I've just discovered a great new blog. What the hell if the guy did insult me. He's good.
UPDATE: Apparently I misunderstood Mr. Cole when he wrote that I was a "Balloon Juice favorite". It wasn't meant as an insult, and he apologized. I, in turn, would like to apologize to him for being an over-sensitive weenie-puss and jumping to conclusions.
From the files of "Fuck Bobby Sands" comes the news that our friends at Gitmo have taken up a hunger strike.
Good. I hate the death penalty, and would prefer it enormously if bastards like that took up a slow, protracted death upon themselves. It helps me feel secure and happy in my notions of cultural superiority.
As a result of my constant professional frustrations dealing with U.S. Customs, I've drawn the conclusion that the outfit must be operating under the following:
EMPLOYEE GUIDELINES THE WORDS “CONSISTENCY”, “PATIENCE”, AND “GOOD WILL” ARE NOT TO BE UTTERED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. VIOLATORS WILL TRANSFERRED TO CLEVELAND.
ANY EMPLOYEE FOUND HANDLING PARCELS OR CARGO WITH CARE WILL BE CITED.
EMPLOYEES CAUGHT STEALING WILL BE PENALIZED FOR SLOPPINESS.
ROUTINELY SHOWING UP ON TIME OR EXCESSIVE ABUSE OF DEPARTMENT POLICY REQUIRING EXTENDED LUNCHES WILL RESULT IN FINANCIAL ASSESSMENTS.
YOU MAY NOT TELL A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC TO GO TO HELL SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU ARE IN A ROTTEN MOOD. THE ONLY STATEMENTS OFFICIALLY PERMITTED BY THE DEPARTMENT ARE “OH YEAH? KISS THIS” AND “DO I LOOK LIKE I GIVE A CRAP?”
ALL EMPLOYEES ARE ENCOURAGED TO USE THE “F-WORD” AS FREQUENTLY AS POSSIBLE.
PERSONAL PHONE CALLS MAY NOT BE TERMINATED FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF ASSISTING VISITORS.
ILLEGAL DRUGS FOUND ON THE PERSON OF ANY EMPLOYEES WILL BE CONFISCATED AND SOLD AT AUCTION.
YOU MAY NOT ACCEPT BRIBES UNDER $10,000.00.
ALCOLHOL CONSUMPTION WILL ONLY BE PERMITTED DURING HOURS OF OPERATION IF YOU AGREE TO SHARE WITH YOUR IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR.
ANYONE CAUGHT ENCOURAGING EFFICIENCY OR TIMLIENESS WILL BE ARRESTED FOR TREASON.
SICK LEAVE MUST BE APPROVED BY A MEMBER OF THE MANAGEMENT STAFF AND IS NOT TO EXCEED MORE THAN 75 DAYS PER CALENDAR YEAR.
ABUSE OF THESE GUIDELINES CARRY PENALTIES THAT INVOLVE ANYTHING EXCEPT GETTING FIRED FROM YOUR JOB. AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT.
THE UNITED STATES CUSTOMS SERVICE – PROUDLY SCREWING THE PUBLIC SINCE 1789
Have you ever caught yourself spying a person walking down a public sidewalk, laughing to themselves like a maniac, and then thinking "Who let this looney bastard out to roam the streets?"???
Well, folks, I was that maniac this evening after reading this bit on the "elite" Republican Guard of Iraq from Iain Murray:
Why is the Republican Guard always described as "elite"? Did they run away in a more disciplined formation? Are they more experienced than their comrades in killing Kurdish villagers and marsh arabs? Would someone please explain this to me?
Maybe it's the better-practiced covert methods of surrender?
Norah Vincent blames plagiarizing on capitalism. That's right. It's the fault of big, bad, greedy corporations that want to turn out books as fast as bunnies putting pressure on authors to hurry their work up. She writes:
Of course, none of this absolves Doris Kearns Goodwin or Stephen Ambrose. But if their borrowing was indeed just hurried mistakes in the factories that their studies have become, it's not hard to see how it could have happened.
Yes it is. There are little things called quotation marks and footnotes, which can be utilized in order to avoid being charged with plagiarism. The fault lies solely with the authors. Vincent also notes:
In the past two decades, almost all of the venerable old small publishing houses have been absorbed by multimedia conglomerates like Viacom and AOL Time Warner, which demand profitability.
Imagine that. A business demanding profitability. There ought to be a law.
The Norah Vincent - English Dictionary "it's not hard to see how it could have happened" = "I am a moron" borrowing=stealing someone else's work hurried mistakes = calculated plagiarism "factories that their studies have become" = universities? absorbed = bought. Some probably for more than their shitty little operations were worth.
Iain Murray writes that he has the following description of the scientific method hanging on his wall:
* Formulate hypothesis
* Apply for grant
* Perform experiments or gather data to test hypothesis
* Alter data to fit hypothesis
* Formulate hypothesis
* Apply for grant
* Perform experiments or gather data to test hypothesis
* Revise hypothesis to fit data
* Backdate revised hypothesis
You've got to love it. This is the sort of thing that "historians" like Michael Bellisiles are guilty of doing. Thanks to the efforts of bloggers and online journalists, people who approach research in this fashion are slowly but surely being discredited.
Random reader David S. has written - clearly not a fellow in possession of that great sense of humo(u)r that Brits are so renowned for having: "How dare you call such a brave and dilligent lot of people PIP? Might it be because you are a yankee tw*t bitch?"
Did I really write "PIP"? I beg your pardon. I meant to write "git".
UPDATE: My sugar-mouthed friend Mr. S. has written, regretting his use of what Spock would call "colorful metaphors", which apparently were dispatched after "seven or eight pints too many". Apology accepted. And no, Mr. Briffa, I certainly didn't mean to call you a git.
Dow Jones & Co. has established a fund for the benefit of murdered reporter Daniel Pearl's widow, Mariane Pearl, and their son, with an initial contribution of $100,000. Please note that contributions are not tax-deductible. If you'd like to donate, you can send a check to:
The Daniel Pearl Memorial Trust
c/o Robert J. Laughlin, Vice President
J.P. Morgan Trust Company of Delaware
500 Stanton Christiana Road - 2/CS
Newark, DE 19713
It can't hurt to have the information posted in as many places as possible.
UPDATE: Mr. BC Monkey has written: "Consider it thrown". Consider it picked up, sir. Let the Beer Olympics begin. It's vile Canada vs. the benevolent beacon of freedom U.S.A. in a close race to decide who makes the better beer.
A Pip named Peter Briffa weighs in on my describing Byersgate as "dull": "No way. It's a thrill-a-minute rollercoaster ride that makes Enron look like a vicar's tea party. Well for us Brits, anyway. It's about lying and stuff, and sacking two people for, apparently, no reason at all."
Yes. I think I saw a similar storyline on "Dynasty" once.
Actually, Mr. Briffa gives a great account of the whole mess over at his blog, British Public Interest, so much so that I've decided to upgrade Byersgate from dullest political scandal ever to dullest political scandal of the last five hundred years.
Absolutely, positively, without a doubt, the last dullest political scandal ever update: At least this article in the Times manages to incorporate the F-word once or twice, and even sauces things up by slipping in a "nipple". Now we've got ourselves a bonafide scandal.
And Mr. Jenkins - the second president of the U.S. was John Adams, not James. Ask Terry Blair. He knows.
So, I've decided to give venue to my series of stupid, drunken warblings entitled Not So Seminal Events in U.S. History here, meant to highlight events that might have skated under the radar of history textbooks, by providing you all with the first in the series, called:
ARTICLE 1: RANSOM!
On July 15, 1976, three young men in their early twenties took it upon themselves to kidnap a busload of children in Madera County, California. They were purportedly to hold these children hostage for a sum of $5 million in ransom to be paid by their families and neighbors in the quiet, rural town of Chowchilla.
This was an ill-conceived venture from the outset, considering the only thing that made the town of Chowchilla even remotely interesting was the fact that it was home to a prison for women (and still is), and that the wealthiest member of the community was the one who lived in the double-wide trailer.
Here are the imaginations of the interchange that took place between the kidnappers and the townsfolk of Chowchilla, California:
We regret to inform you that, due to limited resources, we are unable to meet your recent ransom demands. However, in order to secure the safe return of our children, and in an effort to reach a settlement that is mutually beneficial, we are prepared to offer the following:
*One plaid flannel shirt, medium.
*Twenty-seven quarts of used motor oil.
*Three decks of marked playing cards.
*One half-empty bottle of inexpensive gin.
*Four free passes to the Madera County Fair, which boasts a rodeo, a tractor pull, and the largest assembly of piglets in the world.
*Two sleeveless shirts bearing a Budweiser logo.
*Two Hundred and seventy-four yards of astro-turf.
*Seventeen tins of Skoal brand chewing tobacco.
*One motor vehicle, non-operational.
*Eight prison guard uniforms, which may prove to be useful in future criminal endeavors.
*Two sets of previously owned tires.
*Fourteen Polaroid photographs of the mayor's wife naked.
We are also prepared to arrange a transfer of funds, whereby royalties from the C-grade made-for-television movie that is sure to be produced following these events, will be deferred to an anonymous account in Switzerland.
We sincerely hope that you find these terms amicable and look forward to your reply.
With warmest regards,
The People of Chowchilla.
Several hours after the initial abduction, the children, along with the 55 year-old bus driver, were buried alive in a rock quarry in the town of Livermore. They managed to dig themselves out in just under sixteen hours, and all of the victims survived the ordeal, presumably to lead productive lives as psychiatric patients, alcoholics, and burdens on society.
All three of the perpetrators either surrendered or were abducted within a month, and are now serving life sentences in various California prisons. May this event serve as a lesson to us all - for goodness' sake, if you're going to hold anyone for ransom, make sure that their name is Getty or Hearst. You're far more likely to see a return on your criminal investment, and far less likely to be forgotten.
Vile Canandian BC Monkey has some great thoughts on those reports circulating about underaged drinking.
But I have to disagree with his assertion that Canadian beer is vastly better. I can give you hockey, buddy. But not beer. And you don't get to count demi-beers like Budweiser and Miller. I'll put Sierra Nevada, Samuel Adams, and Pete's Wicked Ale up against your silly moose and mounty drafts anyday.
Juan Gato wondered if this bit was true. It is. I live in Los Angeles, and can confirm that the mayor, Jim Hahn, has indeed gone the way of Oprah and Andrew and started a city wide book club of sorts. The article in the Guardian (aptly renamed the Daily Wanker by vile Canadian Damian Penny) is stupid and blotted by elitist overtones, but Duncan Campbell is not making this stuff up.
The dullest political scandal in the history of the human race is coming to a climax at this very moment, as British Transport Secretary Stephen Byers addresses the House of Commons over accusations that he "orchestrated" the resignation of his press chief and special advisor.
This has got to be a first. The Guardian reports that a drunken British woman, Susan "Lizard Lady" Wallace used an iguana as a weapon during an altercation with fellow pub patrons.
As usual, the Guardian's got it all wrong when they report that "iguanas are usually people-friendly". I've had three, and they've all been maladjusted assholes. Not to mention that once they reach a certain size they become Indiana Jones, leaving marks and sometimes even drawing blood with their tails. I got so frustrated with them that I hung a picture in their cage from a naval survival guide that I had that showed a photograph of one of the nasty green bastards, with a caption below that read "ALL LIZARDS ARE GOOD TO EAT."
UPDATE: If I wasn't such a careless reader, I might have noticed that this was, in fact, not the first time a reptile has been used as a weapon. Something similar recently happened in Florida. Strange beans.
Film Club Selection #3 - I originally wanted to feature KISS Meets the Phantom in the Park this week, but due to limited availability of the movie, the idea was quickly canned (if anyone, anywhere can help me get my hands on a copy of this movie, I will erect a shrine in your honor and worship you as a hero for the rest of my life). Going by the few minutes I have seen of clips from the film, I imagine that the members of KISS were personally involved in making sure that few people as possible actually had a chance to watch it.
But I would like to feature a KISS related movie called Detroit Rock City, which is about four teen-aged boys and their struggle to make it to Detroit to see their heroes perform live. With school officials and an organization called "Mothers Against the Music of KISS" (or M.A.T.M.O.K. - an organization that I consider myself to be a member of, in spite of the fact that a) I am not a mother, and b) it doesn't exist) making every effort to thwart their plans, our young protaganists must overcome seemingly unbeatable odds to acheive their lifelong dream. Truly an inspirational story.
UPDATE: Excuse me. It's KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. Thanks to Terry H. and Nick "Gunslinger" Marsala for the leads on where to find this masterpiece. The plans for your shrines will be referred to committee for discussion and debate.