Tonight's ABC Nightline Banned on 8 Sinclair TV Stations
Ted Koppel spoke this morning with departing National Public Radio host Bob Edwards, regarding critics' allegations that tonight's controversial edition of ABC Nightline - consist of a reading of more than 700 names as photographs and captions with the ages and hometowns of the dead appear on the screen - is a politically motivated anti-war ratings stunt.
That's all fine and well, if you're into "strong, fizzy taste and...confident, mature and uniquely masculine attitude" that "separate[s] the men from the boys." I'll refrain from the gratuitous "with a crowbar" reference; then again, maybe I won't.
However, the "manly food product" that's got women up in arms is the British Nestlé™ Yorkie® bar, unashamedly labeled with a slashthrough-red-circle-with-a-female-symbol and the caption "It's Not For Girls!™". Is this how far we've come? Chocolate for Men?
Women and men even eat chocolate differently in the world of advertising - men snap off chunks on the side of their mouth and chew and swallow purposefully, and of course, they scowl as they're doing it. Women suck and nibble slowly, eyes closed, perhaps raising a well-manicured fingertip to the corner of their mouth to daintily catch a few stray crumbles - think Cadbury's Flake for the classic freudian way to eat chocolate.
Personally, I'm not the least but offended by the campaign...it seemed good for a chuckle. I bought a couple of the imported bars at the World Market in Evanston, IL before seeing "Kill Bill, Vol. 2," and shared them with both my better half and a male friend. Happily, I can say none of us suffered any ill effects from consuming the Yorkie™ bars, although I must admit they're a tad too sweet for my taste. I'm just not certain why some men would need to..ahem...prop up their manliness with a big hunk of chocolate - or a sugary soda. Certainly, most men wouldn't be caught dead eating something like a Pria™ Bar in public - but why not man-market a big chewy stick of beef jerky, or something?
Piano Man Billy Joel crashes his car for the third time in two years, this time into the side of a Bayville, NY [Long Island] home. Witness Thomas Phillips, Jr.: "He [Joel] said, 'I can't believe I got in another accident.' He was just going out to get a pizza."
What's the matter with the car I'm driving?
"Can't you tell that it's out of style?"
Should I get a set of while wall tires?
"Are you gonna cruise the miracle mile?
Nowadays you can't be too sentimental
Your best bet's a true baby blue Continental."
Hot funk, cool punk, even if it's old junk
It's still rock and roll to me.
In some brands, the rolls are 60 or 70% air. All that air uses extra space and fuel during handling. But embossing doesn't make the actual paper soft - in fact, it can make it scratchier. Hence Marvin's [the manufacturer] position: he's in business to sell toilet paper, not air. He refuses to emboss, and so his rolls are rock-hard. It's a tough sell these days - when young people are used to squeezing the Charmin. But the paper works well, and it's honest. For ShitBegone Value, that seems to make sense.
Inspired by those classic children's toy pianos from the 1960's, here's something for those "quiet moments" at the computer: the Sexual Organ, brought to you by Trojan Condoms™ UK! Yes, a virtual organ-grinder (ha, ha, ha) - it's a little psychedelic audio-visual Flash™ animation, not an actual object.
Just select one of four musical backing tracks (choose "Lurrrve," "Bodice Ripper," "Groooovy," or "Twisted"), then plink away at the virtual keyboard for a variety of sexy (?) sounds ranging from female (and male) grunts and moans, to Barry White's 'oh baby's. Yes, even the black keys work. Crank it up for your cubiclemates!
Here's a classic case of "syntax means everything": the headline of this CNN.com article, "Dog Found Six Days After Avalanche Kills Owner," might lead one to believe it's the ultimate example of biting the hand that feeds you. However, the content of the piece reveals otherwise - the owner was killed by the avalanche, not by the dog.
This is a tricky one. If you re-word the sentence to read "Dog Found Six Days After Owner Was Killed by Avalanche," we still don't know whether the dog was found dead six days after the owner, if the owner was found dead, or both are dead. I suppose the least ambiguous, least-passive form of this sentence would be "Avalanche Kills Owner, Dog Found Six Days Later."
Then again, I don't write for CNN, and I suppose taking the time for perfect syntax on a found-dog story doesn't take precedence over tasks such as covering the 9/11 hearings or the war in Iraq. The cynical part of me just thinks CNN was being deliberately ambiguous, to get readers to click through in hopes of reading a grisly ungrateful-dog-kills-owner story: "you should have left me in that damned avalanche, wretched human!"
In light of the upcoming 18th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster on April 16th, I'm preparing a little retrospective of the event as well as my "nuclear days" experiences back in the mid-1980's. You can read the preview on farkleberries original flavor™!
If the Internet has provided us anything (that is, beyond universal access to porn and painfully uninspired fanfic sites), it has been the opportunity to indulge our morbid curiosity. Consult the Impact Calculator and see what you have to look forward to in the event of a cataclysmic asteroid collision.
Could we have an asteroid collision that wasn't cataclysmic?
Or from the rear; depending on where you stand. Things are finally settling back to normal after a week of Chicago jury duty, which is a pretty disruptive experience. It's like getting an unexpected vacation, except you get to spend days at the lovely South Side Graybar Hotel.
Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but considering the fact that the moment you enter the court building you're searched, metal-detectored and locked in a tiny unventilated room with 13 other people under armed guard makes it feel a bit like you're in jail. The prison-issue food doesn't help matters any, but at least you get to wear your own clothes, and the parking is free.
The first day's menu: sitting in said locked room for four hours, then overcooked chicken with baked beans, soupy frozen vegetables and sliced bread for lunch, served in a foam plastic tray with plastic utensils. Drinks? Cola or diet cola. More sitting in locked unventilated room for hours with 13 people who have eaten baked beans. These people are sadists.
Second day's menu: the same chicken + the soupy frozen vegetables - baked beans + a can of pineapple + a can of mushrooms = "sweet and sour chicken" on a foam tray with plastic utensils. You get the idea. That food alone is enough to make one a law abiding citizen. At least the deputies were friendly, considering they're armed to the teeth with pistols, stun guns, mace, kubotans and handcuffs, lest we try to escape the confines of the jury room and run to freedom at Popeye's Chicken, outside the building on California and 26th.
"14 people?" you ask, "aren't there usually 12?" But of course; however, two of the 14 are alternates, and they won't know it until the very end of the trial, when they get sent to a separate room and don't get to put their 2 cents in during deliberations. Three guesses who ended up being one of the alternates.
I do still feel kinda gypped.
All this, plus a lesson in civics, a snappy red sticker to wear at all times in the court building (so people know to NOT TALK TO US!) and a lovely, frameable certificate, too! Such a deal!
With apologies to Steve Earle's "Christmas in Washington," we sadly announce that the noble Fartman of Minor Nether Proportions has been kicked off the air from six Clear Channel radio stations, because the FCC's fines against his show for violating their "indecent language" statutes are proving too costly:
"It is pretty shocking that governmental interference into our rights and free speech takes place in the U.S.," [Howard] Stern said. "It's hard to reconcile this with the 'land of the free' and the 'home of the brave.'"
CEO John Hughes justified Clear Channel's purging of the Stern show from 6 stations,
"The Congress and the FCC are even beginning to look at revoking station licenses. That's a risk we're just not willing to take," he said in a written statement. [from CNN]
Truly a sad moment for Americans, whether you like Stern's show or not. This makes me glad I'm a card-carrying member of the ACLU...literally, I have an ACLU membership card. It's like a St. Christopher medal for us liberals.
Speaking of the ALCU, this story is just too delicious for words: Rush Limbaugh seeks aid of the ACLU to keep his medical records sealed, as the Florida ACLU files an amicus brief wth the Fourth District Court of Appeal,
... ACLU argued that law enforcement officers violated state law by using the more intrusive search warrant process to seize Limbaugh' medical records, rather than by obtaining a subpoena through the proper procedures outlined in Florida Statute §395.3025. The statute requires law enforcement officers to notify the person whose medical records they seek to obtain and to grant that person a hearing to object before the records are seized. [from the ACLU News]
Sometimes, you just never know when you'll have to turn to the enemy for aid. ;)
Yours truly is currently away from the blogosphere while serving on a criminal jury trial - which is quite the interesting experience, considering the jurisdiction in which I'm serving handles 2.5 million cases a year (yes, you read correctly: 2.5 million cases). However, by law, I can't discuss any of it with you until it's all over. So, talk to y'all soon.
In this case, a burnt offering may have truly been a blessing:
Hanoi, Vietnam (AP) - More than a thousand people -- many from hundreds of miles distant -- have journeyed to burn incense near the whale carcass discovered on the beach Friday, said a police officer in the Thanh Phu District of Ben Tre province. Many villagers, especially fishermen, worship the giant mammals and believe a dead whale washing ashore is a sign of good fishing to come.
The 82-foot whale has started to decompose, but it could take weeks to decay completely, said the officer, who identified himself only as Minh. The villagers plan to use the bones to build a temple to honor the whale, he said. A smaller whale washed ashore last month in the same area, about 100 miles southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, and the villagers have since built a shrine for it, Minh said.
On World66 you can generate a map of the world, the US, Europe or Canada that shows the areas you've visited in red (via Ignorance is Bliss). Here's where I've been (not including Canada, Mexico & Europe). BTW, I flew to Florida, and I couldn't justify including the states I flew over as 'visited'. The rest were seen on driving trips.
In today's news, Natalie Young, an openly gay 15 year-old received a $30,000 settlement from New York City after she was sent home for the day from her middle-school class for wearing a T-shirt with the caption "Barbie is a Lesbian." Young stated in a press interview that the settlement should make life easier on other openly gay schoolchildren: "I think they should feel more comfortable about who they are."
But will this settlement help? Now, in my book, $30,000 dollars is a lot of compensation for being sent home from school for wearing a T-shirt with a controversial message. I strongly believe that gay and lesbian teens should have full protection against discrimination, taunting or bullying in schools - but despite the fact that her school did not in fact have a dress code in place at the time she was suspended, I think this settlement may be sending an unclear and potentially divisive message.
You've got to hand it to some of these the scammers on creativity. We receive these "Nigerian Scam" letters at least once a week (because of course, all people working at one of the nation's top Economics departments are suckers for financial scams), but this one is a little different. Let's call it the "Muslim-converts-to-Christianity" Scam:
Subject: GODS' WORK.
Dear Beloved in Christ,
It is a priviledge to hear from God and it gives me joy to relate my testimony to you haven recieved instruction from God through divine revelation.
I was a Moslem and a retired military top officer in Nigerian Army that served under the past military regime. I was the financial secretary to the Armed Force Ruling Council (AFRC). With my position as a financial secretary, I was able to divert up to $10,000,000.00 (Ten million U.S Dollars, into my personal Bank Account, hoping to invest the money when I'm retired.
Immediately I got retired, I was converted from Moslem to Christian when I was preached the words of God through my cousin Pastor Paul Osakwe. I then gave my life to Christ and became a born again Christain.
Since I gave my life to Christ, I had no rest of mind. Some times I think of the souls I killed when I was a soldier and the dubious ways I diverted my country's money into my Personal Bank Account. I then decided to seek the face of God for forgiveness and after fasting and prayer through Divine Revelation, the Almighty God revealed to me that the only way I could have rest of mind is when I used all my money to do the work of God. I immediately disclosed my revelation to my Pastor and he was happy with me.
I have been thinking of the particular thing to do for my God before this present civilian president of my country set up a panel (Honourable Oputa Panel) to probe the Bank Account of the past Military officers like me. Instead of loosing this money to my government, I quickly withdrew my money out of my Account and deposited the money in a finance and security company for safety.
My Pastor has adviced me to sneak out of the country with the money to sow it into a ministries abroad. I have decided to sow this money into your ministry. I am making arrangement to come over to your country but you need to receive this in cash before I come over.
The cash has been packaged by the security company in consignments and ready for shipment but the security company requires the address of the money from the finance and security company receiver. Please send tome your names, address and your tele and fax number where I can fax the
Airway Bill to enable you claim the consignment.
I will be coming over to your ministry with my family for Thanksgiving as soon as I sent out this money to you. I look forward to your response through my [email] account: zik_don@[addressdeleted]
God bless you.
Deacon zik don
Lovely. "Some times I think of the souls I killed when I was a soldier and the dubious ways I diverted my country's money into my Personal Bank Account." And - he's coming to your house for Thanksgiving!!
Ever think people are crazy for living where they live, and putting up with the dangerous or uncomfortable, unpleasant situations they keep finding themselves in? (i.e., "Why don't they just move? Who in their right mind would want to live like that?").
We just had a sizeable dust-storm blow through the area yesterday. Yes, dust. A gritty, grind your teeth, dont-leave-the-car-window-open-or-your-face-will-get-sandblasted-hey-I-can't-see-the-horizon-anymore dust storm. And it made me stop and think for a moment about the conditions we encounter, tolerate, and eventually shrug off without another thought.
Another example from the sunny Southwest: My wife and I were at Home Depot, checking out the shrubs & perrenials in the garden department when we saw it. The spider. With the telltale red hourglass on her abdomen. A black widow. (Just as a sidebar: that hourglass, when the light hits it just right, is almost phosphorescent. I mean, it shines. If my life were a Warner Brothers cartoon, her belly would light up and flash the words "Eat at Joes".) Anyways, I thought it was my civic duty to inform one of the service drones in the orange smocks. I mean, God forbid someone should reach into those plants, get bitten, and die. And so, I flag one of the 'associates' down and tell them about my discovery. His response was almost impercievable; with a shrug, he keeps walking and without losing his pace says "Yeah, well, we keep spraying . . ."
But, is it all just a trade-off? Tornados, mudslides, africanized bees, muggings, floods, and, . . .
what was that thing I used to deal with back east? It was invisible, and you encountered it almost always without warning, and it would leave you spinning, disoriented and at serious risk for personal injury. Oh yeah . . . black ice.
But that was normal. I mean, the stuff people put up with living in other parts of the world . . . they're just crazy.
18 Smokin' Inches: sometimes a cigar is...just a cigar. But oh, what a stogie it is: "If you don't know how big that is, let's just say that men dream of it, and women would run in fear..." (via "Sugar, Mr. Poon?")