Monday, December 25, 2006

Hola de Cusco!!!

I´m currently in Cusco, former capital of the Incan empire. The high elevation of the place makes it heard to breathe, and me and jay made the mistake of eating beef hearts at a Cusco-Lima soccer game two days ago. So the combination of those two things has been making both of us pretty ill. Manana we´re starting our four day hike to macchu picchu. It should be some trip...

more to come..

Friday, December 22, 2006

Bienvenudos A Peru!!!!

Jay and I have arrived safely in our hostel in Lima, Peru. We have a day here, manana, and then we fly to Cusco. We either booked a taxi for Saturday´s return to the airport, or agreed to have our organs removed. We think (hope) it´s the first thing. Our Spanish is improving with every minute (¨minuto¨ in espanol).

More to come. Stay tuned

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Hasta Luego

Tomorrow, my friend Jay and I set off to Peru for a two week vacation. We're hiking up to Macchu Picchu, the site that features the most complete remains of what was once the greatest empire in the Americas, the Inca. Hopefully, I'll be able to log on from a hostel or two and provide some great updates from the trip for your entertainment and educational value.

So stay tuned!

In my absence, here's some stuff to keep you busy. (Courtesy of the links to the right, and others)

Remember Tickle Me Elmo?

Give Your Girlfriend A Very Special Present

Tired Of The Same Old Holiday Carols? Try This One From Sickabod Sane.

Best Music Videos:

Radiohead - Just

Radiohead - Street Spirit

Radiohead - Paranoid Android

Radiohead - Karma Police

Radiohead - Go To Sleep

Radiohead - Let Down

Radiohead - Pyramid Song

Radiohead - No Surprises

Radiohead - High and Dry

Radiohead - Knives Out
(and the very similar looking Death Cab For Cutie video: Title and Registration)

Radiohead - There There

Enjoy! Next post, from Peru!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Really Weird

World's Tallest Man Saves Chinese Dolphins

There are real-life superheroes, apparently.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Golden Calf To Welcome Visitors To Billy Graham Memorial

Mooby Says, 'Worship Me!'

According to The Washington Post, a talking cow will greet visitors to the Billy Graham Memorial, which will give tourists a chance to walk all over Billy's grave.

Disturbing.

What's with the children of famous people wanting to make their parents into a joke post-mortem? Ted Williams's son froze his dad's dismembered corpse. Now Billy's kids want to make their dad's grave the conclusion to a Mr.-Toad's-Wild-Ride-Kiddie-Theme-Park-Adventure.

"Hey Kids!! You know how you wanted to go to Disney World???"

"Yeah!!!!"

"Well, instead, we're going to the place where legendary evangelist Billy Graham was reduced to a cheesy toursit trap!"

"Yayyyy!!!"
I think I join Billy in saying, "Jesus."

Let it be known. When I die, I want to be buried like a normal person. In a cemetery.

On Mars.
Jewish American Princesses

Belle the Bookworm
Role Model

This article raises the question, what is Disney teaching our girls?

I agree with the article's point, although, I'd like to point out some positive messages that some Disney movies send.

Beauty and the Beast, for example. Belle's no stupid ditz like the little mermaid. She reads books! Brainy! And although she could very easily marry the handsome, muscular Gaston, she finds that inner beauty, rather than external, makes for the ideal husband. Beast's heart is what attracts her, not his looks. If only all girls would learn this very important lesson, they'd all go for me.

A similar lesson is taught in the movie Aladdin. Jasmine disdains the wealthy, arrogant suitors... even Aladdin, when he disguises himself as a prince. While I wouldn't want my daughter taking any "magic carpet rides" with some street rat, I would want her to learn that money and power isn't everything... its what's in the heart that counts.

Finally, there's The Lion King. Nala is in love with Simba. They're childhood sweethearts. But when she encounters the now-adult Simba, wasting his days away in his jungle dreamland, she's repulsed by his lack of responsibility. Only when Simba stops being a slacker and decides to accomplish his destiny does Nala marry him and bear his lion cub. The lesson is obvious. Slackers = not ideal boyfriends. Guys who throw their evil uncles to the hyenas = marriage material.

Nala's Not Into Pauly Shore
I'm Not Lyin, It's One Hot Lion...(ess)

Sure, Ariel's a little tramp who'd do any guy on two legs. And speaking of tramps, Lady is a pretty helpless individual. Sleeping Beauty is a clear victim of date rape, and Herbie: Fully Loaded star Lindsay Lohan has been pretty much fully loaded for the past year. "I wasn't drinking officer! I swear!! The car has a mind of it's own!" Sure, Lindsay. Sure. But clearly, not all Disney movies reinforce tired old cliches of the "helpless female waiting for a man to rescue her."

Girls, be more like Belle, and less like Lindsay Lohan. Belle's hotter anyway.




Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Government Thwarts Plot To Blow Up Airplanes With Heisman Trophy

The New Face Of Terror
The New Face Of Terror

Thank God for our rational, intelligent, and efficient airport screening system. Thanks to the TSA, we've already eliminated the threat of hair gel from our friendly skies. And if it weren't for our terrific, perfectly logical system, we could be reading right now about America's worst airline tragedy since 9/11. Thanks to our ever watchful government, the plot to blow up airliners with the Heisman Trophy has been thwarted.

Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

(Four books of matches are still allowed, by the way)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Holiday Gift Guide For The Cheap And Lazy

So you have no money. So it's cold outside and you don't feel like driving the half-mile to the mall. But you still don't want everyone to call you a Scrooge McGrinch for not giving any presents. Presents, of course, are what the holidays are all about.

What's a poor schlub to do?

Luckily, the internet age has provided a wealth of free gifts to bestow upon our loved ones...

1. Make Mom A Webpage!

[A sample webpage]

You may have heard of this thing called "The Internet." It's pretty hot right now. Chances are, mom's heard about it too. And she probably wants to get in on this thing, but doesn't know where to start. That's where you come in.

Using Yahoo's Geocities, Lycos's Tripod, AOL's Hometown, or Google's Page Creator, you can set up a fully functional web page in minutes, featuring family photos, messages, some favorite poems or stories, and some links to other web sites your loved one might enjoy. Depending on how web-saavy you are, you can even add video or music. If you're feeling extra generous, for a small price per year, you can buy a domain name (like www.mymommaisthecoolestever.com). Even if your mom doesn't use the internet that often, think of the joy you'll see on her face when you show her, for the first time, the expression of your love that you've put on the internet for millions of people to witness. And all it took you was a few minutes at your computer.

2. A Heartfelt YouTube Message To Your Girlfriend

Show Some Love On YouTube

She always complains how you never do anything romantic. And remember that time at the Giants game when she tried to kiss you and you said "Come on, the guys are watching!" That didn't go over well. Now's your chance to make it up to her. All you need is a video camera that hooks up to your computer, a web cam, or a still digital camera that also shoots short videos.

Point the camera towards yourself. Start being romantic. Recite a love poem. Videotape yourself outside that bar where you first met. Tape yourself cooking a scrumptious meal for her (the funnier, and more pathetic you look doing it, the better). Then, upload it onto YouTube. (You could jazz it up first, if you have a video editing program like iMovie) Finally, on Christmas day, sit her in front of the laptop and play it! Dash to the kitchen and, lo and behold, that cake you made for her in the video is ready! Deliver it to her with a smile. And hopefully also present to her that engagement ring you've had all along, just in case she realizes you're a cheap bastard.

Good part about this gift is, if it goes over well, all her friends and family see your YouTube message and suddenly think you're adorable. Of course, if you embarass yourself, you might not be able to live it down.

3. Skype Your Relatives.

codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,0,0"
width="120" height="60" id="skype-banner-29">





menu="false" quality="high" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="120" height="60"
id="skype-banner-embed" allowScriptAccess="sameDomain"
type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer">
<div><a href="http://www.skype.com" target="_blank"><img src="<br />http://share.skype.com/show/flash/?id=29" border="0" alt="Share Skype" id="skype-banner-img" width="120" height="60" /></a></div>



All you and your relatives need are computers and internet connections in order to talk, for free, over long distances. Got relatives in Japan? Hook them up with Skype and suddenly, they're not so far away.

How does it work? Skype is a quick, free download. Once loaded on your computer, you can speak, in real time, with any other skype user throughout the world. Free. So send the download link to your long forgotten relatives, and re-establish those family ties.

4. Brand New Email Account!

Gmail, Not To Be Confused With G-Spot

It doesn't take long for an email account to fill up with junk. If someone's had an email address for over a year, chances are they'll get more messages from Viagra sellers than their friends. So, this Christmas, give them some relief... A new email account.

Gmail, AOL and Hotmail are all free, and you can set up an account in seconds. Try and think of an original email name your friend or family member would love and then create it. Even if they already have an email account, having an extra email account to use for sites that may generate spam is always a good idea. Improve the quality of this gift by filling the inbox with some eCards or poems you wrote yourself.

5. Get It On Ebay... For 1 cent

Ebabylicious

While not technically free, this is about as close as you can get. And shipping and handling could make your purchase cost anywhere from $3-10 in the end. But a quick search on eBay, arranged by "lowest price" found a slew of items for only one penny. How about a Waterford Crystal Christmas Wedding Dove Ornament? How about this for football fans: A Light-Up New York Giants Crystal! I even found this scanner "still like new," available for one copper Lincoln (shipping and handling puts the price at $15). How about some Vintage Elvis Sunglasses? Sure, i doubt anything you get for a cent will be quality. But you never know what you'll find.

6. Make Them Their Own Store!

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Of course, if you can't find what you like on eBay... then make your own online store with items your friend will like! Cafe Press is a website that allows you to upload artwork and photos and put them on t-shirts, cups, magnets and stickers. You create an online store to sell these customized items. Know someone who wants to be famous? Put their face on a t-shirt and sell it to the masses. Know a struggling artist? Help them out by putting their latest effort on a coffee mug. Put their name and address as the beneficiary of all sales, and before they know it, they'll be making money... or at least getting a kick out of an online store designed around them. If you feel like splurging, buy an item from the store and give it to your friend the same time you show him/her the store you've created.

7. A Mix CD-Free

Give the Gift of Music

Most free music sites are crap. They're terrible. Mostly because either the songs they offer are terrible, or they won't let you keep songs. But what's a mix-tape maker to do? Buy songs for the astronomical price of .99 cents???? Yeah, right.

Music.Download.Com is different. Many artists have at least one song that can be downloaded for free, others have several. Bright Eyes (one of my favorites), offers TEN (10) free tracks. Download around 20 free tracks, burn a very special mix CD (A blank CD can probably be mooched off someone else, if you don't have one). If you don't have a CD burner... get the links for all the free songs and put them into a nicely decorated webpage.

Many bands release free tracks for download on their websites and places like MySpace and Purevolume. These are also great places to check for new music that hasn't been released yet.

Of course, you could also go hog-wild on Limewire or Acquisition and download tons of songs for free... but that's not legal. And if you can afford to fight the RIAA, then why are you checking out gifts on this list??

8. Make It Yourself

Hey, its the thought that counts

The folks at HP have a bunch of ideas for things you can make yourself, with just a computer, a printer, and paper. Calendars, stationary, even "tattoos" for an iPod can be made for next to nothing.

9. Swap With Santa

Trade Up Baby!

Kyle MacDonald started out with a red paperclip, and used the internet and his own bartering skills to eventually trade up to a house. You can use Craig's List to post your item and what you're looking for in return.

10. Con Your Way To Free Books

If he lied, so can you.

Now, this isn't necessarily illegal, despite what the heading may suggest. Every publisher sends out review materials to members of the press. All you need to do is convince them you're worthy of receiving these materials.

Find the book you want. Look up the publisher. Their website should have, somewhere, an email address or fax number for requesting "Review Copies." Send a formal letter requesting a "Review Copy" of the desired book. You may want to claim you're a freelance writer working on book reviews for (fill in small-time publication here). Chances are, if your letter looks even marginally professional, they'll send you the book, with no questions asked. And you'll probably be put on the list of people who will receive future books for review. If you feel bad, create a blog and review the book there. That way, you're not lying. You're still a cheap scumbag though.

11. Other Ideas?

Let me know your great ideas for gifts from couch potato cheapos!
Email Horror Stories

Found this article online today. Don't know who this reporter is, but he's clearly a genius.

Brilliant Article On MSN

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

MySpace Launches Vain Effort To Stop Sickos
[updated 12/8]

How Do We Know This Guy Is For Real??
MySpace Founder? Or Pedophile? How Do We Know For Sure?


MySpace announced today that they will be partnering with a security firm to keep pedophiles off their service.

However, buried in their press release:

"Today’s announcement is a strong step in the right direction, but a gap will still exist in our ability to keep sex offenders off social networking sites until there is legislation that forces sex offenders to use registered email addresses"
MySpace seems to be claiming that forcing sex offenders to register their email addresses will "close the security gap," by allowing MySpace to ban those addresses from registering with the social network.

"With such measures in place, any use of false or unregistered emails would constitute a violation of the offender’s parole or probation and force them back to jail"
Um... I hate to state the obvious, but if a sex offender is contacting underage girls/boys online for sex... THAT is a violation of parole or probation. Obviously, the fear of violating parole isn't stopping these guys. With all the services out there that allow someone to set up as many free email accounts as they want in minutes, there's no way to prevent a sex offender from creating an email address that hasn't been registered. If they're planning on breaking parole anyway, do you think some requirement that they register their email accounts is going to stop them?

It's stupid. It won't work. It's unenforcable.

MySpace claims that by partering with this security firm, they can identify profiles of sex offenders and remove them from the network. But these sex offenders aren't exactly broadcasting their true selves here. Few teenage girls on MySpace are going to communicate with the 45-year-old bald guy who lives with his parents and lists Lolita as his favorite movie. These guys HIDE their identities. And on MySpace, there's still no way to verify if their being truthful or not. Sex offenders are FELONS. They're not going to put their true details out there, rendering MySpace's new partnership useless-- except to catch the only sex offenders stupid enough to put their real selves out there online. (Like Pamela Rogers Turner).

Wired Magazine used a similar screening program to search for sex offenders on the site's profiles. The author of the article confirmed 744 sex offenders with MySpace profiles. That would seem to support the usefulness of MySpace's partnership with the security firm screening their profiles. But even the author of the article admits:

My search left me less convinced that targeting past offenders would be an effective way for MySpace to find current or future predators. By its nature, a search like mine is only going to produce people who use their real names and addresses, and who are perhaps the least likely of the offenders to be up to no good.
Well said. Those planning on breaking the law usually aren't in a rush to reveal themselves.

This guy has 93 friends?? That's more than me!!
This Sicko Wasn't Exactly Fooling Anyone

In fact, MySpace seems to know this already. According to the Wired article, Michael Angus, executive general counsel of Fox Interactive Media, which owns MySpace, told a congressional committee that name-matching against public sex-offender registries wouldn't work. "He also argued that predators could easily use false names," the article states. This seems to go against the claim found in MySpace's current press release, which states, "Through this landmark partnership, MySpace will be able to search existing state and federal databases to identify and delete the profiles of registered sex offenders."

I'd love to call up MySpace and get comment on these two, seemingly contradictory statements, but the last time I contacted MySpace for a story, they strung me along without comment just long enough to get my article scooped by the AP. Bitch.

To me, the answer is simple. MySpace wants its critics to shut up, so they made this partnership, knowing it was useless, just so they'd look good. "Image"--as Andre Agassi used to say--"is everything."

So, Adam, you're such a genius, what will work?

Well, for starters, instead of MySpace selling their adspace to questionable imagery like this...

Scantily Clad
Subliminally driving MySpacers Towards Sexual Relations?

...they can put up something that doesn't smack 14-year-olds in the face with sexually charged ads the second they log in.

What, MySpace couldn't get an ad deal with Hustler?

Replace these ads with warnings. Big bright warnings that remind younger, stupider kids that some people may be older (and sicker) than they appear.

It won't stop pedos from registering, but it just might stop kids from adding them as friends.

Secondly.. and this is a biggie... MySpace needs age verification. MySpace hates this idea, and its understandable. It would cut the number of users by a large number. But such an action would prove that MySpace is committed to protecting minors. An age verification system would work the same way it does for porn sites. A credit card would be required to register. Or they could require a license number. Or, like Facebook (before it sold out and went public) a school, college, or company email address.

Less intrusively, MySpace could force users to know the last names or email addresses of the person they try to contact, before that contact can be established. They already have a similar "opt in" system like this in place, but it doesn't go far enough. They should automatically make profiles of those under 18 invisible to older users, unless that older user is a friend, or unless that older user knows the other user's last name.

How about an outside-the-box idea? MySpace can require younger users to also enter the email of a parent or guardian when they register. That way, periodically, the parent will receive an email from MySpace showing who their child has been communicating with (though, for the child's privacy, not what was said). This way, parents can ask, "Who's this PedoGuy69 you've been talking to?"

Of course, that raises another point. Which is: it's not completely MySpace's responsibility. While MySpace must make reasonable efforts, nearly every solution available to them still has many loopholes present. It's up to parents to monitor their kid's computer use. It's also up to parents to be involved with their kid's lives. I've heard many stories about kids "dating" people online and their parents never knowing about it. If you have a good relationship with your kid, this shouldn't ever happen.

But MySpace must produce more than these vain, questionably effective efforts if we're meant to view their anti-pedo stance as anything more than good public relations. They must start with the assumption that most people lie online, and then proceed from there.

And, for that matter, so should we.

Adam is a muscular, 21-year-old super-spy living in Iceland with his pet Yak, Noodles.
It's Never Too Late

A Baseball Hero

Sweet article from Slate. It's nice to know that all athletes aren't self-obsessed jerks.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Wolverines De-Clawed

Well, as everyone predicted, the BCS screwed the Wolverines. Or did it?

Those much-vilified computers actually put Michigan tied with Florida. Which is a much more accurate way of putting it. It was actually the humans that screwed up. Computers smarter than humans? Egads! Is this the dawning of Skynet!?!?!

Terrible Future? Or Terrible Drawing?
Note: I am not an artist by trade.

Well, apparently, I have limited time before the creepy exoskeleton robots come to declare Judgement Day, so I'll be brief. How hard would it have been to make an extra game bewteen Florida and Michigan? There's several weeks before the bowls begin. Ohio State had FIVE until the title game. BCS supporters, and lame-os-who-refuse-to-support-a-playoff-system-but cryptically-say-"The BCS needs to be changed" say there's no TIME to insert a playoff system (as if five weeks is not enough).

Ok, so maybe there isn't time (even though there is). How about this. IF there are two teams with the same record that end up 2, 3 in the polls... THEN make an extra "playoff" game. This isn't without precident. It happens in Major League Baseball. Just schedule an extra game, somewhere in that period between the bowls and the end of the regular season, and let the winner go to the national championship game. If there's three teams, have a round robin tournament. If there's four (very unlikely) then go to a 4-team, two bracket "Final Four." Of course, if there's no dispute, then there's no playoff.. simple as that. We're not reinventing the wheel, we're simply adding a tire to it.

Ok, I've gone on too long. John Connor, save us!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Peace On Earth Prevails
(in Colorado)

Thanks to my blog entry, and no one else, the homeowners association in a Colorado town has decided not to fine a woman for decortaing her house with a peace-symbol wreath.

"We would like to thank everyone who has contacted us with moral support and offers of financial support. We are grateful to hundreds of complete strangers who felt so moved by this story they contacted us," wreath-owner Lisa Jensen told the Associated Press.

"It seems whenever someone tries to say 'Peace on Earth' it is met with so much resistance," she said. "The incredible amount of support we have received over the last couple of days really is proof to us of how many people believe in peace and in our right to say it."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Colorado Man Campaigns Against Peace

Peace Wreath or Satan's Sign?

Pagosa Springs, CO - A homeowners association president in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign.

"The opposite of war is 'peace,' according to this list of antonyms my son printed for me off the interweb," said Bobby Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association. "So, to my mind, if you support peace, then you're not supporting our troops."

"Some people in this neighborhood have kids in Iraq, and they are sensitive," said Kearns. "Also, the hippies called me 'square' back in high school."

When Kearns ordered the association's architectural control committee to require the homeowner to remove the wreath, they refused. Jack Lilly, chairman of the group, said it decided it was merely a seasonal symbol that didn't say anything. Lilly also said he had received no complaints from homeowners. Kearns fired all five members of the committee.

"God, Jesus, and George Bush have all taught us that peace is the devil's work," Kearns said in a telephone interview Sunday. "If you let one sign go up you have to let them all go up. Next thing you know, gay illegal immigrant meth addicts will be getting married to their 7-year old racially-mixed brothers. It's a slippery slope."

Kearns said he plans to use the money to put a monument to the ten commandments on the development's front lawn.

The sad thing is, that's only partially made up. The REAL article can be found here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Life In Iraq

Draw your own conclusions:



I wonder why they hate us?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Big Smoke '06

My Ticket to the Big Smoke

Like trick-or-treaters on Halloween or kids on Christmas morning, thousands of suit-wearing middle aged men dashed excitedly through the doors of the Marriott Marquis banquet room on Tuesday evening to raid the booty found at the year's biggest cigar extravaganza-- The Big Smoke.

Like bid-seeking frat pledges on a scavenger hunt, they ran from table to table with their books of free cigar coupons, tearing out the paper strips with one hand and exchanging them for the Dominican Republic's finest as they somehow managed to puff coronas and sip expensive scotch at the same time.

I was one of them. Though not yet middle-aged.

One person I overheard called the scene, "like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange." If the floor of the NYSE is anything like it is in the movie Trading Places, I agree. Of course, the stock exchange doesn't have cigars and Johnny Walker Blue Label being handed out by cleavage-baring young women.

Or does it? I've never been there.

In any case, I've got about 32 cigars now. And memories that will last a lifetime...

WARNING: SOPRANOS SEASON 6 (Part 2) SPOILER ALERT!!!!
Read no further unless you want to know that Vito, is in fact, NOT DEAD!!!!

Whoops, may have botched the spoiler warning there.

Don't get too upset. How do I know Vito's not dead?? I saw him. He was at the big smoke, looking very unafraid of being whacked (although he did have a bodyguard).

I swear, it's Vito

Hard to tell from that image, but it's him all right. I was as shocked as you are. But not as shocked as I was when I found out who else was at the Big Smoke that night...

Phil Leotardo

Shocking, I know. Sopranos-watchers know that Phil Leotardo, pictured above, personally whacked Vito. But did he? Seeing the two at the same event raises the obvious question: Did Phil merely make it LOOK as if he killed Vito? Maybe he just wanted him out of his family's life. Perhaps Vito is living happily in New Hampshire, with his boyfriend, Mr. Flapjack.

It certainly seems possible, given what I witnessed last night!

This blog has a nice little Big Smoke round up. Although he apparently missed the big Sopranos bombshell.

So who's going to help me smoke all these cigars???

Oral Cancer's Best Buddies

A shot of some of my fellow party-goers... a future Port Authority president, a future congressman, and the two best lawyers in America:

Had a Smokin' Good Time
It's Good To Be Quarterback

Tom Brady Gets All The Hotties

Drew Bledsoe, you blew it. Tony Romo knows how to be QB in style. He's dating Jessica Simpson.

In high school, the quarterback gets the hottest cheerleader. In the NFL, they get the hottest celebrities.

I chose the wrong line of work.
Say It Ain't So, Kramer

Why, Kramer? Why?

My innocence has shattered.

One of television's most beloved characters, Kramer, will never again be the same goofy, lovable oaf we all watched do increasingly wacky things on the show Seinfeld.

This week, he spewed racial epiphets at black people who were heckling him in the crowd. That's a mild way of putting it. "He lost his mind," is a bit more accurate. As CNN reports:

A video posted on TMZ.com shows Richards launching into the tirade after two black audience members started shouting at him that he wasn't funny.

Richards retorts: "Shut up! Fifty years ago we'd have you upside down with a f------ fork up your a--."

He then paces across the stage taunting the men for interrupting his show, peppering his speech with racial slurs and profanities.

"You can talk, you can talk, you're brave now mother------. Throw his a-- out. He's a n-----!" Richards shouts before repeating the racial epithet over and over again.

While there is some chuckling in the audience throughout the outburst, someone can be heard gasping "Oh my God" and various people "ooh" after Richards uses the n-word.

Eventually someone says: "It's not funny. That's why you're a reject, never had no shows, never had no movies. `Seinfeld,' that's it."


Easily offended people might not want to view the video. (Warning, loud, coarse language)

Kramer compounded his mistake by issuing a barely coherent, rambling apology, which sounded, at times, as if he was justifying his behavior. He also said this gem of a line:

"I'm not a racist. That's what's so insane about this"

Actually, what's so insane about this is you, Kramer. This line, "I'm not a racist," is a typical one uttered by one who's been caught spewing racial epiphets. But it's a meaningless one. KKK members don't call themselves racists. No one calls themselves a racist. The "racist" label is applied to one who behaves in a racist manner. And Kramer, well, that's exactly what you did.

During Kramer's "apology" on Letterman, some people in the audience started laughing. Jerry Seinfeld angrily told them to "Shut up, this isn't funny." But I'm willing to bet that half the people in that audience didn't know what had occurred. Letterman made some jokes in his monologue, but the show was taped around 4 in the afternoon, in front of people who probably weren't sitting at their computers all day reading the breaking news. They can be forgiven for thinking this was some sort of joke.

It seemed like a joke. What celebrity in their right mind would appear live, on air, without a prepared apology? Kramer looked as if he had no idea what he was going to say next.

If you didn't see it, here you go.



Most. Awkward. TV. Moment. Ever.

What should he have done? How bout any one of these:

"I sincerely apologize. There's no excuse for my actions. I deeply regret those things I said and the people hurt by them. I hope that they can forgive me."

"I crossed the line when I yelled those hurtful things at the people heckling me. Out of frustration, I said the most hurtful thing I could think of to say. It was a mistake, and I hope that they, and all who saw my horrifying display, can forgive me."

"I wasn't saying 'nigga,' I actually said 'Nikka' as in the pop singer, Nikka Costa. She's one HOT tamale."

"I have a drinking problem."

Letterman's face, after Kramer's done talking, says it all (check it out on the video).

Kramer, I'll miss you.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

War In The Middle West, The BS BCS, and Mickey Mouse

Troysman Trophy Rad Chad

At 3:30 Saturday afternoon, one of the world's most volatile conflict reigions will break out into a violent civil war. The century old rivalry between two radicalized superpowers will once again rear its ugly head. Last year, dozens were arrested, fires were set, cars were overturned, and the whole nation witnessed the breakdown of ordered society.

I'm talking of course, about Ohio State vs. Michigan.

In college football, and perhaps all of sport, there is no rivalry more heated than the one between these two midwestern teams.

Woody Hayes, the famed Ohio State coach who led the team to 13 conference titles, best exemplifies the bad blood between the two colleges. He never referred to Michigan by name, calling them instead "that school up north." Once, on a recruiting trip in the state of Michigan, he refused to stop at a gas station, even though the car was running low on fuel. "We'll coast and push this goddam car to the Ohio line before I give this state a nickel of my money," he's quoted as saying.

It's the kind of rivalry that inspires jokes like this:

What is the only sign of intelligent life in Michigan?
The freeway sign that says "Columbus, 192 miles".

How do you get to Columbus from Ann Arbor?
Go south until you smell shit, then east until you step in it.
It's no wonder that all week, the sports talk across the radio, tv, and internet has analyzed every aspect of the game, from Ohio State quarterback and Heisman-candidate Troy Smith to the comeback of star Michigan receiver Mario Manningham from injury. But the real story hasn't really been covered in the mainstream media. My parents.

My Dad went to Ohio State as an undergrad. Played Track and Field for them. Was one of those guys who probably painted his face silver and maroon before every game.

Then, in a fortunate fit of lunacy, he went to University of Michigan Law School.

I say "fortunate fit of lunacy," because Michigan is where he met my mom, a graduate student.

My Dad, sport that he is, rooted for the Wolverines all football season. But then November rolled around. Then the game, THE GAME would come around. His friends at Michigan would stop talking to him. Others would approach him asking, "How do you get to Columbus from Ann Arbor..."

Luckily for me, despite the fact that my dad sat with the Ohio State fans decked out in Buckeye gear, my mom, who sat across the stadium dressed in blue and maize, still married the guy. They've sat through thirty-four Michigan-Ohio State games together, and I'm happy to report that divorce proceedings have only been seriously considered a handful of times.

To complicate things, my sister and cousin both went to Michigan as well. And me? Well. NYU doesn't have a football team. So I root for the team I grew up rooting for... Ohio State. Yes, it's an interesting day when these two teams face off, to say the least. When my cousin says the words "Charles Woodson," I still shudder (He won the game singlehandedly for Michigan in 1997). But Ohio State's mostly had the edge since then.

This year, the stakes are as big as they were in that infamous 1997 matchup: a national championship is on the line. Ohio State is ranked #1. Michigan, #2. The winner clinches a spot in the BCS national championship. The loser cries.

And that will pose an interesting dilemma in the world of college football. Back in the late 1990's, when everyone was on drugs, some hippies decided that the best way to choose a national champion was by mixing the ranking formulas of several computers with the rankings of self-indulgent sports writers and completely biased and often incontinent coaches. And this system worked... not at all. There was a tie for the national championship, undefeated teams that never got to play for the title, and clearly subpar teams (I'm looking at you 2001 Cornhuskers) that somehow got the chance to be no. 1.

After Saturday, we'll know for sure that either Ohio State or Michigan belongs in that title game. But who they'll play is anyones guess. Rutgers, currently undefeated, shocked superpower Louisville and made a bold statement that they can compete with anyone. And they're from Jersey, my home state, which warms my heart. We're not used to college football in Jersey. The first game was played here back in the 1800's and it seemed, until last week, another game hadn't been played since.

But here's where the Bull Sh*t BCS comes in. Even if Rutgers ends the season undefeated (having taken out #3 Louisville and #8 West Virginia), they still may not get into the national championship game. Why? Because the aforementioned computers, idiotic sports writers and bowel-control-challenged coaches think some team that's lost a game is better because they have a history of being good.

There's only one way to know for sure. All the top teams must play each other. A tournament would get it done. You could have the top ranked 8 teams play a NCAA Basketball-style tournament, single elimination, until you're left with the two surviving teams. Then they play for the national championship. Period. The whole thing settled in three weeks. End of story.

Alas, the powers that be are perfectly content with a system developed by the same people who apparently managed the Iraq war and wrote the movie adaptation of Lost In Space (worst movie.. ever).

Almost as bad as the BCS

I'm dying for an Ohio State vs. Rutgers matchup. My guess? A bet on Rutgers would get you some pretty hefty returns if they ended up winning. But they're exciting and got a lotta heart. Did you see that field after their kicker Ito slammed the game-winning field goal home?

Not Just 'Slutgers' Anymore

This year, now that my sister's graduated "that school up north", we'll all be watching the OSU-UM game together. But not at home. We'll be watching in Disney World. We're going there for a wedding.

Mickey and Friends
Will Mickey perform the ceremony? I sure hope so.

I wonder who he roots for?

Mickey in Red and Silver

Looks like Ohio State to me!


[actually, looks a bit like Nebraska]

That's all for now. Go Buckeyes!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

It's A Beautiful Day

Goodbye Rummy!

So that's it for Rummy. The Secretary of Defense famously claimed the Iraq war would be over faster than a teenage boy's first time, then came up with the brilliant plan of hiding in the bathroom whenever a report came in of more soldiers dying. But it wasn't the horrific way the war was handled that did Rumsfeld in.. oh no. It was the 2006 midterm election. Rummy saw the writing on the wall... no way he was going to survive in office five minutes with the Democrats in charge. And Bush, blamed for the Republican defeat, was in no position to deny Rummy's resignation this time around (Rumsfeld had allegedly offered it countless times before). So Rummy's gone, and good riddance. Now, maybe, just maybe, the plan to win the war in Iraq will change from "pretend things are ok" to something a bit more concrete.

On another note...

If you know me, you know I take no pleasure in other people's misfortune. But Rick Santorum is a special kind of evil, so I don't feel guilty basking in the glorious glow of his firey demise.

This picture makes me laugh:

Santorum concedes, his kids cry, give the finger

However, this one makes me laugh harder:

Santorum's girl cries, clutches dolly

I know, I know. I'm a heartless bastard. She's eight years old! But i mean, she's taking it pretty hard... and... Jesus, look at the doll! They're wearing the same dress! Weird!!!!
Time For A Change

After years of arrogance and embarassment, it was finally time for a change. And the decision has been made. Now we can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Britney Spears is divorcing Kevin Federline.

Britney's Ballot

Oh and, yeah, the Democrats won the House and probably the Senate.

Everybody saw this coming. K-Fed now has the opportunity to knock yet another celebrity up with two kids and then leave (his ex also has two mini-Feds).

Perhaps the election was just the impetus Britney needed to vote her scumbag husband out. The neverending tabloid articles forecasting the end of the marriage were not unlike the many campaign commercials urging Americans to make a change. While millions of Americans were fed up with Bush, Britney was finally fed up with k fed.

Brit and Kev

The divorce apparently came as a shock to K-Fed, who was too busy trying to remarket his CD to consumers as a beverage coaster. Republicans, on the other hand, kind of knew this was coming. How could it not, with all the scandalous sex, horrifying mistakes, and rampant abuses of power? Yes, Republicans knew a Britney-K-Fed split was inevitable.

What does the future hold? Do the Democrats have a plan to win in Iraq? Does Britney have a plan to launch a new album? (she's been looking good lately)

I'm optimistic. By this time next year, we'll have Iraq secure, and be listening to the new Britney single, "Fed Up." And Former Senator Rick Santorum and failed rapper K-Fed will be cited on Page Six for their shocking indiscretions at Scores Gentleman's Club.

TMZ.com provides a photo retrospective of the couple's epic, tragic romance.

And MSNBC provides a handy map showing just how much Democrat fever has swept the nation.

It's a big day for change, people! So wear a new outfit. Eat at a new place. Take a different route home. If Britney can turn from pop star to white trash momma to pop star again, and the Democrats can turn from pansies to head honchos, there's hope for us all.

Exercising my civic duty Yeah Menendez!
(note: first time voting in an actual voting booth-- rather than absentee)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day!!

It's here! The day millions of Americans head to the booths to have their votes miscounted and skewed toward Republican candidates!

I'll be heading home to Jersey tonight to exercise my civic duty, because I didn't order the absentee ballot and apparently the race is close (about as close as that presidential election was).

I was leaning towards Menendez, but then I stumbled upon this guy...

Finally! A candidate we can believe in!

NJ Weedman

Ed Forchion describes himself as a political activist and dissident. According to his website, in 2000 he was imprisoned 18 months after "a unfair trial in which he was not allowed to have witnesses or to present [sic] a jury."

"Then after release from prison NJweedman was re-jailed from August 24th, 2002 - Jan 25th, 2003 for publicly dis-agreeing (free speech?) with the Government's Drug War Policy by Do-Gooder Christian NJ state officials. NJweedman was truely a political prisoner of our nations 'War on Drugs'."

This guy is my hero. He also has what I'm guessing is the only candidate website which plays rap music in the background. And features pictures of him smoking weed.

You wanna shake congress up? This guy is your man.
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PLUS: Don't be fooled! Republican dirty tricks: Don't believe this phone call!

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Poll Dancing

In less than 24 hours, the polls will open across the United States and millions of Americans will decide whether the Republicans are rewarded for their tough stand against the huge, apocolyptic threat of gay marriage, or whether the Democrats get a chance to clean up the dirty, bloody mess of the last six years.

A girl I know (i.e. hot chick who posed in playboy's college issue who I requested on Facebook) posted this online today, and I found it makes a very good point:

What You Need To Believe To Vote Republican:

1. Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals and Hillary Clinton.

2. Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush needed a "we can't find Bin Laden" diversion.

3. Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.

4. The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.

5. A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.

6. The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.

7. If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.

8. A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.

9. Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism. HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.

10. Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.

11. A president lying about an extramarital affair is a impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.

12. Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.

13. The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades [??], but George Bush's driving record is none of our business.

14. Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host [or evangelical preacher!]. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.

15. Supporting "Executive Privilege" for every Republican ever born, who will be born or who might be born (in perpetuity.)

16. What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.

17. Support for hunters who shoot their friends and blame them for wearing orange vests similar to those worn by the quail. [ha!]

18. Don't support stem cell research BUT support animal testing which fails to work everytime and actually causes suffering and death.
I would add two more...

19. The government should spend millions on bridges to nowhere and questionable wars, so there's no money left to rebuild the Gulf Coast after a major hurricane.

20. In order to defend our freedom, we must permanently give up several of our freedoms.

What's scary is that it seems many people DO believe these things. After all, the polls do seem to show a 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans in this country. Nevermind the hypocrisy and oxymorons that underlie these beliefs... how can Republicans support a Republican congress that has abandoned all semblance of conservative doctrine?? Big spending, rampant corruption, large government-- all these things seem in opposition to the party's core values. Maybe that's why so many conservative pundits are upset with the Bush administration.

Tomorrow, the voting booth provides an avenue for change. A chance to reverse the sad trend of our government's decline and once again make it the beacon of the free world.

If you've read this blog (or the above), then you know I'm not exactly a Republican. But even if I was, I'd be hard pressed to vote for one. The Democrats are not about imposing their beliefs on the populace. A Democratic Senate won't mean gay marriage drive-thrus opening in Texas. A Democratic House won't mean abortion doctors will be awarded the medal of valor. What a Democratic congress does mean is that real efforts will be made to end the war in Iraq. What a Democratic congress means is that we'll finally begin to repair relations with the rest of the world. What a Democratic congress means is an end to the corruption and scandal that has ran through Washington unchecked for the past six years.

What it means is that accountability will be back in Washington. No more blank checks. No more rubber stamps. No more mock debates. For the first time in six years, George W. Bush will be forced to do what the people want him to do. That 39% approval rating exists for a reason. If congress is Democratic, Bush will finally have to address that.

So vote tomorrow. And vote Democrat. Not because I told you to. Not because you're some raving liberal lunatic. But because you're tired of a government that does whatever it wants and keeps f&*king everything up.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Every Vote Counts

The Dilbert Guy says to not worry about people hacking new voting machines... celebrate it.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Friday, October 27, 2006

Be Careful This Halloween!!!

Remember When Cheney Shot That Guy???

"I don't want to tell where I'm going to be going, but I am going to do a little pheasant hunting this year." --Vice President Dick Cheney

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors...

...But bad fences are just a waste a f#%king money.

Iraq is in shambles, New Orleans is too, we're running the biggest deficits of all-time... and Bush is spending $1.2 billion+ so some racist, bigoted people can feel a bit more comfortable about voting for the Republican party.

Will the fence stop illegal immigration? No. Will it even slow illegal immigration? Not likely. Why? Well. Because the border is damn long--2,100-miles--and this new fence will only cover about one-third of that. So what's the point?

The point is, Joe "I Hate Mexicans" Schmo wants "something done 'bout these here Taco-eaters." And a fence, while in reality, quite useless, is something Joe Schmo can see. And Joe Schmo is a very stupid person, so he thinks that a fence shows the government is doing something about "the problem." But what Joe doesn't realize is that the government isn't doing anything other than taking Joe's tax money and spending it on a monument to futility.

I actually don't think Bush's immigration plan is that bad. But the fence? Why waste that money to secure the votes of stupid people? $1.2 billion dollars(+) won't make any difference now or 20 years down the line when that fence is riddled with holes the size of tractor trailers and is spray painted with the most vulgar grafitti you can imagine.

Israel built a wall to defend itself from terrorists. The only reason it has been marginally effective is that its backed up by a large military presence and there's little motivation for anyone but the wackiest of suicide bombers to cross to the other side. But our case is much different. We've got MILLIONS of people FLEEING their situations in Mexico for a better life in the U.S. And our border is many times longer(thank you Manifest Destiny!) There's just no way we can win that battle, save for spending billions upon billions more to fence off the whole border, dig a mile-wide moat filled with alligators, and post machine-gun turrets every quarter mile manned by super-intelligent genetically engineered sniper monkeys.

Then again, if Bush keeps robbing banks, we may have the money to pursue such a plan.
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PLUS: Mars Rover Getting Bored

Monday, October 23, 2006

We Never Said That

Proving that Orwell was a prophet, Bush and his cronies attempt to rewrite history.



Luckily, the resistance is there to remind us of the truth.
Horror Stories

I have every single Instant Message conversation I've had since Freshman year in college saved on my computer. Way back in September 2000, I clicked the tiny button that gave me the option of automatically logging my IMs, and its been that way ever since.

This is a little frightening to me. Because, although I've been aware that my IM convos are being saved, I haven't really thought about it all that much while im rapidly typing lame jokes to hot girls. How many secrets have I told over IM? How many people have told me theirs? What kind of embarrassing things will I find if I dig through those old IM conversations? Worse, what kind of embarassing stuff will other people find if they dig through those IMs. I'm tempted to erase them all before I get Foleyed, i.e. humiliated by an old IM.

But then I couldn't compile them all into my first bestselling book: IMU: Crazy College Convos (working title). [actually...good idea]

My IM logs are as close to a diary from college that I have. But, I mean, if you've gone to college, or watched Old School, you probably know that not everything about those days should be revealed. Note to authorities currently pursuing charges against me/ABC News Primetime producers: all the salacious details are in my computer. Luckily, they haven't come back to bite me. Yet.

I'm working right now on an article for MSN on email/IM/text message horror stories. Have you ever sent an email/IM/text that's come back to humiliate you? Sent it to the wrong person? Or sent it to the right person... who then sent it to everybody else? Share your stories with me, and I might use it for the article.

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PLUS: Al Gore tells it like it is.

"In the last six years, we've seen an energy bill written by oil companies, a prescription drug bill written by pharmaceutical lobbyists, and a global warming policy run by the biggest polluters... Only in the out-of-touch world of this Republican Congress could public service mean raising their own pay nine times without raising the minimum wage once."
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Friday, October 20, 2006

Clint Eastwood A Racist??

Apparently, his new movie "Flags Of Our Fathers" has one, glaring omission.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sealburger Anyone?

Dining, Inuit-style

Meanwhile, North Korea is moving forward with plans to make sealmeat out of all of us. He's planning a second nuke test!

Question. With Iraq, Bush thought that maybe, possibly, Iraq was moving towards, sometime in the future, maybe making a nuclear weapon. So we invaded, set up a puppet regime and acted surprised when it all went to shit.

Now, we know, for a fact, that North Korea has the bomb. And they've tested it. And they tested long range rockets not so long ago. So we... well... what have we done?

Absolutely nothing.

Why????????

When we're chillin in our bomb shelters for the next two years, waiting for the nuclear fallout to clear and the dead bodies to fully disintegrate, perhaps we'll reflect on the tragic stupidity and arrogance of the Bush administration, and how it all led us to an ultimate outcome we thought was safely ensconced in the realm of science fiction. But probably we'll just be really, really angry. At least until the next American Idol comes back on TV and takes our minds off everything.

We'll have to live like the Inuits, living off a wasteland, killing our food, which will probably not be seals, but rather slower, fatter people.

Perhaps the great Republican plan for America is to let so many of our enemies get the bomb that we'll live in a constant state of fear, virtually assuring that we'll vote for whichever party screams nonsense the loudest.

But we'll vote them out in November... right?

Right?

RIGHT???
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PLUS: Dove's Campaign For Real Beauty features an enlightening video: What you see is fake.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sorry For The Absence

Phew. Its been like two weeks since my last entry. Last week I was at a writer's conference in upstate New York, and didn't really have computer access. And the week before that, I stayed off the internet to avoid receiving repeated emails and IMs from Congressman Mark Foley, who claimed he "Just wanted to chat." But now I'm back, and hopefully you've missed me a lot.

So, a recap of headlines from the past two weeks:

Republicans Protect Pedophile

Basically, Republican leadership knew about Foley, but did nothing. Then they accused ABC and "democratic operatives" of playing politics. The right thing to do, the Republicans seem to be saying, would have been for ABC to ignore evidence of Mark Foley's sexual overtures to young male pages and hope no one found out.

North Korea Shoves A Nuke Up Condasleeza Rice's Booty

Oops, we were so busy raping Iraq that we forgot about North Korea!

Yankees Blow Series, Lose Pitcher In Plane Crash

Esquire magazine publishes an awful short story with the poorly-timed title of "The Death of Derek Jeter." Um, guys, that story sucks.

Bush Learns How To Play Tic Tac Toe, Next Up? Checkers

Where the hell has he been? Nukes in North Korea? Pedophiles in Congress? It seems like Bush is nowhere to be found. Where's one of those Prime-Time-Preempting news conferences he's so fond of?

Now Today's Top Story (my version):

Mary Jane Stops G.I. Joes
General gives 'blunt' assessment of fight against Taliban

Oct 13, 2006 — OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian troops fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan have stumbled across an unexpected and potent enemy — almost impenetrable forests of 10-feet-high marijuana plants.

General Rick Hillier, chief of the Canadian defense staff, said on Thursday that Taliban fighters were using the forests as cover. In response, the crew of at least one armored car had camouflaged their vehicle with marijuana.

"Yeah, we filled the inside with marijuana smoke too because like, we wanted to blend in man," said Sgt. Steven Spliff. "And I even brought some home with me in case those Talibanos come here."

"The challenge is that marijuana plants absorb energy, heat very readily," said Hiller. "It's very difficult to penetrate with thermal devices … and as a result you really have to be careful that the Taliban don't dodge in and out of those marijuana forests," he said in a speech in Ottawa.

"We tried burning them with white phosphorous — it didn't work. We tried burning them with diesel — it didn't work. The plants are so full of water right now … that we simply couldn't burn them," he said.

"I burned em with a lighter," Spliff said. "Didn't have any problems."

Successful incinerations had their drawbacks.

"A couple of brown plants on the edges of some of those (forests) did catch on fire. But a section of soldiers that was downwind from that had some ill effects and decided that was probably not the right course of action," Hillier said dryly.

"Oh that was a fuckin awesome day man," Spliff said. "I ate like three bags of cheetos and then a couple of the guys pushed me around in a shopping cart. Then we listened to some Floyd and played Halo. Awesome dude. What's your name again?"

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Clinton vs. Condasleeza

The Battle of the Century

Who's to blame for 9/11?

Easy. Bin Laden.

But the Bush Administration and the right isn't content with that answer. Seeing falling poll numbers and increasing dissent because of their ill-advised Iraq War, the right wingers are attempting to blame 9/11 on Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, John F. Kennedy and Socrates.

The gloves have come off. First, Fox News attacks Bill Clinton for defending himself against accusations that his inaction caused the deaths of 3,000 people. "How dare Clinton get upset that we're blaming him for 9/11!" shout the Republicans.

Now Condasleeza "I do not recall that" Rice is going after Clinton's assertion that Bush did nothing for 8 months in office, as evidence mounted that Bin Laden was behind the attack on the U.S. Cole and was planning an attack on the United States. "He did lots of stuff," the Condasleeza argument goes, "Like spend most of that time on vacation. He had to rest up so he could be a strong leader in the post-9/11 months ahead."

About all Bush did in those months was force schools to teach to a new standardized test that he himself would not be able to pass. Oh, and chop a lot of firewood on his ranch.

All this while "The system was blinking red" and reports like "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S." came across his desk.

The True Story

Read the 9/11 report. Not because it blames Bush. Because it doesn't... really. And it doesn't blame Clinton either. Rather, it is a detailed, wide ranging analysis of all the missed signals and opportunities that no human being could have picked up upon at the time. It also makes clear that, while there were signs during the Clinton presidency, the final stages of the plan, which were most overt and easily detected, were overlooked by a Bush administration which dismissed its predecessor's warnings.

If you don't have the patience to read it all, then perhaps section 8 is enough. While the Bush administration received more warnings and more reports of a possible Bin Laden attack than any other administration, they did nothing-- especially in the crucial month and a half before 9/11. A month and a half when Bush was chillin with his cows in Texas. It's clear from the report that the most opportunities to stop the attack came during Bush's presidency.

I promise its not a boring read. On the contrary, it'll help you ignore this bullshit fight between Republicans and Democrats-- a fight only designed to confuse voters before midterm elections.

And then you can focus on debates that actually mean something. Like what the hell are we doing in Iraq?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Center of the Universe

How many Licks?

Ocassionally I'll go on Wikipedia and enlighten myself about a random topic. Since the whole Pluto demotion thing, I've been reading up more and more about the cosmos. As we all know, the universe started with a big bang. Whether you believe this was God's work or the inevitable result of a hot, super dense matzoh ball soup of matter makes no difference-- scientists have found conclusive proof that the universe is expanding in all directions away from us equally and increasing in speed. So, rewinding backwards, it makes sense that, at some point, the universe was all together in one spot.

Now, what struck me was... "the universe is expanding in all directions away from us equally." If this is true, then Earth must be the center of the universe-- right? If in fact that was the case... well, the God must have been in charge--right?

I believe in God. And coming up on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I certainly don't want to say or do anything to upset him. But I found myself a little bit skeptical at this whole "earth is the center of the universe" conclusion I'd arrived at. It seemed to me that such a discovery, if true, would have certainly been made by now, and probably would have made news headlines on the front page right below special eyewitness reports of Suri Cruise's first shit.

So I looked up "Earth's location in the universe" on google. Every answer was "The Milky Way." Uh... duh. So I looked up "Where is the Milky Way?" "A band of light across the night sky," was the answer. Google. Master of the obvious. I did find one answer, which was that nobody knows. Helpful. So finally, I looked up "Center of the Universe." With that, I found two articles which were exceptionally enlightening.

The first was Exploratorium, a scientific website. They have an article entitled, "Where is the Center of the Universe?". "Here, There, and Everywhere" was the subtitle, and I prepared to click the back button on my browser... but instead, I read on. And my mind got ROCKED.

It turns out that every point in the universe sees itself as the center!
I tried to wrap my brain around this. And I imagine, I probably would have given up thinking after a while and shouted out, "Those damn heretical hippie scientists and their crazy ideas!" But they provide a neat little toy on the bottom, where you can clearly see how it works. How did I never learn this in school?? Or maybe I did and just forgot it. NYU admitted and graduated me anyway.

Ironically, the second link provided to me by Google demonstrates the problem with people who take the bible a bit too literally.

Whereas the Exploratorium site actually made me smarter, I could feel my brain cells becoming indoctrinated with stupidity as I read Answers In Genesis:

Our galaxy—at the center of the universe after all!

Recently, new evidence has surfaced that restores man to a central place in God's universe...
Now, why is it that we have to be at the center of the universe for God to exist? That doesn't make any sense to me. If we were to the left of center in the universe would it mean that God doesn't exist? It wouldn't disprove anything. The article seems to be celebrating a return to a Ptolmeic way of thinking. It completely ignores the very valid, sensical explanation found on Exploritorium's page, in favor of analysis from a guy who's biography begins with the line: "Dr Humphreys was awarded his Ph.D. in physics from Louisiana State University in 1972, by which time he was a fully convinced creationist."

Picture taken with the Hubble Space Telescope

Thanks to Wikipedia.. and this site, I learned the age of the universe, 14.7 billion years or so, was determined by studying background radiation and galaxies most distant from earth. Since the view is the same from every point in the universe (Thanks Exploratorium!) from the way their light appears to us (light changes colors the further away it is), we can tell how far away they are. And since the universe expanded outward from a single point, the most distant galaxies divided by the speed... ah, this is why I didn't study physics. This stuff is way confusing.

One thing I realized is, the further away science gets from earth, the more it becomes a question of faith rather than science. Same thing happens the closer we get to the smallest of objects. Beyond the sight of the furthest-reaching telescopes is a darkness we can only imagine. Beyond the magnification of the strongest microscope is a mysterious world that exists inside of all of us but is as unviewable as that most distant sky. As our technologies improve, we'll be able to see further and further, but, as even science admits, we'll never be able to see the edge.

So will we ever know where exactly in the universe we are? Maybe the better question is, "Does it matter?" Knowing our place in the cosmos is not relevant to proving God exists or that the bible's accurate or not. It's the constant search for knowledge itself that gives our lives a place, lends meaning to our endeavors, and reminds us, with each new discovery, the possibilities that exist for us in this universe are limitless.

Only you

PS. Of course, tonight I will be celebrating the 5767th birthday of the universe, despite what the scientists and their "facts and figures" say. Happy Rosh Hashanah everybody!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

No Compromise On Torture

The Bush administration is currently seeking to "redefine" the definition of torture as prohibited by the Geneva Conventions. Great, unbiased, analytical minds such as Bill O'Reilly have assailed opponents of Bush's "pro-torture" law, painting anybody who would stand in the way of torturing suspected Al Queda members as a freedom-hating, devil worshipper. As Bill put it earlier this week, all the CIA did was play one detainee a Red Hot Chili Peppers album, and they got vital information. Too bad Bill's analysis was... er... deceptive at best.

But even worse than Bush and Bill are those in congress seeking a "compromise." These people include noted POW John McCain. It boggles the mind that anyone subjected to torture techniques would even be willing to think about compromising the Geneva Conventions. But I guess running for President does something to one's morals.

First off, and most importantly, is the fact that TORTURE DOESN'T WORK. Numerous experts... and victims... have stated that when subjected to torture, the detainee will often say anything to get the pain to stop. Especially what he thinks his captors want to hear. Such gems extracted from 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed included an alleged plot to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge with blow torches. Now, its obvious how ridiculous and implausible that is, but to a detainee who's been brought to the brink of drowning several times over a 24 hour period, with no sleep and more than a few beatings in-between, that story sounds like exactly the type of revelation that may earn you a few moments respite.

Secondly, torture is morally repugnant. Bush, who claims to be a born-again Christian, and O'Reilly, the man who saved Christmas, seem to have no problem with sexual abuse, mutilation, and general degradation of another human being. "These people are terrorists," they shout. But are they? Just this week, we heard the story of a Canadian man accused of terrorism that was sent to Syria to be tortured.

SO, torture, a) doesn't work, and b) is an affront to morality, and c) is being used on innocent people. Why do we have to reach a compromise on something that is clearly wrong?

Remember when we had a sane President?

"The president says he's just trying to get the rules clear about how far the CIA can go when they're when they whacking these people around in these secret prisons," Clinton said in NPR's "Morning Edition" interview, recorded on Wednesday.

"If you go around passing laws that legitimize a violation of the Geneva Convention and institutionalize what happened at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo, we're going to be in real trouble," he said.

Like other critics, he said information obtained with harsh treatment may be unreliable and adopting abusive practices could lead to captured U.S. troops being subjected to the same.

Even if there were circumstances where such treatment is necessary to prevent an imminent attacks, Clinton said: "You don't make laws based on that. You don't sit there and say in general torture's fine if you're a terrorist suspect. For one thing, we know we have erred in who was a real suspect."
Amen to that.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Diebold: Making It Easy To Steal Your Vote Since 2002

Ok, ok. Republicans. Maybe you didn't steal the election in 2004. Maybe there isn't some huge conspiracy, desite Diebold's CEO saying he'd make sure Bush won. But can't you admit that... well.. the fact that a hotel minibar key can open up a voting machine is a bit disturbing?

[brought to my attention by clicked]

PS. Clicked's roundup on the whole Ann Althouse's ridiculous "women shouldn't have boobs" argument is great.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Stop F@#king With Nature! Part III

"Our preliminary results strongly suggest that by manipulating these chemicals... one could disrupt the cooperative behavior... and, in essence, trigger civil unrest within these huge colonies."

Scientists Spark Civil War In California

Previous stories of people screwing around with animals, here.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Post-

Downtown

Woke up a little before 9 am. Suitemate said a plane hit the Twin Towers. Turned on the TV. Mom called. Told me not to use this as an excuse not to go to class.

Just after nine AM. Me and my roommates see the second plane hit on tv. Mom calls back.

Don't go to class, she says.

We get dressed, go outside. The towers are smoking. Everyone on the street is staring the same direction. After a few minutes, we go into a deli, get some breakfast.

Go back into the dorm, watch the towers collapse on tv. Roommate's friend visiting from California discovers he won't be flying home for a while. We go back outside. Nothing but smoke. Everyone staring.

Around 10, the first people arrive, walking up from downtown. All covered in gray ash. Some staring straight ahead, some staring at the ground, none staring back. Everyone staring at them. A man in a suit, holding a briefcase, trying to get through on his cell phone-- his sweat making streaks in his ash covered skin. A woman collapses to her knees, a man, a stranger, rushes over and puts his arms around her.

An ambulance rushes past, coming from downtown, throwing off grey dust. People stand on the corner and applaud it. Then they look at each other awkwardly. The air smells like a blacksmith shop.

We go back inside, sit in front of the TV for hours, watching the coverage. Where the hell is the President? Giuliani says everything will be ok. Somehow, I feel a bit better. We drape an American flag bag over the side of our balcony. Finally, I go with my suitemate to the duane reade to buy some supplies for the rescue effort. The shelves are almost empty.

We walk past the barricades at 14th street, showing our NYU student IDs to the police officers. I've never heard the city so silent before. No alarms, no horns. Just people staring in silence at the thick smoke shrouding downtown.

They're having a vigil in Washington Square Park. People are holding candles. Me and my roommates decide not to go. Instead we drink a few beers and stare at the tv. My eyes hurt. It's late. I answer some IMs and return a few phone calls from people wondering if I'm alright.

A thin film of gray dust covers everything on our balcony. I try to wipe it away, but it sticks. I realize I'm breathing in remains.

I'm fine, I say. I learn my high school friend lost his sister.

I get a weird call on my cell phone which sounds like people screaming. It sounds like things collapsing. I wonder if it's someone's sick idea of a joke or if its just that the phones are somehow screwed up.

And I go to bed that night hoping it was all just a nightmare. That the next day I'll turn on my TV and there won't be any mention of anything.

But the next day it's all still there. And it still is.


[What if?]
[And what if?]

[and what if?]
[or what if?]
[and what if?]

PLUS:
9/11 From Space
"Tears don't flow the same in space."

and

Maybe it's just me, but perhaps this is not the best way to commemorate 9/11

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