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Providing information to unwitting victims on a "don't-need-to-know" basis since 1974.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

I'm Afraid of Americans

[Warning: I'm irritated today.]

OK. I do my best to inject more light than heat into political discourses. Not everyone on my side does this, but it seems like an exercise in futility, since conservatives are throwing back "arguments" like the following:

If you're a celebrity and you speak out against the war, you increase the troops' chances of getting killed.

If you support merely an irresponsibly massive tax cut rather than a insanely colossal one, you're little better than a cheese eating surrender monkey from France.

Enraging the rest of the world will make America safer. So will making al-Qaida recruiting easier.

Allowing same-sex marriages would either cause currently married people to feel freer to cheat on their spouses, or just gross heteroseuxals out so damn much that they'll stop getting married.

Maybe our side needs to come up with some talking points analogous to these.

An inadequate public health system leaves us vulnerable to catastrpohic pandemics such as SARS.

Nah, you're not thinking crazy and outrageous enough. Try harder.

Massive deficits will generate more weird revenue-enhancing proposalslike this one from Missouri, which purports to tax - I wish I were making this up - masturbation.

That almost makes sense. That will never do.

Bellicose country music songs that imply Saddam Hussein was directly responsible for 9/11 hurt American exports overseas.

No, that's not nearly ridiculous enough. Think "freedom fries."

If Republican judges are confirmed and allowed to dominate the judiciary, they'll force women to wear whalebone corsets in public.

Giving already wealthy celebrities more tax cuts will make them even richer and further from reality, which will result in more Michael Jackson-type behavior from currently reasonably well-adjusted celebrities.

Now we're getting somewhere with those last two.

There, that felt better.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Living In Sin

I was inspired to write this thought by this Matt Bruce observation of a pamphlet at a church he attends, and by a co-worker describing her relationship with her boyfriend, who has been previously married.

People who turn their headlights on during the daytime get into fewer accidents. This does not necessarily mean, however, that an unsafe driver can become safer simply by turning his or her headlights on during the daytime.

It's trumpted by religious types that couples who cohabitate before marriage are more likely to get divorced.
I don't necessarily doubt this is true. But it does not necessarily follow that cohabitating leads to a higher likelihood of divorce. It is somewhat counterintuitive as a logical proposition; strictly speaking, I'd think it'd be more likely that one or both spouses conclude they couldn't actually live under the same roof after marriage if they had never tried doing so before.

To be really crude about it, I imagine it's less likely you're going to return a car because you didn't like the way it handled if you'd test-driven it beforehand. Wedding night strikes me as a little late to find out you're sexually incompatible with your new spouse, for one reason or another; likewise, three days after the wedding strikes me as a little late to find out that, however attracted to your spouse you might be, that living with him or her is going to be a living hell, for one reason or another.

I could see more would-be marriages never happening as a result of such arrangements, but cohabiting causing more divorces doesn't seem to compute.

It might well be that people unwilling to cohabitate for reasons of morality or propriety are less likely to get divorced anyway, which means you'd have a "daytime lights" type of situation.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Sanctum Santorum (Part One)

I had a whole rant ready to write about Senator Rick Santorum and his mind-boggling idiocy.

But it's late and I'm tired so the only thought I can muster is...

This guy has seven kids, six of whom are still alive. The odds are that that means there will eventually be six people out there in the body politic raised to believe Santourm's utterly nonsensical and offensive comments represent "inclusiveness," or for that matter, sound logic.

And then I remember that Rev. Fred Phelps has a whole litter of kids too.

Times like these I feel sort of obligated to breed, if only to offset stuff like this.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Office Space

I have none. Well, almost none.

And, even by the standards of merger document review, these documents are dull, dry, and boring. Not to mention almost totally devoid of e-mail jokes, porn, snippy performance reviews, and other things that can brighten a reviewers' day.

I have become so easily amused that I giggled when I saw that the name of one corporate official shared his name with a country singer, and another who had a name that sounded a lot like that of a famous hockey player.

Fortunately, my office neighbors are the comedy gifts that keep on giving, for reasons I can't really get into on here.

And of course, as long as I'm cooped up in an office, the weather is beautiful. It's supposed to rain during all my time off this weekend. *sigh*

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

The Vanishing

As you might have guessed, my work schedule isn't going to allow me to post to this very much in the next couple of weeks. I hope you can get along without me, dear readers...

Monday, April 21, 2003

When It Rains...

Not a call for work for weeks and weeks.

So, in the last week, I get a call from one agency about two different jobs. Then I get a call from another agency offering me work right then on there, but starting on Tuesday.

Now I have an interview for a longer-term, better job. Tomorrow. The same day I'm supposed to start work at my temporary job.

Argh. Where have these people been the last two months?

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Taking Stock

OK, so it's 18 games in. The Red Sox bullpen is the laughing stock of the league. Pedro Martinez has one win in four starts. Manny Ramirez hasn't really gotten started yet, and new DH Jeremy Giambi has been picking up where Tony Clark left off last year.

Given all that, I'll gladly take 13-5 as a record, even if it's against the Little Three of the AL East.

Toronto, at least, is not this bad. They started slow last year as their pitching imploded and their offense couldn't make up for it, but once their guys start hitting, they could be dangerous - assuming they don't bury themselves in the first two months of the season again.

Regarding the whole closer situation...these three weeks haven't really "proven" anything. No bullpen scheme anyone could dream up could possibly work if no one pitches well. I still think what they are doing could still work, though it seems that their patting themselves on the back for their "innovation" is what's really coming back to bite them. It would have the added advantage of being cheaper, since "closer" type pitchers are paid a lot of money to pitch relatively few innings, many of them (9th inning, 3-run lead, bases empty, for instance) not particularly "high leverage."

I just dread the day that the Sox break the bank for a "proven closer" like Antonio Alfonseca or Roberto Hernandez.

Don't panic yet - the Yankees will someday lose a game. (When do the Twins stop playing them again? The Twins for some reason tend to roll over and play dead when they see pinstripes.)

Thursday, April 17, 2003

We Have A Winner

Well, our totally subjective and unscientific method of determining the Worst Pop Song Ever finally has a result:

"My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titanic)" by Celine Dion.

Go to Jukebox From Hell and check it out.

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Summertime Rolls

According to the weather forecasts, this was the last glorious summer day we're going to have for a while. Rain is supposed to come in and darken the skies this weekend.

I enjoyed it while it lasted - the fragrant cherry blossoms, the chirping birds, and the bright sun.

I went to the zoo today, and I didn't always find the animals that were pictured on the signs - but everywhere I went were ducks, and they were quacking. There is something very peaceful about ducks quacking.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Nothing's Shocking

OK, so I'm watching the news, and they're going on and on and on about all the stuff they found in Uday Hussein's mansion in Baghdad. (Uday Hussein is one of Saddam's sons.) He's got tons of liquor, from premium tequila to expensive wine. And Cuban cigars with his name on them. And his huge black book with womens' phone numbers. And lots of pornography, meticulously labeled. And weapons, some of them gold plated. The whole thing sounds like a TRASH question in the making.

Now, it's clear that Uday is not playing with a full deck here. As head of the Iraqi Olympic Committee, his exploits with jailing and torturing atheletes is well known. And some of this stuff is undeniably disturbing. He seems to be serial-killer creepy.

However, I don't know whether I should be encouraged or cynical at the righteous anger the newscaster worked up when they say that "he lives like a king while his people suffer in poverty."

It sounded as if he was either unaware of or indifferent to the fact that you can find people like this in every Third World country, whether friendly or unfriendly to the United States. Remember Wandlitz? Or the shoes of Imelda Marcos? Or the Swiss bank accounts of Mobutu or Duvalier?

Heck, there are plenty of people suffering in poverty in this country at this very moment, along with some of us who are living like kings, perhaps even more so than Uday Hussein.

Does this represent some breakthrough in social justice? Or merely yet another cynical post-hoc attempt to justify this war? Given that the junta in charge of this country is busy trying to give their cronies more tax breaks while curtting veterans' benefits and running up massive deficits with this war, I'd guess the latter.

Idiots Rule

Check out this excerpt from a news article on the Augusta National protests.

Throughout the morning, law enforcement officers stood on the perimeter of the five-acre field. At no point did the protest turn violent, though officers escorted Heywood Jablome away after he held up a sign directly in front of Burk that read "Make me dinner" before shouting "Oprah rules."

Stupid reporter. Heh heh.

This is why I make a point to read Eschaton frequently.

The Word

I think I might have coined a new word this weekend.

Something is “meta-funny” if:
You find yourself laughing, not because of the material itself, or its delivery, but because of the idea that someone somewhere thought that this was funny or in some other way good, and convinced some requisite number of people that the material was in fact amusing or otherwise worth watching such that you, the viewer, were subjected to it.
Usually “meta-funny” material was intended to be funny, but sometimes material intended to be dramatic can fall into this category as well.

Most of the laughs an average recent episode of “Saturday Night Live” comes from its meta-funny nature. It is what in fact makes the recurring “Wake Up Wakefield” sketches almost watchable.

I never watched it, but I imagine “Baby Bob” and many other disastrously failed sitcoms fall into this category. The ten minutes of “Oliver Beene” I came across reeked of meta-funny.

Television is a richer source of “meta-funny” than film since it generally takes more people to make a feature film and somewhere along the line there are more chances to torpedo bad ideas. But sometimes horribly misguided ideas make the big screen too. (I think we should all, whether we believe in a higher being or not, pray to someone or something that the proposed remake of “Casablanca,” starring Ben Affleck and J. Lo, never happens.)

Perhaps the most “meta-funny” concept of all time is the very idea that they even made a Broadway musical out of Stephen King’s “Carrie.” How many different people had to give that one the green light to allow such a thing to happen?

Monday, April 14, 2003

The Road To Nowhere

Five people packed into a Suzuki whatever that was, for an eight plus hour trip from Worcester, Massachusetts to Washington, DC. I wondered if the engine actually belonged in a lawnmower or perhaps a moped. But it did produce interesting conversations. Unfortunately, because I became increasingly incoherent as the evening wore on, I only remembered two of the more interesting ones…

Tricia: So who did you use your blackballs [Craig’s upcoming “best band of all time” poll] on?
Me : Creed. There was never a doubt in my mind about that one. The difference between Christ and Scott Stapp is that Christ never pretended to be Scott Stapp.
Andrew: Hmm…maybe they should treat Scott Stapp like he really was Jesus. Heh, heh.
Justin: But what if Scott Stapp is actually Christ resurrected, and figured rock music is the best way to send his message to the masses?
Edmund: God owes us an apology.
Tim: You know what I’d like to see? I wouldn’t mind seeing the resurrected Christ come back, hire a decent lawyer, and start filing libel suits. Jesus vs. Falwell and such.

[Listening to Paul McCartney and Wings “Listen To What The Man Said”]
Tim: This sax solo really sucks.
Tricia: This gives us all a bad name.
Tim: I think maybe we should bring him up on charges.
Edmund: Let’s see who this is.
[Edmund gets out his PDA, logs on to http://www.allmusic.com and finds out that the offending sax player’s name is Tom Scott. He then proceeds to reads a list of artists’ records that Tom Scott played on. It is a virtual who’s who of 70s schlock – Barry Manilow, The Osmonds, The Carpenters, Dan Fogelburg, Bread - you name it, it’s on there. Nearly every artist who had a Jukebox From Hell entry who was active during the 70s.]
Tricia: He needs to be brought up on crimes against humanity.
Edmund: He played on Steely Dan’s “Aja.”
Tim: Wow. Blind squirrel finds nut.

Oh, yeah, the tournament. Once again, my team fell short. We remain the Boston Red Sox of the trash circuit, at least with regards to the two big events, TRASHionals and Trash Masters. Fourth place isn’t bad, all things considered – we lost to the three teams who finished ahead of us, and beat everyone we played who finished behind us.

The worst thing about missing the finals by five points is that you second-guess everything that happens in that one game, especially if you did it yourself. Always picking the wrong answer when you can get the possible answers down to two. Using a “lame” on something you were sure of getting at least some points on, only to goose egg the last two bonuses of the round (something that did not happen at any other time in the tournament).

I feel like I’m getting a little old for even this type of quiz bowl, both in terms of playing ability (I felt like my reaction time was a tad slower this year, and there’s more material I know next to nothing about now) and just generally feeling old at these things.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003


Wednesday Morning, 11 AM

Three things I sometimes feel like saying, appropo of nothing, in public.

"By the power of Greyskull....I HAVE THE POWER!"

"Ancient Spirits of Evil....transform this decayed form into..."

"Soundwave, prepare the energon cubes!"


I wonder what'd happen...

Friday, April 04, 2003

Spice Up Your Life

Writers’ block has hit the Answer Guy hard today. So, instead of reading a boring old blog essay about nothing, here are five ultra-bizarre web sites to check out.

Weight Watchers Recipe Cards From 1974 – Truly disturbing. I wonder if people ever made half these recipes.

Prison Game - Here is a crude simulation of life in the slammer.

Urinal Game - Think you know urinal etiquette? Play the Urinal Game and find out!

We Like The Moon - This song had to have been written by an ADD sufferer, right? Either way, it’s extraordinarily amusing.

Big Mouth Billy Bass Hack Instructions - Ever wanted to know how to hack a Big Mouth Billy Bass so it can say whatever you want it to say instead of singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” or “Take Me To The River?” No? Well here’s how anyway.

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