Thursday, April 26, 2007

From the book

I mentioned yesterday that I was trying to book Christopher Hitchens for the radio show. Mind you I have been down this trail before to less than stellar results, the most recent time, I had gotten as far as to find out that at the time we were hoping to have him on the show he was in Iran of all places.

That being said, I have waited with much anticipation for his newest book to come out. Mainly because it is a topic he and I agree on, though he always tends to be much more brutal in his observations than I. Metaphorically speaking, some people have viwed truth as some sort of sharp edged weapon, cutting away that which is false. I am not one of them, I tend to view truth more as a blunt weapon, it may leave a mark, but in the end it will not kill you. With that in mind, here comes Hitchens, and he is bringing a hammer. (The following is from the just released book.)

fighting words
God Is Not Great
Religion poisons everything.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Wednesday, April 25, 2007, at 1:31 PM ET

From: Christopher Hitchens
Subject: Religion Poisons Everything

Posted Wednesday, April 25, 2007, at 1:31 PM ET

There are four irreducible objections to religious faith: that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum of servility with the maximum of solipsism, that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking.

I do not think it is arrogant of me to claim that I had already discovered these four objections (as well as noticed the more vulgar and obvious fact that religion is used by those in temporal charge to invest themselves with authority) before my boyish voice had broken. I am morally certain that millions of other people came to very similar conclusions in very much the same way, and I have since met such people in hundreds of places, and in dozens of different countries. Many of them never believed, and many of them abandoned faith after a difficult struggle. Some of them had blinding moments of un-conviction that were every bit as instantaneous, though perhaps less epileptic and apocalyptic (and later more rationally and more morally justified) than Saul of Tarsus on the Damascene road. And here is the point, about myself and my co-thinkers. Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake. We do not hold our convictions dogmatically: the disagreement between Professor Stephen Jay Gould and Professor Richard Dawkins, concerning "punctuated evolution" and the unfilled gaps in post-Darwinian theory, is quite wide as well as quite deep, but we shall resolve it by evidence and reasoning and not by mutual excommunication. (My own annoyance at Professor Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, for their cringe-making proposal that atheists should conceitedly nominate themselves to be called "brights," is a part of a continuous argument.) We are not immune to the lure of wonder and mystery and awe: we have music and art and literature, and find that the serious ethical dilemmas are better handled by Shakespeare and Tolstoy and Schiller and Dostoyevsky and George Eliot than in the mythical morality tales of the holy books. Literature, not scripture, sustains the mind and—since there is no other metaphor—also the soul. We do not believe in heaven or hell, yet no statistic will ever find that without these blandishments and threats we commit more crimes of greed or violence than the faithful. (In fact, if a proper statistical inquiry could ever be made, I am sure the evidence would be the other way.) We are reconciled to living only once, except through our children, for whom we are perfectly happy to notice that we must make way, and room. We speculate that it is at least possible that, once people accepted the fact of their short and struggling lives, they might behave better toward each other and not worse. We believe with certainty that an ethical life can be lived without religion. And we know for a fact that the corollary holds true—that religion has caused innumerable people not just to conduct themselves no better than others, but to award themselves permission to behave in ways that would make a brothel-keeper or an ethnic cleanser raise an eyebrow.

Most important of all, perhaps, we infidels do not need any machinery of reinforcement. We are those who Blaise Pascal took into account when he wrote to the one who says, "I am so made that I cannot believe."

There is no need for us to gather every day, or every seven days, or on any high and auspicious day, to proclaim our rectitude or to grovel and wallow in our unworthiness. We atheists do not require any priests, or any hierarchy above them, to police our doctrine. Sacrifices and ceremonies are abhorrent to us, as are relics and the worship of any images or objects (even including objects in the form of one of man's most useful innovations: the bound book). To us no spot on earth is or could be "holier" than another: to the ostentatious absurdity of the pilgrimage, or the plain horror of killing civilians in the name of some sacred wall or cave or shrine or rock, we can counterpose a leisurely or urgent walk from one side of the library or the gallery to another, or to lunch with an agreeable friend, in pursuit of truth or beauty. Some of these excursions to the bookshelf or the lunch or the gallery will obviously, if they are serious, bring us into contact with belief and believers, from the great devotional painters and composers to the works of Augustine, Aquinas, Maimonides, and Newman. These mighty scholars may have written many evil things or many foolish things, and been laughably ignorant of the germ theory of disease or the place of the terrestrial globe in the solar system, let alone the universe, and this is the plain reason why there are no more of them today, and why there will be no more of them tomorrow. Religion spoke its last intelligible or noble or inspiring words a long time ago: either that or it mutated into an admirable but nebulous humanism, as did, say, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a brave Lutheran pastor hanged by the Nazis for his refusal to collude with them. We shall have no more prophets or sages from the ancient quarter, which is why the devotions of today are only the echoing repetitions of yesterday, sometimes ratcheted up to screaming point so as to ward off the terrible emptiness.

While some religious apology is magnificent in its limited way—one might cite Pascal—and some of it is dreary and absurd—here one cannot avoid naming C. S. Lewis—both styles have something in common, namely the appalling load of strain that they have to bear. How much effort it takes to affirm the incredible! The Aztecs had to tear open a human chest cavity every day just to make sure that the sun would rise. Monotheists are supposed to pester their deity more times than that, perhaps, lest he be deaf. How much vanity must be concealed—not too effectively at that—in order to pretend that one is the personal object of a divine plan? How much self-respect must be sacrificed in order that one may squirm continually in an awareness of one's own sin? How many needless assumptions must be made, and how much contortion is required, to receive every new insight of science and manipulate it so as to "fit" with the revealed words of ancient man-made deities? How many saints and miracles and councils and conclaves are required in order first to be able to establish a dogma and then—after infinite pain and loss and absurdity and cruelty—to be forced to rescind one of those dogmas? God did not create man in his own image. Evidently, it was the other way about, which is the painless explanation for the profusion of gods and religions, and the fratricide both between and among faiths, that we see all about us and that has so retarded the development of civilization.

The mildest criticism of religion is also the most radical and the most devastating one. Religion is man-made. Even the men who made it cannot agree on what their prophets or redeemers or gurus actually said or did. Still less can they hope to tell us the "meaning" of later discoveries and developments which were, when they began, either obstructed by their religions or denounced by them. And yet—the believers still claim to know! Not just to know, but to know everything. Not just to know that god exists, and that he created and supervised the whole enterprise, but also to know what "he" demands of us—from our diet to our observances to our sexual morality. In other words, in a vast and complicated discussion where we know more and more about less and less, yet can still hope for some enlightenment as we proceed, one faction—itself composed of mutually warring factions—has the sheer arrogance to tell us that we already have all the essential information we need. Such stupidity, combined with such pride, should be enough on its own to exclude "belief" from the debate. The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.

The argument with faith is the foundation and origin of all arguments, because it is the beginning—but not the end—of all arguments about philosophy, science, history, and human nature. It is also the beginning—but by no means the end—of all disputes about the good life and the just city. Religious faith is, precisely because we are still-evolving creatures, ineradicable. It will never die out, or at least not until we get over our fear of death, and of the dark, and of the unknown, and of each other. For this reason, I would not prohibit it even if I thought I could. Very generous of me, you may say. But will the religious grant me the same indulgence? I ask because there is a real and serious difference between me and my religious friends, and the real and serious friends are sufficiently honest to admit it. I would be quite content to go to their children's bar mitzvahs, to marvel at their Gothic cathedrals, to "respect" their belief that the Koran was dictated, though exclusively in Arabic, to an illiterate merchant, or to interest myself in Wicca and Hindu and Jain consolations. And as it happens, I will continue to do this without insisting on the polite reciprocal condition—which is that they in turn leave me alone. But this, religion is ultimately incapable of doing. As I write these words, and as you read them, people of faith are in their different ways planning your and my destruction, and the destruction of all the hard-won human attainments that I have touched upon. Religion poisons everything.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

Article URL:

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Counting the days

Really, need we say more?

He's back, simply because I haven't pissed anyone off in 24 hrs or so

Yeah, this will offend some. Not as much as his new book will (I really do have to get it BTW, maybe even secure an interview if I am skilled enough to do so). It should be noted that some poeple will take solace in knowing that they weren't the only ones wondering what all the fuss was about last week, but those of you that have come here more than once know I like Christopher Hitchens (and a big thank you to Great Britian for giving him to us) and Hitchens tends to piss people off (maybe that is why I like him).

fighting words
Suck It Up
After the shootings came an orgy of mawkishness, sloppiness, and false sentiment.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2007, at 2:29 PM ET

When people in America say "no man is an island," as Joan Didion once put it, they think they are quoting Ernest Hemingway. But when Hemingway annexed the seductive words from John Donne's Devotions, quoting the whole paragraph on his title page and borrowing from it one of the 20th century's most resonant titles, he did not literally mean to say that all funerals are the same or that all deaths are to be regretted equally. He meant that if the Spanish republic went under to fascism, we should all be the losers. It was a matter both of solidarity and of self-interest: Stand by your friends now, or be shamed (and deserted in your turn) later on.

The grisly events at Virginia Tech involved no struggle, no sacrifice, no great principle. They were random and pointless. Those who died were not soldiers in any cause. They were not murdered by our enemies. They were not martyrs. But—just to take one example from the exhausting national sob fest of the past few days—here is how the bells were tolled for them at another national seat of learning. The president of Cornell University, David J. Skorton, ordered the chimes on his campus to be rung 33 times before addressing a memorial gathering. Thirty-three times? Yes. "We are here," announced the head of an institution of higher learning:

for all of those who are gone, for all 33. We are here for the 32 who have passed from the immediate to another place, not by their own choice. We are also here for the one who has also passed. We are one.

For an academic president to have equated 32 of his fellow humans with their murderer in an orgy of "one-ness" was probably the stupidest thing that happened last week, but not by a very wide margin. Almost everybody in the country seems to have taken this non-event as permission to talk the starkest nonsense. And why not? Since the slaughter raised no real issues, it was a blank slate on which anyone could doodle. Try this, from the eighth straight day of breathless coverage in the New York Times. The person being quoted is the Rev. Susan Verbrugge of Blacksburg Presbyterian Church, addressing her congregation in an attempt, in the silly argot of the day, "to make sense of the senseless":

Ms. Verbrugge recounted breaking through the previous week's numbness as she stopped on a morning walk and found herself yelling at the mountains and at God. Though her shouts were initially met with silence, she said, she soon was reassured by the simplest of things, the chirping of birds.

"God was doing something about the world," she said. "Starting with my own heart, I could see good."

Yes, it's always about you, isn't it? (By the way, I'd watch that habit of yelling at mountains and God in the greater Blacksburg area if I were you. Some idiot might take it for a "warning sign.") When piffle like this gets respectful treatment from the media, we can guess that it's not because of the profundity of the emotion but rather because of its extreme shallowness. Those birds were singing just as loudly and just as sweetly when the bullets were finding their targets.

But the quest for greater "meaning" was unstoppable. Will Korean-Americans be "targeted"? (Thanks for putting the idea into the head of some nutcase, but really, what an insulting question!) Last week, I noticed from my window in Washington, D.C., that the Russian trade mission had lowered its flag. President Putin's commercial envoys, too, want to be a part of it all: surely proof in itself of how utterly painless all this vicarious "pain" really is. (And now, what are they going to do for Boris Yeltsin?)

On Saturday night, I watched disgustedly as the president of the United States declined to give his speech to the White House Correspondents Dinner on the grounds that this was no time to be swapping jokes and satires. (What? No words of courage? No urging us to put on a brave face and go shopping or visit Disneyland?) Everyone in the room knew that this was a dismal cop-out, but then everyone in the room also knew that our own profession was co-responsible. If the president actually had performed his annual duty, there were people in the press corps who would have affected shock and accused him of "insensitivity." So, this was indeed a moment of unity—everyone united in mawkishness and sloppiness and false sentiment. From now on, any president who wants to duck the occasion need only employ a staffer on permanent weepy-watch. In any given week, there is sure to be some maimed orphan, or splattered home, or bus plunge, or bunch of pilgrims put to the sword. Best to be ready in advance to surrender all critical faculties and whip out the national hankie.

It was my friend Adolph Reed who first pointed out this tendency to what he called "vicarious identification." At the time of the murder of Lisa Steinberg in New York in 1987, he was struck by the tendency of crowds to show up for funerals of people they didn't know, often throwing teddy bears over the railings and in other ways showing that (as well as needing to get a life) they in some bizarre way seemed to need to get a death. The hysteria that followed a traffic accident in Paris involving a disco princess—surely the most hyped non-event of all time—seemed to suggest an even wider surrender to the overwhelming need to emote: The less at stake, the greater the grieving.

And surrender may be the keyword here. What, for instance, is this dismal rush to lower the national colors all the damned time? At times of real crisis and genuine emergency, such as the assault on our society that was mounted almost six years ago, some emotion could be pardoned. But even then, the signs of sickliness and foolishness were incipient (as in Billy Graham's disgusting sermon at the National Cathedral where he spoke of the victims being "called into eternity"). If we did this every time, the flag would spend its entire time drooping. One should express a decent sympathy for the families and friends of the murdered, a decent sympathy that ought to be accompanied by a decent reticence. Because Virginia Tech—alas for poor humanity—was a calamity with no implications beyond itself. In the meantime, and in expectation of rather stiffer challenges to our composure, we might practice nailing the colors to the mast rather than engaging in a permanent dress rehearsal for masochism and the lachrymose.

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and the author of the newly published God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sometimes I am sorry only one can win

Yes, we are barely into the week, an this week's Asshat winner will have to fend off many challenges. In the business, it is what we call a target rich enviroment. Sheryl Crow and her "just use one square of toilet paper" has to be in the mix. But can it top a potential Scott Baio reality show? Fresh off of not finding a publisher for his autobiography (for which he won an Asshat, making him a potential two time winner), we have this;


'Self-serving' Scott Baio Eats Crow, Plans a Reality Show


Not even the sordid details of how he almost donated sperm to Liza Minnelli were enough to find Scott Baio a publisher for his romantic tell-all. But that hasn't stopped the washed-up actor from pursuing a career in that other medium for washed-up actors: reality television.

The former Charles in Charge star is set to chronicle his dating life in L.A. for a VH1 show tentatively titled, Scott Baio is 45 ... And Single. Although no premiere date has been picked, a source close to production tells Radar, "it's essentially Scott Baio running around on dates trying to find a girlfriend. It's sort of sad."

Especially considering that, when asked a while ago whether he'd ever consider a reality show, Baio told Radar:

No. I just think it's very indulgent, self-serving. It's just not what I want to do with my life. I don't want to be that guy. I don't have to be that guy. I know this is a cyclical business, and I'm not going to do something that's going to hurt my future work. Plus, I just hate those shows. I can't comment on why anyone else would do it. I just don't know.

But wait, there is still more. Enter the Akon nomination, where our illustrious rapper takes time during a concert to dry hump a 14 year old girl. With all of your video goodness,

And kids, it's only Tuesday!!!!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Your weekly Asshat, and hey, it's on time this week

The Asshat of the Week is full of potential nominees, one of which I mentioned in Alec Baldwin. I also considered the suggestion that Kim Basinger should be a joint winner if Alec won, a suggestion that I concur with. The problem is, they weren't Asshatty enough.

Rather, we once again visit Virginia Tech, not for the police respones to the tragedy, nor are we going to go the shooter route, rather we are going to go the route of those who thought that this would be the perfect time to make a buck. Yes, before the bodies were even cold, the press releases were flying from companies and individuals that sought financial gain from 32 murdered college students. In all its gloriousness, here is the background behind this week's Asshat. Usually I would say "enjoy" at this point, but I think sickened silence may be called for instead.

The Sensitive Art of Marketing After a Tragedy
In the days after the Virginia Tech shooting, companies are grappling with how to sell potentially related products without appearing exploitative.
By Brian Braiker
Updated: 2:57 p.m. ET April 19, 2007

April 19, 2007 - The shooting at Virginia Tech wasn’t even a day old when Mobile Campus e-mailed a press release to technology reporters. “Everyone’s asking why the students at Virginia Tech weren’t notified of the shootings more quickly and efficiently,” it began. “I’d like to suggest a story on a proven emergency-notification system.” The system, naturally, is made by the company pitching the story. MIR3, another business that offers a similar mass-notification service, sent out a pitch of its own, claiming that universities had reacted to the Virginia Tech disaster by considering implementation of their technology. Several high-profile media companies, meanwhile, quickly bought shooting-related keywords to drive search engines to their coverage.

Are these examples of socially responsible marketing, or crass exploitation of tragedy? If technology can alert thousands of people via text message, e-mail and cell phone to a potentially life-threatening situation, is the aftermath of an atrocity the best moment to choose to push those products? And is it in bad taste for news outlets to sponsor links on Google? “It’s a fine line,” concedes Howard Ryan, CEO of Desktop Alert, which posted a corporate statement on its Web site expressing sympathy for the victims—and then pointing out: “Technology is readily available for mitigating these senseless and horrific tragedies.” The company, which has since taken down the statement, also initially included links to rival firms to avoid appearing to seek profit from the killings. “We feel our accomplishments lend great credentials. It’s so affordable, it’s absurd,” says Ryan.

The debate over marketing methods is likely to heat up as the initial shock over the shooting dies down. Some ad-and-media commentators, meanwhile, are careful to stress that it’s the nature of the product being sold—rather than the selling itself—that needs to pass the taste test. “I have spent about two decades shaming advertisers for exploiting the grief and sentiment around national tragedies to burnish their own image,” Bob Garfield, a longtime columnist for Advertising Age, tells NEWSWEEK. “This is very different. People have applications that could prevent the next catastrophe. Of course they have to use this opportunity not only to build their own businesses but to get important messages out.”

Mass-notification companies weren’t the only ones struggling to find a way to get a potentially relevant product in front of consumers this week. Media companies such as The New York Times, The Washington Post (also owned by NEWSWEEK's parent company), (a technology partner to NEWSWEEK), Minnesota Public Radio and others sponsored results to Google searches for the words “Virginia shooting.” It’s hardly rare for media companies to purchase key words in the hopes of driving more traffic to their sites, but some online observers felt uncomfortable given the context. “It strikes me as incredibly tacky,” writes Advertising Age's Ken Wheaton on the trade magazine’s Web site.

Not all media specialists agree. Garfield, who also hosts National Public Radio’s “On the Media,” calls keyword buying “simply using Google for the purpose that it was intended.” Vivian Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of The New York Times’s Web site,, expresses a similar opinion. “This is nothing new and it’s also something that’s ubiquitous among news Web sites,” she says. “Obviously, this is a horrific, tragic story, but we’re a news organization. This is just another way to help us connect readers to our content.” Schiller notes that there is no advertising on the Times’s sponsored link to a “Virginia shooting” search. “We do this very carefully to make sure our supporting text isn’t in the slightest bit sensational.”

However, Charlie Tillinghast, the publisher and general manager of, was less emphatic. Tillinghast told NEWSWEEK that he was unaware his site had been sponsoring the search terms. "We are not consciously sitting here saying, 'We should go buy "Virginia shooting",'" he says. "If we had known about this, we probably would have taken it down. It serves no purpose for us." Tillinghast believes that a firm hired by MSNBC to handle search- agent marketing may have been behind the keyword purchase.

Elsewhere online, private individuals had begun conducting their own debates on—and forays into—the marketing of tragedy. On eBay, some sellers promptly registered for domain names in questionable taste and rushed to sell them to the highest bidder. One user, under the name “lacway,” was selling “” Another, going as “number1spot_com” was trying to sell the domain names “” and “”—among others—for $19.99. "Sure the auction is in bad taste to some people,” number1spot_com—who refused to provide his or her real name—wrote in a response to a query from NEWSWEEK. “This is not the first nor the last auction created for items that are related to tragic events. I went ahead with the sale because if I didn't do it, some one else would have, plain and simple."

EBay says it will take down any listing violating its “offensive material policy.” However, says spokesman Nichola Sharpe, it can take time to police the 6.6 million new listings that go up every day. “Appreciate that there are some that go up that we haven’t gotten yet,” she says. And more, no doubt, to come.


TV update

For those that are interested;

'Devastating' Bill Moyers Probe of Press and Iraq Coming This Week

By Greg Mitchell

Published: April 21, 2007 9:00 PM ET

NEW YORK (Commentary) The most powerful indictment of the news media for falling down in its duties in the run-up to the war in Iraq will appear next Wednesday, a 90-minute PBS broadcast called "Buying the War," which marks the return of "Bill Moyers Journal." E&P was sent a preview DVD and a draft transcript for the program this week.

While much of the evidence of the media's role as cheerleaders for the war presented here is not new, it is skillfully assembled, with many fresh quotes from interviews (with the likes of Tim Russert and Walter Pincus) along with numerous embarrassing examples of past statements by journalists and pundits that proved grossly misleading or wrong. Several prominent media figures, prodded by Moyers, admit the media failed miserably, though few take personal responsibility.

The war continues today, now in its fifth year, with the death toll for Americans and Iraqis rising again -- yet Moyers points out, "the press has yet to come to terms with its role in enabling the Bush Administration to go to war on false pretenses."

Among the few heroes of this devastating film are reporters with the Knight Ridder/McClatchy bureau in D.C. Tragically late, Walter Isaacson, who headed CNN, observes, "The people at Knight Ridder were calling the colonels and the lieutenants and the people in the CIA and finding out, you know, that the intelligence is not very good. We should've all been doing that."

At the close, Moyers mentions some of the chief proponents of the war who refused to speak to him for this program, including Thomas Friedman, Bill Kristol, Roger Ailes, Charles Krauthammer, Judith Miller, and William Safire.

But Dan Rather, the former CBS anchor, admits, "I don't think there is any excuse for, you know, my performance and the performance of the press in general in the roll up to the war&hellipWe didn't dig enough. And we shouldn't have been fooled in this way." Bob Simon, who had strong doubts about evidence for war, was asked by Moyers if he pushed any of the top brass at CBS to "dig deeper," and he replies, "No, in all honesty, with a thousand mea culpas&hellip.nope, I don't think we followed up on this."

Instead he covered the marketing of the war in a "softer" way, explaining to Moyers: "I think we all felt from the beginning that to deal with a subject as explosive as this, we should keep it, in a way, almost light – if that doesn't seem ridiculous."

Moyers replies: "Going to war, almost light."

Walter Isaacson is pushed hard by Moyers and finally admits, "We didn't question our sources enough." But why? Isaacson notes there was "almost a patriotism police" after 9/11 and when the network showed civilian casualties it would get phone calls from advertisers and the administration and "big people in corporations were calling up and saying, 'You're being anti-American here.'"

Moyers then mentions that Isaacson had sent a memo to staff, leaked to the Washington Post, in which he declared, "It seems perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan" and ordered them to balance any such images with reminders of 9/11. Moyers also asserts that editors at the Panama City (Fla.) News-Herald received an order from above, "Do not use photos on Page 1A showing civilian casualties. Our sister paper has done so and received hundreds and hundreds of threatening emails."

Walter Pincus of the Washington Post explains that even at his paper reporters "do worry about sort of getting out ahead of something." But Moyers gives credit to Charles J. Hanley of The Associated Press for trying, in vain, to draw more attention to United Nations inspectors failing to find WMD in early 2003.

The disgraceful press reaction to Colin Powell's presentation at the United Nations seems like something out of Monty Python, with one key British report cited by Powell being nothing more than a student's thesis, downloaded from the Web -- with the student later threatening to charge U.S. officials with "plagiarism."

Phil Donahue recalls that he was told he could not feature war dissenters alone on his MSNBC talk show and always had to have "two conservatives for every liberal." Moyers resurrects a leaked NBC memo about Donahue's firing that claimed he "presents a difficult public face for NBC in a time of war. At the same time our competitors are waving the flag at every opportunity."

Moyers also throws some stats around: In the year before the invasion William Safire (who predicted a "quick war" with Iraqis cheering their liberators) wrote "a total of 27 opinion pieces fanning the sparks of war." The Washington Post carried at least 140 front-page stories in that same period making the administration's case for attack. In the six months leading to the invasion the Post would "editorialize in favor of the war at least 27 times."

Of the 414 Iraq stories broadcast on NBC, ABC and CBS nightly news in the six months before the war, almost all could be traced back to sources solely in the White House, Pentagon or State Dept., Moyers tells Russert, who offers no coherent reply.

The program closes on a sad note, with Moyers pointing out that "so many of the advocates and apologists for the war are still flourishing in the media." He then runs a pre-war clip of President Bush declaring, "We cannot wait for the final proof: the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud." Then he explains: "The man who came up with it was Michael Gerson, President Bush's top speechwriter.

"He has left the White House and has been hired by the Washington Post as a columnist."

Greg Mitchell's most recent column on Iraq:
"Sorry We Shot Your Kid, But Here's $500"

Greg Mitchell ( is editor and author of seven books on politics and history, including two for Random House, "The Campaign of the Century" and "Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady."


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Glog Pirates Dodgers

Let it be said first and foremost, by glogging this game I am literally taking one for the team. The Pirates stink, yet here I am to recount all of the action in all it's relative glory.

For those who haven't guessed, I am covering the Pirates/Dodgers game for you, the dear reader, because I know that it will hold you in rapt attention, certainly more attention than it will hold me. What is better is that the game is in Los Angeles, so we will get underway at 10pm EST.

I have alot of material to go through so I will have plenty of things to talk about as the game progresses and if the game is anything like last night's fiasco, a 10-2 loss, I will have plenty of time to get it all in.

Chris Duffy is leading off for the Pirates and holy cow, it is an infield single. This constitutes a rally for the young Pirates, who enter tonight's action with a robust 6-9 record. My goodness, a passed ball sends Duffy to second and then the throw down to second base is off the mark and Duffy takes third. The Pirates have a guy on third after hitting a ball all of 65 feet maybe. Jack Wilson grounds out and Duffy scores on the play and early, it' s a 1-0 lead for our Buccos.

Remember how I quit my part time job a few blogs back? More on that in a second, as another ground out and a strike out, the Pirates lead the majors in strikeouts, and after half an inning it is 1-0.

Anyway, as I was saying about the part time job, remember how I left a few days back. I couldn't be happier about that decision right now, as otherwise I might have given somebody a death sentence the other night. The job you may remember was to take pizza orders for Vocelli Pizza, then send them to the appropriate store. Well a couple of nights ago, someone took an order for the Vocelli Swissvale location, which is a town adjacent to Pittsburgh. Anyway, the order was taken and it turns out it wasn't an order at all, it was an ambush, the driver arrived and was shot and killed for his efforts. Had I still worked there, it very well could have been me who sent him to his death, something I am sure would have weighed heavily on me. That is one of the disadvantages of having a centralized call location, the order takers do not know the terrain around the stores, sure the addresses will show up in the system, but actually having knowledge of the ground may have helped prevent that from happening. I know when I managed a pizza shop, the first rule of thumb for me with the drivers was, if it doesn't look safe, don't get out of the car, we will eat the loss on the order before we will put anyone in jeopardy like that.

Bottom of the first, two out for the Dodgers and Nomar Garciaparra is on second with a bloop double. Jeff Kent has just singled him in and as quickly as the Pirates took the lead in the top of the inning they have lost it in the bottom as we are tied 1-1. A ground out closes out the first inning and we remain tied at 1.

I guess now is as good a time as any to do a Joe Random update. My stay in the major leagues was a brief one, I got in all of two games, where I hit well, in my two starts I went 5 for 7 with 4 singles and a double and one run scored, but Ty Wiggington came off of the disabled list and I was sent back down to the minor leagues once again. In three games since I went back to the minors I have hit 2 more homeruns, so hopefully I will get called up again sooner rather than later.

Top of the second inning , we lead off with a walk to Adam LaRoche, which is impressive because he strikes out literally one third of the time, so the idea that he took 4 pitches in amazing in itself. What is not amazing is that Xavier Nady follows that up by grounding into a double play, so there are two outs and nobody on. Jose Batista records the Pirates second hit of the night, and this one gets out of the infield, and it is also a single but is immediately followed up with another ground out, so in the middle of the second inning it remains 1-1.

I hope everyone enjoyed the hockey glog the other evening, it turned out it was the Penguins only win of the series as they fell in the best of seven to Ottawa 4-1. It was a good season for the Pens, given how bad they have been recently, and the youth on the roster certainly bodes well for the future, so while I would like to see them still playing, I can appreciate what they did and how far they have come. Unlike the Pirates, who have managed to string together 14 consecutive losing seasons, which is why glogging this game is a bitter pill to swallow, yet I do it for you, the dedicated reader, and because it gives me something to do while in the comfy Renda Broadcasting studios.

Yes, it was the best day of the spring by far, a high of 74 degrees and nothing but blue skies, yet I opted to work, well I didn't really opt so much as someone called off and I said I could do it in a pinch. It is a change of pace from the morning show, as you produce three different shows, "The Handyman Show w/Jack Etzel", "Garden Talk w/Jane Nugent" and "Birds and Nature w/Scott Shalloway". All topics of which I know nothing about, so all I did was answer phones and push buttons. Afterward I figured I would get some production work done, I recorded 4 commercial feeds, 2 Clark Howard minutes, a commercial for 10000 Villages, and stole some more bumper music from my yahoo radio station for the morning show .

The Dodgers have a runner on first with a walk after two outs, but they record a fly out by Brad Penny, the Dodgers pitcher, so after two innings we remain tied at 1-1.

I could have went home today, but I still have work I want to get done, and no better time than this evening and no better place than at work. I have three podcasts to edit and post, and interview I have to dub from Friday's show for a client and 9 different commercial reads Lynn did that I have to dub for clients as well. I also want to hop onto and make sure all is in order with my resume so I can print it out, I haven't updated in a while so I figure I might want to get it current, especially if I will be job hunting in the next few days.

Third inning underway and Brad Penny walks the Pirates pitcher Ian Snell to lead off the inning. We are all the way back to Chris Duffy, he of the infield single in the first inning. I could say we may be witnessing a rally here, but I don't want to get my hopes up.

I warn you ahead of time, I may step away from the game at some point to have a cigarette. We are not allowed to smoke in the studios, so I would have to trek outside for one, not that I am leaving at this very moment, but just in case I do leave.

Duffy flies out and Jack Wilson, he of the RBI groundout fame, singles to left and the Pirates have runners on first and second with one out. Up next is Freddie Sanchez, he won the NL batting title last year. Freddie grounds out to first, the runners do advance so they are second and third now with two out. As if to kill my limited enthusiasm, the announcers say that the current batter, Jason Bay is hitting .136 with runners in scoring position. Bay walks on four pitches, so the bases are now loaded for Adam LaRoche who comes to the plate, he the owner of 20 strikeouts in 50 at bats this year. The count goes to 2-1 and the thought of LaRoche taking another walk, while odd given his free swinging ways, would give the Pirates the lead. It happens, he walks Adam on 5 pitches, and it scores a run the cheap way, the Pirates lead 2-1. The Dodger's manager just came out and argued with the umpire over balls and strikes and he will be going home early compliments of an ejection, which means he can beat the traffic. Brad Penny finds another way to give up a run, this time a wild pitch and all the runners move up, including the one at third who scores, it is Pirates 3-1 now. Xavier Nady ends the Pirates inning by striking out, apparently he didn't get the memo that if he just doesn't swing, he will eventually end up on first base anyway. Still, the Pirates take a 3-1 lead after 2 and a half innings, on three singles, 4 walks and a wild pitch.

Ah, the glories of coffee. That and the junk food that passes for dinner that I brought with me this evening. I swear, some day they will cut me open and a gelatinous mass will just spill out, my only question is what color will it be. Good thing I waited till after dinner time in the EST before I wrote that, not that you should be eating dinner in front of my blog anyway, at least not without offering me some.

The Dodgers go quickly in their half of the third, three up three down as the saying goes and it remains Pirates 3 Dodgers 1.

We got three innings in in about an hour, hey, we may wrap this up by 1am, provided the Pirates swing the bats and don't just take pitches, though their chances of winning increase if they don't swing right now.

I hear the weather will be nice again tomorrow, so I am debating walking home from work. I figure it is about 6-7 miles, but with the weather the way it is, and my camera with me (I brought the diggy cam) I may take the opportunity to do some picture taking. Just haven't decided yet. After all, I did get here at noon, and I will be here until at least 11am tomorrow. That does make for a long day, though it isn't all work and no play, if it was I wouldn't be doing this.

The Pirates speed this game along by recording three straight outs, so in the middle of the 4th inning it remains 3-1.

Actually, I didn't bring junk food with me this evening. I did do the microwave popcorn thing, which means after I was done making it meant I did the burnt microwave popcorn thing. I also brought two chicken sandwiches for lunch, I fried the chicken myself this morning and put it on toast with hot garlic sauce. I used toast, because if you just do bread, the bread gets soggy with the sauce, so toasting becomes mandatory. I still have a couple of pasta bowls hiding in my cubby hole, which is basically the same room as where all of the broken stuff goes to die, we are pack rats like that, we don't throw stuff out until it collects the requisite amount of dust to be deemed not just trash, but classic trash. I suppose if I look around in there enough, I may find KC and the Sunshine Band.

Baserunner Alert!!!!!! Which in this game means somebody drew a walk, that somebody being Luis Gonzalez, and true to tonight's festivities, he takes second on a passed ball. I swear there must be a moratorium on actually hitting baseballs this evening. And it is another walk, a rally of sorts for the Dodgers without the benefit of a hit they have runners on first and second with one out . A groundout to short leaves the Dodgers with runners on first and third, but now with 2 outs. A flyout ends the inning and the Pirates escape the walkfest with no runs allowed, I guess then it would have been a runfest. In any regard, it remains Pirates 3 Dodgers 1. If this keeps up and the Pirates win, they may want me to glog all of their games. It can't hurt, save for meaning I would have no social life whatsoever, not that I have one now, but at least I have a choice. I choose to be bland.

Smoke break!!!!!

Holy cow, I missed a rally, the Pirates have runners on first and second with two outs, and Adam LaRoche at the plate. Adam takes full advantage of the opportunity, if you mean by advantage striking out to make it 21 strikeouts in 51 official at bats for the season and thus ends the top of the fifth inning. The two runners came from singles by Freddie Sanchez and Jack Wilson, not that it matters much.

The Dodgers kick off the bottom of the fifth inning with a single by the pitcher Brad Penny. I kick off the bottom of inning by getting more coffee.

For those who wonder what it is like to sit through a Pirate game on TV in the middle of the night, picture watching paint dry and between pitches you get to see replays of the paint drying and you get the gist of it.

Garciaparra singles with two outs and another rally of sorts, this time for the Dodgers, runners on first and second with two outs. Jeff Kent strikes out and the rally ends, the Pirates lead after 5 innings 3-1. Grady Little, he of ejection fame, should be most of the way home by now if he is smart and many of the Dodger faithful in attendance only wish they were as fortunate.

The Pirates marketing slogan this year is "We Wish". They knew better than to make the slogan "We Wish ________" because far too many people would be filling in that blank with less than pleasant thoughts after 14 consecutive seasons of suck. Xavier Nady hurts himself running out a ground ball, if he would have just swung and missed like he normally does at least he would still be healthy. Instead it looks to be a pulled hamstring. I would pull something too, but only if I was sitting at home looking at internet porn. In any event, the Pirates are retired in order 1,2,3 and the score remains 3-1 after 5 and a half innings of play.

During the commercial break, we pause to do the requisite save of the blog. The computers here at work will update at random, and when they do that they will sometimes reset and we all know the last thing you want is to miss out on all of the fascinating things I have said to this point. I saved you from that worry, now just to make a rather boring game interesting.

Luis Gonzalez leads off the Dodgers 6th inning with a double. Thankfully for that, it broke up the announcers doing, I kid you not, death notices on the air. Yes they were sending out condolences to a "Super Pirates Fan" whose wife passed away. A ground out moves Gonzalez to third and we have a legitimate scoring threat with one out. A sacrifice fly later and the score is now 3-2 with two outs in the sixth inning. A fly out ends the inning and after 6 innings it is 3-2. No new deaths to report.

The Pirates lead off the 7th inning with a single. That calls for a pitching change and a commercial break, which beats the announcers reading the obituaries I guess. Come to think of it, Rich Little was the MC of the Correspondent's Dinner in Washington DC this evening and his routine died of old age about 25 years ago. I wonder if he is a "Super Pirates Fan".

We are back from the commercial and the Pirates forgo the concept of a rally by grounding into a double play, so now we have no one on and two outs. That is a shame because Jack Wilson follows up the double play with a double. We all wonder what might have been, when really no wondering is needed, it might have been a run and we can't be having that, now can we? Instead a groundout closes the inning and the score remains 3-2 Pirates in the middle of the 7th inning. If there is a god, please, no extra innings. Though if there is a god, he might give me extra innings as a punishment of sorts, a sort of cosmic "Fuck you, Matt".

We start the bottom of the 7th inning with me slow cooking one of the pasta bowls. Sure, I could have used the microwave, but then I wouldn't be blogging, so instead I used the hot water spout on the coffee machine and just covered the bowl so they can cook in their own warmth. I could have ordered in this evening, but I am trying to watch the cash situation, and besides, I may go the combo lo mien route tomorrow night. If I blow my spending cash tonight, that is no longer an option.

The Dodgers do nothing, save for striking out twice in the inning, including on a pitch in the dirt and the score remains Pirates 3, Dodgers 2.

We go to the 8th inning, which means we are slowly approaching the end of this blog. And while we were in commercial, another of Rich Little's jokes died of old age. Truth be told, he was funny, when I was 5, but that was 32 years ago. Even the Pirates have won the World Series since then (1979), so you know it has been a long time. Heck, disco lived and died, came back, and died a second death since then. I shouldn't say that, the announcers will tell me Mr. Disco is a "Super Pirates Fan" .

Just to let you know I am still paying attention and haven't fallen asleep, the Pirates have runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs in the inning. A groundout to short ends that rally however and we remain 3-2 after 7 and a half innings. 9 more outs and I get to have a cigarette. Or as my head is singing right now, "I've got the cancer stick, I know if I can hit it once, I can hit it twice.......".

8 more outs, visions of old Marlboro ads are dancing in my head, as well as words like flavor, though truth be told, I am not sure what the flavor is, is that cancerous goodness? Who knows, I just know I like them.

Great, the Dodgers get a baserunner with a single with one out and I am once again fearing the potential of extra innings. A fly out eases my concerns somewhat, as we have two outs now and are one out closer to the end of the game, though I guess that statement would be true whether we play extra innings or not. Russell Martin looks at a called third strike and that is three outs, just one more inning to go and the Pirates still lead 3-2.

Hey, we are still on pace to get this game in in under 3 hrs, it is only 12:40am. By the way, happy Sunday!!!!

And the 9th inning (and hopefully final inning) is underway. As an added bonus, my neck just cracked. I can crack my own back and neck, which is a nice plus to have when one is single. Usually, my neck is a matter of bending my head toward my left shoulder and if I am relaxed (a big if, I hold stress in my neck and back quite well, almost like a camel holding water) , there will be a nice cracking sound right at the base of my neck. My back, I take my hands and place both of my thumbs on my spine and push in and can usually get multiple cracks, again if I am relaxed. The Pirates go in order in their half of the 9th inning, it remains 3-2 with just three outs to go before it is final. For the record, I got two pops out of my back as well as my neck cracking.

Bottom of the 9th, here we go. I haven't even looked to see how the fantasy team did this evening. I have had a better week, not great, but I was at least briefly as high as 8th place in an 11 team league. We lead off the bottom of the 9th inning with a walk. Well, I guess a homerun could end this the other way, with the Pirates losing, but hey, it still would end the game. Instead the batter tried to bunt the runner over to second, but the bunt went foul. A subsequent bunt by the batter doesn't work in the long run as the Pirates get the lead runner, so there is one out and a runner on first. Two more outs and we are done, woohoo!!!! Wild pitch and the runner takes second, a bad throw to second and the runner takes third. Runner on third now with one out. The tying run is 90 feet away and the cosmic Fuck You may be in effect. Sayeth Matt Pritt and it has happened, another wild pitch scores the runner from third. We are tied, and the batter strikes out, so there are two outs and we are one out removed from extra innings. A ground out ends it and the ninth inning is a microcosm of the last 14 years for Pirate fans as the Dodgers score a run without the benefit of a hit. We are tied 3-3 and we go to the tenth inning. I go to smoke because even cancer is better than the Pirates.

Okay, after rustling up some flavor and relieving myself of a couple of cups of coffee in the urinal, we are back. There are two outs in the top of the 10th and the Pirates have a runner on 1st base. Gee, while I was gone, Adam LaRoche struck out for the 22nd time this season. The runner is Jason Bay, who singled and he just took second on a passed ball, so in theory a single could score him. But that theory would require a hit and that doesn't happen, which is why baseball is not a theoretical game. Instead we live with a pop out to shortstop and the score remains 3-3 going to the bottom of the 10th inning.

Juan Pierre leads off the Dodgers 10th inning with a single. The winning run is just 270 feet away for the Dodger faithful and for the rest of us that would just as soon see this thing end. As for the game ending by 1am, that will not happen as it is now 1:21am. A flyout and we have one away in the bottom of the 10th. This seems to be as good a time as any to back up my blogging work again. A single and we have runners on 1st and 2nd with one out and here comes Jim Tracy, the Pirates manager, to make a pitching change and to give the announcers time to find more obituaries to read on the air. And five pitches into the pitching change, we have three baserunners instead of two and the theme for the evening, the walk, is back in style. That is the 5th one issued by the Pirates this evening, though you can toss in a couple of wild pitches as well for good measure.

The Pirates make another pitching change, and maybe some foolish managing as well, as they opt to go with 5 infielders and only two outfielders. Mind you a double play would still get them out of the inning without giving up a run and a medium range flyball may hold the runner at third. Then again, if the pitcher gives up a homerun nobody will catch it and that is exactly what he does, as Russell Martin hits a walkoff grandslam and the Dodgers win, 7-3. And people wonder why I won't pay to see the Pirates play, now you know and as they used to say on those stupid public service announcements, knowing is half the battle. Goodnight from the Renda Broadcasting empire everyone.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Glog alert

Provided I can stay up for it, I wil glog the Pirates/Dodgers game tonight from LA. Mind you the game doesn't start till like 10pm my time, so staying up is questionable, but I have my ways, including lots of coffee. Be there or be a geometrical object.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

An asshat nominee if you will

Just something to throw in the ballot box for this week, not saying it will be a winner, but you just never know. For the record, the audio is Alec Baldwin leaving a message on his daughter's voice mail. Just follow the link like good little blog visitors and all will be well.

Now move along before Alec Baldwin flies out there and straightens your ass out as well.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Coffee is for closers

The title is a stupid movie line that I can't seem to get out of my head this morning. I am contemplating cup of coffee #3 and I rue the radio show that is to come, simply because I have no way of closing the topic du jour that is bound to drive the radio show this morning, that being the Virginia Tech shooting that was unfolding yesterday as we were leaving the airwaves.

Truth be told, we didn't address it yesterday on the show, simply because at that time it wasn't "big" enough. This is where timing comes into play when it comes into doing what I do, As of two thirds of the way through the show yesterday, we had known only that one person was killed and 8 injured, which is newsworthy, but more as a side note than anything else, it wouldn't be the numbers that would drive a radio show as a topic. AS we got closer to the end of the show, a new number of 20 dead and 22 injured was lofted about, these numbers would definitely be large enough to begin drive the show as a topic, but we couldn't confirm the numbers and they were only being reported by a local Blacksburg TV affiliate. The last thing you want to do is traffic in misinformation.

By the time I had gotten home the numbers of dead had become larger still, settling at 33 dead, the largest mass shooting in U S history. I opted to post on the blog a link to the live coverage of the incident from MSNBC, hardly the same as having a microphone in front of you, but it seemed the least I could do. It is not something I plan on making a habit of here on the blog page, serving up breaking news feeds, this just seemed to merit it. Hopefully one or two of you found use of it.

Today people will call us on it, that I have no doubt. Some will call hoping to try to figure it all out, as if we are some great sages full of wisdom. Truth is, we probably have as little a handle on everything as you do. Some will call us, using the very event to push their own political agenda, whether that be gun control, society today, heck we may even take a call or two somehow trying to tie this either to the President or the war in Iraq. I know, it sounds stupid, but I know my audience in that regard. Since the student who is the alleged shooter was non white, we may even get an immigration call or two. In any instance, these calls will have little concern for the victims at Virginia Tech, and all about using the tragedy to bridge to whatever it is they really want to talk about.

Last will be the people looking for some sort of closure or understanding of what happened. I am thankful in that regard that I am not the radio show host this morning, as I would have almost nothing to offer them. This becomes one of those stories that for me anyway, needs to play itself out and all of the facts need to be on the table, and facts are something that we are severely lacking. We have lots of guesswork out there, and all of the news channels are trotting out the resident criminal psychologist they have on payroll for just such an occasion, but they too are doing nothing more than guessing. Finally we will have people looking to understand what happened. This is probably most troubling for me as understanding such an event teeters way to close to the brink of excusing it for my tastes, I would rather just have the facts and none of the probing around in the killer's head.

"Coffee is for closers." Maybe this morning I should pour mine out.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Breaking News - VT Campus shooting

Follow the link, right now at least 20 dead

Update as of 2:28pm, the death toll is reported to be 31.

Live coverage ended as of approx. 3:40pm, the link is no longer valid.

I should note that the number of dead was increased to 33, sorry for the delay in changing that number.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Glog alert Penguins/Senators Game 2

Stanley Cup Playoffs - first round

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Ottawa Senators

Game 2 (best of 7)

Ottawa leads series 1-0

There is your background info kids. For those that don't know what a glog is, it has been a while since I have tried to do one of these, it is simply a game blog, where I will blog about a sporting event I am watching (or listening to as I sometimes will go the radio route, cause I am a geek like that). A little background, the Ottawa Senators finished as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, the Pittsburgh Penguins as the 5th seed. Ottawa won the first game of the series 6-3, though trust me, it really wasn't that close.

And we are underway. That was fast, not a goal, but the Penguins took all of 25 seconds before getting penalized for hooking, so Ottawa goes on a power play for 2 minutes. This isn't how you want to start a game, short handed, especially on the road in a series that you trail.

Well the Penguins kill the penalty, sort of, as Ottawa gets called for goaltender interference, so the we skate 4-4 for 30 odd seconds and then the Penguins will have the man advantage for about a minute and a half. And the Penguins score with the man advantage so early on it is Pittsburgh 1-0 on a goal by Sergei Gonchar. Mind you we are barely 3 minutes into the game, so there is still plenty of hockey left but after the way Pittsburgh played in game one, this is a definite change of scenery for them.

I can't remember the last time I glogged a game, and I am far from the best typist around these parts, so I apologize if I miss something that may be important. Though I didn't miss this, another Penguins penalty, as Colby Armstrong will serve 2 minutes for holding. With 3 penalty calls in the first 5 minutes, it is hard to get a feel for which team is better on a 5-5 basis, and there has been almost no hitting going on which may favor the Penguins as Ottawa is a little bit bigger of a team, though both teams have plenty of quick talented players, if it becomes more of a track meet and less a physical contest, that would favor Pittsburgh.. The Penguins have killed off the second penalty, so the Penguins are 1-1 on the power play, the Senators are now 0-2.

Boy I am glad I quit my part time gig, I get to watch this game as opposed to sit in a cubicle and listen to people drone on and on about what they want on their pizza. Not that I quit my job for the hockey playoffs, but it is a nice bonus that comes with not working.

I have been playing with Diablo 2, Lord of Destruction recently, I haven't broke that out of mothballs in ages, and I have gotten back into the swing of killing things on there. I have beaten it on the first two levels, you have to in order to unlock the next hardest level, those being Normal, and Nightmare. I am on Hell level now and about a third of the way through.

We have a player down, Christoph Schubert of the Senators. Not a fight or anything of excitement, it looks like he was actually trying to avoid a collision and fell and smacked his head off of the ice. Schubert is one of the guys that is a bigger defenseman, like I said, Ottawa is probably the bigger of the two teams and Schubert is one of the reasons why. No penalty called as it was just Schubert getting hurt trying to avoid contact rather than someone taking a run at him.

Excuse me while I open my window for the game. I can keep track of something, but it is nice for someone to track the official stats for me, and they do a pretty good job of it. They are also where I got the idea of glogging from as they have been doing it at sporting events for a while now. The only problem is while they used to glog games, now they are letting sportsline members also glog games, and the results are less than good, now you have a bunch of homers popping up to glog games and they really have nothing interesting to say. Not that I do either, I just choose to clutter my blog page with this info after the fact rather than annoy sports fans with my inane ramblings. They do give you the option of just selecting the professional glogger at the game only, but I just think it is a bad idea for those seeking real sports information to let a bunch of hacks clutter up your page.

By the way, the Penguins once again have the man advantage as Chris Kelly skates off for two minutes for roughing. I have a correction to make, which is why I open the stats window to begin with, Ray Whitney got credit for the first goal, not Gonchar as had been previously typed by me. Sergei Gonchar and Sidney Crosby get the assists on that first goal. The Penguins fail to score on their second power play so the score remains 1-0. It still seems like the teams are feeling each other out a little more than playing their own respective styles of hockey. That would be reflective in the fact that in almost 15 minutes of hockey, there have only been 9 shots, Ottawa with the slight 5-4 advantage.

As soon as I say that, Marc Andre Fleury makes two nice saves for the Penguins to keep it 1-0 as Ottawa begins to get a little momentum here. The result of that is another Pittsburgh penalty, this time Eric Christensen will serve 2 minutes. Hard work will cause teams to cheat a little to break up the momentum, that is pretty much what happened here, Christensen just got caught is all.

The Penguins kill off the man advantage, Ottawa is now 0-3 on the power play and the first period comes to a close with the Penguins leading 1-0.

I guess it is rant time. For those of you who are still unfamiliar with the glog concept and didn't get the idea from the first period, I will throw in other stuff besides the game while I type. I tend to do that in stoppages of action, usually in hockey that will be mostly in the intermissions, but if I get a chance during the game, I might throw something in, such as the Diablo stuff I mentioned earlier. I mentioned it because I was working on a quest last night and I did finish it but it took like 4 hours to complete, so hell level is going to be a long arduous journey should I opt to finish it. My character is a 80th level amazon, named Carlow, after the all girls college not to far from here. When I worked at Larry and Carols, where I was managing a pizza shop, we used to rate the schools by hotness of the women. Carlow usually came in last on most nights. Drivers loved going to Duquesne, for whatever reason, most of our deliveries there had very attractive women involved, the University of Pittsburgh came in second on our scale, so a driver still had hope if he was going there, Carnegie Mellon was pretty much hit or miss, the girls were either very hot, or very not and lastly was Carlow, where regardless of how much food was being ordered, it was usually just for one girl, so a $40 dollar order would be a depressing thought for the driver, as it usually meant a very large female.

Okay, so fire me, give me the Don Imus treatment, I don't care, it's a blog kids, I will offend you from time to time if for no other reason than I am good at it.

Speaking of Imus, I should address that at some point. Let's not kid anyone here folks, Imus was fired for one reason and one reason only, money. Anyone who is unfamiliar with the story, and just what is the rock you live under anyway, Don Imus was a nationally syndicated talk show host. His show was based on WFAN in NYC and simulcast for TV nationally on MSNBC. On the best of days, Imus would get good authors and political folk who would let their hair down on the air, it was a much more relaxed and less soundbite driven atmosphere on the show. By the same token, he would also try to do funny bit as well, most of which weren't funny, some of which were downright offensive. It was one of those bits that got him fired. he was talking about the NCAA Women's basketball championship game, a game between Tennessee and Rutgers that Tennessee won. During the banter his producer Bernie McGuirk for those keeping score at home) referred to the Rutgers team as "hard core hos" to which Imus added that they were "nappy headed hos". It was Imus's comments that started the ball rolling to his subsequent termination.

Second period underway, I will get back to the Imus story soon enough but it is hockey time again. The second period starts with a little more end to end action than we saw in the first. And once again, it would be a slight advantage to Ottawa in the momentum department. The result of this action is another penalty against the Penguins, so the Senators will get their fourth power play of the game and Eric Christensen gets reacquainted with the penalty box. And Ottawa is now 0-4 on the power play as they fail to covert yet again, it remains 1-0. We are seeing some more hitting now also, which is fine with me, from a fan's perspective, I like the physical aspect of the game, and e have seen more hits in the first 5 minutes of this period than in the entire 1st period. Ottawa has taken a decided advantage in game play, they are outshooting Pittsburgh 6-0 so far in the second and after registering only 6 shots in the first period.

We come back with coincidental minor penalties, so we skate 4-4 and Ottawa takes advantage of the open ice to tie the game, on a Jason Spezza goal. Assists to Alfredsson and Volchenkov for those of you scoring at home. Ottawa has just picked up another power play opportunity as well, this will be their 5th chance with the man advantage. Ottawa has had a decided advantage in play this period, though the power play is killed again by the Penguins, so Ottawa is now 0-5 with the man advantage, but until the Penguins get some offense going, you just have a feel that they are trying to hang on as opposed to generate any offense here, as the shot count this period is seriously in Ottawa's favor, 9-1.

The play has evened out a little bit, but still, if the Penguins can get out of this period tied 1-1, they should be thankful as Ottawa has had a 2-1 and a 3-1 odd man rush in the last couple of minutes, only to come away with nothing both times.

Commercial break so we can be reminded how funny "Thank God You Are Here" is, except it isn't. It is just another cheap ploy to not hire writers for a TV show and thereby cut costs. Give me a smartly written show over this tripe any day, instead we will be inundated with reality shows, game shows and crap like this.

We come back to action and the officials are going to sort out a penalty mess, as Colby Armstrong takes a shot and proceeds to run into the goaltender after the fact so we have but yet another penalty on the Penguins, this will be the 6th man advantage for Ottawa and finally the Senators break the ice with the man advantage to score the power play goal, Ottawa takes a 2-1 lead, credit for the goal goes to Daniel Alfredsson, assists to Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza. So what does Pittsburgh do in response, how about take another penalty, that has worked oh so well so far. Power play #7 for Ottawa. Should the Penguins kill this penalty, we would probably get to the end of the period. As bad as a 2-1 deficit looks, given how poorly they played, the Penguins should be happy it is only 2-1. Thankfully for Pittsburgh's sake, we make the second intermission. Pittsburgh got outshot for the period 19-5.

So, while we have a break in the action, I can get back to our Don Imus story, which I am sure you have waited for with eager anticipation. Anyway, Imus makes his comment about the Rutgers basketball team, not unlike many other comments he has made over the course of his career, I would guess he thought the studio banter was funny. Some people didn't though, and complaints started coming in for the firing of Don Imus. Notably at the forefront of the movement was Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, men who have made some less than stellar comments in their own pasts. Imus, realizing the furor that was boiling over from the comment, first issued an on air apology regarding his comments, then he decided to appear with Al Sharpton on Al's show, Sharpton more than happy to have him because he gets to have the opportunity to belittle Imus and get the largest audience his radio show is ever going to get all at the same time. Finally, Imus asks to meet with the Rutgers team to apologize in person to them. The outrage is too much for MSNBC, and they suspend Imus for two weeks. Here comes the money kids, as advertisers start backing out of Imus's MSNBC show and MSNBC opts to drop the simulcast entirely. Imus would still have his radio show, it just wouldn't be carried on TV. Then advertisers start pulling from the radio show as well, and CBS, which owns WFAN fires Imus as well,.

Let's not kid anyone here, if the advertisers stick around, Imus serves his suspension and we go back to having Imus in two weeks. The radio show had 1.5 million listeners and billed 20 million dollars a year in revenue. The MSNBC simulcast was one of the larger audiences on a news channel that is desperate for viewers. The comments, while not funny to me, were par for the course for the show and both MSNBC and WFAN were more than content to air them while the checks were clearing, only when the possibility of checks no longer coming in did they change their mind about making the suspension into a firing. CBS and it's syndicator that carried the show, Westwood One, was more than content to carry Howard Stern, and they CBS also owns BET, both outlets have made more than one shekel demeaning women. Stern left for satellite radio, that is true, but he wasn't fired, he left after getting a deal in satellite that would pay him half a billion dollars, so it was not like CBS was on its high horse by removing him, he left for far greener financial pastures and I might add, an audience of about ten million less people than he had on commercial radio.

Sharpton and Jackson will now go back to their respective corners, content that they have removed Imus from the air, but also content in doing nothing to help the black community other than pick on the very low hanging fruit that is Don Imus.

Third period starts and we start with a psuedo fight between Colby Armstrong and Mike Comrie. I say Pseudo because they dropped gloves but few punches of merit were thrown. Ottawa follows up by taking a penalty and the Penguins will get their first power play since the first period. Trailing by one, they need to take advantage of this. And they do, a Gary Roberts power play goal has tied this thing at 2, on a rebound of a Gonchar shot. The Penguins are now 2-3 on the power play. And they almost score again, the puck trickled toward the goal and only a smart play by an Ottawa defenseman saved it form being 3-2 and Ray Emery, the goaltender was out of the play.

The Penguins take another penalty, but they have come out with much more energy than in the second. I wonder if I will get stuck with the same thing that happened the other night in the Dallas Vancouver series, where the game wasn't decided until the 4th overtime. For those of you unfamiliar, in the regular season, if the game is a tie, they play a five minute overtime period followed by a shootout to determine a winner. In the playoffs, it is strictly overtime, no one wins until someone scores, and each overtime period is the same length as a regulation period, 20 minutes. So they played over two games worth of time before they determined a winner.

Ottawa just scored, it is now 3-2, so maybe my fears were were ill founded. For the record, the Penguins did kill the penalty, the goal was 5 on 5 action, so Ottawa is only 1 for 8 with the advantage. The goal info for those keeping score with me, the Gary Roberts goal has assists going to Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin, the Ottawa goal to retake the lead was by Chris Kelly and that was unassisted. It is Kelly's second goal of the playoffs, he had one in the 6-3 win against the Penguins in game #1 of the series.

I should go out and get a Sunday paper today. I know it is only Saturday, but I need the classifieds at some point if I am going to find a new part time job.

Gaol check, the Penguins have tied it, and it wasn't a power play goal this time, Jordan Staal buries one behind Ray Emery and the game is tied again, 3-3 with 10 minutes remaining. Sportsline is claiming the goal was short handed, but I am not so sure. They don't have anyone listed in the penalty box and if there was I missed it. Credit Michel Oullet and Gary Roberts with the assists on the goal.

Remember the highlight video a few blogs back? Fire it up as Sidney Crosby just scores and the Penguins have a 4-3 lead. A beautiful feed from Mark Recchi to get the Penguins a one goal lead again. Credit Evgeni Malkin with the other assist on the goal. The last two goals by Stall and Crosby were both their second goals of the playoffs.

Ottawa will get yet another power play opportunity, their 9th this game. Hell, if the Penguins could stay out of the penalty box, this game might be different, they are spending a large chunk of the game down a man, rather than playing their own style of hockey. We do have a scoring change, there are assists to the Kelly goal, those going to Dean McAmmond and Andrej Meszaros. I thought that he was broken free with a nice pass when he scored on the breakaway, but Sportsline was late in updating that, as for TV, they put no goal info on the screen, it is one of the many flaws NBC has in their coverage. They ave really good announcers, but their promotion of the sports stinks, and their ability to track the game statistically leaves a lot to be desired.

The Penguins kill another penalty, Ottawa is a meager 1 for 9 now when up a man and we are down to less than 4 minutes remaining, the Penguins still lead 4-3. Shots this period are even, 10-10, as the Penguins have played much better this period than the last.

To those watching this game even while I type, lucky for you you don't live in Pittsburgh. We had a break news scroll come across the bottom of the screen. One would think something major happened, right? No, it was just to announced that the Steelers announced their 2007 football schedule. The fact the schedule was released by the league the middle of last week, this is about as non breaking a news story as one could have, let alone the fact that it is a football schedule for cripes sake, nothing more. Certainly not worth a news crawl blocking part of the screen. I believe I will steal a line from Richard Jeni, when I tell the person who just put that on my TV screen as news during a Stanley Cup playoff game, that they can "grease up their feet and take a walk, asshole".

Less than two minutes left, when will Ottawa pull the goaltender for the extra attacker? Right now actually. For those unfamiliar with the sport, teams when they trail by a goal late will sometimes pull their goaltender to get an extra attacker on the ice. You don't have to have a goaltender, they just help in stopping shots and what not. But when you need a goal late, sometimes it helps to have the extra guy on the ice. You just hope that with the extra guy you can dominate action 6-5. And they have, but Marc Andre Fluery just made a great save with 13.1 seconds left and he holds on for the face off. Ottawa get a couple of chances after the draw, but no dice and the Penguins hold on for a 4-3 win.

That means it is time to spell check, post and play some baseball on the PS2. Goodnight from Pittsburgh everyone.

Friday, April 13, 2007

On 13,050 page views

Yeah, it is an odd number to pick as a I time to make mention of, it is not an even number of hundreds or thousands (I rue the day when the 100,000 mark hits, I can't think 100,000 people would view this page as all that important) and this isn't going to be you typical tribute to mark such a milestone, rather it is going to be a sobering experience so those of you looking for shiny happy blogs are once again going to be greatly disappointed. Those that are just looking to get more of an insight into things I find interesting, creative or moving, by all means stick around, this video that was put to together by someone far more skilled than I would be on one of those things.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Free stuff

For those lifers to the page, you know that I will sometimes give stuff away, this may or may not be one of those times. Nonetheless, I am cleaning and I found some things you can have. As always on giveaways, first come first served. codes







Good luck whoever snags these.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Reaching Michael Richards status

Those who do not come here on a regular basis will not know what that statement means, and will therefore think I am referring to Don Imus calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos", in lieu of Richards tirade while doing standup a while back.

Those who do come here will know that Michael Richards is the only person to win the coveted Asshat title twice. Until now, step right up KFC, you are indeed a multiple offender. I just wonder if they will seek a papal blessing for this as well.

April 9, 2007

An open letter to Sanjaya Malakar:

Congratulations on surviving yet another tough elimination.

Last week, Kentucky Fried Chicken® offered you a free lifetime supply of KFC Famous Bowls® if you donned a bowl hairdo. You chose instead to wow the judges with a slicked-back do, a white tuxedo and your trademark showmanship.

The judges and critics may think you're a long shot for a recording contract, but at KFC, we think you're a real "original." And as the experts in Original Recipe® Chicken, we know an original when we see one! In fact, today, I would like to sweeten our tasty offer by serving you up your very first recording deal.

If you sport a bowlcut hairdo in a nationally televised performance, KFC will grant you a free lifetime supply of KFC Famous Bowls and a charitable donation in your name - plus $5,000 in cash and your own starring role in our next KFC Famous Bowls advertisement.

Now, that's an offer almost as juicy as our KFC world famous chicken and a deal that could help provide young people with much needed college scholarships via our Colonel's Scholars charity.

Win or lose, we're confident that KFC's deal will help turn millions of viewers around the globe into "fanjayas."

Your Fan,

Gregg Dedrick
President of KFC

The number you have called has been disconnected

This first line is a trick to get the spell check to work, ignore it. Basically, if you copy and paste from Wordpad, the yahoo spellcheck will not work on you content if you just paste it in, you have to type something in here to start, which is what this sentence is for. Told you, you could have ignored it, but did you listen? Didn't think so, anyway, onto the blog.

Greetings everyone, thought I might jot a few notes in my free evening I have, though those are more frequent this week than past weeks. as I think I quit my part time job. I say think, because I haven't really told them yet per se, I just hung a note in the break room saying all of my hours were available and then quit going. Those of you that listened to the podcasts or the radio show know that I have been less than enamored with my part time job, my schedule the last few weeks was just the final straw. When I was hired, I said that I wanted between 20-30 hrs if possible, just enough to pad the income a little without killing myself in the process. You see, when I work both jobs in the same day, my day starts with me getting up around 4am and getting into the office at 5am and my day would end somewhere around 10pm and me getting home somewhere around 11pm. Yes, out of a 24 hour day, I would be out of my home almost 19 hrs.

That being said, 3 weeks ago I got a schedule that was 16 hrs. It wasn't quite in the ballpark I had signed on for, but it was close enough, and given that at the radio station, it is not uncommon for me to work between 50 and 60 hrs a week even 16 hrs can push that total easily over 70 hrs in a week, so while missing my target of between 20-30, it wasn't terribly off. Two weeks ago again the same thing happened, another 16 hour week. Then last week, I was slapped with 33hrs, which for those of you doing the math at home realize, that means I am now pushing over 90 hrs a week, which is just too much and again outside of what I told them I wanted when I first started. This week again, you guessed it, another 33 hrs, so I just quit going. Simple enough.

For those of you wondering what it is I did do at the part time job, I worked in a call center for a pizza chain. I know, you think call center and you think tech support in India, but what I would do is take pizza orders for roughly 80 different stores in the Vocelli Pizza chain and then send the information via computer to the appropriate store in the delivery area of the caller. So the spiel would start with me saying "Thank you for calling Vocelli Pizza, may I have your telephone number starting with the area code?" One would think that is a simple enough of a request of the caller and the reason we ask that question is the address in the system are stored by phone number, so if we have been to your address before, by putting in the number, we are able to retrieve all of that information without reentering it. Unfortunately, that simple of a question is not always met with an answer. Sometimes it is met with another question (what specials do you have?, which I don't know until I know what store you are ordering from), stupidity (I don't know the number) or indifference where the caller just starts telling you an order without giving you any information to work with. All of that can be frustrating enough, but then you have a computer system that may or may not have the correct prices in it, and if it doesn't, then you get to go back and fix the programming mistakes in the system, Or the system doesn't recognize the address, so you get to put the caller on hold and contact the supervisor to see if we go to that address or not, which is about a 50/50 chance, sometimes we do, other times it is a store that isn't part of the call center ( an independent store, so you get to give the caller the number to the store they which to reach). And while trying to find the address, you have the caller on hold, which means by the time you get back to them, they are most happy for waiting. Now take into consideration that on any given evening you will take quite a few calls (my best was 191 orders in one evening) and any screw ups that happen during the process save for the wrong food being delivered come back on your evaluation and it becomes a less than enjoyable process. All told, they want you to keep your errors under .4% for all of the calls you take (for the record my error rate was probably approaching .3%, most evaluations I had, I had taken about 2000 or so calls with 2 or 3 errors, with each evaluation coming every 3 to 4 weeks). Sound like fun? It wasn't. I would sit in my cubicle with some scratch paper and on one sheet of paper I would have a column of numbers much like this;







This would be representative of a 4pm to 10pm shift (the most common shift I worked). Each number would represent one of the hours I was at work and beside each number I would put a little slash mark, much like a man serving a prison sentence counting the days in his cell, except each slash would be a minute out of that hour and therefore a minute closer to being done. Hopefully I would bring a book to read to help break up the monotony, or at least the paper because sitting there with nothing but the phone is a most boring evening.

Add to this, the fact that your evening consists of two parts, the first part being dinner rush and the second part being complaints from all of the customers orders that were fucked up, and you would have to agree, sitting in the cubicle can be a most enjoyable time. So overbooking my hours, combined with my lack of enjoyment when it came to my part time job make it very easy for me to just say "check please" and call it a career when it comes to that form of employment.

I am sure I will be looking for a new part time gig in the near future, but for the next couple of days I am just going to catch my breath and enjoy one job employment.

In other news, again mucho thank yous to those that checked out the radio show when I hosted last Tuesday, for those that didn't, time is going fast, the podcasts will only be available till tomorrow morning. Don't be shy about checking out Clair's show as well, as I had him guest host yesterday, and finished editing his podcasts this morning, so his will be available for about a week or so, depending on how reliable I am about updating the server with new content. The pods can be found at in case you didn't get any of the frequent reminders I have been posting around these parts. (This is the portion of the blog where I gladly whore out my modest talents in case you hadn't guessed.)

I do have some Randomness to report as well. For those new to the page, this is a character (Joe Random) that I created in MLB 06 The Show for PlayStation 2 in career mode. The goal in this mode is to get your created player into the major leagues. Well, I suffered from a brain cramp since the last time I mentioned Joe. I had finished playing a minor league game and went to save it and shut the game off before the save was complete, thus corrupting the data file and meaning I had to start over. I didn't feel like redoing the entire spring training, so I just simulated that and sure enough, i got to start in AAA ball, same as when I played all of those games, which makes you wonder why I wasted that time the first time. Anyway, so far I am batting over .420 with 3 hrs 7 RBIs and 8 runs scored and I am in the last week of the first month of the season. See, this blog can bore you to tears if I try hard enough.

Speaking of trying hard to bore you, I got something wrong on here and I am going to throw my mea culpas out there and be done with it. I had the NY Islanders Chris Simon as my Asshat a few weeks back and in that posting and a subsequent posting I had mentioned that while the Islanders were the 7th seed in the playoffs at the time of Simon's slashing incident, if they missed the playoffs, that would be something to look back on. As it turned out, going into the last weekend of the regular season (this past weekend), the Islanders needed three things to happen in order to make the playoffs; 1) have Toronto beat Montreal thereby eliminating Montreal from playoff contention and 2&3) win both of their games this weekend as they had a game on Saturday and on Sunday. Low and behold, Toronto did them a favor on Saturday and took out Montreal, then the Islanders won their game on Saturday as well. Sunday the Islanders would go to a shootout with New Jersey before winning, thus sneaking into the playoffs as the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.

For the record, the Pittsburgh Penguins got the 5th seed (go us!!!) in the Eastern Conference and will open the playoffs against the 4th seed Ottawa Senators. And Sidney Crosby won the NHL scoring title at the young age of 19, the youngest player to ever win a scoring title in any major sport, which means we may be in for more years of greatness here in da Burgh. We go from Mario Lemieux to Jaromir Jagr to now Sidney Crosby and it is hard not to feel blessed to be a hockey fan in this town. I may have to youtube some Sidney Crosby for you kids just so you can see what we get to see all the time here.

Speaking of hockey, my fantasy hockey season came to a close this past weekend as well. For those who need an update, I was stuck in the consolation game after losing my first round match up, mind you I don't get a trophy in my fantasy sports profile on yahoo if I don't finish at least third, so I was all about winning just to make the profile look a little better. As it turned out, with two days remaining in the season for me, I trailed 3-5-2 to my opponent. The thing is, you can make roster moves that take effect the next day, so Saturday I scrambled through the free agent list to see who was still available for Sunday, knowing that anyone I had that wasn't playing Sunday I could drop because there were no games after Sunday, and I could have a full roster for Sundays games as well as Saturday. The crafty gm-ing on my part paid off as I ended up sneaking by with a 4-3-3 win for the week and the third place trophy. This is trophy number 6 for me in yahoo fantasy sports. Here is the list of winning teams I have fielded to date;

Hockey 2002 1 of 12 Argonauts Yahoo Public 47612

Football 2002 1 of 10 Argonauts Yahoo Public 47129

Hockey 2003 3 of 12 Argonauts Yahoo Winners 11246 only previous winners (see hockey 2002) get invited to a Winners league

Baseball 2004 1 of 12 Argonauts Yahoo Public 335382

Hockey 2006 3 of 12 Argonauts Yahoo Public 60278

Football 2006 1 of 10 Argonauts Yahoo Public 295954

Tournament Pick'em 2006 5 of 50 Argonauts RBC1

Tournament Pick'em 2007 22 of 85 Argonauts RBC1 The last two I added not because they added to the trophy case but because they were office pools and in both I won cash and prizes from the fine people at Renda Broadcasting, in both cases it was because I lead the office NCAA tournament bracket after the second weekend and we pay out winner after each of the three weekends of the tourney.

So, have I officially bored you to tears yet? I won't even get into my fantasy baseball team then, which is just as well because after the first ten days of the season, I am making a case to be firmly entrenched in last place. I may have to throw out the lucky cap at this rate.

Well, I was going to go on another rant on the whole Don Imus thing, but I think that will keep for a day or two, and this is long enough, I still have spell checking to do and what not. Night for now kids.

Our inspiration (the title for this blog)

Picture Window theme. Powered by Blogger.

Where we've been