Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Exploding Toads Puzzle German Scientists
More than 1,000 toads have puffed up and exploded in a Hamburg pond in recent weeks, and scientists still have no explanation for what's causing the combustion, an official said Wednesday. Both the pond's water and body parts of the toads have been tested, but scientists have been unable to find a bacteria or virus that would cause the toads to swell up and pop, said Janne Kloepper, of the Hamburg-based Institute for Hygiene and the Environment. "It's absolutely strange," she said. "We have a really unique story here in Hamburg. This phenomenon really doesn't seem to have appeared anywhere before." The toads at a pond in the upscale neighborhood of Altona have been blowing up since the beginning of the month, filling up like balloons until their stomachs suddenly burst.

In a related story, there has been an increase in the amount of nervous giggling among Hamburg teenagers, as well as a sudden city-wide shortage of firecrackers... ;)
t r u t h o u t - Howard Dean: GOP 'Evil,' 'Corrupt' and 'Brain-Dead'
"It's odd that Howard Dean says he wants to earn the respect of those who live in the red states, but chooses to not only attack their views but attack them personally," RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt said. "Americans want to hear an agenda, rather than name calling."
Uh, honey, considering that your own party has been busy trying to label Democrats as godless heathens who want to tear down Christian values... Damn, that kettle is some kinda black, ain't it, pot?

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Blogger sucks. Half the time I post something and it never publishes right. I have to come back to, fuck around with it for a while, and then hope it gets through. I will be researching alternatives...
Just came back from a three-day trip to Connecticut... Upstate New York has some of the most boring scenery I have ever seen. The Interstate is so straight, it lulls you to sleep. Wherever there is a curve in the road, you can see where people have driven right off into the ditch. And of course, in the middle of all this boredom, they put the Women's Rights National Park. You have the right to be hidden in a corner of America that nobody has a reason to visit! What's in this Park, anyway? A kitchen, a laundry room, and a nursery? So depressing.

I figure the Six Flags outside Buffalo is there to keep the locals from killing each other. You drive through Buffalo, and there's nothing to see. It's got all the excitement of prune juice. If you were a teenager and you wanted to give your parents the ultimate slap in the face, tell them you're leaving home to go be a firefighter in Buffalo. You'd be dead in a week.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Report: Affleck and Garner Engaged
I like Affleck, at least the person named Affleck who shows up for Kevin Smith movies and poker tournaments. I'm not so much about the Affleck who thinks he's an action star. Still, while I'm happy for the guy that he's on his way to tying the knot with yet another Maxim calendar girl... Click on that link above and look at the picture provided. Does he not look like the goofiest motherfucker? Start with the hair, which looks like he's overcompensating with Rogaine. Then you've got the expression on his face, which can only be described with the corresponding thought balloon: "Huh, there are people with cameras here. Wonder why?" He's not a dumb guy by any means but Affleck has his moments when he acts like an idiot savant. He has limited skills, and it's no accident that Matt Damon was the lead in 'Good Will Hunting'.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Now on DVD: The Sanitizer's Cut (
The dispute is, in some ways, less about money than a clash over social values and control of a creative product. "A lot of people are just really tired of what's out there," says Sandra Teraci, who runs Family Flix with her husband, Richard. "They're tired of turning on the TV or renting a movie and constantly being hit by violence, profanity and nudity. A lot of people want to go back to the 1950s, before this sort of thing was routine."
I am always puzzled by people like this. You don't like violence, profanity, and nudity. Fine. Rent 'The Incredibles'. You have a choice, people. "Ooh, I'd love to see that Chris Rock movie, but I hear it's got a lot of swear words in it." You know what? Too bad. That's the price you have to pay to see it. Everybody knew going in that 'Passion of the Christ' was incredibly violent and graphic, so no one could claim to be surprised when Jesus got his ass kicked. I chose not to see that movie because I'm not into sadism. See? Simple. There's a choice, I made it. I'm not going to ask some company to re-edit 'Passion' to take out all the violence just so my own narrow set of values can be satisfied. If Mel Gibson wants to create a sanitized version, then Mel, go nuts. (And he did, cutting it down to a less violent version for this Easter's re-release) That's cool, because then it's the filmmaker controlling the film's evolution. Not some nutcase like this:
Family Flix, which claims to have the toughest standards, removes "sexual innuendo," including suggestions or depictions of homosexuality. It recently edited "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie," an animated film with a PG rating, to eliminate a scene in which a male starfish character sings and dances while dressed in fishnet stockings and high heels. "We don't hate homosexuals," says Sandra Teraci. "We just don't think that lifestyle should be glorified. It's becoming rampant in more types of films."
This is what I worry about the most - the new 'clean' edits are being done by people with specific value systems that may not match yours or mine or the filmmakers'. Who gives a shit if an animated character cross-dresses? Family Flix, apparently. I have yet to meet a nine-year-old who does.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Your Risk, Their Gain
Would you be upset if someone spent millions of dollars to put your future retirement funds into a casino, while taking no risks with their own future? Say hello to the Wall Street CEOs whose companies are aggressively lobbying for Social Security privatization. Because of their bloated compensation packages, these CEOs pay Social Security taxes only a few days a year. The President has leaned on his Wall Street patrons to help with his faltering Social Security crusade. They have stepped forward, albeit blushing from embarrassment at their conflict of interest. These firms and their CEOs will handsomely profit from administering private accounts and collect billions of dollars in management fees.
It's funny how the people who have the most to lose by the failure of Social Security are never asked to participate in deciding the direction and purpose of it. It's just assumed that rich people, who have no need of Social Security, will know better than you and me as to how it should be run and where the money should go. Thing about that is, I share a certain mistrust of rich people with, oh, I don't know, probably 70-80% of the populace. We have this crazy idea that rich people could give a fuck about anything other than lining their own pockets, and sure enough, with all these Wall Street brokerages lining up to squeeze hard-working Americans dry, that idea doesn't seem so crazy.
So the average 'Joe' taxpayer pays an elephant-sized rate of Social Security taxes that is 152 times that of the flea-sized rate paid by CEO Thompson. If Thompson paid the same effective rate as Joe Taxpayer, he would have paid $1,654,644 in Social Security taxes, instead of $10,900... We should eliminate the earnings cap so that CEOs like Kenneth Thompson pay the same effective rate as Joe and Juanita taxpayer. According to the Economic Policy Institute, this fix would eliminate 90% of the funding deficit projected by the Social Security Administration. If Wall Street CEOs pay into the system all year long, perhaps they'll have a greater stake in ensuring that we have a rock-solid retirement system that works for everyone, not just for their companies' profits.
Rich people pay a fair share of taxes? What kind of insanity is this? How will rich fucks be able to buy that extra Lexus, or go on that weekend getaway to Club Med with their mistresses? Do we really want to balance the budget and reduce the national debt? Is that really a goal worth giving a shit about? /sarcasm

Friday, April 15, 2005

South Korean Driver Passes Driving Test on 272nd Attempt

"Driving seems a bit hard. But after trying 271 times to pass the oral exam, what do I have to be afraid of?" Seo said.

How about... child star midgets who can't see the road? (See below.)
'Webster' Actor Gets Warning for Speeding

Kirk said Lewis, who lives in the Atlanta area, was probably unfamiliar with the road and didn't realize there were speed-limit changes.

Yeah, that's it. Or maybe it was because he's a little dwarf who can't see over the steering wheel? What the hell is Webster driving that he can see anything at all? It's bad enough they allow little old ladies (who have shrunken so much you can measure their height with a ruler) access to our roadways. I just wish they had a picture of his ride to go along with this story. And how about the police officer that pulled him over? Didn't he think some kid stole a car for a joyride? He lets him off with a warning. "Yeah, uh, Mr. Lewis, next time could you have someone over four feet driving your car? Thanks."
I've got a cold. We've got pills that can give you a day-long stiffy, but for the common cold - nothing. One of my favorite things about a cold is when you blow your nose and it feels like one of your eyes is trying to pop out. It's springtime, I should be running around enjoying the newfound warmth of the day, rejoicing in the disappearance of the snow. Instead I sit here, my head stuffed with mucus or cotton (can't really tell), and I can't help thinking that I know what a bobblehead doll feels like.

Has this happened to you? You drive down a street, you go through an intersection with traffic lights, and you suddenly realize you can't remember if the light was green or not? You check the rearview to see whether or not you just narrowly avoided an accident, and sigh in relief when the light was in fact green. That's how it's going to happen, you know. It's those momentary lapses in concentration, when you're thinking about anything but what you're doing, and WHAM! Accident. You get used to something, you forget to respect it. Driving requires a great deal of attention and skill, but if you've been doing it for a long time, you lose respect for it, and WHAM! Accident. I've had my share of close calls in my day, and every time it was because I wasn't paying attention. I'm not so fatalistic as to believe that I will have an accident someday, but on long trips, I always feel greatly relieved when we make it home safely.
Gary Sheffield Tussles With Fan

It's amazing to me that we really haven't had a major fan/athlete incident yet. Yeah, I know about the Pacers incident, but I'm talking about somebody dying here. I'm talking about the lunatic fan that decides to bring a gun to the game and takes a few shots at the target of his obsession. You know, like that crappy film DeNiro and Snipes made a decade ago, 'The Fan'. I mean, we've had school shootings and church shootings and post office shootings... Doesn't it seem like the clock's ticking on the first pro sports shooting?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I finally saw Super Size Me last night. Talk about a movie to scare the shit outta you. Now, I'm a fat guy as it is. 5'10", probably at least 250 lb, with a gut, a fat ass, and big chunky legs. I might eat at a fast food joint twice a month, if that; it's just too expensive to eat out these days, even to a McDicks or a Wendy's. I'm fat mostly because
a) I don't exercise
b) I eat foods that tend to have more carbs/calories than I need
The first point is my own fault, and I take full responsibility for that. But the second point, I have to cry foul, because here's the thing: eating healthy is fucking expensive. The cheapest foods are also the least healthy, but if we've got a budget to stick to, and the price of fruits and vegetables keeps going up, of course we're going to lean on the potatoes and the pasta and the breads. It'll be easier once the boy has grown up and moved out, but until then, we've got three mouths to feed and not a lot of money to spread around. If Western governments want to help, how about looking at ways to make healthier foods more affordable. A bag of oranges costs seven bucks. That's like seventy cents per orange, and a kick in the ass if your food budget is only a few dollars over a hundred. Lettuce is two bucks a head, and it's the rattiest, shittiest lettuce you ever saw. I know, we just got through winter, but still...
The other thing is, and I'll be honest here, I love the taste of meat. When I eat a meal, I like to have something that I can savor and enjoy. A salad is nice, but when I get finished with a salad, I'm already thinking about how good a burger would taste. I love steak, chicken, pork chops, meat loaf, ham, bacon... What kind of message is God sending us when the best-tasting foods are also the ones that will kill us faster? Thanks, God. I don't care if you're trying to teach us something about willpower and self-restraint, that's still an asshole move right there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Whoa, that was a bit of a gap, wasn't it? Two years, give or take? That's the problem with laziness - it sets into your bones like a winter chill, and it takes a couple minutes short of forever to pull out of it. It's not so much that I ran out of things to say... It was really more like I wanted to take a break from the website and the forums, and that break turned out to be a lot longer than I would have expected.

But at least I didn't start a war or anything.

So much has changed in two years, so much has not, and I find myself running into the same problem that you have when you run into an old friend you haven't seen in a while. The gap between you is so large it's intimidating, because there's simply too much to cover, and boredom would set in long before you could completely catch up. So what I'll do is go back and hit some of that gap stuff as we plod along, because the only thing more tiresome than the present is the past, and I should really space that shit out if I can.

If you're here now and wondering why you should come back, I suppose I should mention what my blogging interests are. Baseball, music, movies, television, computers, poker, world issues, humor... You know, what most people who putter around on the internet are interested in.

I must confess that I believe Christina Aguilera is the most beautiful celebrity on the planet, with Jessica Alba, Elisha Cuthbert, and Kirsten Dunst jockeying for that all-important runner-up prize. Alyson Hannigan won Miss Congeniality.

And finally... I am a Windows user. I am an IT Professional in a corporate environment, and we are Microsoft's bitches. I've never tried Apple or Linux or any of the other OS's that make the SlashDot crowd all jittery, and I probably never will, but I'm glad they're out there giving Bill Gates more ideas to steal. I do use Firefox, though.