Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I'm sure you're all familiar with the legalistic warnings that are lately being attached to the end of every e-mail. You know--the ones that say "this e-mail is intended only for the addressee(s) above, if you received this in error, yada, yada, yada, etc."

Well, I figured someone besides me might have figured out just how ridiculous the whole thing is. I mean, suppose I receive an e-mail in error? How is the sender going to prevent me from doing whatever I want with it, up to and including wallpapering my bedroom with copies of it? Sure, I'll probably just delete it, and if I feel ambitious enough, I may even notify the dipshit(s) who sent it to me that they goofed. But how are they ever going to do anything about it?

So anyway, I did a quick Googlesearch and I came across this little gem from this site:

IMPORTANT: This email is intended for the use of the individual addressee(s) named above and may contain information that is confidential, privileged or unsuitable for overly sensitive persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humour or irrational religious beliefs. If you are not the intended recipient, any dissemination, distribution or copying of this email is not authorized (either explicitly or implicitly) and constitutes an irritating social faux pas.

Unless the word absquatulation has been used in its correct context somewhere other than in this warning, it does not have any legal or grammatical use and may be ignored. No animals were harmed in the transmission of this email, although the cat next door is living on borrowed time, let me tell you. Those of you with an overwhelming fear of the unknown will be gratified to learn that there is no hidden message revealed by reading this warning backwards, so just ignore that Alert Notice from Microsoft.

However, by pouring a complete circle of salt around yourself and your computer you can ensure that no harm befalls you and your pets. If you have received this email in error, please add some nutmeg and egg whites, whisk and place in a warm oven for 40 minutes.

(Note: the bold is where I changed "kelpie" to "cat")

Now, isn't that funny? And don't you think it nicely makes a mockery of all those dire-sounding e-mail warnings?

I'd been attaching it to my e-mails for a couple of weeks now. And today I was told to stop. "It's unprofessional", they said. And the Al Franken defense--"but it's funny!"--was falling on deaf ears.

Sometimes humor is greatly unappreciated.

By the way, I got more than a few comments from people I sent e-mails to with this warning, all of whom said they liked it--it was FUNNY!

I have also changed my standard e-mail response signature to the legalese required by the powers that be. But I've also added my own little protest note to it. Let's see how long it takes them to notice it. ;)


So. 2,000 troops dead.

Sad milestone.

And, according to Bush, to pull out from Iraq now would dishonor the memory of those 2,000 fallen soldiers.

That's like saying we should leave firefighters in a burning building where other firefighters have already died because to pull them out would dishonor the memory of the dead firefighters.

Of course, let's not forget the more than 15,000 troops who have been wounded in the conflict, nearly fifty percent of whom will not be able to return to duty (even if they wanted to in the first place).

I wouldn't mind all this so much if these soldiers had been killed or wounded fighting for a noble cause. But I think it's pretty much been proven that that isn't the case.

So here we are, 2 years, 7 months, and 2,000 flag-draped coffins after the war started, and we are no closer to an end to it than we were when it started.

I truly don't see any way this whole sad situation can end well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

One of the Most Poignant Things I've Ever Seen.

This is just amazing.

Paul Fusco has put together an interactive photo essay of 27 military funerals. It's clear what his agenda is, but that can not and should not distract from the poignancy of these photographs. Presumably it took a great deal of time and effort to travel to these places and get the photographs, not to mention obtaining the permission to use them from the subjects of the pictures (assuming he did--any good professional photographer would). And now it's being offered free for all to view.

With the number of American deaths in Iraq nearing 2000 (as of this writing, 1,998 American troops had been killed in Iraq), I think it's important to remember the families and friends of the dead. We must remember that their suffering will continue long after the last trumpet notes fade away, long after the echoes from the gunshots fall silent, and long after the coffins have been lowered into the ground.

Oh, This is TOO Good!

It seems that according to this story, the good folks at the White House seem to be a bit upset at The Onion for using the White House logo on the site of their satirical Presidential radio addresses.

I swear you can't make this shit up.

I mean, this is just too good. Just when you thought the President's approval ratings couldn't get any lower, someone tossed them a shovel and they started digging.

I confess I'm no big fan of The Onion. I always found it kind of silly. But I know they have a large following. And I would imagine said following will get pretty upset over this.

The White House, I think, has been off its game for several months now. Anyone else besides me think this is because of all the trouble Rove is in?

I'm just sayin'!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Fox Steals from The West Wing

Anyone who's been listening to Al Franken this week has probably heard the loop he made of the various Fox pundits repeating the phrase "the criminalization of politics" in reference to the Valerie Plame leak case.

Well, tonight, I happened to be watching one of my dad's tapes of one of Bravo's West Wing marathons. I was at season three, episode 7 (Gone Quiet). In one scene, White House counsel Oliver Babish (Oliver Platt) is grilling Abby (Stockard Channing) about her involvement in the cover-up of the President's MS (those of you unfamiliar with this show have NO idea what I'm talking about right now). Here's how the dialogue goes:

Abby: Oliver...

Oliver: You broke some laws, Abby, and quite frankly you should be ashamed of yourself, but this investigation isn't about that.

A: Look...

O: (interrupting) It's about the criminalization of politics.

Jeezis! When Fox has to plumb episodes of The West Wing from the 2001 season, does anyone besides me think they GOTS NUTHIN!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Do Your Job!

Recently, I've been hearing stories about some pharmacists who are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control pills on religious and other grounds.

Meanwhile, presumably, these very same pharmacists no doubt have any problems filling prescriptions for Viagra or Levitra...

Four Words: Are you kidding me?!

A note to you pharmacists that are doing this: You have a job. It is one that you trained for. The basic rule of any business is if you are selling a product or service that people are willing to buy, then you should do so at every opportunity. If your particular belief system does not allow you to use contraception, that is fine, but it DOES NOT give you the right to impose those beliefs on others.

So get over it. And do your job. And if you don't like it, then maybe you should've gone into some other line of work.

Meanwhile, here's a few links where everyone else can find out what to do about this:

Planned Parenthood Action Network
Fill My Pills Now!

Monday, October 17, 2005

On Borrowed Time?

Hello all. This is a picture of my dog, Minnie:

She's a cute little mutt, isn't she?

At any rate, she was a stray dog that I adopted.

And I think she's living on borrowed time.

Why do I say this, do you ask? Well, the reason is this. As a former stray, she spent about the first five months of her life living on the street. And, in the brutally Darwinian world that is the life of a stray dog, only the smartest dogs survive. Minnie, therefore, is very smart. And she knows every way possible to get out of a fenced-in yard. I'm considering re-naming her Houdini.

And when she does this, she wanders. She wanders all over the neighborhood, frequently crossing and re-crossing the street in the process. And I'm afraid that one of these times a car will hit her. Or she'll tangle with a much larger dog (you may bave noticed that she's about the size of a stuffed toy). Or that some other horrible fate will befall her. She also doesn't come when I call her--a rather annoying trait, I might add.

So I want her to be remembered by someone besides me. I've now had four dogs in my life, and every time one of them died, it's made me very sad.

Dogs are wonderful creatures. They give us their unconditional love in exchange for nothing more than food, shelter, baths, and the occasional biscuit. What other creature can you say that about?

BTW, I'm in this reflective mood because she got out again this afternoon, and I spent half an hour wandering all over the neighborhood in the rain looking for her.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

So Here's What I Know

(This article will be heavily biased against stupid white men and will contain harsh language. BE WARNED!!)

Yesterday, there was a riot in Toledo, Ohio.

It didn't start out as one.

It started when a group of neo-nazi assholes responded to the call of the brother of a white man who was pissed that his neighbors were black, and occasionally had friends over. They announced that they would be holding a protest march here in Toledo.

Another group announced that they planned to organize a peaceful counter-protest on the same day.

The neo-nazis (hereinafter referred to as NN's) arrived in Toledo.

On the morning of October 15th, 2005, the NN's gathered in a predesignated spot to prepare for their upcoming march. Toledo police surrounded them to protect them from hostile crowds.

A large group of counter-protesters began to gather at some distance away from the NN's. They included a number of black people who were very upset that the city of Toledo allowed the NN's to excercise their Constitutional right to peacably assemble.

The NN's briefly began to march.

The counter-protestors turned violent, being very upset that the police were protecting the NN's.

The NN's cancelled their planned march, realizing that exactly what they wanted to happen had happened--namely that they wanted violence to erupt.

Violence erupted. Several people were arrested, lots of damage was done, and the national news will report that black people started a riot.

Jesus H. Christ, will the human race ever learn to live together in peace?!

I'm having serious doubts.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Sad Situation Indeed

Earlier today, a small group of neo-Nazis had planned to stage a protest march here in Toledo. A "peace march" was planned as a counter-protest.

But it all came to a crashing halt when violence erupted.

Stores have been looted. Buildings have been burned. Cars have been damaged and overturned. There have been some injuries, but, thankfully, no deaths (so far).

I'm not sure who I'm madder at: The Nazis for starting this whole mess, or the gang members for turning a peaceful counter-protest into a riot.

I may have more updates on this situation later as I get more info.

Friday, October 14, 2005

They Said it Better Than I Could, Chapter 3

News is out today about Theodore Roosevelt Heller, who died last week in Chicago, had included in his obituary this line:

"In lieu of flowers, please send acerbic letters to Republicans."

Thank you, Mr. Heller.

You can read the full story here.

If you read that article, you'll notice that there is also a quote from the Teddy Roosevelt:

"The president is merely the most important among a large number of public servants," Roosevelt explained in 1918. "He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able and disinterested service to the nation as a whole.

"Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or anyone else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

(emphasis mine)

Teddy was a man ahead of his time.

Thanks to DailyKos for finding this.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Definition of Irony?

Sometimes, I wish I had a camera phone.

Today, as I entered the downtown Toledo library, I saw a guy standing next to a pay phone, talking on his cell phone.

Like I said, the definition of irony?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tales from my Documents, Continued

Created: Unsure
Author: Yours truly
Title: Rules for Being the Next James Bond Supervillain:

This is a little piece I came up with from watching 40 years worth of James Bond Movies. If you enjoy it, please feel free to pass it along to your friends and family.
Please acknowledge me as the original author, though!
Eric Johnson—Toledo, OH

Suggestions for the next James Bond Villain

Being the villain in any James Bond movie always seems to be a bad career choice. I mean, yes, you always have lots of power, money, and fabulous babes, but you inevitably die a gruesome death at the hands of 007, and afterwards he whisks one or more of the aforementioned fabulous babes off to some secluded hideaway for copious amounts of sex, while whatever remains of you (usually not much) is left behind to rot. Therefore, in the interests of leveling the playing field, I would like to offer the following suggestions to the next Bond villain:

1) Make your base of operations a small, innocuous building in some backwater area, one that will do absolutely nothing to call attention to your activities. While it may be a tremendous ego boost to have a gigantic and fantastically complicated base, these locations inevitably become deathtraps after 007 applies a few strategically placed ounces of plastic explosive.

2) If you absolutely MUST use one of the aforementioned bases (due, perhaps, to the size of the device you are going to use to threaten the world), then spare no expense in its construction. Hire the world’s best structural engineers to design it so that it won’t collapse if one single support beam is destroyed! Make sure it is equipped with radar towers, sonar systems, motion detectors, guard dogs, electric fences, antiaircraft weapons, and anything else you can think of. Hey, this is no time to be cheap! Cutting corners here and there may save you a little money, but you can’t spend it if you’re dead! Oh, and whatever you do, DO NOT build underground or under water, unless you WANT to die crushed under millions of tons of dirt/rock/water/lava/etc.

3) When you hire guards/assassins/henchmen/etc., don’t hire a bunch of drunken bums who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a blunderbuss! Hire the best soldiers that money can buy. Hire the best weapons and martial arts experts you can find to train them in all techniques of armed and unarmed combat. Drill them constantly, and provide them with the best weapons available. Provide them with workout equipment and maintain a vigorous training schedule in order to keep them in top physical shape. Yes, it’s expensive, but as I mentioned before, this is no time to be cheap!

4) DO NOT hire ANY female guards/assistants/lieutenants/technicians/etc. While this may be a sexist attitude, it is a scientifically proven fact that even the most butch female is unable to resist the charms of 007. Besides, you’re an evil villain! What are they going to do, sue you for sex discrimination?!

5) Don’t bother to kidnap the brilliant scientist’s wife/daughter/mother/son/etc. in order to gain his cooperation in designing your superweapon/plague/computer virus/stealth ship/etc. He will only be resentful and work to sabotage your plans in any way he can, while trying to alert the world to your location. Money is a much more effective way of ensuring his collaboration. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: This is no time to be cheap!

6) Don’t bother throwing elaborate parties to show the world how rich and powerful you are. Such occasions inevitably provide the opportunity for 007 to do a little snooping and/or sabotage. Besides, if you are so insecure in your position that you need to brag about your power and wealth, you’re in the wrong line of work.

7) DO NOT broadcast your demands to the world’s governments by way of television, radio, or any other form of on-air transmission. While it may again be a tremendous ego boost to laugh maniacally while you gloat over the fates of the helpless peoples of the world, 007 and his cohorts will undoubtedly trace your broadcast back to its source and launch an attack. A simple e-mail routed through several anonymous mail servers should be sufficient. Of course, don’t forget to destroy a city or two at the same time so people will take your threats seriously.

8) If you have crucial files whose secrecy is vital to the success of your plan, it might be a good idea to have someone GUARDING them! And whatever you do, DO NOT have it be someone that you TRUST ABSOLUTELY! This person is always a spy! In fact, if there is anyone that you TRUST ABSOLUTELY, it’s probably a good idea to kill him or her immediately. Save yourself a lot of grief later

9) If you hire people to advise you, it might be a good idea to LISTEN TO THEIR ADVICE every once in a while.

10) Keep your demands realistic. You being named the ruler of the entire world will NEVER happen. Even if every government of every country in the world says it will surrender to you, they are only stalling for time until 007 can take you out. It’s probably better to simply ask for an extremely large sum of money. Afterwards, you can always use that money to BUY your way into power.

11) When you send henchmen to kill 007 before he can get to you, tell them not to bother with such killing methods as circular saw yo-yos/Kendo sticks/flying razor hats/spiked tire motorcycles/etc. These methods are clever but useless. A hail of gunfire coming at him from as many different directions as possible will be far more effective.

12) If your henchmen claim to have killed 007, don’t believe them until you have seen his lifeless body and have personally disposed of it (cremation is the best method).

13) If you have managed to lure 007 into coming after you, think before you set up your trap. If he is driving towards your lair, don’t send a few pitiful helicopters armed with machine guns/rockets/saws/flamethrowers/etc. after him. He will easily dispatch these. Instead, send a few heavy bombers to carpetbomb the area with one thousand pound bombs. Yes, it may seem like needless overkill, but it’s also the only way to be sure. If these weapons are not available to you, then you didn’t plan properly and you deserve to fail!

14) If 007 is approaching by air, don’t bother trying to test your new supersecret weapon on his plane/helicopter/gyrocopter/etc. A few batteries of state-of-the-art Surface-to-Air Missiles should be more than adequate to bring him down. Again, if these weapons are not available to you, see #13 above.

15) If you know 007 has arrived, but you don’t where he will come in, immediately dispatch a large squad of guards to cover that “secret” entrance that nobody knows about. Odds are, he’s found out about it somehow.

16) When you capture 007, KILL HIM IMMEDIATELY! And don’t waste any time trying to plan an elaborate death for him involving laser beams/killer alligators/lethal man-eating sharks/etc. Again, clever, but utterly ineffective, no matter how stress-relieving or amusing it might be to you. SHOOT HIM IN THE HEAD! RIGHT AWAY! SEVERAL TIMES! And then dump his body into a tub of acid! Hey, this is no time for half-measures!

17) You should also make sure when you shoot 007 to do it yourself, preferably while three or four very burly guards hold him steady. Whatever you do, DO NOT send him away with one of your trusted lieutenants to do it for you. 007 will easily be able to dispatch him as soon as they are out of your sight. Besides, I think we’ve covered the issue of people you trust, haven’t we?

18) If shooting him is not feasible or desirable at the moment (although I don’t see why it wouldn’t be), then have him stripped naked, and then proceed to remove his watch, rings, pens, glasses, and any other items he might be carrying. Have someone do a cavity search with a rubber glove and metal detector. I know, it’s disgusting, but it’s also the only way to be sure.

19) After removing these items, place them immediately inside a bombproof safe to which NOBODY knows the combination, not even you. Then immediately make arrangements to have that safe dropped in the ocean, at its deepest point if possible. Better yet, do it yourself. If that delays your plans by a few days, the so be it. Late is better than dead!

20) Secure the now apparently harmless 007 in Handcuffs, Shackles, Leg irons, and a restraining facemask a la Hannibal Lecter. Then lock him in a dark cell, preferably one that was fashioned from a small hole in the ground to further limit his freedom of movement. Remember to kill him as soon as possible, though.

21) Be careful that you don’t mention any part of your plan to anyone while 007 is in the same room. He will no doubt find some way to contact someone on the outside and warn him or her of what you plan to do.

22) Whatever you do, DO NOT bring the “helpless” 007 into your main control room to be a witness to the culmination of your ultimate master plan. He will inevitably find some way to foil it no matter what condition he is in.

23) Always have a foolproof escape plan ready. That way when, despite all your precautions, 007 has escaped (which happens more often than not), and is in the process of killing all your guards (he’s very good at that) and calling in the army/marines/navy/air force/etc. (they always seem to be available to him at a moment’s notice), you can get away as quickly as possible. Whatever you do, DO NOT stay within your burning control room and prepare to fight Bond to the death. You WILL lose.

24) When you’re making your escape, don’t try to fly away on a plane/helicopter/
blimp/etc. You might as well throw yourself out without a parachute and save 007 the trouble. It’s time instead to board a small tramp freighter as a stowaway and float away to some remote, extradition-free country. Yes, it’s messy and undignified, but at least you’ll still be alive at the end of your journey. Then you can use some of the millions you salted away in your Swiss bank accounts to get some plastic surgery and start planning another dastardly scheme, one that will WORK this time! You might also want to think about a possible career change—Obviously, your first choice is not working for you

If, despite all these tips, you still fail and 007 kills you, just remember that you are the evil villain! You are destined to lose! Perhaps you should’ve applied your money and power to buying the Presidency! That seems to be a much better career choice, and you can probably find some way around that little term limits thing!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Jury's Still Out

So far, I have watched the first two episodes of the new ABC drama series Commander-in-Chief, and, I have to say, I'm not super impressed.

Unlike The West Wing which grabbed me by the throat from the first episode and has held my attention, unwavering, ever since, C-I-C has so far failed to do that.

Y'see, in the pilot episode of TWW, there was a scene near the end where some of his staffers are arguing with a group of religious conservatives. The argument is getting quite heated at one point, and just as an argument over the commandments comes up, one of the religious crowd asks the question, "Well, what's the first commandment?" At that exact point a very angry president Bartlett storms into the room and says loudly, "I am the lord your god and you shall know no other goods before me!" And he then proceeds to tear the conservative crowd a new asshole for failing to denouce a group of religious extremists. And then he tells them that until they do, " can all get your fat asses out of my White House."

I have to tell you, at that point, as I have every time I've seen it since, I stood up and cheered. And I was then hooked on the show, and have been ever since. I mean, imagine our current president, or any president for that matter, doing something similar.

To make a long story short (I know, too late), I have yet to have a similar reaction to C-I-C. I will continue to watch it, though, as long as House is still being pre-empted by baseball. So, to the makers of C-I-C I say this: You have about two more episodes to grab my interest. If it fails to happen by then, you may lose me for good. And I have a feeling I won't be alone.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

It's Official

I am officially putting the creators of ABC's Lost on notice: If I ever meet any of them, I will kidnap them, tie them to a chair in a soundproof room somewhere, and begin cutting off their appendages until they start telling me all they know about what the hell is going on on that show.

AARRGGHH!!! At the end of each new show, they promise more secrets will be revealed on the next episode, but all we ever seem to end up with is more questions. I cannot begin to describe just how frustrating this is. There is a fine line between keeping someone interesting and keeping someone exasperated, and they are getting very close to it.

I seriously wonder if these people even know what's really going on, or if they're just making it up as they go along. I gotta tell you, it sure seems that way sometimes.

Note to those who watched the show last night: Raise your hand if at a certain point you felt like yelling out, "Why, you treacherous little bitch!" or some variation of that!

Those of you who didn't watch it have no idea what I'm talking about, of course.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Could This be a Reason?

Gas is currently at an average of $2.90 in my city.

This evening, as I was driving home, I stopped at a red light on a main artery street. I looked around, and I saw the following:

4 Jeep Liberties
2 Ford Explorers
1 Dodge Ram Pickup
1 Chevy Tahoe
1 Ford Expedition

I would guess that, on average, these vehicles han an MPG of about 15. And, from my observations, not one of them held more than one person.

It would seem to me that regardless of the price of gas, no one in this country seems to want to conserve.

Is it any wonder that the Arabs have us by the balls.

Harriet Who?

Who the hell is Harriet Miers?

Conservatives are saying they hate her as a choice.

Harry Reid says he likes her.

I think Daily Kos says it best:

I reserve the right to change my mind, but Miers' biggest sin, at this early juncture, is her allegiance to Bush. That her appointment is an act of cronyism is without a doubt, but if that's the price of admission to another Souter or moderate justice, I'm willing to pay it.

More immediately, this is the sort of pick that can have real-world repercussions in 2006, with a demoralized Republican Right refusing to do the heavy lifting needed to stem big losses. That Bush went this route rather than throwing his base the red meat they craved is nothing less than a sign of weakness. For whatever reason, Rove and Co. decided they weren't in position to wage a filibuster fight with Democrats on a Supreme Court justice and instead sold out their base.

As far as I'm concerned, Ms. Miers already has two strikes against her. 1) She's a Bush crony and 2) She's on record as having praised Bush for his intelligence and leadership. One more strike and she's out.

I can't help but wonder if all the outrage from the ultra-wright is not just a smokescreen--and that they're secretly pleased as punch with her selection.

Nah. They're not that subtle. Are they?

Monday, October 03, 2005

More Fun With Photoshop

President Nero strikes again!

Screaming at the News

Every so often, I hear or see something on the news that is so outrageous I end up shouting at my TV or radio.

Like yesterday, for example. I was watching one of the Sunday news shows (I think it was This Week--I'm not sure; they tend to blend together) and they featured and interview with some four-star general. He was lamenting the fact that the news only seemed to cover the negative aspects of the Iraq fiasco, while ignoring all the positive things happening in that country (all 2 of them).

At any rate, one of the things he crowed about was how the Sunnis are becoming more involved in the political process in Iraq.

Six words: This. Is. Not. A. Good. Thing.

The only reason the Sunnis have become more involved in the political process is that they hope to defeat the proposed constitution, which, if approved, will apparently deprive them of what few rights they have left.

I may have screamed something to that effect at the TV yesterday. However, since screaming at my TV has about as much effect as a fart in a tornado, I decided I'd scream it again on this blog and hope that one of the three people reading this will tell someone else about it. And then that person will tell someone else, and so on and so on.

Hey, a man can dream.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

Yesterday, Minnie (my dog) and I were playing with some of the neighbor's children. My neighbor happened to be working on his roof at the time, and one of the kids suddenly piped up:

"I learned something important: Never scream when someone's on the roof."

Sometimes life can be a cruel teacher.