Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Penn on Creationism

In one of their "Bull Shit" shows, Penn and Teller looked into creationism. I'm not surprised Penn referred to it as a "psychotic fairytale" but he genuinely seemed to think that it should be taught in public schools.

Based on the "if-the-taxpayers-want-it, give-it-to-them" argument, he claimed to favor creationism taught along side evolution: "The state isn't obligated to teach the truth."
Home School and/or Kill Your Child

Home schooling will be presented as an element of the defense in the Laney murder case. Life has imitated a sad, sick joke.
For the Ages

Yesterday my one-year old got into a box of old floppy disks and tore them apart. They had the backup copies of old short stories that I'd written a while back. I wasn't worried until I realized that my four-year old had erased most of those stories when she formatted my hard drive two years ago.

I don't know exactly what was lost. Most of them were pretty horrible and the world will go on but it's another reason that successful artists tend to have few or no children (except for Bach).

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Nice Religious Spam

Almost always e-mail messages about little kids with fatal disorders are the fabrications of sick minds. Here's one that Snopes says is legit.
Out of Synch Lie

Most of the attacks on Kerry's marriage focus on his divorce, his attitude, his religion, etc. This one takes a completely different approach. Okay, politics and honesty have never been close but shouldn't somebody be in charge of co-ordination?

Monday, March 29, 2004

Killer Spared; Crowd Weeps

Actually they seemed pretty happy. But if you went to a public execution (by sword) and it fell through at the last second, how would you feel?
Mel Gets a Second Confession

A few days ago a killer confessed to police after watching Passion. Now a Nazi. What next? "After viewing this movie, I must admit that I stole the Presidential election."
I Guess This is a Good Thing

It looks like he won't pass his genes on to future generations but if I ever decide to cut off my penis, I hope it'll be for a better reason.
Roswell! Roswell! Roswell!

NASA reverse-engineers an alien-ship. (Does anyone still believe in Roswell? What's the latest theories from UFOlogists?)
The Dead Sea

Maybe I better visit my parents in Florida before the ocean turns into a sewer.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Feathered Dinosaur Update

I just read through a library book about feathered dinosaurs. It was written for kids but it had material I'd never seen before (possibly because the bulk of the books I've read about dinosaurs were written back when I was a kid). The fossil evidence is incredible. Other than bleating "It's one of Satan's tricks," there's no real way to deny it.

Again I have to wonder what exactly do fundamentalist kids read about if not dinosaurs.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Look Who Loves Mel

It's not anti-Semitic. It's not. No, it's not.
Saddam Gets a Lawyer

He's hoping for the Tyco jury.
I Shouldn't Be Surprised

Judging from some of the comments on the Cincinnati Blog, if Bush appeared on camera eating a baby, Republicans would fall over themselves praising him and denounce Kerry as a cowardly anti-business, infantophobic vegan wacko.

But still this surprised me.
Second Class Update

Half the students didn't show up for my Intro. to Lit. class. Normally they've been much better but it looks like a few of them got lost in Spring Break.

Again, it makes it easier for me to grade but who is paying for these people? Do they sign up for classes to get student loan money then drop out? There's got to be easier ways to pan-handle.
Do-You-Believe-in-God? Spam

I would never, ever, ever, suggest that Covington Jim or anyone else pull this prank on his boss. Absolutely never.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Crappy Scooby Sequel

Target was out of the new Dora the Explorer DVD so I bought my daughter the first two seasons of the original Scooby Doo. Didn't look at the price. $49 bucks and we had nearly all of them at home.

Looks like the new movie is even worse (via Rotten Tomatoes).
Suicide Laws

Six U.S. states outlaw suicide? Okay, laws against pot and gay marriage aren't the dumbest ones out there.
Coming Soon to Covington's In-Box

Goofy end-of-times crap.

Another version was that the Army would start implanting I.D.s in soldiers called Mobile Army Recovery Kits working with a system called Bio-Evaluator Army Systems Tracker.

"MARK of the BEAST." Yeah, that would make it through first review.
Hope for the Hub

Senate working to save the Hubble telescope.
Passion Talk

More odd Passion news. A while back I saw that Stephen King watched Passion and gave it a thumbs up. He noted that a woman brought her three young children and, once in her seat, made an angry call on her cell phone that the theater manager had suggested that they were too young to watch. (King spent half the time watching the kids being traumatized.)

Now this. I don't even know what to think.
Sad Whale News

Shades of Douglas Adams with a doomed whale in the Atlantic.

This year my parents saw three Right Whales off the coast near their home in Florida. Two of them had babies which is significant for the tiny number of the species. Surprisingly, while the U.S. doesn't rank with Russia, Norway, or Japan in whaling, we accidentally kill many of them with fishing nets. Realistically the Atlantic Right Whale will die out fairly soon but the babies had given me a little hope.
Tyco Jury

I hate to bring up O.J. but do you think the outrage over jury incompetence with Tyco will come close to his case?

Conspiracy theorists claim that the government framed O.J. because he appeared in the movie Capricorn I, proving that the Apollo missions were fake. That's a helluva lot better than any of the Tyco defense strategies.
Class Update

Had four out of eight in ENG 101 today. Two haven't showed up since January but are still enrolled. Tomorrow is the last day to drop. Looks like grading will be a snap but I wish they'd either make an effort or pick up a drop slip.

I had an epiphany today that about half my normal class time is spent for people who can't understand basic instructions. The four who came today all knew what was going on so I cut class short but it's scary that even when I do spend literally twice the time I need to on instructions, it's still not enough for some students.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Feathered Dinosaurs and Fundamentalists

I went to the library with my four-year old today and noticed a book on feathered dinosaurs. It was in the Kid Section but I checked it out for myself (great thing about having kids--if I'd gone in alone, I'd be talking to a cop about now).

There were dozens of books about dinosaurs and none that I saw even presented "Intelligent Design" or Creationism. This is a fairly conservative area(I passed a number of "Bush" and "10 Commandment" yard signs on the way) but there wasn't even an attempt to counter evolution. I wonder if Fundamentalist parents let their kids read about dinosaurs. Or is that the first step towards a "Science is Bad" mentality?
Memo to CPD

According to this study, "Good cops" are more efficient than "Bad cops."
Walk Like a Soprano

Okay I was impressed when Frank Jr. appeared on The Sopranos (easily the best thing he did his entire career) but Frankie Valli?

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Lame Posts

My wife is out of town and I've got the three kids. Instead of digging around for posts, I've just reviewed a couple library books I just read.

I hope my pathetic life makes you feel better about your own.
Different Takes on Seuss

Philip Nel's Dr. Seuss: American Icon

This is probably the best researched book I've ever read. The citation runs for 85 pages in an 184 page book. If you're writing a research paper, here's a great source.

Nel doesn't really look into Seuss's life (which doesn't interest me) but focuses on his work. There's a few disturbing points--Seuss drew cartoons in the 40s depicting Japanese Americans as potential terrorists waiting "the signal from home." Nel notes that Seuss only depicted Japanese as monkeys once in his career (this was the norm for American cartoonists).

However, Seuss made amends for the races and religions he offended, replacing "China-man" in Mulberry Street with "Chinese man" and apparently writing Horton Hears a Who! as a post-war parable for peace with Japan. He admitted he was a sexist "peeg" and never revised several questionable remarks about girls. (When Seuss was a boy, women in the local Christian Temperance movement forced his family's distillery to go under. Maybe I'm a sap but I don't hold it against him. Mess with a guy's booze and you'll mess with his mind.)

The most stunning passage of the book is "The Guardbark," a right-wing reaction against The Lorax. The Guardbark is a brown-skinned creature that ranks and raves against a white logger for cutting down trees.

"I WON'T take a seat, or LISTEN, or LOOK."
the Guardbark raved on. He snarled and he shook.

"I'm Guardbark, I tell you, keeper of trees.
Our future, you know, is dependent on these.
You must stop this hacking and whacking and stacking.
You should NOT be here. I MUST send you packing."

The logger proves to the Guardbark that the logging industry only has the best interest in the environment (concluding with "things aren't as bad as they seem") so he flies happily away.

Another section imagines one of Bush's cabinet meetings in which W bases his foreign policy based on Seuss (stemming from an actual Bushism). This would be funnier if I didn't think it might have happened.

I skipped sections of the book that didn't interest me but I'd recommend giving this a look.
Is the Universe Pregnant?

The Edges of Science: Crossing the Boundary from Physics to Metaphysics by Richard Morris

Morris looks into of fringe sciences, like the origin of the universe, super-strings, wormholes, and sub-atomic particles.

One of the surprising concepts is the theory of "baby universes." Some physicists believe that universes reproduce by "budding," having a segment of itself break off from the whole. Conceivably, our area of the universe could break off from the rest and form its own "baby," in which the laws of physics could be altered or distorted.

That would make things lively during an election year.
The Eagle and the Fox from Aesop's Fables

"An eagle and a fox had lived together for a long time as good neighbors. The eagle's nest was on top of a high tree; the fox's lair, at the foot of it. One day, however, while the fox was away, the eagle could not find any food for her young ones. So she swooped down and carried off one of the fox's cubs to her nest, thinking that her lofty dwelling would protect her from the fox's revenge. She was about to divide the cub among her brood, when the fox returned home and pleaded fervently for the return of her young cub. Since her entreaties were in vain, she ran to an altar in a neighboring field and snatched a torch from the fire that had been lit to sacrifice a goat. Then she returned to the tree and set it on fire. The flames and smoke soon caused the eagle to worry about her young ones and her own life as well, and she returned the cub safe and sound to his mother.

Moral: The tyrant is never safe from those whom he oppresses."

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Toy Dump

My step-daughter has Christmas here, then with my parents, then with my wife's parents, then with her dad, then with her dad's mom, then with her dad's mom's husband (they're divorced), then with her step-mom's parents, then with assorted cousins and a great-grandparent.

We have plenty of toys.

Today I rounded up at least 100 old toys and tossed them in the dumpster. Now I'm wondering how many kids in the world might never see 100 toys in their life time. I should have saved them for Good Will or something similar but I was rushing to get done before she came home from school.

I made so little a dent that she hasn't noticed yet.

I have to wonder what future generations will think as they dig through our landfills. What purpose could you assign to dried Silly Putty or broken Spongebob action figures?

Monday, March 22, 2004

Snake Man Bit By Cobra

In related news, the holder of the World Record for sword swallowing was hospitalized for a severe ulcer.
Unarmed in Ireland

My sister and brother-in-law moved back to the U.S. from Dublin a few years back. A good chunk of my family is Irish and visit Ireland like it was Mecca.

But I'm not so sure if an unarmed presidential visit there is a good idea. (If for no other reason than I wouldn't want President Cheney.)
Higher Gas Prices

I guess this could be good for a few points. People might drive less, SUV owners will pay through the nose, and higher prices might cause voters to be resentful of Bushco.

Leno: "The price of oil hit a 13-year high. What a coincidence, wasn't it 13 years ago the last Bush was president?"

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Back from the Dead Movie Mania

Now in the top two spots!
Sniper News

I've read two of Jack Levin's books (with James Alan Fox). He seemed credible in his writing and his comments here.

Scary to think that at some point, police will be expected to deal with snipers on a regular basis.
Blogger Ads

Have you noticed that the ads on blogs sometimes are mirror-opposites of the content? Both the Covington blog and mine have been plastered with Bush and GOP ads. Is this revenge or are they just flooding every possible medium?

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Why Language Matters

The whole "Is Pluto a planet?" debate really hinges on your definition of a planet. What we call it has no real bearing on what it is but could greatly influence NASA research towards it.
Stem Cell Scientist Fired

This had nothing to do with politics.
Tastes like Chicken

I wonder what will become of this?
Poetic Meter

Does anyone have any ideas about teaching poetic meter? I introduce the terms and give examples but it's still the toughest area in poetry. I remember never really understanding it as an undergrad. I'm tempted to drop it entirely but it was so important to literature for so many centuries.
Gorilla Escapes

This sounds like a set-up for a bad joke but it has a sad ending.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Fermented Seal Oil Can Kill You

Mmmm, fermented beaver paw and washed-up beluga whale. (Of course, what do they think about Skyline?)
Now This is Disturbing

Think same-sex marriages are wrong? Get a load of this. . .
This Will Really Piss Off Bush

Nutcases attack booze.
First Martian UFO

Meteor? Old Earth probe? Natives?
Chip Evaluation

I started the evaluation essay section in ENG 101 (four of eight showed up, all of which turned in their papers). Normally I have the class compare two types of potato chips and evaluate them on at least three standards. Today I splurged and bought three brands, Grippos, Husman, and Kroger-brand.

I didn't do anyone a service by getting the Kroger chips. Maybe they're the first out of the plant (I'd never noticed them before) but the "BBQ" chips looked like regular chips with a fleck or two of flavoring. Usually Grippos gets hammered but they're the snack food of the gods compared to Kroger's.

And I own stock in Kroger. (Maybe I can use them to turn my kids off of potato chips.)

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Time for Some Veal

PETA airs commercials comparing meat to the Holocaust. In Germany.

This reminds me of the anti-Issue 3 ads comparing it to Klansmen and Nazis. I was teaching Freshmen English at the time and several otherwise liberal students wrote angry gay-bashing essays in response to the ads.

I'm not arguing one way or the other but I have personally observed how commercials like that backfire.

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Pink Lady

A story of nudes, cars, and prudes via Snopes.
I Shall Call Her "Mini-Marge

270 dogs in one place? Probably smells like my kids.
First Step to Telepathy

NASA's "mind-reading" technology.
Knee Deep

What's the record for the most bowel movements in a 24 hour period? My one-year old had five in one hour last night. Not little ones but diaper bursters. His pace has slowed since than but I still had to take out the garbage about 4,000 times today. I think it's because he finished his anti-biotics and the natural digestive system bacteria are reviving. If he wasn't otherwise so healthy now, I'd be worried.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

More Leno and Letterman

Leno: "President Bush was out touting his economic record in Ohio last week. Now this is a state that lost 225,000 jobs since Bush took office. If Bush wants to tout his record he should do it somewhere where the Bush economy has actually created jobs, like India or Thailand or China."

"John Kerry is claiming that leaders of other countries have told him they hope he defeats President Bush in November. President Bush is now challenging John Kerry to name those foreign leaders. That's a first, Bush challenging anyone to name a foreign leader."

"John Kerry said today he wants to debate President Bush once a month. Hey good luck, if Bush couldn't make it to the National Guard once a month, he's not going to show up for this."

Letterman: "The presidential campaign is really heating up. George Bush, his campaign is really doing much, much better, and he's shot right up in the polls since he captured Martha Stewart."

"John Kerry says that foreign leaders want him to be president, but that he can't name the foreign leaders. That's all right, President Bush can't name them either."
Defense of Marriage Afghan Style

They legalized straight marriages and now donkey sex!
If Only I Could Transcribe that Whistle

It's been 60 years since the Great Escape.

Now I've got that tune in my head for a week.
Cats and Coyotes

Local police are gunning for coyotes. Wouldn't it be simpler just to keep your cats inside? With FIV and Feline Leukemia (and cars), coyotes should be the least of your worries.

Funny, this never comes up in my parents' neighborhood in Florida where alligators wander up to your doorstep.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Movie Children

I still haven't seen the rest of Sinbad (I'm hoping I can sneak it to the library without the kids knowing) but I did watch School of Rock and Spellbound.

Radically different movies, one about a guy forming a rock band from 3rd graders, the other a spelling bee documentary, but both feature kids with much greater talent than I'll ever have. At first I thought the kids in the band were faking a la the Monkees but according to promo material (which might be stretching the truth) they really played their instruments.

Spellbound showed a kid who performed in the National Spelling Bee when she was nine, spelling words that I wouldn't expect out of Freshman English students.

I wonder which group of kids, the musicians or the spellers, will go farther in life? Spelling in itself isn't much but I got the impression that the kids did as well in their other subjects.
Gilligan's First Name

I am probably the only one on either the Internet or planet who cares about this but Snopes has a new posting about television characters without first names.

While you're there, check out the guy impaled by a literal post. Even grosser than the impaled head.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

My Lame Letterman Rip-Off

A few days ago as I was flipping through the stations, local moron Bill Cunningham began spouting off that God was a Republican. As much as I wanted to hear his rationale, he was such an annoying git that I had to switch channels. The thought wouldn't leave my mind so I had to come up with reasons of my own.

Top Nine Signs That God is a Republican

9. Possesses all Creation but pays no income tax.
8. You need to accept the inexplicable for His doctrine to make sense.
7. Complete disinterest in empirical facts.
6. Babies, AIDS, herpes, and other discouragement from sex.
5. Creation of the hemorrhoid.
4. The love of money is the root of all evi—oops, scratch that.
3. Zero tolerance towards Sodom.
2. No record of attendance of National Guard Duty.
1. Just because dammit!

For equal time:

Top Nine Signs That God is a Democrat

9. "Render unto Caesar" an obvious tax and spend tactic.
8. Compromises with the devil in Book of Job.
7. C'mon, His name is Je-sus.
6. Comes from Mid-East, indicating a darker shade of skin.
5. All that touchy, feely, love stuff.
4. Single father household with no apparent means of support.
3. Just look at His hair.
2. Still subtly favors the rich.
1. Got beat up by bunch of Italians.

Yes, these are all untrue stereotypes (the only deadbeat single-parent I know voted for Buchanan) but I was pressed.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Moron Memes or More on Memes

Cecil Adams spouts off again on Memes.
Sinbad the Greek?

The DVD went crazy last night so I can't be sure but my daughter checked out the new animated Sinbad movie from the library and from the first half of the movie, it seems he is Greek.

I know Aladdin was Chinese in the original story but making Sinbad Greek just doesn't mesh. [Sure, in the crappy Captain America movie, the Red Skull (Hitler's right hand man in the comic) was Italian but at least that's keeping things in the Axis.]

Showing Sinbad living in the present location of Saddam's palaces might be tough to sell an American audience but could they at least kept him Arabian? Maybe shift him to Kuwait but at least make some sort of an effort?

DVD player willing, we'll probably watch the rest tonight. His nationality is the only thing even remotely interesting so far.
Don't Mess with Snowplows

Somebody in Cleveland doesn't like Bush and. . .

Friday, March 12, 2004

Bush Ad

I heard my first Bush ad today. He attacked Kerry for wanting to wait on Iraq until the UN approved. As long as the GOP abandon reason all together, why not have an ad attacking Kerry for wanting to prevent terrorists from easy access to flight schools?
Hope for Hubble?

Probably not but at least they're talking about it.
Woman Charged with Murder of Own Fetus

You guessed it. It's in Utah. But it's different than what you might think.
Law Makers Stop Gay Marriage (Apparently Nothing More Important is Happening)

Not really surprising, I guess.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Robot for Disabled

This is actually good news although Yahoo stuck it in the Oddly Enough section.

On Tuesday I went to my four-year old's speech/development pre-school class and one of the kids has an early version of Stephen Hawking's voice synthesizer. Although he can walk, he can't speak at all but has a chair that says certain phrases for him at the push of a button. You can only hope that the technology advances as he grows older.
Brad Thacker Blog

Message to Brad Thacker: I've got a Simon Leis coloring book that Jim thought you could use in your act. Also have an extra for anyone else's right-wing reading pleasure.
Depressing Cosmic Thought

. . .what if at least partial atheism is necessary to reach certain levels of technology? I was reading a book about the evolutionary psychology of religious urges, and it occurred to me that's another bottleneck - it might be one of the traps of intelligence to create a social order that punishes questioners and so stops progress. As happened to China several times.

After getting this comment from Covington, I had an even more depressing thought about extraterrestrial intelligent life.

The flip-side to Covington's hypothesis is a theory by Sir James George Frazier of the Golden Bough. He believed that rudimentary science often directly evolved from primitive religions.

Frazier documented several early societies (and by several, I mean about a million; the complete Golden Bough is 12 volumes long and very repetitive) that contained shamans or other spiritual leaders whose job was to control the environment. Their most common task was rain-making which was done with rituals, dances, and other non-scientific methods.

In primitive societies, religion and science are considered the same subject (also true in the Cincinnati Enquirer). Frazier noted that in this level of development, it was the shamans who had the most to gain by pure scientific research, and anthropological evidence seemed to support this theory. True, everyone benefited eventually but they felt compelled to look into every possibility, usually because if it didn't rain (or they couldn't predict eclipses or weather patterns, etc.), they didn't eat.

With their lives on the line, they pursued every avenue of science available to them. (I tried to use this as a basis of a novel: the Pope and other religious leaders must periodically solve scientific challenges or be ceremonious put to death.)

Obviously this extreme openness to scientific thought didn't last, and eventually creates strangle-holds on progress. Brian Aldriss's novel, The Malacia Tapestry, is a good illustration of this.

What if both Frazier and Covington are right? What if it is religion that initially put us on the path to scientific discovery but winds up grinding it to a halt? What if the same curiosity and need to explain the world eventually snuffs itself out? The universe could be filled with species that never developed either a sense of a supernatural power or technology beyond the hand axe, and species like us who started down the road but are continuously blocked by little green Pete Bronsons. The Catch-22 of Galactic Empires.

Carl Sagan once said that humanity would be the most primitive intelligent race throughout the galaxy. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe everybody's like us.

How depressing would that be?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Pre-Passion Flogging

Here's a movie trivia question that's bound to stump your friends:

Before the Passion, which movie and movie star had the longest lashing scene in film history?

Who else but Patrick ("Puddy" and "The Tick") Warburton? In his not-quite-as-big-as-Passion movie, Dragonard, he was given 100 lashes. The beating went on for nearly four minutes. At the time, it was unthinkable that anyone would outdo him.
Dr. Laura Letter

Great "the-Bible-sez-so" argument.

"In his latest campaign commercial President Bush talks about times of change. If he thinks these times are changing, wait 'til November."

"John Kerry has a purple heart from Vietnam. Big deal, Dick Cheney's got a purple heart from deep-dish pizza."

"Yesterday the Bush administration announced a new plan to crack down on the finances of terrorists. I think this could work. If Bush is half as successful hurting the finances of terrorists as he is the finances of ordinary Americans I would not want to be in their shoes."
Blanks Can Kill You, Part MMMCCXVI

On the set of Zombie Cult Massacre, the lead actor almost had his head blown off by a blank. During the 1980s, an actor in a televisions show I never watched (it's theme was "I'm holding out for a hero") thought blanks were harmless and killed himself with one. A few years ago a Cincinnati police firing instructor was quoted after a serious accident concerning blanks as "I didn't know they were dangerous."

You'd think the Illuminati would know. Even if the gun had contained blanks, it wouldn't have been safe.
Didn't See This Coming

McCain as VP? For Kerry?
Where's Your Libertarian Purity Test Now?

Should the evil court system trample the rights of noble spammers?

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Thanks Hub

The farthest mankind has ever seen. (Too bad it's being scrapped.)
Old Spiderman vs. New

My four-year old is starting to like superhero cartoons (could this be the end of Blue's Clues and Dora the Explorer?) so we just watched Spiderman: Return of the Green Goblin. It's one of the later cartoon series, I believe from the late 90s. (Not the one on MTV or the goofy one with animal-men and the High Evolutionary.)

It wasn't that bad but I thought about how much better the old "Does whatever a spider can" series was.

Then I found two shows from that series on the DVD Bonus section. They were terrible. The animation for the most part looked like it was done with magic markers (at least the supervillain in each show got at least one detailed close-up). The editing was worse than what I did on the old machines at public access. Maybe this was the dawn of the video tape age and the editor wasn't used to working with it. "Walloping websnappers!"

I still enjoyed it for the memories it brought back but it leaves no doubt that animation today is far superior to when I was a kid.

"Is he strong? Listen bub, he's got radioactive blood." The music today sucks 'tho. Don't tell me otherwise or I'll whack you with my cane.

Dear Abby,

My husband Pedro is a donut-eating slob.

Anne Nonomus

Holy crap: An update!
More Leno

"President Bush has unveiled his first campaign commercial featuring all of his accomplishments in office. That's why it's a 60-second spot."

"President Bush says he has just one question for the American voters. Is the rich person you are working for better off now than they were four years ago?"
Oh, This is Nice

Bad News: Looks like nuclear war might happen after all.

Good News: Could be confined to Asia. (Well, relatively good news.)

Monday, March 08, 2004

Topless Protest

This would liven up the Tri-State.
Trouble in Zimbabwe

What's the record for the most occupied countries during peace time?
Gray's Body Discovered in River

Bad news. Spalding Gray is confirmed dead.
The Truth About Harry

At least one version. Thanks to Nathan for spreading this around.

I saw that the local Catholic Telegraph ran a positive article on Harry Potter but, after negative feedback, refused to print any more letters on the subject.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Mid-Term Grades

Three "F"s out of ten students. Depressing but less time-consuming.
He's Not Fired Yet?

More on the jackass who misused city equipment to make racist broadcasts. I still don't know if it's the same guy I knew.
Marge's Carpets

Okay, I went on record defending Marge Schott but the latest wave of stories are simply too much. True, she owned the team during the 1990 Series and she gave truck-loads of money to worthy causes but I'm not sure if that qualifies her as the sweetest woman since the Virgin Mother.

Mention Marge Schott and people think of different things, some positive, some negative. The first thing I think of is the fact that she owned St. Bernards and never house-broke them. If she had discovered the cure for cancer or was caught eating an altar boy, I'd still probably think of the dog shit she must have tramped through on her way to the fridge.

If you've ever owned a dog, even a little one like a Yorkie or miniature schnauzer, you know how big a piss puddle one can make in a single day. When I walk my dog, sometimes he sprays on dry soil or on concrete. As it flows and flows and flows, I imagine Marge's old carpet. My dog is only a fraction of a St. Bernard but in a single walk, he can produce great volumes of urine.

Marge had her carpet replaced monthly but just think of the house the day before the new stuff arrived. Thirty days as a St. Bernard toilet. It's like something out of Gitmo.

Replacing the carpet wouldn't have been enough. It must have sank into the floorboards and ate into the woodwork. Unless she replaced the entire structure of her house, the smell must have been overwhelming. Christ, I worked at the zoo for a summer and can tell you warm weather and feces aren't nice for living conditions. I wonder if she missed the monthly deadlines when the Reds were on a streak (or the Party Source had a sale). And apparently she lived for decades in the same place. What will the resale value be?

I'm not advocating big government but when someone is wading knee-deep through fecal matter, isn't it time for a friendly intervention? Living in that condition is a double-edged sword--I can cut her some slack but I can't see her as a role-model either.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Anapaestic, Trochaic, Spondee

Lived through the night although Little Guy is spitting out his anti-biotic and hacking up his lungs. He woke up five times (but went back to sleep fairly quickly each time).

Got through the Meter Section of Poetry in Intro. to Lit. I always like fiction and drama more than poetry and everything else about poetry over meter. During break I talked to a Romanian student who mentioned how much easier a time Latin languages have with poetry. Damn Anglo-Saxons with their Germanic gibberish! (Although I don't know if established gender endings for all nouns would make up for the trouble in all non-poetic situations.)

Spring Break has begun. How'd I get to be so lame that all I want now is to sleep and get my papers organized?
Speaking of Sopranos

Steve Schirripa (Bobby Bacala) in the Philadelphia Inquirer about his role in the Sopranos, "Whenever you get a script, you look in the front to see if you're in it, then you look in the back to see if they've killed you."
Following the Phone Records

Bush should have got the untraceable cell phones that Tony Soprano uses.
Two Thousand Year Old Eyeball

More Incan (and pre-Incan) mummies discovered.
Illuminati May Beat Bush

Will traces of Royal DNA influence the election? (After the last one, I'll believe anything.)
More Water

Martian water.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Leno and Letterman

Leno: "After failing to win a single seat on Tuesday, John Edwards described his campaign as the little engine that could. And afterward Bush called him too and said you're not going to believe this, but I'm reading that book right now."

Letterman: "Have you seen any of the new Bush television commercials? ... In one of the commercials you see George Bush for 30 seconds, in another commercial you get to see George Bush for 60 seconds. Kind of like his stint in the National Guard."
Why Didn't I Think of This?

At least he didn't invade Poland.
Godzilla is Dead

I have mixed feelings about this.
Was It Wrong to Hope?

It's wrong to wish that someone dies. Isn't it?
Martha Guilty!

The bad jokes will continue longer than the sentence.
Another Opinion

This link won't last but here's another take on Passion.
Five Out of Eight

I only missed one of my regulars (two of them dropped off the face of the earth). One student started to write an anti-gay marriage paper but after looking at all the arguments, decided she had to write on the pro side.

This is what separates students from politicians.
NKU Student Loves Passion

"'Passion' is Powerful, Poignant" writes Susan Neltner, the Features Editor of NKU's The Northerner. She says that it stirs up "feelings about a subject that no one seems to want to discuss--religion."

I have to wonder what types of discussions she's heard lately.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

They're Coming to Take Me Away

I had two hallucinations today and yesterday. I'm hoping it's due to the diseases I picked up from cleaning up my kids' puke and other bodily fluids but I might wind up writing posts with a Crayon.

I didn't even recognize the first hallucination as anything unusual when it happened. I was getting the kids ready in the morning and saw one of my daughter's hair bands on the side of a toy tin. I didn't think anything of it until I went to do her hair and couldn't find the band again. It was on the kitchen counter and when I examined the tin, its side was totally smooth. There was nothing for a hair band to get caught on.

I think I saw the hair band while I was making breakfast and while I was walking to the bedroom and looked towards the tin, my mind cut and pasted the image upon it. (Like a computer monitor when you're scrolling down a page and an image remains on screen when it shouldn't be.) Now I wonder what is really around me and what's just a displaced memory. Everything else that I've tested has been real but don't plan to do much driving this weekend.

From what I understand, if you see a coin on the floor, pick it up and see it as a silver dollar, it's a hallucination if nothing was ever there. It's a delusion if it was really a dime or something else tangible, just not what you saw. I don't know what to call my experience.

Tonight during dinner, for a moment it was if the green from the table cloth shifted up to the ceiling as if I were looking through green cellophane.

I remember reading Cary Grant describe a time he took LSD, saying that "the green came out of the grass." I'm not sure if it was that or if it was just a ghost impression on my retinas (like when you stare at a black pattern then look away and have a negative ghostly image in your vision).

It just occurred to me that both happened when I was feeding my kids. Maybe I should just order out for a while.
Red Son Review

I'll jump into uber-geekhood and review a comic book. I have nothing left to live for.

It's a fairly simple concept: what if the spaceship carrying the baby Superman hadn't crashed in Kansas but in 1938 Ukraine?. The humanoid baby is raised in a collective farm, worshipping Lenin and Marxist doctrine. In the 1950s, Stalin reveals him to the world, wearing a red cape and a uniform bearing not the big "S" but a hammer and sickle, fighting "a never-ending battle for Stalin, Socialism and the International Expansion of the Warsaw Pact."

I'd never read a comic book that I didn't know fairly early on if the hero would win and at first I thought that this would end with Superman realizing the evils of communism and turn to the glories of God and capitalism or that he'd wind up destroying the world.

Fortunately the Scottish writer Mark Millar wrote as if the Bush administration had been charge. The U.S. forces nuclear weapons on all its allies, alienates the rest of the world, and destroys its own economy. By 2000, Superman is president of the USSR and the de facto ruler of every other nation except for the U.S. (down to 34 states) and Chile. He's still the same nice guy at heart but devoted to a different kind of idealism.

Not to outright give away the ending but it's original enough that I'll try to sneak it in without ruining things. Lex Luthor defeats Superman by either marrying him, writing him a nasty letter, transforming him into a Superape, changing his to heart into metal, or making a really ugly face.
Funny Cuz It's True

Or maybe not.

From Leno, "Well, Kerry is well on his way to reaching his magic number of 2,162. That's the total number of Democratic delegates he needs to win the nomination. President Bush is different. His magic number is 5. That's the number of Supreme Court judges needed to win."
What Students Expect

Now I know why nobody has time to read a three-page story before the quiz. They expect this.
No Ice

A new way to look at Osama
Buick Scandal

Does anyone know anything about Marge's car sales scandal? Some pages say it was race-related which makes everything I've said up until this point (except the personal stuff about my family) "no longer operative."

At the time, I thought she was just bilking Detroit but search engines have been giving me "irregularities" or pages that don't seem reliable.

Obviously personal experience influences the way you see the world and think about issues. The following is a situation that affected the way I perceive racism. (I hate it when papers start this way but it seems simplest.)

A few years ago, one of my cousins married a Black man. Some members of my family were accepting. A lot of others acted like idiots.

Some of you who know me have heard me talk about my ultra-religious, ultra-liberal cousin and her husband. The two of them went to the wedding and did their best to make up for those who didn't go.

There were three groups of relatives who didn't go: those that didn't because it was too far away, those that didn't go because they opposed interracial marriage, or whose invitations were lost (or not invited). [I had moved eight times in the past six years so I'm hoping my invitation was lost in the mail.]

Then there was a strange miscellaneous group. Some went but privately were against the marriage. One of her brothers drove nearly 700 miles so he could be in town for the wedding but refused to go. He wanted to make it crystal-clear that he wasn't just missing it for distance—he was deliberately rubbing it in. Finally there was one of my older relatives who is more than a little crazy and who often used racial (and just weird) language. When she heard about the situation, she drove to the wedding to be as supportive as she could.

Some of the groups are easy to categorize. Only an evangelical atheist could fault my religious cousin and husband. My cousin who drove down to go to the beach during the ceremony is clearly an asshole.

But how do you "rank" the ones who went but were hypocrites? Were they better than the ones who refused to go at all? Did going to the wedding in honest support redeem my old aunt who still uses racial terms? Am I completely off the hook because I never got an invitation and didn't even know about the mess until after the fact? (Logically, I should be but I still feel bad about not going.)

This isn't a perfect analogy to Marge Schott (I've now heard some people allege that she did act on her beliefs which, to me, changes things). This might be a matter of splitting hairs or semantics but racist actions should deserve a different reaction than racist speech. Obviously the two often go together but does it make my asshole cousin any less an asshole because I've never heard him use derogatory language at all?

This weekend, I got a baby announcement from my cousin and her husband (actually two at once—the first was returned because they sent it to an old address). I keep starting to write them back but other than send pictures of my own kids, I can't get anything right on paper. I don't even know if I should apologize for not going to the wedding if I'm not sure they invited me. (Maybe it somehow got sent to Marge and that's what did her in.) It's just that it seems that I'm the only one on the planet who hasn't got this all figured out.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Death of Super-Size

No, I'm not going to defend this.
The Marge Issue

I wasn't even going to mention this but here's one more angle on Marge.

1. Why do the Cubs have such a long losing record? Is it a cutesy answer like the "Curse of the Billy Goat?" No, it's because their old owner was an abject racist who refused to hire black players long after Jackie Robinson. (And this practice wasn't just in Chicago.)

2. Why doesn't Washington D.C. have a major league baseball team? When Mike Royko asked, he was given a one-word answer: "Niggers."

Owners of small-franchises with no historic links to their city of operator shied away from D.C. for a variety of reasons but one was pure racism (this makes no sense considering the success of the Braves in a city with one of the highest percentage of black residents in the nation but this argument isn't based on reason). Royko wrote extensively about candid racist remarks by owners but nothing much ever came of it.

Marge was a hard-core alcoholic and seemed to have no ability to self-edit her answers to the press. Does this make her a good person? No. Does this mean people should like her? No. Does this make her better than other owners? I think it does. With Marge what you saw is what you got.

Marge said some of the stupidest things I've ever heard and her business practices were not ideal but she still was a far cry from the worst in the majors (some may argue but this depends on various surveys and their definitions of minorities and other factors). At any rate, she consisently beat the hell out of Mike Brown.

Until Bud Selig (or another small-franchise) uproots to D.C., to think of Marge as the worst racist in baseball is absurd. I do not expect the people she hurt and offended to cry crocodile tears. Just remember that she was probably on the more enlightened side of the spectrum among pro owners. And that should make you think.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004


The church parking lot was empty when I went in to vote. The church serves two separate districts but I was the only voter to show up during the time I was there.

I'm okay with Kerry or Edwards so I just went with the issues. The museum levy. Nothing else. No wonder it was empty.

After the time-consuming task of pushing Yes, I went across the street to the recycling center behind Krogers. It was so crowded that it took a while to get out.

I kept wondering if I should remind them to vote, but considering how Anderson swings, I figured I was better off not doing it.
How Not to Get a Baby to Sleep

I should have mentioned this in the earlier posting but neither of our kids are good sleepers. Our four-year old just started sleeping through the night when her brother was born. One of the problems is that my wife holds him until he falls asleep at night. Every baby books says not to do this but since she's away from them all day, she does it anyway. Part of me understand but the other part has to deal with no sleep now (and possibly a lifetime of bad sleep habits for them).

Only 13 or 14 years and they'll be out all night wrecking the car.
More WMD

The old anti-biotics weren't enough. I shouldn't have complained yesterday. Last night, Little Guy went through a puking/screaming fit that lasted until 1:06 when I finally got to bed. He got up again at 3:53 and stayed up past six (I didn't think of looking at the clock at that point). Then, thinking it would make things easier on me, my wife woke up my step-daughter early to go to school. She wound up yelling at her (bad, bad, bad school situation) and woke the baby and our other daughter.

I'm trying to write it down but I'm not producing much. If I'd thought to take pictures of the various body fluids that were sprayed upon me, I could post them and have the most disgusting page on the Internet (including

Monday, March 01, 2004

Pedophile Priest Protectors

After reading the details of the Father George Cooley case, I got the impression that Cincinnati is one of the worst dioceses in dealing with abuse victims. "You got raped by one of boys? Shut up or we'll sue ya."
Baby Puke and Posting

I feel like I woke up after a hard night's drinking. My one-year old stayed up until after 2:30 (last time I checked) last night. He's been doing this a lot lately which drives my already unstable mind beyond the point of reason.

Watching him throw handfuls of plastic dinosaurs against the wall, I made about a million comments on various blogs last night. Sorry that I didn't make much sense but it kept me from running amok with a meat cleaver.