Monday, October 31, 2005

Scarlito's way

Here's what I don't get...conservatives supposedly want LESS government and LESS government intrusion into our lives and yet, when it comes to sex and abortion, many conservatives want to create rules about what a wife has to tell her husband and what consenting adults can do in the privacy of their homes.

Bush's latest appointee came to the legal conclusion that spousal notification is not an onerous burden on the wife if she chooses to have an abortion. Don't forget that abortion is still legal here!

I firmly believe that a decision to abort a child should be discussed by both parents. I wish with all my heart that the parents would change their mind and NOT choose abortion. But, as long as abortion is legal, is it really government's business to intrude into that discussion and decision?

I understand that the underpinning for Alito's decision may have been his desire to not intrude on the will of the legislature that chose to require spousal notification, but to me, this line of thinking on this issue portends the non-belief in the right to privacy as established in Griswald v. Connecticut.

On the other hand, Alito (in Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center for Women v. Knoll (61 F.3d 170)) cast the tie-breaking vote, when the 3rd Circuit panel enjoined (forbid) the enforcement of a provision in Pa’s Abortion Control Act that had required victims of rape and incest to report the crime to appropriate authorities as a precondition for obtaining an abortion at taxpayer expense under Medicaid.

Although the latter ruling is somewhat encouraging (if commonsensical), I'm thinking that if you firmly believe in the constitutional right to privacy, Alito may not be your man.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Beaman Park Squirrel-Eating Monster

It may not be as scary as the Bell Witch, the Antioch Deathkiller or the Tennessee Titans (lack of) defense, but there must be a squirrel eating monster residing in the dales or hollows of the newest Nashville Park.

Today was the perfect day for a walk in the park..after eating splendid bagel sandwiches at Bongo Java East we sauntered (can you saunter in a car?) north-westward to Beaman Park. There are two official trails in the park (an experience park-goer told us that there were many more unofficial trails)-The Hollow trail and the Ridgetop trail. Consdering that the Ridgetop trail is 4.4 miles round trip and the Hollow trail was a 2.1 mile loop that didn't require backtracking, it was an easy choice for us.

I highly recommend taking the trek out to Beaman Park. It's out of the way but that is one of the park's many virtues. When I was in high school one of our favorite pranks was to drive up to someone walking or standing on the side of the road and and then ask them if they knew the way to some obscure road (our favorite was North Berry Chapel Road). When they said that they didn't know the way we proceeded to tell them. Always good for seriously confused looks and deranged laughter from those of us in the car...anyway..Do you know how to get to Beaman Park???

Go out Ashland City Highway from Bordeaux until you get to Eatons Creek Road - turn right (right is the only way you can turn) and stay on Eaton's Creek for about 50 miles (actually it's probably 5 or 6). After you cross Old Hickory Blvd. you wll see signs for the park. Turn left on Marrowbone road (it's marked with a park sign and you will see the entrance to the park on your left in about 1/2 mile). Well worth the trip.

After hiking for about 1/2 mile we realized something was missing. This is a truly isolated quiet forested area with thousands of trees. No squrrels. Absolutely postively Considering that the minute we put out any bird feed in our near-downtown urban area house we see greedy-bird-food-eating squirrels coming out of the, well, trees. How can we have squirrels here in Salemtown and there are NONE in Beaman Park?

My theory (it's mine and i'm sticking to it) is that a giant squirrel eating monster resides in a cave by the stream that runs through the park. I thought I heard the creature and attempted to take a picture but I must have just missed it.

Maybe someone far smarter than me has a better explaination. But like other bloggers wanting to believe in Loch Ness i've gotta believe that intelligient design provides for squirrel eating monsters. Our visting birds would sure be happy if that were the case...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Today's Personal Responsibility Award, or 'But, Trent, you're gonna miss Aunt B!"

“Bloggers claim I was their first pelt, and I believe that. I’ll never read a blog.” – Sen. Trent Lott, quoted in the Christian Science Monitor in their 10/27/05 edition.

I guess that Trent really would feel more comfortable in the Strom Thurmond heyday.

See you in the funny papers?

Today's words to live by come from the comic strip 'Get Fuzzy'.

"My strength is that I can laugh at myself, Bucky"
"Your weakness is that you don't have a choice!"

Would that I had a choice...

But, what I want to know is this: Does anybody under the age of 30 read the funny papers/comics? I don't mean comic books, but the comic strips found in the pages of your daily paper.

I've read the funnies since I was six years old. I grew up with the Nashville Banner and migrated to the Tennessean when I was in college. I've read either the Banner's funnies or the Tennessean's funnies pretty much every day to this day (when I've been in town).

My kids barely read the paper, much less the funnies. I don't think their friends read the funnies. When I go to Bongo Java/Portland Brew/Kijijis/Starbucks I don't notice any of my fellow loiterers reading the funnies (not that I sneak around furtively looking over their shoulders).

Other than Cal Thomas on the Op-Ed page who makes me laugh unintentionally, and the occasional sports piece claiming that THIS is the year that Vandy football is going to a bowl, I can't think of anything in the paper funnier or more pleasurable than 'Get Fuzzy', 'Zits', 'Doonesbury', 'Curtis', 'Red & Rover' and the venerable chestnut 'Blondie'.

Are the funny papers the newspaper equivalent of Matlock? Should they be sponsored by Depends?

Friday, October 28, 2005

If Fox News had been around throughout history...

HT: Kimble Forrister - Alabama Arise

It only hurts when I pump...Thanks Exxon..thanks 10Billion Times

Big oil must LOVE the hurricane season...

Third Quarter EARNINGS
Exxon/Mobile $10,000,000,000 (up 75% from 2004 3rd quarter)
BP $6,430,000,000 (up from $4,870,000,000)
Chevron $3,590,000,000 (up from $3,200,000,000)

Republican reaction - Let's give em' some MORE money! SEE BELOW

Outside of Kinky Friedman...

Sarah Silverman is probably the funniest and absolutely the most politically incorrect human alive. Check out THIS trailer for her upcoming movie.

WARNING: Not really work/family/prettymuchanysetting friendly..careful with the volume on the speakers!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Why don't we just give them Texas - $10,000,000,000 isn't enough??

In a stunning example of corporate welfare in a time when congress is supposedly scouring the budget for things to cut, House Republicans recently ramrodded an energy bill through Congress that would give financial incentives to energy companies to encourage them to build new refineries. Considering that EXXON made TEN BILLION dollars in profits this past quarter ($110,000,000 PER DAY) I'm thinking that they oughta build their own damn refineries on their own dime. Do any of the House Republicans that voted for this have any shame? These profits were made largely on the back of the hurricane tragedy. I understand that US refinery capacity is not high enough but the capacity was exactly the same when gas was $2.10 a gallon. Price spikes were understandable but price gouging should be condemned. Ironically the bill encouraging new refineries contains language against price gouging...fines up to $11,000 per infraction...whooooooooooo scary!

When Bush was running for President he chastized Clinton for not using his power to 'jawbone' OPEC about the high price of oil: "What I think the president ought to do [when gas prices spike] is he ought to get on the phone with the OPEC cartel and say we expect you to open your spigots...And the president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price."

I'm wondering when the jawboning is going to begin? 'm waiting with bated breath for that phone call from Bush to EXXON...

Today's theme song comes Richard and Linda Thompson..

Their incredible album (CD for all you youts) 'Shoot out the Lights' contains the prescient tune 'Did she jump or was she pushed?'

Harriet, we hardly knew ya...but we knew enough...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

If only Bush had listened to himself....

In 2000, Bush clearly stated his beliefs as to when US military force should be used.

Of course, 9/11 happened and we heard how that changed everything..but let's not forget: nearly all the 9/11 terrorists were Saudi nationals. The Taliban and their largely Saudi funding co-opted Afghanistan and we, quite rightly, took them on and at least temporarily took them out.

Syria is obviously a state that supports terror, while Iraq didn't even have a single plane that could reach the United States. Not that anybody seriously thinks/thought that Saddam is a jolly good fellow, but according to the original Bush policy, we wouldn't have attacked Saddam.

The following is from one of the debates between Bush and Gore...

New question. How would you go about as president deciding when it was in the national interest to use U.S. force, generally?

BUSH: Well, if it's in our vital national interest, and that means whether our territory is threatened or people could be harmed, whether or not the alliances are -- our defense alliances are threatened, whether or not our friends in the Middle East are threatened. That would be a time to seriously consider the use of force. Secondly, whether or not the mission was clear. Whether or not it was a clear understanding as to what the mission would be. Thirdly, whether or not we were prepared and trained to win. Whether or not our forces were of high morale and high standing and well-equipped. And finally, whether or not there was an exit strategy. I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and therefore prevent war from happening in the first place. So I would take my responsibility seriously. we have one of the largest nation-building endeavors in American history and no end in sight regarding American involvement..AND the new constitution ensures
that Islam will be the law of the land.

Year 2000 George doesn't sound so bad...

double latte for the devil..let me please introduce myself..i'm a barista with wealth and taste

First Dylan, now the STONES.

The idols of my youth are peddling coffee...sigh.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

British Film-zine lists Top 100 Films - Vertigo is '2'???

The English film magazine 'Total Film' is publishing a book listing the top 100 films of all times. My question - Is marijuana legal in England now? I haven't seen 'Tokyo Story' so I can't comment on that choice but geeze louize, Hitchcock made a dozen films better than Vertigo...and, FIGHT CLUB puhleeeze. I'm a huge Goodfellas fan but Godfathers I and II are both better. The rest of the list is here.

Total Film Top 10
1 GoodFellas
2 Vertigo
3 Jaws
4 Fight Club
5 The Godfather Part II
6 Citizen Kane
7 Tokyo Story
8 The Empire Strikes Back
9 The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy
10 His Girl Friday

You can ride up front on the bus, but it's better to be white when you drive your car..

Flashback to separate water fountains and 'colored' bathroom entrances, and klan marches. White flight from neighborhoods close to where I grew up and everyone treating the first black kid at Lipscomb High like he was some kind of science experiment..When I heard that Rosa Parks died, I thought about courage and prejudice and yeah, we've come a long way from that bus ride, but let's not overtax ourselves backpatting.

I always find it amusing when white people proclaim that racism is pretty much a thing of the past or that we need to move on. If you have any black acquaintances have a little chat wth them about shopping in department stores or driving through predominently white neighborhoods.

Check out the study from the Department of Justice Statistics Division on racial profiling and what happens after people of color are pulled over...oh crap you can't check out the parts concerning race because the Bush folks removed them from the report. In fact when the Director protested the exorcism he was let go...

From the NY Times on August 26...
The White House is replacing the official, Lawrence A. Greenfeld, who is director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics, months after he complained that senior political officials at the department were seeking to distort publicly the findings of the statistical report by his agency.

The report found that while drivers from different racial or ethnic groups were stopped by the police at essentially the same rate, blacks and Hispanics were much more likely to have their vehicles searched or be subjected to the use of force once they were stopped.

If you wanna honor Rosa ask the Bush folks to release the unexpurgated report and maybe to quit shooting the messengers.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Just another fraternity prank - 21 detainees killed

This story from USA Today (also caught by Brittney here) uncovers the fact that 21 American-held detainees in Iraq and Afganistan have died while in custody. Perhaps these deaths will spur the House to pass the 'anti-torture' Defense funding bill rider overwhelmingly passed by the Senate.

The only bills that Bush has threatened to veto are the defense appropriation bill mentioned above and the bill which would allow the federal government to fund the harvesting of stem cells from fertility clinic embryos that would otherwise be thrown away.

Is this really the legacy that Bush wants to leave? Pro-torture and anti-science? Creating embryos solely for the purpose of cloning or stem cell harvest should be forbidden, but reaping stem cells instead of tossing them seems the only sane thing to do.

Can the Bush gang get ANYTHING RIGHT?

My inner sheep - mmmmmmmmmm cheesecaKe

The other night, my wife and I went to see 'Everything is Illuminated' (well worth seeing) over in my old neighborhood - Green Hills. We got over there early enough to grab some grub before the flick. Apparently my Inner sheep felt compelled to walk in the rain along with about 143,000 people to Green Hills newest trendoid - The Cheesecake Factory. We noticed a wee bit of a line. We saw the pictures...mmmm.

Primal Pavlovian response..hundreds of us baaaaing in line..and then we were told..We were told that there would be a freaking THREE and 1/2 HOUR WAIT!!!

Needless to say, we curbed Pavlov and the inner sheep and hied it on over to Cheeseburger Charlies to at least get a modicum of cheese.

Three and a half HOURS...what would I wait three and 1/2 hours for????

1) Jesus
2) Beatles reunion (all freaking four of em')
3) My wife (she occasionally reads my blog) - in all fairness, she is pokey but has never kept me waiting all that long
4) A private meeting with keira knightley
5) Cheesecake at the mecca of Cheesecake - Junior's in Brooklyn

Sunday, October 23, 2005

blogspamalot - who's writing this stuff??

Our kids are all in their twenties now, but when they were in their teens we had more than a few anxious moments and a few of those horrible late night phone calls that never bode well. My sons never called at 2:00 AM to discuss the Yankees.

I'm sure that if we had known the deep secrets of their hearts we might have been able to anticipate some of the problems. But, what I didn't know (and now know thanks to blog spam) is that instant road repair may have been the bond that would have held the family together AND possibly reduced the amount of car insurance that we've paid over the years. If ONLY the following message had come to my attention when my kids were teens.

I pass it along now hoping that if you have kids you will pay attention and heed the call. If only ONE child can be absorbed into the world of instant road repair, I've done my job.

The following 'spam' is printed as I found it in all its glorious and mystifying power:

Many teens hide deepest secrets in plain sight. Blame it on bawdy talks shows and reality television. Today's teens are telling tales of ... It's the "Jerry Springer syndrome," said Patrick O'Malley, a marriage and family therapist in Fort Worth.

Find out how to buy and sell anything, like things related to instant road repair on interest free credit and pay back whenever you want! Exchange FREE ads on any topic, like instant road repair!

I'm fighting back the tears..God BLESS Instant Road Repair!

BuSH Team bingo

If you work in any kind of corporate or bureaucratic environment, you've probably heard of, or play the 'Bullshit Bingo' Game. There are several versions, but all incorporate buzzwords likely to come up in a meeting.

My particular 'favorite' buzzword is paradigm, particularly when coupled with the word 'shift'. 'Thinking outside the box' should probably boxed away along with 'let's take this offline', 'bottom line', 'pro-active' and 'touch base'.

After watching the Republican News Channel a bit this past week, I'm seeing the 'buzz-spin' taking form, with the phrase 'the criminalization of politics' appearing with amazing frequency from the lips of the apologists. This defense of the outing of Valerie Plame and the anticipated indictments of Rove and Libby strikes me as particularly funny when considering that many/most of these same pundits were solemnly asserting that the 'rule of law' is paramount when considering the foibles of Clinton and his prevarications about White House blow jobs.

Listen carefully over the next few days and see how many times you hear 'Criminalization of Politics' in reference to Plame-Gate. Today on Meet the Press, Senator Hutchison (R-Texas) began a new strain of the spin disease when she opined that one can hope that Prosecutor Fitzgerald's indictments are not based on trivialities like perjury or somesuch. Hutchison wasn't so pithy as to summarize her thoughts into a clever quip like 'criminalization of politics', but her pre-emptive defense of Libby's legal woes is high comedy for those who remember the Republic spin-team's Starr-Chamber attacks on Clinton's false witness. Her 'defense' of perjury would defy credulity if one lived in a vacumn, but just watching the Bush byters over the past few weeks, chiefly Press Secretary McLelland, makes me wonder if the word SPIN should be replaced by Hurricane.

Spin all you like but the simple fact is that Wilson's wife was outed for vengence. The spinners are all screaming that Wilson is a liar, but HE told the truth about uranium and 'yellow-cakes'. For reasons yet to be uncovered, the Bush gang wanted and planned this war from the onset of the administration. '9/11' was a great cover despite the fact that nearly every one of the 9/11 murderers came from Saudia Arabia and not Iraq.

So, to the list of BS bingo words, let's add 'criminalization of politics' and 'trivial indictments' to the list already highlighted by '9/11' and 'war on terror'.

I'm listing below my favorite words used in the business version of BS Bingo.

# Synergy
# Strategic fit
# Core competencies
# Turbulent environment
# Out of the box
# Pushback
# Bottom line
# Revisit
# Take that off-line
# 24/7
# Out of the loop
# Benchmark
# Value-added
# Proactive
# Bandwidth
# Win-win
# Think outside the box
# Fast track
# Results-driven
# Paradigm
# Empower (or empowerment)
# Knowledge base
# At the end of the day
# Touch base
# Mindset
# Client focus(ed) or Customer focus(ed)
# Ballpark
# Game plan
# Scenario
# Leverage
# Cascade
# Sequential or sequentially

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Conference on Neighborhoods - Kudos to S-TownMike

I attended the Mayor's Conference on Neighborhoods today and I heard a great speech by the Mayor and an interesting speech by Police Chief Serpas, but most importantly I saw my neighbor, super blogger and friend, S-TownMike win one of six Neighbor of the Year awards given by the Mayor's Office. Considering that there are now 650 neighborhood associations here in Nashville, winning a neighborhood leadership award is quite the honor. S-TownMike is pictured above, as you might have surmised, holding his award. I got to hold the award and I can tell you that it is NOT plastic. Kudos to S-TownMike!

The Mayor (Bill Purcell) made a little news when he practically said that he would not be running for a third term. There has been controversy and apparent contradiction between the term limits law and the Metro Charter regarding whether a Nashville Mayor is subject to term limits. The Mayor stated that he was going to propose an amendment to the Metro Charter that would impose a two-term limit on the Mayoral office.

Purcell also said that he will propose a revision to the charter that would decrease the size of the Metro Council. I have in mind one or two candidates for elimination if the proposal were to be enacted.

Chief Serpas gave a statistically laden speech which did not sugar coat the increase in homicides in Nashville this calendar year. He clearly is not happy with the homicide stats, an emotion I am sure is shared by the families of the 80+ folks murdered thusfar this year.

Serpas defended his emphasis on enforcing traffic laws with statistics that sold me - I didn't write down the specific numbers, but a LARGE percentage of people pulled over were subsequently arrested for a more serious offense.

Purcell is a great speaker...Serpas is more workmanlike. A critical note re the Serpas speech - The Powerpoint slideshow accompanying the speech was unreadable and incredibly CLUTTERED. Serpas is a stats man, but sweet fancy MOsEs, he managed to insert practically every stat relating to crime into his slide show along with a few nearly incomprehensible graphs. Even HE couldn't even read HIS own slides.

A final note: The luncheon was opened with a prayer. I have no problem with that, in general, but during a government sponsored event, praying 'in Jesus name' should be avoided. Presumably there are Jewish, Hindi, Kurdish and other non-Christian neighborhoods who don't pray in the name of Jesus. I would be similiarly offended if a non-Christian prayed to the Buddha or Shiva of his/her choice.

It's not that we have the right not to be offended, it's that governmental functions should avoid the sponsorship or endorsement of a particular religion.

To further compound the offense to our Jewish neighbors, the luncheon meat was pork....

Friday, October 21, 2005


The folks at do a really good job in counteracting all those cheesy screensaver/wallpaper/coffee mugs/posters that are passed around the workplace intending to make our day better or inspire us to loftier aspirations. Personally, I find cute pictures of cats almost as inspiring as watching the Metro Council debate ethics. I'm not going to forward the email with the damn cat pictures to my friends because I like my friends.

Demotivation usually fits my mood more than inspiration...color me jaded.

What's in your freezer?

According to a story teased on the front page of USA Today, scientists are unthawing the body of an air force pilot who crashed in the Sierra Nevada mountains during WW II.

Unconfirmed reports state that the thawed-out pilot's first words were: "Boy, Ted Williams is REALLY pissed!!"

Between 1 and 150,000,000 - Daily Show on the Avian Flu

If you haven't seen the Daily Show TAKE on the Avian flu threat, you've missed some of the best, and of course funniest, reporting on the subject.

The clip from Bush and the bit from the CDC are worth the download (requires Quicktime).

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Don't try this in Indiana...

In a desperate move to regain some semblance of public notice and a 'Q' rating higher than the parents on 'Laguna Beach', magician David Copperfield claims he will impregnate a woman on stage without touching her.

This raises so many questions that my tired mind can't begin to grasp them all, but i've gotta wonder if he pulls a pregnancy test and a dead rabbit out of a hat in order to prove the lady is preggers...

ACK...ACK acronyms

I work in state government. Some would say that the last statement is oxymoronic, but I take resemblence at's lunchtime now and I'm not working through lunch.

Government is overloaded with acronyms. Just today, I've discussed RFPs, ISPs, ACKs, and MDEs (not meals declined by Ethiopians), with the DAC, HSA, and NGSC.

I've worked with BCF on MDRs and HDCs reporting TSH's.

We have a legacy system here in the Health Department that was created in the early 1990's. We're struggling to get up to year 2000 technology statewide. We have a new group putting together a plan for a replacement system.

I'm thinking that the committee should be called the State Health Information Taskforce, but nobody seems to like my acronyms around here...


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

"a vice that has been designed for us."

In today's Tennessean, the all-too-predictable story about the deferral of the Metro Council's ethics bill was highlighted by a typo in a quote from Councilman Ed Whitmore.

I'm sure he was saying that the bill is a 'VISE', but the quote was printed as '(the bill) a VICE that has been designed for us".

Kinda of a Freudian-projection-typo...with this ethically challenged gang, a meaningful ethics bill probably does appear as a VICE.

While waiting for the other shoe to drop...

It was the night before the indictments and all through the house......

Many of us progresso-anti-Bush types are practically foaming at the mouth in anticipation of Plame-gate indictments landing on 'Scooter', Rove, and dare we dream - CHENEY. Personally, I think we oughta cool the jets. I'm thinking that Cheney is way too smart to engage directly in any indictable activity of this sort. The whole investigation could result in nothing more than a 'no-bill' and here we'd be all dressed to kill and no hanging party to attend.

The liberals were nestled all snug in their beds,While visions of Rove being perp-walked danced in their heads;

Meanwhile, I've been imagining what would have happened if anyone in the Clinton administration would have OUTED a CIA agent...

Limbaugh's head would have exploded by now..
O'Reilly would be spinning so fast, he would end up marrying his loofah...
The Black Caucus could be sponsoring 'lynch a honkie' day and B. Krumm wouldn't even notice..
Klineheider and Blake would be heading to Washington with AKs..
Intelligient design would be nothing more than a phrase in the Plan of Nashville..
Kenneth Starr would have spent $2,000,000,000 on an investigation..
The mind boggles at what blog-land would look like..

And the Clinton folks would have been as wrong as the Bush folks........

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Baby got banjo

Go HERE (it's a download) for a folk-ballad cover of Tone' Loc's classic - Baby Got Back. You ain't heard it til' you heard it with mandolins and banjo..

Oh, the sincerity....

HT:MSNBC Clicked

UPDATE: Thanks to Katherine C. for reminding me that 'Baby Got Back' was by Sir Mix-a-Lot instead of Tone' Loc..A bottle of Funky Cold Medina to KC for the correction.

My street cred is now in the negative numbers.

Ludye-crous - Our ethically challenged Metro Council

The only downside of moving from the Green Hills area to Salemtown was swapping Jim Shulman for Ludye Wallace as our city council representative. Shulman is bright, hard-working and an ethical oasis in a largely arid council desert.

Shulman was one of nine attendees at last weekends Metro Council's meeting on Ethics Task force Recommendation. S-TownMike weighed in on the pathetic attendence HERE.

In today's Tennessean article about the Ethics Bill up for a vote tonight, my new councilman is quoted - "If it took a couple of years to put together, it might take us a couple years. You see how we operate in the city council".

Other members are still carping about the loss of the free meal and the fact that their spouses source of income might have to be disclosed if the ethics bill passes.

If anyone doesn't understand why the spousal income disclosure is a good idea, check into Jimmy Naifeh's wife's occupation.

If the Council doesn't pass the ethics legislation tonight, they are as tone-deaf as Ashlee Simpson at the Orange Bowl. Their theme song should be by the OTHER Ludicris - namely, 'Pimpin' All over the World'.

If you don't read this blog.............

According to Rex the AMSE (American Society of Magazine Editors) gang have selected the top 40 magazine covers of the last 40 years. The Rolling Stone cover with nekkid uncovered John and Yoko in bed took top honors. As much as I admire John and the photographer who snapped the shot (Annie Liebowitz), I have to agree with curmudgeonly-morning-talk-maven Don Imus who proclaimed the National Lampoon cover pictured above as the best cover EVER.

Monday, October 17, 2005

You can (re)Start me up..

My favorite band since I was 12 years old, The Rolling Stones, are touring the states and according to THIS source have defibrillators back stage just in case one (or more) of the aging wonders goes into cardiac arrest.

I'm going to see them in Memphis on December 3rd. I really don't want any ill to befall Mick or Keith or Ronnie or Charley, but whatta encore that would be if they had to bring Mick back to life, just in time to sing 'You Can't Always Get What you Want'....

The MIGHTY Pujols did NOT strike out..

in fact he hit a Ruthian home run in the 9th to pull the Cardinals from behind the Astros and scored the run which eventually won the game.

The team that I predicted would win the World Series (the Cards) was on life support and ready to be 'coded' in the 9th inning of the game tonight. A loss would send the Cards home and guarantee that Busch Stadium would be obliterated without another home Cardinal game (Cards are getting a new stadium next year).

From the time any kid starts throwing a ball up in the air and hitting (or attempts hitting) that ball, he/she is imagining a home run in the 9th inning to win a big game. In my mind, there were always two men on and my team was losing by two runs. I was either Mickey Mantle or Roger Maris and we always pulled it out...Tonight Albert Pujols stepped into the role of the Babe, The Natural, and Mickey and hit one out for the entire Cardinal nation, including several thousand kids who'll be channeling Pujols the next time they throw that ball up in the air and swing into nothing but the infinite possibilities that life has to offer and the eternal bliss of a game-winning 9th inning home run.

Go Cards!

Reasons to keep living....Part 1

Paris Hilton says the show will go on, despite the Fox network cancellation.

I know this may reflect my advancing years, but once you see two spoiled rich girls act stupid and screw up their job(s) once or twice, haven't you pretty much covered the gamut?

I watched this show a few times, I hate to admit, but then I became embarrassed at my own waste of time, and then I got frustrated with yet another example of the tele-whoredom process of pseudo-celebrity. Do people want to be on TV so bad that they hire two cele-idiots to screw up their job and goof around so that everyone gets 23 minutes of tube-time?

Maybe Paris and Nicole can spend some time prepping Harriet Miers for her Senate confirmation hearings...

Hey, hey, you, get off of that schadenfreude cloud..

Today's NY Times Op-Ed Piece by Bob Herbert, HERE (requires registration) hammers a theme that should concern Democrats and those of us that generally lean away from the Republican party: Yeah, the Republican leadership is on a streak of nearly unprecedented target practice on their own feet, but unless Democrats do more than stand on the sidelines and snicker, a great opportunity will be squandered.

I've pounded this drum myself,HERE, but Herbert (who I usually find to be the most predictable aka boring NY Times Op-Ed columnist) says it better and on a slightly more public stage.

"What the Democrats have to do is get off their schadenfreude cloud and start the hard work of crafting a message of hope that they can deliver convincingly to the electorate - not just in the Congressional elections next year, but in local elections all over the country and the presidential election of 2008.

That is not happening at the moment. While Americans are turning increasingly against the war in Iraq, for example, the support for the war among major Democratic leaders seems nearly as staunch and as mindless as among Republicans. On that and other issues, Democrats are still agonizing over whether to say what they truly believe or try to present themselves as a somewhat lighter version of the G.O.P.

I wonder what Harry Truman would think about today's Democratic Party?"

I'm not a big Hillary C fan (I get McGovern flashbacks when I think of her getting the Presidential nomination), but I'm hoping that she and other Democratic leaders can come up with their own Contract for America offering HOPE, rather than the Contract ON America being foisted on us by the current administration.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

It never rains in Southern California and pitchers don't pitch complete games anymore...

Except tonight it WAS raining in So Cal, and the White Sox rode the way-back machine - Four straight complete games by ChiSox starting pitchers on their way to the World Series. Last time the Sox were in the series, Venezuelan Luis Aparicio, Hall of Fame Shortstop, led the go-go Sox against the evil Dodgers (and sadly lost). This year's model is also lead by a Venezuelen (manager Ozzie Guillen) and also has speed but features a bit more pop. Congrats to the South Siders.

Looks like the Astros are gonna win the National League. If someone had said early in the season that the Stros and the Sox were going to face off in the Fall Classic, they would have been met with the same incredulity as someone predicting that Harriet Miers would be nominated to the Supreme Court...

Today's prayer - God give me patience..

and give it to me NOW...

Beautiful morning on the front porch screwing up the Suduko...the bird feeders are drawing a crowd and it is time for me to be still and just watch. This still stuff is not easy for me..lotsa beauty around here if i can just slow down, shut up and pay attention.

Those darn Downing Street Memos & A bonus from Maggie

In yet another Downing Street memo HERE,
George Bush told the Prime Minister two months before the invasion of Iraq that Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea may also be dealt with over weapons of mass destruction, a top secret Downing Street memo shows.

The US President told Tony Blair, in a secret telephone conversation in January 2003 that he "wanted to go beyond Iraq".

He implied that the military action against Saddam Hussein was only a first step in the battle against WMD proliferation in a series of countries.

Mr Bush said he "wanted to go beyond Iraq in dealing with WMD proliferation", says the letter on Downing Street paper, marked secret and personal.

This may come as a BIG surprise to our buds in S. Arabia, but if one is REALLY interested in attacking the 9/11 culprits, one would do well to go after S. Arabia, particularly the Wahabi gang wielding enormous influence there.

And I thought those '4 More Wars' bumper stickers were just so much exaggeration...

In other English news, despite her public support of the war in Iraq, former Prime Minister Thatcher, told her former chairman of the Arts Council, Peter Palumbo (as told to Tina Brown in a recent interview).

"I was a scientist before I was a politician, Peter," she told him carefully. "And as a scientist I know you need facts, evidence and proof -- and then you check, recheck and check again. The fact was that there were no facts, there was no evidence, and there was no proof. As a politician the most serious decision you can take is to commit your armed services to war from which they may not return."

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Rove's Secret Message to Dobson - REVEALED!

I wanna take you Miers...

Poor George, his right flank is revolting and the left is snickering. Two days ago George played the 'religion' card, and then yesterday lapdog McClelland accused the press of overemphasizing the religious angle. Apparently Andrew Card is no Karl Rove when it comes to serving as the brains of the joint.

Yesterday, National Review Online officially opined: "The prudent course is for Miers to withdraw her own nomination in the interests of the president she loyally serves."

From the left, in today's NY Times, Maureen Dowd has a great line.

Laura gave the fidgeting and blinking president support on the "Today" show on Tuesday, telling Matt Lauer that criticism of Ms. Miers might be sexist.

That's silly. The conservatives want a female justice - they just want one who will be reliably certain to influence the court to curb women's rights.

My question: How can a President (and his staff, including Miers) make such a savvy selection, John Roberts, and then absolutely screw the pooch with Harriet 'oh George you're the Greatest' Miers?

Is the reason a variation of the old real estate chestnut? proximity, proximity, proximity?

HT to NRO and Maureen Dowd (I love putting both of those in the same sentence).

Friday, October 14, 2005

Redneck Survival Kit

Mustard - check
Bud Lite - check
Keystone - check
Red Bull - check
Toilet Paper - check
Door to float the beer and the woman - check

What to get your favorite conservative...

I just found the PERFECT gift for Bob Krumm, the Moores, Bill 'I quit but I'm still blogging' Hobbs and the other right-leaning bloggers on your Christmas gift list..HERE

Last line of the linked article is really good...

oh yeah, THAT genocide

Back in the run-up to the war in Iraq and after those darn WMD weren't found, the Bush folks were spinning faster than Barry Goldwater's corpse (if he is keeping up with the hi-jack of 'his' conservatism by the religious right and the neo-cons).

We were warned that our security was in danger and that we risked being 'mushroomed clouded' (that from Condi Rice, no less) if we didn't take care of bizness in Iraq. When those lies didn't quite pan out, our crusade was suddenly about saving the people of Iraq from the heinous Saddam Bathist crowd who, for the love of God, actually gassed the Kurds when they wouldn't roll over for him.

Conveniently forgotten in all this is that Saddam did use gas on the Kurds, but he did it in 1988-89 in the waning days of Reagan and the beginning of the Bush I era. The Republican controlled Senate couldn't manage to pass a freaking resolution against Saddam. Oddly enough, two of the people who lobbied the Senate NOT to resolve against Saddam were Cheney and Rumsfield.

In the first Bush II campaign, he excoriated the Democrats for engaging in nation building and pledged that American troops would not be used for such an endeavor. Given that the current folks in charge can't even get away with faking a teleconference between Bush and a few cherry-picked soldiers, it is no wonder that the horror against nation-building has been conveniently forgotten and replaced with the embrace of nation building in Iraq.

So, if we are in the business of saving people from tyranny, why aren't we 'dealing' with Sudan and the genocide in the Darfar area?

The following quote is from a sermon delivered by a missionary who had just returned from Sudan last year.

As the world’s attention was turned to crises in the Middle East....... a slaughter has raged for 17 months in Sudan. A woman named Issa, whose brother and cousin were gunned down in front of their horrified families, explains why the Janjaweed militia is killing her people, “They say they don’t want to see black skin on this land again.” If humanitarian workers can’t reach the estimated 2 million in desperate need, the death toll could surge to 350,000 by the end of the year.

I believe, however, that the most important thing we can do is to remember these people, to think about these people, to find ourselves connected to these people. In other words, we must NOT FORGET these people – these precious children of God – and move on with our own priorities.

There's been lotsa 'God-talk' from the Bush lately. Odd how God is 'pushing' Iraq and ignoring His children in the Sudan.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bush To Appoint Someone To Be In Charge Of Country

The ever reliable news source, The Onion

""I've been talking to folks from all across this country, from Louisiana to Los Angeles, and people tell me the same thing: This nation needs a strong, compassionate leader," Bush said. "In response to these concerns, I'm making this a top priority. I will name a good, qualified person as soon as possible."

Among the new secretary's duties are preserving, protecting, and defending the Constitution of the United States, commanding the U.S. armed forces, appointing judges and ambassadors, and vetoing congressional legislation. The secretary will also be tasked with overseeing all foreign and domestic affairs, including those relating to the economy, natural disasters, national infrastructure, homeland security, poverty, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The new North Dakota, South Dakota and Arkansas quarters

Exclusive look at these newly minted state quarters:

The world's worst PowerPoint presentation

You know the drill. You've been dreading the employee 'renewal' retreat for as long as you knew there was going to be a retreat. You hope just once that you'll have some fun and learn something, but you know that really all you are going to get is CHEESE.

Here comes the guest speaker now. The lights go down. Another PowerPoint presentation...yawn.

Slide 1: More and more, the intractable problems in our society have one answer: broad-based intolerance of unacceptable conditions and a commitment by many to fix problems."

Slide 2: "We must end collective acceptance of inappropriate conduct and increase education in professionalism."

Slide 3: "When consensus of diverse leadership can be achieved on issues of importance, the greatest impact can be achieved."

Slide 4: "An organization must also implement programs to fulfill strategies established through its goals and mission. Methods for evaluation of these strategies are a necessity. With the framework of mission, goals, strategies, programs, and methods for evaluation in place, a meaningful budgeting process can begin."

Slide 5: "We have to understand and appreciate that achieving justice for all is in jeopardy before a call to arms to assist in obtaining support for the justice system will be effective. Achieving the necessary understanding and appreciation of why the challenge is so important, we can then turn to the task of providing the much needed support."

By this point you are considering stabbing yourself in the eye with your ballpoint or faking cardiac arrest...anything to avoid listening to more of this blather...

But, it gets fall asleep and awake only when the lights come back up, just in time to hear that the speaker has been nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States of America...huh??

Yep, the quotes on those slide are from Helen Miers in her position as President of the Texas Bar Association. This is the crackerjack gimcrack brainio Bush wants on the highest court of the land??

Hat Tip to NYT Editorialist David Brooks.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Imagine, if you can, George Bush mashes UP..

I'm not sure that Sharon Cobb should hear this (it might set her recovery back a year or two), but THIS really sounds like Bush singing 'Imagine' and then mashing into 'Walk on the Wild Side'. Truly a moment of zen to hear Bushie singing 'and the colored girls go doo do doo do doo....'.

You've got to click on the song selection, 'Imagine..Walk on the Wild Side'. Worth the effort!

Write your own George Bush speech..

and listen to George make the speech..It's fun to hear him say "we the american people have been systematically deceived and electronically bugged for civil rights" and other fun

The hedgehog knows only one thing...

This one's about James Dobson and Helen Miers, but I have to digress to get there. Forgive me my digressions...

In the church of Christ of my youth there was pretty much one big sin and that was S-E-X. At the end of each sermon, there was (and still is) an altar call. Anyone who wanted to be baptized (full immersion, thank you) or confess sins came forward in full view of everyone (which is one reason I waited until very late in the game to get baptized, much to the chagrin of my parents and every old biddy in our church who continually chastized me for delaying and increasing my chances that the world was going to end and THEN WHERE WOULD I BE???).

The brave souls who came forward to confess moral turpitude rarely specified their shortcoming(s), much to the disappointment of most of the people in the place even though most of them wouldn't admit their voyeuristic schadenfreuden impulse. We KNEW the sin involved sex in one of its infinitely interesting iterations. The reason we knew this is that pretty much every thing we were not permitted to do was verboten because it lead to SEX. No dancing...all that sweaty 'mixed bathing' (in modern terminology this means no swimming with members of the opposite sex) because just looking at a scantily clad missy leads to impure thoughts.

Impure thoughts and activities were the church of Christ equivalent to the 'don't do that, it'll put your eye out' cry of our moms: Both led to horrid consequences and in some cases the former led to the latter's end result: blindness.

The corollary to the centrality of sex in the life of sin is that nobody actually TALKED about sex. This led to some very interesting and convoluted conversations and a latter-day hyper-appreciation of the Seinfeld episode about masturbation where no one actually mentioned the word in the entire episode.

In latter years during the Clintonian era, when I found out that Kenneth Starr's father was a church of Christ preacher involved with Harding University (in Searcy, Arkansas), I ABSOLUTELY knew that the Starr report was going to center on sex. Combining the evil of tobacco in the form of a cigar AND sex was a rodeo that I knew would rope Starr's salacious church of Christ driven mentality.

I also knew that Clinton was going to not lose his job because there are way too many members of congress who have jumped into the illicit 'sex pool' to be able to vote with a straight face to condemn a man for lying about a blow job.

To make a long story a bit longer, abortion is the new sex for evangelicals. It will not only put out the eye of the fetus, it'll sink a civilization. Abortion is the ONLY issue for many many people.

James Dobson has positioned himself at the head of the evangelical neo-moral majority gang. Falwell and Robertson have not totally fallen off the map, but their idiotic pronouncements have moved them out of the serious pundit/leadership roles they so desperately desire. Dobson has made his share of bone-headed comments, chiefly about the 'gay' issue (SpongeBob is a little too fey and tolerant to suit Dobbie), but he hasn't called for the assassination of foreign leaders or blamed the Twin Towers attack on feminists and the ACLU.

Many people attribute Dobson's Focus on the Family organization and its political prowress to the delivery of Ohio to Bush in 2004. Dobson's quid pro quo for delivering the votes is his demand for judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade.

After Roberts was nominated and installed to the court, Dobson was ready to pounce on Bush whenever the next opening occurred.

As soon as Bush named Miers he immediately had his brainiac Rove head over to Dobson-world and attempt to hard-sell Miers to Dobson.

Dobson heard and heeded the call. I can tell you exactly what the information that Dobson was teasing us with. Miers is so anti-abortion that she can't even say Roe v. Wade without blanching. She wields the zealous sword of an evangelical convert.

Dobson wanted some attention and he got it. He really can't totally spill the beans, but I can guarantee you this is ALL about abortion and ONLY about abortion.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A completely magical blend of enchanting scents and flavors, with a hint of cupcakes

Maybe the Tennessean has it right..maybe we need more stories about the songs on Jeff Fisher's IPOD or a breakdown of Britney Spear's new 'fragrance' (the title of this post is a quote from B. Spears referring to her new perfume). Maybe we need some of those USA Today graphs breaking out who we most lust after or the best triple latte in town or which urinal men go to first if no one else is in the public bathroom.

I'm on bad news overload and I'm beginning to feel like a callous hardened galactic panhead. Begin with the tsunami and break it down to the earthquake in Pakistan. Stir in the fact that the earthquake centered on the politically unstable and contested area of Kashmir. Try not to think of Led Zepp when you hear the word Kashmir. Throw in a hurricane or two and a shattered Gulf Coast. Toss in the price of gas, and then we get to the personal, stuff.

Hospital visits for my daughter and me. Operations for both. Cars being totalled and boyfriends in redneck jails. Cell phones being run over...the beat and list goes on and on and on..and that's just MY list. Here at work we've got so many family members sick, dying, dead I'm scared to come into work.

We've got 24,000+ civilians dead in Iraq, nearly 2,000 dead American soldiers, and ONE freaking Iraqi battalion battle-worthy on their own. We have nimrods telling us that we don't care about human rights if we don't support Bush and people telling us that liberals all think this way or that, and you just wears my ass out.

We've got a Supreme Court nominee picked basically on the fact that she was the most qualified female in the room. We've got money for bridges to nowhere in Alaska and parking garages in the federal budget and a $5,000,000,000 a month war in Iraq and we're having to borrow most of the cash from freakin' China.

Did I mention we're all going to die from avian bird flu?

Maybe the Tennessean could just put the comics on the front page and Brad Shmitt on the op-ed. Meanwhile I"m still trying to figure out perfume that smells like a cupcake....hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, cupcakes.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The name game or, why don't you go sit over there next to Jugdish

Given that children can be mean little bastards and monstrous, I am always amazed at the repression and romanticism gilded onto our memories of childhood. Yeah, kids can be sweet and occasionally not 100% egocentric, but put em' in a room with any kid with an odd name, and chances are that little Percival is gonna get some unmitigated hell.

I'm spurred to these observations by the name that morono-actor Nicholas Cage gave to his recent offspring: Kal-el. What the hell?? Naming your kid after Superman's Krypton name? Can there be a dorkier name (maybe, Apple??)? Why don't you just name the kid Chewbacca or JamesTKirk?

I work with data and I see a lot of odd names. I'm thinking that maybe some of our law and order legislative types might wanna consider some stiff penalties and jail time for some of what passes for nomenclature here in Tennesse.

You SHOULD know how your daughter is going to turn out if you name her 'HeavenLeigh'.
Your kid will probably come as close to being chaste as you did naming your kid, if you name her 'CHASSITY'. There are plenty of AA meetings in store and little doubt about the circumstance of your daughter's conception if you name her 'Courvousia'. Good luck with the gangbanging for little 'Tyrannius' when he reaches the age of say, four. Is there any doubt that boychild 'Vanilla' is gonna be a rapper? What school is in the future for 'Exavier'?

These are all ACTUAL names given to kids born in Tennessee over the past four years. What were these parents thinking? Is thinking perhaps an exaggeration when applied to the process that lead to these names?

The saddest (and simultaneously the name most prone to producing giggles) is the contracted name for a recent immigrant to our state. The kid's name in two parts is Shi' Thead. I don't blame the parents for this one, because it is a transliteration of a name that we probably couldn't come close to pronouncing with a gun to our head, but I'm guessing the kid is gonna be suing for a name change before he reaches second grade.

More religious news, sorta...

The Shroud of Cartman.


Hat Tip to MSNBC.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

What DOES a Baptist feel like?

In another hard-hitting Tennessean story the paper's crack investigative staff have uncovered that 'Belmont (University) doesn't feel Baptist' so much anymore. I would offer to do my own in-depth study on what a Baptist feels like, but I'm scared that some Baptist guy might not understand the research angle of what I was doing with his girlfriend.

However, in the Salem's Lot spirit of trying to flesh out what the Tennessean started, I did speak to Timothy Davis, current Lipscomb student about his own school, and he stated that it felt 'pretty Church of Christey'. Most other students interviewed felt the same, but there were two Lipscomb alumni here and here who stated that the institution was losing its C of C cred because they wouldn't give the '%#&& $3,000,000' back to the government they received from the Transportation Bill.

At Trevecca Nazarene University, Bob Lawrence, current matriculate, felt that he was speaking for most Trevecca students when he said that 'Trevecca felt nearly 99% Nazaren-ish". In fact, he admitted the 'Nazzy' vibe was so strong he constantly felt compelled to cut his hair. Willie Roberts gave a slightly contrarian view, but he didn't claim any universality, 'I definitely feel justified, but I don't feel so regenerated or sanctified (here) at Trevecca'. Willie added, 'maybe it's because I'm a day student'.

Freewill Baptist students weren't willing to talk to Salem's Lots, so I don't know how Freewilling or Baptist it feels around there...

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Oktoberfest Sights

Salemtown at Oktoberfest

Salemtown Neighbors Tent - we had a map to 'splain where Salemtown is located, flowers and plants from Gardens of Babylon, brochures about Salemtown and lots of Frappacino. I can't speak for everyone, but if their shift was like mine, lotsa people now know where Salemtown is located.

My neighbors (two of my favorite people)...Notice the rather devious look on at least 50% of the people in the picture.

A good portion of the power structure of Salemtown Neighbors in pictured here. You DON'T mess with these women.

Not giving up any names here, but the man whose back we see in the picture has carved out an enclave next to the Salemtown tent and is preaching the virtues of Salemtown to an interested party.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Oktoberfest - Tomorrow (October 8)

It's gonna be a sunny fall day tomorrow here in the Salemtown/Germantown area for Oktoberfest.

I can guarantee you great food, lotsa beer, lotsa people watching, lederhosen, Appalacian crafts, and the best Reuben sandwich you will ever eat, if you saunter on down to Oktoberfest. Not to mention oom pah pah bands, jazz bands and folk dancing, and the coolest home tour in NashVegas.

Our Salemtown Neighbors will have a tent on Monroe Street, so come over and say hello and read about what is going on in Salemtown. I'm manning the Salemtown tent during the 12:30-2:30 shift, and I'd love to meet anybody gracious/kind/curious/crazy enough to read this blog.

Did I mention that the beer will be flowing from 8:00 to 8:00?

Pics are from official Germantown website...

The porches of salemtown - What makes a community a community?

I'm not saying that the porches of Salemtown are akin to the Bridges of Madison County or that I'm going to detail all the action that might or might not be taking place on our neighborhood porches. I promise no syrupy emetic love story.

What I can say is that part of what makes a community a community are sidewalks and front porches. I used to live in the greater Green Hills area (the Lipscomb side). My street had no sidewalks and few front porches. We weren't really suburbia, but the decks and patios were all in the back of our houses. Subsequently, I rarely saw my neighbors unless we were leaving for work or coming home at the same time.

If you are lucky enough to live in a neighborhood with sidewalks and/or front porches you already know the difference. I've met everyone on my block. I'm not saying everyone on my block LIKES me, but I know who everyone is. People use sidewalks to exercise, walk their dogs and just hang out. Front porch sitting engenders conversations with passers-by.

I love to see the kids roll by with their tricycles, bicycles and scooters. I'm happy that I have to buy a LOT of candy for Halloween, because we have sidewalks for the kids to visit the neighborhood and they don't have to walk in the street and risk getting flattened by speeding cars.

Here are a few of the porches that make my neighborhood special....

About me

  • I'm John H
  • From Salemtown, Tennessee, United States
  • Cruising past 50, my wife and I have reared three kids and several dogs. I work for state government and daily conspire to deflate bureacracy.
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