beyond the rate of inflation, even if it means cutting money from some of his own campaign promises and existing government programs.
"When I say a cap on spending, I mean it," Kerry said. "We will have to make real choices — and that includes priorities of my own."
Somebody might want to ask him why we should spend yet more money on education (at the federal level) when we already spend more than just about every other country in the world.
Shouldn't we be asking why we aren't getting our money's worth? Or why so many of our dedicated teachers can't pass basic competency tests in the classes that they (supposedly) teach?
But I like the sentiment.
And there's more:
Kerry said he would freeze the federal travel budget, reduce oil royalty exemptions for drilling on federal lands, cut 100,000 federal government contractors and cut electricity used by the federal government by 20 percent.
These are serious ideas that someone is putting in Kerry's mouth. Sort of.
And I like this:
restoring "pay as you go" budget rules that require spending and tax cuts to be offset by cuts in other programs or tax increases....
....cutting corporate welfare and using the savings to reduce the deficit.
Does this mean ending farm subsidies to companies like ADM? Since Kerry has always voted for such things, my guess is that he is full of hot air.
Now Kerry faces his next problem: I think a lot of people are going to feel that he is full of shit.
And he has no idea about what we are up against in the world:
In an interview broadcast Wednesday morning, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry defended terrorist Shiite imam Muqtada al-Sadr as a "legitimate voice" in Iraq, despite that fact that he's led an uprising that has killed nearly 20 American GIs in the last two days.
I suppose Osama is a legitimate voice, too.
You lucked out, El-Shabazz
Child's killer to spend life in prison:
Jurors could not agree on the death penalty for Abdul Malik El-Shabazz. He raped, strangled Destiny Wright, 6...
If I'm on a jury, and a guy who raped and strangled a six-year-old girl comes up, I'm betting that this isn't going to be a guy who can be rehabilitated.
And in this case, I'd be right:
With his jury unable to agree on the death penalty, Abdul Malik El-Shabazz will be sentenced to life in prison for the 2002 murder of 6-year-old Destiny Wright.
The end to the penalty phase of El-Shabazz's trial came with an additional twist - before the killer was brought to the courtroom, deputies discovered a homemade knife hidden in his rectum. The 6-inch-long metal weapon was found during a routine body-cavity search at the Criminal Justice Center, said Philadelphia Sheriff John D. Green. One end of the weapon had been sharpened into a point, the other end was wrapped in toilet tissue, Green said.
And I have jury duty coming up. Last time, it was murder trial and I was disqualified at the last second. It came just after we had to tell what our jobs were.
Scientists never do well at that point, even dumb scientists.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
The wasp nest
Link found via The Review:
According to John Diamond in USA Today, Zapatero told El Pais, Spain's leading daily newspaper, that "the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was a 'great error' that has aggravated the terrorist threat."
Well, sure it has. And knocking down a giant wasp's nest in your back yard aggravates the wasps, too, but eventually it has to be done. Unless you're okay with your wife and children getting stung and screaming in pain. Again, and again, and again, and again. Or trying to reason with the wasps. Or just pretending they don't exist. Or giving up your back yard and moving.
Of course, you know how wasps are. They'll find you wherever you go; it's their nature.
TV Linked to Attention Problems in Kids
CHICAGO — Researchers have found that every hour preschoolers watch television each day boosts their chances — by about 10 percent — of developing attention deficit (search) problems later in life.
The findings back up previous research showing that television can shorten attention spans and support American Academy of Pediatrics (search) recommendations that youngsters under age 2 not watch television.
"The truth is there are lots of reasons for children not to watch television. Other studies have shown it to be associated with obesity and aggressiveness" too, said lead author Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a researcher at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle.
Just for the hell of it: I'm not sure how to feel about this story. I believe that TV watching - which is bad enough - is being blamed for a largely fictional problem.
Kids watch too much TV. Yes, as a parent, it is often tempting to throw the kids in front of the tube while you cook dinner, especially when it is cold and rainy outside. I'm as guilty of that as anyone, though I'm glad that regular TV watching is not a problem in this household (there are no regular shows that we watch).
So it would be great if parents would have their kids watching less TV, and more time reading and playing with crayons (though this isn't an option with the under two set).
That said, I'm a firm believer that 90% of ADHD is bullshit.
I probably would have been considered ADHD as a child, and I'm not alone in thinking that the disease is largely fictional.
In 1998, the NIH said ADHD was being improperly overdiagnosed. ADHD rates have increased further since then. Numerous books (among them: The Hyperactivity Hoax, Dr. Sydney Walker and Running On Ritalin, Dr. Lawrence Diller) argue most “ADHD” is a symptom of real underlying problems: broken homes, intellectual boredom, bad parents (the only "epidemic" America suffers from is one of bad parenting), sibling rivalries and even real physical illness. Hyperactivity alone is a symptom of a thousand diseases.
Pill crazy America has labeled the symptom “a disease.”
Not surprisingly, ADHD kids are predominantly rich, American, white and male. The same kids who can afford the visits to expensive therapists.
And the diagnosis has benefits, and not just for the therapists who rake the money from their patients. Rich white kids with ADHD are twice as likely as average kids, and many times more likely than poor kids, to get unlimited time on the SAT. They get special tutoring and classroom help. I believe these "accomodations" are helping to feel this "epidemic."
In affluent Greenwich, Conn., these benefits are a potent lure: nearly one student in five was classified as "learning disabled" in 1998 (most of that was ADHD), and they nearly bankrupted the district. Nationally, special education costs for this "disease" is staggering.
There’s no ADHD “outbreak” in leafy, peaceful Greenwich.
ADHD is, far too often, a “wastebasket diagnosis,” a quick exit for doctors who lack the time or inclination to investigate further. Nobody wants to tell parents that they are at fault, and the pill is a quick fix. HMO’s encourage such conveyer belt medicine, and frown on expensive tests for real health problems. A Georgia study found that only 2 (2!) of 102 Ritalin-dosed, grade school students even met the minimal requirements of the drug’s manufacturer.
It's no surprise: most Ritalin prescriptions are obtained after only a fifteen-minute consultation.
Parents demanding Ritalin simply intimidate psychiatrists. Told by a daycare worker or grade school teacher that their kids are disobedient brats, parents opt for the easy way out. Parents often prefer their drugged children because they are calmer.
Two million children on Ritalin is bad enough. American Ritalin consumption has increased 700% in the last decade, so the Swiss company that makes it, Novartis, is delighted that Americans have invented an epidemic for their pill. For a time, it even funded CHADD (CHildren and Adults with ADhD – even the acronym makes no sense) which pressures the government to pay for Ritalin. CHADD's mind-numbing magazine ADDitude tries to dissemiante the ridiculous idea that ADHD is some kind of special power.
Now all we need to do is find the cause of the "epidemic," and nobody is going to just come out and blame parents for their bratty children.
If I were a TV network executive, I'd be calling my lawyer.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Germany goes grey
According to liberals, this is the golden society on the hill: More bad news from Europe:
Germany saw a net drop of 143,000 people in 2003 when the number of deaths rose while the number of births dropped, government officials reported Monday.
The Federal Statistics Office said the number of deaths increased 1.6 percent to 858,000, while births fell 1.3 percent to 715,000 in the year.
Parallel to the fewer births, there was also a drop in the number of marriages, to 383,000 last year, compared with 388,000 in 2002, the office said.
The net population drop of 143,000 last year compared with a falloff of around 120,000 in 2002...
Besides the issue of maintaining population through immigration in order to keep Germany's social framework steady, is the related question of a society getting steadily older as the birth rate declines and life expectancy increases.
In a report last year, the Wiesbaden office projected that by the year 2050, more than half the population will be over 48 years old and one-third 60 years or older.
At that point, Germany's population is seen having dropped to around 75 million, or the level of the year 1963, according to the office's projections.
Unless something dramatic happens, old Europe - with its quaint quasi-socialist ideals and its brontosaurus-sized welfare states - will collapse under its own weight.
Hey, let's follow them!
New respect for Courtney Love
They taught John Kerry all about life on the streets at his Swiss boarding school:No lie
Hip Hoppin' John Kerry: ''I'm fascinated by rap and by hip-hop. I think there's a lot of poetry in it. There's a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it. And I think you'd better listen to it pretty carefully, 'cause it's important . . . I'm still listening because I know that it's a reflection of the street and it's a reflection of life.''
The best riposte to Kerry came from an encounter a few years ago between his predecessor Al Gore and Courtney Love, lead singer of the popular beat combo Hole, when they chanced to run into each other at a Democratic party night in Hollywood.
''I'm a really big fan,'' gushed the vice president.
''Yeah, right. Name a song,'' scoffed Courtney. The panicked vice panderer floundered helplessly. Fortunately, his Secret Service guys moved in before he wound up completely riddled by Hole. As wise old campaign consultants always say, the politician's First Rule of Holes is: When you're in one, stop digging. Al introduced us to a Second Rule: When you're with one, stop pretending to dig her.
(Steyn column found via Tim Blair. )
Monday, April 05, 2004
Another day sick?
I've spent the day at home sick again today.
This isn't like me: I've taken five sick days this year (and that is probably more than I took ALL of last year).
On two of those days, I wasn't even sick (my kids were). On one day, it was my car that was sick (bad starter).
Today, my stomach is killing me, like I need to vomit.
One of the shitty things about being me: I have a strong stomach. My body just won't vomit and get it over with.
It drags out the fight for 12-24 hours, until finally giving in to the inevitable ralphing. It means the day is spent awaiting a death sentence.
I hate throwing up. I could never handle pregnancy.
Cute things happen, though, even when I'm sick. My older son, Sean, is obsessed with sickness nowadays. Upon learning that I was feeling unwell, he began asking questions:
"Are you going to puke?" He asks. He loves the word "puke."
"Not yet," I answer.
"We puke in the toilet, Daddy," he says, wagging a finger at me and looking stern.
Thank you, Sean.
A minute later.
"Open your mouth," he says.
Sean now has my flashlight.
"I wanna see your thrope."
Too tired to correct his pronunciation, I just open my mouth.
Sean tells Mommy that I have holes in my teeth.
Later, he gets a blanket and wraps it around me, and tells me to get rest and stay warm.
A real Kodak moment (can you have Kodak moments in a digital age?).
And like that, Betsy, Sean and Tim are off to daycare and work. Titus the dog lays down next to me and goes off to sleep (after his exhausting morning).
The house is quiet as my stomach is fighting its guts out.
I'll remember this always...
Build a man a fire; keep him warm for a day.
Set a man on fire; keep him warm for the rest of his life.
From All AgitProp, all the Time...
Likability and the presidency
The American electorate tends to vote for the more likeable candidate. This truism generally applies, with few exceptions (the most notable being the election of the charismatically-challenged Nixon over genial McGovern and smiling Humphrey).
Look at the losers in the last 30 years: Mondale (annoying), Dole (boring), Dukakis (tweedy condescending smartass), Carter (pathetic), George Bush I (aloof), and Gore (V 1.0 was a robotic dickhead and updated V 2.0 is an equally unlikeable, anti-corporate crusader).
Kerry is struggling to make his persona more likeable, and it has proven to be an uphill fight.
Cartoonists, I think, do a pretty good job of caricaturing someone's personality. Bush has been pretty good material for cartoonists. Generally, he is portrayed as a befuddled boy-king, surrounded by folly.
Cartoonists rarely do flattering pictures of anyone. Their goal is to capture the essence of a person in a quick ink rendering. Bush's caricatures, though certainly not favorable, do not usually portray him as malevolent (unless you go to the far-left, where he is portrayed as a raving Hitler clone). Usually, he gets a treatment similar to the one Ronald Reagan got.
But here Kerry might have a problem, particulary this early in the game as he is defining himself:
This view of Kerry is why I thought that John Edwards would have made a better candidate for the Democrats.
Bush v. Kerry. Clueless affable boy-king against the miserly, patrician Europhile?
If history is a guide, Kerry has his work cut out for him.
How the hell?
How can I be a grammar god with all the mistakes I make? The test was hard, by the way....
You are a GRAMMAR GOD!
If your mission in life is not already to
preserve the English tongue, it should be.
Congratulations and thank you!
How grammatically sound are you?
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