Thursday, June 30, 2005

Busy...Busy...Busy

Too busy to rant right now. Lots of things to do. You can amuse yourself with this game in the meantime

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Craziness of Product Placement

Has anyone noticed how out of control product placement has gotten? I sure hope so.

While I'm definitely not the first to mention this phenomenom, nor, I am certain, will I be the last, I am starting to realize just how less and less subtle it is getting to be.

Indeed, the good folks at howstuffworks.com have provided this handy little primer on exactly how product placement works.

Let me give you an example. Take the movie Paycheck, which I just watched recently.

An aside: I have a BIG problem with this movie, which is this: If I had just spent the past three years slipping the sausage to Uma Thurman, there is no way in hell I would ever want those memories erased!

But I digress. We were talking about blatant product placement. The most obvious example comes about a half an hour into the movie. One of the chief bad guys is sitting at an outdoor cafe eating a piece of cherry pie. He holds up his wrist, looks at his watch, and we are treated to a three or four second close-up of a super-magnified Kenneth Cole watch--a really fancy one, too, with three separate dials and all the associated bells and whistles.

Now, mind you, this shot is totally unnecessary. All they had to show was the guy glancing quickly at his watch (it takes me about a half second to check the time on my watch--how long does it take you?) and then say the line that comes next. I have no idea how long it takes to edit a shot like that into a movie, but I'm sure it takes at least a couple of hours to set it up, shoot it, then splice it into the film. And if I know one thing about moviemaking, it's that time is money! I betcha, though, that the good folks that make K.C. watches compensated the filmmakers handsomely for this little piece of film footage.

Of course, there are several other examples of P.P. (a most appropriate anagram, if you ask me!) in the same movie--during a fight scene, Ben Affleck gets thrown up against a cooler full of Pepsi; he arrives at his lawyer's office in a Honda Element taxi (In my opinion, the ugliest vehical currently in existence), etc.

By far, however, the most ridiculous example of product placement in a movie that I've ever seen had to be in the movie A Knight's Tale. I know, I know. You're asking "How in hell could they have product placement in a movie set in the 14th century?"

Well, Poindexter, I'll tell you! In one scene about midway through the movie, the female blacksmith travelling with the hero reveals a new set of armor she has made for him. And she proudly displays her own "special mark" that she stamped right on the breastplate: A Nike-style "Swoosh" (Or, as the irrepressible Jim Hightower calls it, a "Swooshtika")

Don't believe me? Just go to google and search the words "nike swoosh knight's tale". You'll find A LOT of entries!

If that doesn't convince you just how ridiculous it's getting, nothing will!

By the way, I never watch the credits of movies, but I'll just bet that somewhere near the end of the credits of A.K.T., in the "The producers wish to thank..." section, you'd probably see "Nike Corporation" or some such listed in that section. (If anybody's seen that, let me know with a comment.)

Product placement also occurs on just about every T.V. show. Witness the "commercial-free" presentation of Fox's 24 season premiere two seasons ago. Just count how many times the Ford blue oval prominently appears on screen, usually on the front grill of an F-150 pickup...

I realize that in today's age of VCR's, DVD's, DVR's, TiVo, and other commercial-killing devices, it is getting harder and harder for companies to get their products to be seen by consumers, but Jeebus! Do they have to be so obvious about it?

And movies and television shows aren't the only ones guilty of P.P.--the good folks at Arnoldwatch.org recently took Arnold Schwarzenegger to task for allowing blatant placement of products manufactured by some of his big contributors (Pepsi, Nestle, etc.) in his political ads.

(This, by the way, is the same Arnold who told Californians he was too rich to ever be beholden to the special interests. I guess he figured out what an expensive game politics can be pretty quickly.)

Of course, we have always known that politicians were whores for the big money interests, but few are so blatantly obvious about it...

Nor are our kids immune. Public schools, which often are strapped for cash due to low tax revenues and decreased federal funding (No Child Left Behind, my ass!), frequently enter into contracts with soft drink and junk food companies to provide vending machines with their products. This, of course, can lead to a host of health problems in children, such as diabetes and obesity. And, of course, this is just one example of the corporatization of our schools.

The most insidious thing about this form of advertising is just how subtle it all is. We're all affected by it, even if we're not aware of it on the conscious level. I'm not saying I'm going to go and buy a Kenneth Cole watch (I'm happy with my $10 Casio--it tells time, which is all I need) after seeing Paycheck, but I can't begin to count the number of times I've seen a character in a movie or TV show swig a bottle of Evian water and thought about how thirsty I was. Then again, maybe that's just 'cause it's some gorgeous woman drinking from the bottle.

Of course, think about what "Evian" spelled backwards is...

Look, I know I'm not the first person to lament about this situation, nor will I or should I be the last. But I wanted to add Voice in the Crowd to the growing chorus of voices calling for some P.P. restraint.

Here's a couple more organizations:
www.commercialalert.org
www.indybay.org

These are just some I found using a quick google search. I'm sure there are many more, and I encourage anyone who finds a good one to post a comment.

Meantime, keep an eye open for just how much P.P. you see in everyday media. I'll bet you'll be surprised!

Rating the Speech

Today, I would like to offer an objective, dispassionate evaluation of the speech given by George W. Bush last night.

Oh, who the hell do I think I'm kidding?! I'm going to beat Idiot Boy like a red-headed stepchild!

Let's get started, shall we?

In the third paragraph:

The troops here and across the world are fighting a global war on terror. The war reached our shores on September 11, 2001. The terrorists who attacked us and the terrorists we face murder in the name of a totalitarian ideology that hates freedom, rejects tolerance and despises all dissent. Their aim is to remake the Middle East in their own grim image of tyranny and oppression by toppling governments, driving us out of the region and by exporting terror.

So. The first reference to September 11th comes in the first minute of the speech. Want more? Read on!

After September 11, I made a commitment to the American people: This nation will not wait to be attacked again. We will defend our freedom. We will take the fight to the enemy.

Another reference to September 11th, in the very next paragraph!

But it gets better:

Many terrorists who kill innocent men, women and children on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of our citizens in New York, in Washington and Pennsylvania.

Again, in the next paragraph, yet another reference to September 11th!

A few paragraphs later:

The lesson of this experience is clear: The terrorists can kill the innocent but they cannot stop the advance of freedom. The only way our enemies can succeed is if we forget the lessons of September 11, if we abandon the Iraqi people to men like Zarqawi and if we yield the future of the Middle East to men like bin Laden.

For those keeping score at home, that's four references to September 11th so far.

But there's more:

We are fighting against men with blind hatred and armed with lethal weapons who are capable of any atrocity. They wear no uniform; they respect no laws of warfare or morality. They take innocent lives to create chaos for the cameras. They are trying to shake our will in Iraq just as they tried to shake our will on September 11, 2001.

That's five.

And, in the last paragraph:

After September 11, 2001, I told the American people that the road ahead would be difficult and that we would prevail

Yes, folks, that's six references to September 11th in one half-hour-long speech. And every single one is designed to hammer home the same message: Iraq was responsible for September 11th. The problem, of course, is that it's just not true!

Frankly, this whole speech disgusts me (and yes, I did read the whole thing!) Especially this part:

In this time of testing, our troops can know: The American people are behind you. Next week, our nation has an opportunity to make sure that support is felt by every soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman and Marine at every outpost across the world. This Fourth of July, I ask you to find a way to thank the men and women defending our freedom by flying the flag, sending letters to our troops in the field or helping the military family down the street


Translation: It's up to you to help our troops, 'cause we're not gonna lift a finger!

In short, the whole speech was composed of dishonest references to September 11th, rosy views of the horrible situation in Iraq, and shameless appeals to American patriotism.

I suppose I should take some comfort from the unscientific AOL poll that rates the President's speech as follows: Poor 51% Excellent 28% Fair 11% Good 10%.

At least the majority of AOL subscribers don't seem to have their head up their ass!

In case you have any doubts as to the accuracy of the speech quotes above, here's a full transcript.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Are You Kidding Me?!

Seriously. Are you fucking kidding me?!

Guess who was named as AOL and the Discovery Channel's "Greatest American"?

Yes folks, it's RONALD FUCKING REAGAN!!!

Further proof that this country suffers from terminal Head-Up-Ass disease!

I mean, COME ON! Do you people seriously think that Ronald Reagan was a greater American than the likes of Abraham Lincoln (#2), Martin Luther King, Jr. (#3,) George Washington (#4), or Ben Franklin (#5)?

Because I sure as hell don't.

Let's look at their records, shall we?

Abraham Lincoln: President of the United States during the four bloodiest years in our country's history. Freed the Slaves. Managed to hold together a country that was trying its best to literally tear itself apart. Gave one of the greatest speeches in history.

Martin Luther King: Led a decades-long struggle to overturn unfair and unconstitutional segregation laws in numerous southern states. Endured police beatings, fire hoses, and dogs in his struggle for equal rights for all Americans, regardless of race.

George Washington: The father of our country. Managed to hold together a ragtag army long enough to outlast, outmaneuver, and, in the end, outfight the most powerful military force in the world in his day and age. Could have easily been named King, but chose instead merely to serve as the first President, and, so far, the only one elected unanimously.

Benjamin Franklin: Author, statesman, diplomat, inventor. Served as ambassador to France. Invented many things, some of which are still used today. Signed the Declaration of Independence. First United States Postmaster General. Founded the nation's first public zoo.

And Ronald Reagan?

Ran up huge budget deficits through massive military spending. Slashed funding for programs designed to help children, the poor, and the elderly. Propped up governments of several Central American countries that killed thousands of their own citizens.

I realize that Reagan had his good points. But he was DEFINITELY NOT a greater American that Lincoln, Washington, King, or even Franklin.

Ronald Reagan was NOT God, people! Stop worshipping him like he was!

Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Boob is Back! (And the Statue is Uncovered Too!)

In case you missed it, the infamous "Spirit of Justice" statue in the Justice Department that was covered with an $8,000 drape by former Attorney General John Asscro--Um, I mean, Ashcroft, has now been uncovered.

Yes, Alberto "Torture Memo" Gonzales, the new Attorney General, ordered the drapes removed on Friday. So now photographers can once again capture photos of a boob standing in front of a boob.

I can't help but wonder why. Maybe it's because with all the photos of naked prisoners being tortured circulating around, Gonzales thought: Why not add some more...

Nah, that couldn't be it!

O.K. I know. This post is lame! Ya know what, it's too hot to be creative today.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Nobody Thinks Anymore

Oh, Karl. Karl, Karl, Karl. You idiot. You Blowhard. You fat, fatuous, flatulent fool.

You are a disgrace to your party.

You are a disgrace to the White House.

You are a disgrace to the country.

Seriously. What were you thinking when you said, and I quote:

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of 9/11 and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding to our attackers."

I mean, come ON! What were you thinking? Or were you thinking at all? I mean, do you seriously think anyone in this country wanted to get the 9/11 terrorists on a therapist's couch and discuss their inner child?

Frankly, I think that may be the problem. Nobody in the current administration thinks. Period.

Dick Cheney says the Iraq insurgency is "in its last throes", when, in fact, it's just as bad, if not worse, as it ever was.

Donald Rumsfeld goes in front of the Senate and states that the war in Iraq succeeded brilliantly, and that setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq "would throw a lifeline to terrorists who in recent months have suffered significant losses in casualties, been denied havens and suffered weakened popular support."

Let's pause momentarily to put that statement in perspective for a minute. Would you refuse to pull firemen out of a fire-engulfed building that is in imminent danger of collapsing? And would you justify that refusal by saying that to do so "would throw a lifeline to the fire"? And would you then say that anyone who critcizes your actions "doesn't support our firemen"?

Yes, folks. That seems to be the problem. No one is thinking in Washington. Or anywhere.

There's an old saying: "Make sure you load your brain before you shoot off your mouth."

O.K. maybe it's not an old saying. But it should be.

The problem is, too many people in this day and age speak without thinking. I certainly do, all too often. But it's usually not a problem for me, because hardly anyone listens.

But when you speak without thinking when someone is listening, trouble can result.

Of course, I'm sure Karl Rove knew exactly what the reaction would be to his ill-conceived remarks. The left would denounce it as shameless political pandering (which it is), and the wrongright would champion it as a shining example of quality public speaking (which it isn't).

And, of course, it represents the traditional defense thrown up whenever the Bush White House comes under attack: Invoke 9/11.

Memo to the White House: It happened almost four years ago. It's time to come up with something new!

Damn!

Well, you no doubt have heard by now that the Pistons lost last night. No repeat for them.

But I give them credit for hanging on 'til the end. They proved that last year's championship was no fluke. Even though they didn't win, they fought hard in every game and were in it all the way. And they once again were able to prove that Shaq is human--despite all evidence to the contrary.

(Seriously. That guy is a freak of nature. His hand is bigger than my head!)

There is no dishonor in losing a 7-game series 4-3. It means that you were good enough to be there. It just means that the other team was better than you one night more than you were better than them.

And to the Detroit players, I say this: Hold your heads up high, fellows. You did your best. And there's always next year!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Dick Durbin: My Hero--NOT!

Shame on you, Senator Richard Durbin!

Why do I say this? Two words: You. Caved.

You may remember how, a few days ago, Senator Durbin read the report of an FBI agent on the Senate floor that detailed the mistreatment of some of the detainees being held in the prison at Guantanamo Bay. He then stated that if he hadn't told his colleagues that he was reading the report of an American F.B.I. agent detailing activities at an American prison, they might have thought he was describing actions inside a Nazi concentration camp or a Soviet Gulag.

Of course, the wrongright-wing attack machine immediately jumped all over him, calling him everything from a lunatic to a terrorist sympathizer.

This, of course, is typical of the wright. Make the person who said something the issue, rather than focusing on what they actually said.

Durbin was, of course, completely correct in his assessment. The torture techniques he described do remind me of something I might expect to hear when listening to the story of Auschwitz. Seriously. Chaining people to the floor, in extreme heat or cold, and leaving them there for hours on end, until they are forced to piss or shit on themselves (I don't sugarcoat things, people!), is not the kind of treatment you expect would happen in an American prison.

But, of course, that's not the issue, according to the wright. They instead chose to make Durbin the issue, instead of what he actually said. They have held him up as the worst traitor to our country since Benedict Arnold.

And on Tuesday, he caved in to the pressure. He issued a formal apology on the Senate floor, saying he was wrong in what he said. And the wright-wing attack machine has been trumpeting their "victory" ever since.

To you, Mr. Durbin, I say this: You COWARD! You allowed the brickbats thrown at you by the loonies of the wright to break you!

You were a hero to me for standing up and saying what needed to be said. You shouldn't have to apologize for calling a pile of shit a pile of shit. The mistreatment of prisoners in American prisons is the antithesis of everything this country stands for, and someone needs to remind Americans of this fact.

You're not a hero anymore, Mr. Durbin. You're just another cowardly politician.

And I hate you for that.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

It's AWESOME!!!

Just got back from seeing Batman Begins. I have just three words:

HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT.

This movie is INCREDIBLE!!!

To you, the three people reading this blog, I say this: Go. See. This. Movie.

Even if you're not a big fan of Batman, you will still enjoy yourself.

More details? O.K.

The acting is excellent--There may be a golden statue or two in store for some of these people come April of next year. And if there isn't, then that just goes to show how out of touch with reality the Academy is. Want an example? O.K. I won't give away too much, but at one point in the movie, when a bad guy realizes he is doomed, he doesn't run, he doesn't scream, he simply closes his eyes.

You'll know what scene I'm talking about when you see it. It's not something you can easily describe in words. You have to see it.

The cinematography is spectacular. The movie is, of course, very dark. But that doesn't matter. You don't miss a single detail, like you do in some other dark movies. It's truly a masterpiece of camera work.

But, most importantly, the story is believable. You can believe this story could actually happen in this modern world. This may be the one thing that sets Batman apart from the other superheroes--you realize that Bruce Wayne is, under that costume, just an ordinary man. He has no superpowers. He gets hurt like everyone else. And his enemies are also human, motivated by the same factors that motivate all bad people--greed, power, and lust.

Hell, this movie will even make the comic book fans happy--and they can do bad things to a movie they don't like. Just look what happened to Catwoman!

And, no, I still can't hate that movie. I just can't hate any movie with Halle Berry in it (That's why I've never seen B.A.P.S.--I don't want to break that trend!)

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Ugh!

Somebody get me some aspirin, some visine, and some laundry detergent--not necessarily in that order.

Last night, as part a Father's Day present to my dad, I went with him, my sister, and my brother-in-law, to Mickey Finn's Pub here in T-town. It was a special night of entertainment featuring The Clumsy Lovers and J.T. and the Clouds (sorry, couldn't find their website!)

I think I'm in love with Andrea Lewis, The Clumsy Lover's violin player, by the way. And that picture just doesn't do her justice. She makes me wish I hadn't stopped playing the violin years ago!

At any rate, I drank too much, stayed out until two in the morning, and ended up being saturated by cigarette smoke. I swear it's still coming out of my pores.

An Aside: Toledo has strict regulations that require separation of smoking and non-smoking sections of all bars and restaurants. Yeah, right. Having a smoking section in a bar is like having a peeing section in a pool. And let's just say that those regulations aren't enforced all that heavily...

All-in-all, though, it was a fun night. My dad enjoyed himself, which was the whole point of the excercise in the first place. And I was able to resist the temptation to get up and dance like an idiot. I wish I could say the same for just about everyone else in the bar...including my dad (sigh.)

It's true. White people can't dance!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Beating a Dead Horse

Today, I take the rare step of posting twice in the same day. Ordinarily, I'm lucky if I can make it to posting once a week, but when I saw the news today, I had to make the extra effort.

Because, y'see, it seems that our good buddy Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida, has taken it upon himself to ask a Florida prosecutor to investigate the cause of Terri Schiavo's collapse 15 years, ago, the collapse that caused her brain to be deprived of oxygen long enough to kill it.

All I can say is this:

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for letting me vent. I had to get that out of my system.

Anyway, what this all boils down to is this: Jeb Bush, who has realized that the autopsy reports released two days ago made him look silly for supporting Terri's parents' cause for so long, has decided to grasp at any straw he can find in order to save some face. Of course, it also means that he is trying to shore up the support of his party's base for a presidential run in '08.

I hope this whole foolish idea blows up in his face.

Also, Senator Bill Frist continues to claim that he never said he didn't believe Terri Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state. But he did! Just check the update to my post from yesterday and you'll see that he's lying!

Or, alternatively, you can just go here.

I hope Bill Frist does decide to run for president. We can use this to beat him over the head with at every possible opportunity!

Dick Durbin: My Hero

In case you haven't heard the news, Senator Dick Durbin is a lunatic and a traitor to America.

At least, that's the spin the wright is trying to put on it.

By the way, that's not a typo--"wright" stands for the wrong right. Somehow simply calling these nuts "the right" gives them a subtle form of validation. If they're "the right", then they must be right, right?

But I digress.

Here's a few samples of what they've been saying about Dick Durbin:

"I think the senator's remarks are reprehensible. It's a real disservice to our men and women in uniform who adhere to high standards and uphold our values and our laws."
--White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan

(typical response from the white house: "You don't support our troops!")

"You don't have to tell me because we all know. We all know how frustrating it is, and you don't have to tell us. But I'm not trying to persuade Durbin. In fact, I hope he doesn't apologize. He's speaking for the Democrats. He's telling us who the Democrats are, folks. It's one thing for me to sit here and tell you who I think they are, even though I'm right. When you hear it from somebody like Durbin (sigh) what more needs to be said? This is who they are. They have contempt for victory, contempt for the US military, contempt for our superpower status and contempt for the soldiers. We're not supposed to be winning this thing! If we were getting shellacked, they'd be happy."

--Rush Limbaugh

(Again, typical. He said more, but that's about all I could stand to read!)

After his most recent display of malignant partisanship and disregard for our country’s security, people in the rest of the country are no doubt wondering...whether Illinois Senator Dick Durbin has lost his mind.
--TheAmericanThinker.com

(a misnomer if I ever heard one--I refuse to insert a link to them here!)

Anyhoo, here's what he actually said:

When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here [at Guantanamo Bay]--I almost hesitate to put them in the [Congressional] Record, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:
On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. . . . On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.
If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime--Pol Pot or others--that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.


Of course, what you need to realize is that he is describing the type of treatment that was sanctioned by the White House. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, while still White House counsel, produced memos detailing all the reasons why Geneva Convention protections did not apply to prisoners captured during the so-called "war on terror". So I guess that makes it acceptable to treat prisoners like animals.

Of course, by focusing attention on Durbin instead of on the issue, the White House conveniently manages to once again sidestep the issue of inhumane treatment of detainees at Gitmo and other places. They are, of course, assisted by the wright-wing media machine, as usual.

Don't get me wrong. I'm sure most of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere deserve to be there. But subjecting someone to conditions you wouldn't put a dog in is the antithesis of everything this country stands for. And I congragulate Dick Durbin for having the guts to point that out!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Terri Schiavo: An Epilogue

The results of Terri Schiavo's autopsy were released yesterday. Here are the relevant facts, as near as I can determine them, and what they mean:

Fact #1: At the time of her death, her brain was atrophied to half the size of a normal adult human brain. This means that, according to the coroner who examined her, there was absolutely no chance that she would have ever recovered in even the slightest degree

What this means: If she had remained on her feeding tube, she would have lingered on in her vegetative state, possibly for months, years, or even decades, while her body gradually fell more and more into a state of decay, until she eventually died from some form of infection or other natural cause. And no form of therapy administered would have changed this outcome.

Fact #2: At the time of her death, the severe deterioration of her brain meant that she was completely blind.

What this means: Those dramatic video shots of her seemingly following a balloon or a family member back and forth across a room were simply automatic movements, and were not in response to any visual stimuli since she could not see!

Fact #3: The autopsy could detect no signs of past physical abuse.

What this means: Contrary to what her parents claimed, her husband did not cause her condition through abuse.


What this all boils down to is this: Terri Schiavo died 15 years ago. It just took 15 years for everyone to realize that.

Interesting footnote to this story: Senate majority leader Bill Frist said in an interview on TV this morning that the autopsy brings "a very sad chapter to a close.

"I raised the question, 'Is she in a persistent vegetative state or not?' I never made the diagnosis, never said that she was not. I did say that certain tests should be performed to determine that before starving her to death."

Translation: He was clinging to the hope the autopsy results would show that he acted properly when he and his "right-to-life" buddies in congress intervened in a private legal matter, and now that that hope has been dashed, he is pretending the whole issue never happened.

Sometimes I wish hypocrisy was fatal!


UPDATE (11:45 a.m.): Here's a link to an MSNBC story which details how Bill Frist repeatedly disputed the diagnosis that Schiavo was in a persistent vegetative state. And I quote:

"I question it based on a review of the video footage which I spent an hour or so looking at last night in my office. She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli."
Senator Bill Frist, March 19th, 2005

Thanks to Daily Kos for pointing me towards this story

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Hits Just Keep On Coming

OK. So the latest item in the Ohio coin-fund scandal, or, as I call it, The Scandal That Keeps On Giving (TSTKOG), is that the home of a former Tom Noe employee was burglarized over the weekend.

Now ordinarily this would be no big deal, but if you've been following TSTKOG at all, you may know that this was the same home where, two weeks ago, Sheriff investigators seized thousands of bottles of wine, cigars, coins, and other items, allegedly paid for with money siphoned from the Ohio BWC coin investment fund.

The guy, Michael Storeim, said he was out of town for 2 days. They came back and found their house burglarized.

I swear to Christ you can't make this stuff up!

Personally, I think this whole thing stinks like a five-day-old roadkill. I mean, COME ON! The guy gets caught with pretty damning evidence of wrongdoing in his own home, and then, less than two weeks later, that evidence disappears!

Of course, it was stupid of the Sheriff's office to leave the wine locked up in the guy's house (check the story), but maybe that was all part of the plan as well...

Also stolen were several keys from Storeim's house, including one to his business. I wonder how fast he will change the locks...

Of course, Storeim claims the break-in was the result of all the media attention he has received. Typical. It would seem that the whole "blame the media" defense has been used by everyone from Michael Jackson to Saddam Hussein.

Think about it. Do you honestly believe this burglary was a coincidence?

If you do, I have some beautiful oceanfront property you might be interested in. Just meet me in Missoula, Montana, and I'll show it to you...

Monday, June 13, 2005

And the Verdict Is: Who Cares?!

So. Not guilty on all ten counts.

I don't even have to tell you what I'm talking about, do I?

It's destined to become another one of those "where were you when..." questions, which, sadly in most cases, have become all to numerous in this day and age.

"Where were you on September 11th?"
"Where were you when the Columbia crashed?"

And so on.

Personally, I don't care about whether some 46-year-old freak of nature molested a young boy. I think that if anyone dumb enough to place their kid in his care, given his reputation, deserves what they get. If I had kids, they wouldn't be allowed within 100 miles of that freakazoid!

Meanwhile, maybe the media can get back to covering more important issues, like the Downing Street Memo perhaps, or the Ohio Coin-Fund Scandal, possibly.

Not likely. We're more likely to hear about the latest accident involving the paparazzi and Lindsay Lohan, or that the "runaway bride" now has her own book deal...

Why Can't I Hate This Movie?!

There is no point in denying it: I am unable to hate Catwoman!

And I can't explain it! It's driving me nuts!

The acting is terrible, the dialogue is lame, the CGI effects are mediocre at best, and the plot is just plain silly.

This movie ended up on the "worst" list of just about every critic in the country. It was blasted by comic book fans for departing from the "Batman" character. It virtually swept the "Golden Raspberry" awards, including worst actress and worst picture.

Added to all this is the fact that I hate all cats (long story).

So why can't I hate this movie?!

Could it possibly be Halle Berry wearing a costume that looks a lot like it was designed by a stripper with Parkinson's disease?

Nah. That couldn't be it.

Oh who am I kidding?!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Weighing in on Various Issues, Volume 3

So many issues, so little time! Where to begin? Ah:

ON THE MISSING GIRL IN ARUBA:

Fer crissake, yes, it’s a news story? But do you have to splash it all over the place. It’s a story that has come to rival the "runaway bride" story in scope. And it’s serving as yet another way for the “liberal media” to distract our attention away from more important things, like GM dropping 25,000 jobs, or American soldiers being killed at the rate of 2 per day in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the so-called “Downing Street Memo”.

This case is, and should be, important to her family and friends, the authorities in Aruba, and the people of Aruba. It should not captivate the entire country the way the media has made sure it would.

It's just another example of how the need to fill 24 hours every day with content can cause today's news organizations to make Everest-sized Mountains out of the tiniest of molehills.

ON THE OHIO COIN-FUND SCANDAL:

Or, as I call it, the scandal that keeps on giving. Scarcely a day goes by that The Blade doesn’t have some new revelation to splash all over the front page. The latest story is about how the company that lost $215 million dollars in Ohio BWC money is headquartered in Bermuda, and that the state will have a very hard time getting that money back, if they can get it back at all.

I swear you can’t make stuff like this up. Every day, it seems, the State is reminded of the dangers of one party controlling everything for so long. And I am enjoying every minute of it.

Seriously. The corruption of the Ohio Republican Party is staggering. If the voters in this state return a single Republican to office next year, then they deserve to lose all their money.

ON THE PISTONS:

Congrats, boys, on making it back to the finals. And for once again proving that Shaq is human after all (all evidence to the contrary). Now, if you can just figure out a way to beat the Spurs…

Good luck tonight!

ON THE MUD HENS

Every time I go to a game at Fifth/Third field, I am reminded of how lucky Toledo is to have such a great little gem at the heart of its downtown. Last Friday, I saw possibly the greatest game I’ve ever seen there—with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Downtown Destroyers managed to rally to tie the game, and then win it in the tenth.

ON THE PRICE OF GAS:

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to find gas for $1.97 a gallon.

Take a minute to read that sentence again. Did you ever think there would be a time when you would be grateful to find gas for $1.97 a gallon?!

It’s time for this country to get rid of its addiction to fossil fuels. Seriously. It took less than a decade to put a man on the moon using technology most of which can now be found only in a museum. Surely, with today’s modern technology, we can put together a project that can make this country energy independent less than half that time.

Yeah. Like that’s gonna happen!

Sometimes I wonder why I bother talking. It doesn’t seem like anyone’s listening!

Oh, well. I'll continue to be a Voice in the Crowd.

(P.S. Now that I've figured it out, this inserting-links-in-my-blog thing is fun!)

Monday, June 06, 2005

Vote for the Greatest American

Well, folks, the voting has started! The top 25 nominees for AOL and Discovery Channel's "Greatest American" contest have been selected.

Sadly, included among them are George "DUIbya" (tm) Bush, Ronald "Raygun" Reagan, and Bill "Give me all your money" Gates.

We CANNOT allow any of these people to win!!!

Fortunately, there are more acceptable choices, such as:

1) Abraham Lincoln
2) Franklin D. Roosevelt
3) Martin Luther King, Jr.
4) Thomas Jefferson
5) George Washington
6) Thomas A. Edison
7) Ben Franklin

There are others, but those 7 represent MY top choices, in order.

So I say this to the three people reading this blog: It is very important that we DO NOT ALLOW GEORGE W. BUSH TO BE NAMED THE GREATEST AMERICAN!!!

Go here to cast your votes. You can vote up to three times per week. Feel free to choose any one of the above mentioned names, or choose one of your own, but, please, for the love of everything that's good and holy, DO NOT choose George DUIbya (tm) Bush!!!

And if there's any doubt about what a miserable failure of a president Bush has been, here's a handy reference guide.

And make sure to tell your friends about this!

Friday, June 03, 2005

"Deep Throat" Revealed, Part 2

Here's a sample of what some of the right-wing blowhards are saying about the revelation of the identity of "Deep Throat", and about the Watergate Scandal:

PAT BUCHANAN: There's something deadly serious here. People that brought down Nixon also resulted in the fall of South Vietnam, the death of hundreds of thousands of people. ... Nixon was brought down by people who were a hell of a lot worse than he was. [MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, 5/31/05]

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Had they not brought down Nixon, we wouldn't have lost Vietnam. Had [they] not brought down Nixon, the Khmer Rouge would not have come to power and murdered two million people in a full-fledged genocide. [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/1/05]

BEN STEIN: When his [Nixon's] enemies brought him down, and they had been laying for him since he proved that Alger Hiss was a traitor, since Alger Hiss was their fair-haired boy, this is what they bought for themselves in the Kharma Supermarket that is life:
1.) The defeat of the South Vietnamese government with decades of death and hardship for the people of Vietnam.

2.) The assumption of power in Cambodia by the bloodiest government of all time, the Khmer Rouge, who killed a third of their own people, often by making children beat their own parents to death. No one doubts RN [Richard Nixon] would never have let this happen.

(Quotes courtesy of Media Matters)

There's a reason I (and many others) call them "Right Wingnuts"!

Seriously. These people think that if Nixon had stayed in power, the Khmer Rouge massacres in Cambodia would never have happened.

By that logic, I suppose they think that if Nixon had been in power during the late 1930's and early 1940's, Hitler would never have risen to power, the Holocaust would never have happened, and the whole War would have been avoided.

Yeah. Right. While they're at it, why don't they further argue that he could have prevented the crucifixion of Jesus, the enslavement of the Jews by the Egyptians, and the Great Flood!

The point I'm trying to make is that these people are trying to deflect people's attention from the fact that NIXON WAS THE FIRST, AND SO FAR ONLY, PRESIDENT TO RESIGN HIS OFFICE IN DISGRACE!!! He was NOT a good man, nor was he a very effective president. About the only thing he is well-known for, besides watergate, is opening relations with modern China. History is still trying to judge whether that was a good idea.

In closing, I want to remind all the right-wing blowhards accusing Felt, and by association all the reporters involved in reporting on the watergate scandal, of causing the Khmer Rouge massacres, to re-read, or simply read, their history.
Here's a good link

(Yes, folks, it appears I finally figured out how to add links to my posts!)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

"Deep Throat" Revealed

No, it's not about the movie! Get your mind out of the gutter, you perv!

I'm referring to the fact that the identity of the infamous "Deep Throat" from the Watergate scandal is finally known (probably).

Reaction is mixed, of course. The right wingnuts are vilifying him, calling him a traitor or worse. The lefties are praising him as a courageous hero.

And a substantial portion of Americans--at least, according to an informal poll taken in my office--don't seem to give a shit one way or the other.

I suppose this is understandable on some level. Many of the people in my office either weren't even born when this thing broke, or were too young to care about it. I include myself in that latter category--All I remember about it is wondering why everyone was making such a big fuss over a water gate!

I can't help but feel somewhat sad over the general apathy over this rather significant revelation. I mean, this guy was the chief informant in a scandal that eventually led to the resignation of a sitting President--something that had never happened before, nor has it happened since (despite my most fervent wishes in a few cases!)

Watergate is an important part of our history. It illustrated the importance of openness in a Democracy, and the power of a free press. It also graphically illustrated the dangers of placing too much power in too few hands, a lesson we should all re-examine in the light of today's political climate.

I salute you, Mr. Felt. What you did was brave and dangerous, but it needed to be done. Now, if we could only find someone like you to dig up the dirt on the Bushies...