Saturday, June 28, 2008

Courting disaster

We are going to start this entry on a little bit of a sad note. Those of you that pay attention to my scribblings will note that I semi frequent a local watering hole. By hole I mean just that, it is a bar with older folks in a college section of town, which in and of itself is kind of a nice thing, and everyone there is pretty much a regular. While we all aren't on a first name basis, it is pretty common that we know most of the people there and even those of which we have a passing acquaintance are worthy of at least a hello when seen out and about.

The bar, Uncle Jimmy's, has been a part of my existence in one form or another for the better part of 17 years now. From sitting in there drinking beers and eating quarter pound hot dogs for a buck during the Penguins first Stanley Cup run back in 1991 to the fact I have run the bar's fantasy football league for the last 7 years now, it has been almost part of my home, regardless of where my official domicile would be, it is one of the constants of my life. The owner, Jimmy, was himself very much a character. It wasn't uncommon to stop by the place shortly after it opened at 11am and see him there and have him still be there when they closed up at 2am that night. And he was more than content to mingle with the regulars and tie one on on a regular basis with us, at least until recently, when his health started taking a turn for the worse. The operations of the bar were handed over to his grandson, who has done a respectable job with the place, but it isn't quite the same without seeing Jimmy in there on a regular basis. That being said, Jimmy passed away this week, he had been battling cancer for the last 6 months, along with a variety of other ailments, so while his passing isn't shocking, it is still saddening.

I have been keeping a single bottle of beer in my fridge for a while now, a Harp lager for those keeping score at home, and it has been in there for probably about 5 years, or 5 part time jobs ago. I guess I was saving it for a special occasion, and this seems like a good enough time to crack it open and raise a glass to an old friend so don't mind me if I drink while I type the rest of this blog.

I think I just learned something about blogging, there really isn't a good segue from death. It kind of drives the whole mood down. Thing is, I really wasn't in a down mood when I started this. I had ye olde creative juices flowing for some things I wanted to say but I am not sure how to go from point A above to point B. Funk and Wagnel don't have any elements of style to proceed from that point.

I can say that I dropped a couple more applications off over the course of the last two days. I am of mixed feelings about getting a part time job over the next week though. I certainly could use the extra cash to start once again rolling in, by the same token, I am working overnights at the radio station for the next week, so I am not sure I want to kill myself by working two jobs over that span. Still, I have been doing the one job thing for about a month now, it is probably time I get off of my ass and start filling up my social calendar with work.

The radio gig has been hit and miss recently. I think it is mostly my fault, I just don't feel "on". I am there and I am making the trains run on time, which is my primary job, but by the same token, I feel like a 6 cylinder running on 5, I am just missing something. Maybe if I bury my head in my work during the overnights I can get my head back in the game so to speak. I tend  to approach it like a baseball player, I have to hit my way out of the slump I feel like I am in.

Speaking of baseball, it is Joe Random time. I am up to my fifth season playing my game, though it is the first season that I started the year on the major league roster and I am about a quarter of the way through it, having played 40 games so far and I have compiled a .407 batting average with 17 home runs and 49 RBI's, so I guess I am off to a good enough start. I am second amongst American League first baseman in the All Star voting, only Todd Helton is having a better year than me at that position.

I did finish my Tim Dorsey book, so I naturally went right out and got another one. I will go into more detail on the neverending thread, but suffice it to say that I enjoy his work enough that I almost felt I had to go get another book after finishing the last one.


Hey look, I went to bed and came back to blog some more. Actually I went to sleep and then got up this morning (Saturday) and went about doing the things that I like to do and then I came back. A couple little adds to the blog page under the furry entry, some more Book of the Dead stuff, some reading of the new Tim Dorsey book and a trip to apply for another job and now I am back.

The trip was actually a wasted one, I went to go get an application from Joe Beth Booksellers, and as I ask the cashier if they have any applications I find out that they only do applications online, so I pretty much wasted my trip.  Well, not entirely, she did give me the website, so I managed to apply for another job while sitting on my ass today.  Go me!!!

One of the other things I did while putzing around online today was take part in a mock fantasy football draft. Yes, this is how geeky I am, I will do something like that, which doesn't even count for anything, just to see how I might or might not do. Basically what a mock draft does for you is it gives you a gauge of how other people that you don't know view players for the upcoming fantasy football season. Below is the list of guys I ended up with. To make sense of the draft rules, it was 14 rounds and you had to draft at least the following; QB, 2 RBS, 2 WRS, RB/WR, TE, K DST and 5 reserve players. To understand the list, going across is position, round drafted, selection number, player, and team. I actually opted to draft first, simply because I wanted the joy of picking first and not getting a pick again until #20 just to see how other people viewed the middle picks. Ideally either Tomlinson or Adrian Peterson will be #1 overall in most drafts, so that is no brainer territory, but how the next 18 would fall interested me greatly. As for how I did, well here you go....


QB 6 (#60) Hasselbeck, Matt (QB SEA) - rated #63 overall, so this isn't much of a reach to grab with the 60th pick when I hadn't drafted a quarterback yet.

RB 1 (#1) Tomlinson, LaDainian (RB SD) - rated #1 in Sportsline Top 200, really a no brainer with the first overall pick.

RB 4 (#40) Jones-Drew, Maurice (RB JAC) - rated #21 overall, if this had been a real draft I would have been happy as hell to get him the 19 spots later  I did in this draft.

WR 2 (#20) Fitzgerald, Larry (WR ARI) - rated #19 overall, about where he should be grabbed.

WR 3 (#21) Johnson, Andre (WR HOU) - rated #26 overall, so if I didn't take him here, he probably wouldn't have been on the board when I selected again at #40

TE 9 (#81) Shockey, Jeremy (TE NYG) - listed as #129 overall, this was a need pick, I hadn't filled out the tight end spot yet on my draft board, this was the best name available as far as I could tell.

RB-WR 5 (#41) Harrison, Marvin (WR IND) - rated #77 overall, due to his missing a large chunk of last year with a bad knee and off season surgery. This pick would be a reach of a pick, but if you are going to make reaches, better the names you know and have proven themselves than the ones you don't and haven't.

K 14 (#140) Reed, Jeff (K PIT) - another need pick, but the very last pick in the draft. Not listed among the top 200 players, in most fantasy leagues the guys who wasted early picks on kickers are the guys losing money, as probably the top 20 or so are interchangeable on a week to week basis. You will never see me pick a kicker until I am almost forced to.

DST 10 (#100) Jaguars, DST (DST JAC) - rated #128 overall, this again is a need pick and was the best defense on the board at the time. Like kickers, I don't waste a lot of time on drafting team defenses. In those leagues, like the one I run, where you draft individual defensive players, I will start drafting defensive guys as early as the 6th or 7th round, but teams defenses are almost as interchangeable as kickers, unless you have one of the really crappy ones (yes I am looking at Cincinnati when I say that).

RS 11 (#101) Schaub, Matt (QB HOU) - rated #150, this is where I will disagree with the Sportsline folks, he is better than Kitna (#149), Campbell (#127), and probably Aaron Rogers (#104) just based on career numbers. Plus, I had already drafted his #1 WR (Andre Johnson) so in fantasy leagues I would get double points on their hookups.

RS 13 (#121) Crumpler, Alge (TE TEN) - rated #134, took as a backup to Shockey, probably the best receiver the Tennessee Titans will have this year, if Vince Young can master the art of throwing accurate passes.

RS 7 (#61) Jones, Thomas (RB NYJ) - rated #45 overall, so a little bit of a steal at pick 61, drafted more on potential with the Jets spending money in the off season to upgrade their offensive line.

RS 8 (#80) Gonzalez, Anthony (WR IND) - rated #99 overall, the plus is that Peyton Manning throws him the ball, the minus is if Harrison is healthy, he is no better than a #3 receiver in Indianapolis.

RS 12 (#120) Packers, DST (DST GB) - not in the Top 200, but accounted for 6 TDs last year, so not a bad backup to Jacksonville as a unit.


There, did that bore you enough. I could have talked about tennis instead, which I am way digging on right now. Tennis is like golf to me, I will not sit down and watch the Nabisco Open per se, but give me a major event and I can get all caught up in it. Wimbledon qualifies in that regard. Add to the fact that there were a handful of early round upsets, including the #1 and #3 seeds in the women's draw and it has been quite compelling to watch so far. Plus as an added bonus, it is on while I am at work, so I can have the TV on tennis while producing the morning show, rather than say, CNN.

While on the business of courts, am I the only one that doesn't get the outrage or cheering over the Supreme Courts overturning the DC gun ban? This may have been the least important decision they made this week, yet it got the most play. So the court says you can't ban ownership of guns to law abiding citizens, it didn't get into the issue of waiting periods or background checks, so this is really a no brainer to me. Unless you make gun ownership illegal, which legislatively will never happen, then you can't ban people from purchasing something that is legal to have. I was far more troubled by the other rulings the court made this week, including deciding that people who rape children can't be given the death penalty. Also there was the reducing of the award that Exxon had to pay in the Valdez case. The fact that the accident happened in 1989 and Exxon is still haggling over what if anything they should pay the people of Alaska whose livelihood they ruined after having a drunk captain pilot an oil tanker strikes me as dubious at best. The court said that the compensatory damages should be proportional to the punitive ones and cut the judgement from $6 billion dollars to $500 million.  To the average Alaskan who has lost their means of support in the fishing industry, this cuts their award down from $89,000 to $15,000. These two cases would scream of judicial activism, actual legislating from the bench rather than upholding previous laws or court decisions. The thing is, because one of the rulings went against the death penalty and one was a pro business ruling, neither liberals nor conservatives will call the court into question because they both got a little of what they wanted.

The worst ruling was the releasing of a convicted murderer however. The court, in its infinite wisdom, ruled that a man that was convicted of murder had to be freed because during the trial he did not have the chance to question his accuser, violating his 6th Amendment rights. Mind you, the reason he didn't get to face his accuser was because of the simple fact that he killed her seemed to be lost on the court, so they let a felon walk. But that is okay, we got our gun ruling, so the rest of this stuff can be swept under the rug.

Enough of a rant from me, I better get to spell checking this disaster and posting. Nite all.

Friday, June 27, 2008

34 and counting

Yes, the list has grown again, now up to a rather impressive 34 tunes, considering I haven't paid for any of them, I guess that would be like $34 savings or something along those lines.



Coke Rewards

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Furries of the world unite!!!!!!

Today marks the first day of Anthrocon 2008, or the Furry Convention, where a group of people that dress up in animal costumes and pretend they are in fact animals (and some who like to have sex while in costume) descend upon our fair village.  If you missed any of the required information, the Furry people and I can help you out with that.


Read this document on Scribd: Anthrocon 2008 City Guide



Read this document on Scribd: Anthrocon 2008 Pocket Schedule

Any other questions? Go ahead and visit there website right here.  Looks to be a fun weekend for us city folks.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Birthday presence

So where do I begin? Well, I guess technically I did turn 39 last week, though with the way my body has been breaking down at times it feels more like 59 some days. The weekly volleyball sessions have come to an end. I took a few weeks off of playing and when I went back they told me they had been cancelled. On one hand it sucks, I liked getting out of the house and doing something I enjoyed, on the other hand, I managed to mash my body up pretty good playing. One would think that volleyball would be an easy sport to play, being non contact and all, yet through the course of playing I managed to pull a groin muscle, bruise the heel of my foot and either severely bruised my elbow, or chipped a bone in it, because it blew up to about twice the size of my other one. It is true, some days it is better to have not gotten out of bed.

As for the birthday itself, I tried to keep it low key. save for a brief mention on the posting of "The Onion" video, I made no mention of it here. I didn't put it on the calendar because it wasn't a radio related event, and it wasn't like there was a bunch of celebrating around these parts. Other than the birthday greetings on this page (mucho thanks again everyone) and an email from the Coke rewards people, the only thing I got was a card from my grandmother. I imagine my mom has something for me, but she will most likely save it for when I next see her, which I have no idea when that will actually be.

Since my last scribbling I have dumped about 10-11 applications out there. Nothing yet, but I have been pretty lazy about the process, usually just doing one or two at a time or even worse, applying from my computer at home, depending on my motivation. I imagine someone may have tried calling while I have been out, but if so, they didn't leave a message to call them back.

Sorry about that, just did another online application. I am the epitome of lazy. The more I can do in front of my computer, the happier I am.

Speaking of my computer, I made a couple of upgrades to it recently. I added a Firefox browser, not really by choice, because I am one of the mentally imbalanced people that still likes Internet Explorer. Actually, I like IE because it is easier for me to grab audio with than Firefox has been in the past. I just find it convenient to be able to download audio by doing the simple right click and using the "Save Target As" option. Plus I already have all of my passwords saved with IE, so Firefox wasn't really what I wanted. I only downloaded it because Surf The Channel was having some issues and it seems to run better with Firefox than IE. I guess they had some issues with a new platform they released, which is a shame because it worked okay for me, but when they switched back to the old platform, IE encountered some problems with some of the servers they link to, so I became a not so proud Firefox user.

I also added Audacity top the computer. I have been looking for something like it for quite some time. It is a multi track audio editing program. Usually I would look for it in stores and what not and it would be a relatively expensive piece of programming to purchase, but I was looking through the top 100 tech items in some techie trendy magazine one day and about 3/4 of the way through the article they mentioned Audacity, which was put together just up the street from me at Carnegie Melon University a few years back. The creator of it went on to bigger and better things at Google, but he still works on the bells and whistles for Audacity as well. I have only begun to experiment with it, using it for some stuff at work (where I also downloaded it) and played with the bells and whistles on it here at home, just experimenting with cutting up some music I have downloaded and what not.

As I type this I am doing some real time watching of my fantasy baseball team. Right now I am in a three way tie for third place, though I do have someone up with the bases loaded in his game and amazingly halfway through the season, many of the categories are still so close that this at bat matters still.

And I got nothing and liked it. I still lead in two categories rather comfortably, by 25 in runs and by 19 in stolen bases, but I trail in batting average by a less than a point (.2756-.2747) and I am close enough that I could pick up some ground this evening in homeruns and RBIs as well. But for that to happen, my guys have to actually make contact with the ball and not blow bases loaded opportunities like two of my guys just did (thank you BJ Upton and Evan Longoria, the check is NOT in the mail).

I did go to a real live baseball game the other night, the Pirates were home to the Blue Jays in an interleague matchup and it may have been the best baseball game I have seen in ages, with the Pirates actually winning 1-0 in 12 innings. Great pitching, good defense and a quick moving game (it took a little over 3 hrs to play 12 innings) and it was a Fireworks Night to boot, so yes, I have more firework piccies on my camera. Maybe I will upload them later, I don't know.

I did upload another tune compliments of Pepsi, I think I am up to 31 freebies now. I have been on a Replacements kick recently, so I uploaded "My Little Problem". Damn I miss when music was that good. I was peeking around Imeem while my tune was uploading and they had a new Avril Lavigne video. It is the epitome of what is wrong with music today. Who exactly told her she was hardcore? She is about as hardcore as that album I had as a kid, Chipmunk Punk, featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks doing stuff like The Knack's "My Sharona". The video has everyone all dressed in black and cheerleaders that looked liked they missed the casting cut for "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and the stupid and overly publicized anarchy symbol on the drumset, and then Avril starts singing and it sounds like something from the freaking Disney channel. That may be hardcore for the Mickey Mouse set, round these parts it is more reason to dislike Canada.  Now for your viewing pleasure, evidence of Avril's suckiness......



I am passing on a Pogo badge this week. I did the two offered but didn't do my personal. I was going to blame it on that game I posted on the blog earlier (where I am on Level 11 now) but since this is the summer of global warming, it is all global warming's fault.

I just made the mistake of turning on the TV and another of those programming wonders "Blind Date" was on. This time they hooked up some guy with a porn star. Time out here. How absolutely sad of a porn star do you have to be that a TV show has to get you a date? I mean really, unless you are doing it with animals on film, the fact you are flaunting your cooch for the world to see usually means that at least one guy will date you without requiring outside assistance. Then again, maybe she doesn't make the big screen (or the small screen for that matter), I suppose she could be a fluffer, which would be no screen time at all.

I must say, my insult the spammers campaign is working somewhat, I have probably cut my spam mail in half so far. I guess they don't like receiving their spam back in their email all that much.

I mentioned this in my Neverending blog recently, but damn if the Tim Dorsey book isn't freaking hilarious. I should have been turned onto him much sooner. For those unfamiliar, the stories settle around two people, Serge, a serial killer who wants to stop but he keeps running into people that need killing and his stoner friend Coleman. The books are just full of cynical writing and off the wall cultural trivia that you will either really enjoy the books or not get them at all. Prime example, Serge is just about to electrocute an owner of a retirement home that has just kicked the residents out so he can remodel it and put higher priced elderly in, with a contraption that he devised involving a vibrating bed, a thermostat, a nail gun and aluminum foil (don't ask me to explain it) when he looks at the man tied to the bed and tells him that he has good news. The now captive's eyes get big, thinking that he may be untied and let go when Serge tells him "I just saved money on my car insurance." It is a warped sense of humor you either get or you don't, I am just sorry I have only read two of Dorsey's books so far.


I think I will save the pictures for another time, I might go music shopping before bed and I have blogged long enough for one night.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Care to play a game?

Okay, it's not thermonuclear war, but it is an adequate time waster, at least for those of us who used to be role playing geeks.



Play Games at AddictingGames

Monday, June 23, 2008

Hey Rich

2000, woohoo!!!!


Okay, here's hoping I can shake the blogging funk I have been in the last week or so and get about doing that which I do oh so mediocrely, that being prattle on aimlessly.   The best place to start will be the Asshat.  I know, I still have to post one from a couple of weeks ago, but for now you can have our Asshat from the last seven days.  I won't bore you with the details, I will let the details detail themselves.  Merry Christmas!

Children fed 'silly pills,' forced to perform sex shows

  • Story Highlights
  • Defendants convicted of grooming kids for sex shows in "kindergarten" classes
  • They gave Vicodin to the kids and called the drugs "silly pills"
  • Residents thought there were swinger parties going on; didn't know children involved
  • The kids are now in therapy, a Texas Child Protective Services caseworker says

MINEOLA, Texas (AP) -- In the windowless front rooms of a former day care center in a tiny Texas community, children as young as 5 were fed powerful painkillers they knew as "silly pills" and forced to perform sex shows for a crowd of adults.

Two people have already been convicted in the case. Now a third person with ties to the club, previously known in town only as a swingers group, is set to go on trial Monday not far from Mineola, population 5,100.

"This really shook this town," said Shirley Chadwick, a longtime resident of Mineola. "This was horrible."

Patrick Kelly, 41, is charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, tampering with physical evidence and engaging in organized criminal activity.

In all, six adults have been charged in connection with the case, including a parent of the three siblings involved.

Jurors this year deliberated less than five minutes before returning guilty verdicts against the first two defendants, who were accused of grooming the kids for sex shows in "kindergarten" classes and passing off Vicodin as "silly pills" to help the children perform.

Jamie Pittman and Shauntel Mayo were sentenced to life in prison. Kelly also faces a life sentence if convicted, and Smith County prosecutors hope for another swift verdict.

Thad Davidson, Kelly's attorney, said his client passed a lie-detector test proving his innocence and worries about getting a fair trial in Tyler, 25 miles southeast of Mineola, which is in Wood County.

"I think it's impossible to get a fair trial within 80 miles of Smith County," Davidson said.

Mineola, about 80 miles east of Dallas, is a close-knit, conservative bean-processing town of with more than 30 churches. Residents there want to put the scandal behind them as quickly as possible.

The one-story building where prosecutors say four children -- the three siblings, now ages 12, 10 and 7, and their 10-year-old aunt -- were trained to perform in front of an audience of 50 to 100 once a week has been vacant since the landlord ousted the alleged organizers in 2004.

Down a slight hill is a retirement home, and even closer is the office of the local newspaper. Doris Newman, editor of The Mineola Monitor, said rumors of swinger parties spread around town but that no one mentioned children being involved.

Newman, who can see the building from her office window, said she remembers the parking lot filling up with more than a dozen cars at night.

In August 2004, an editorial under the headline "Sex In the City" opined that if the swingers left quietly, "we'll try and forget they've infiltrated our town with their set of moral standards."

"It's not that we're trying to look the other way," Newman said. "But there's a lot more to Mineola than that."

According to a Mineola police report, the department first investigated a complaint in June 2005 in which the siblings' foster mother said one of the girls described dancing toward men and another child saying that "everybody does nasty stuff in there."

In the second trial, Child Protective Services caseworker Kristi Hachtel testified, "I've seen a lot and I never in my wildest dreams imagined this. They were preyed upon in probably one of the most heinous ways possible."

The children are now doing better, the welfare agency said.

"Through counseling and therapy sessions, these children are now finally feeling secure and safe," agency spokeswoman Shari Pulliam wrote in an e-mail.

Permanent custody of the three siblings was given to John and Margie Cantrell. This week, prosecutors in California charged John Cantrell with sexually assaulting a child in the state 18 years ago. Margie Cantrell said her husband is innocent.

Kelly's attorney moved Friday asking to postpone the trial in light of the allegations against Cantrell, a state witness. Texas Child Protective Services said it would be "common" for the agency to investigate.

The Rev. Tim Letsch is opening a church in the yellow-plastered building where the children were abused. He acknowledges that building a congregation might be difficult because of the stigma attached to the property.

"You got to decide whether you're willing to forgive those kind of things," Letsch said. "It's a hard deal. Especially for a spiritual person to walk in and say, 'This happened here."'

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stolen content - Bar tips (from the guys at Hot taco) - 14 Songs You Should Never Play in a Bar

There’s nothing worse than having a perfectly good drinking session ruined by a song that either doesn’t belong in a bar, has been crammed down your ears too many times, or just plain sucks.


WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: The 45-year-old wannabe cougar who, despite being totally beaten down by her dead-end job as a real estate agent, thinks she can relate to the free spiritedness this song represents. She could totally drink beer at noon on a Tuesday…if she didn’t have to be at work. And she could totally drive down Santa Monica Boulevard with some guy named Billy or Mac or Buddy…if she didn’t have to pick her kids up from soccer practice. So, instead of going all Thelma and Louise, she ends up dancing with her other cougar friends before calling it a night in time to catch Grey’s Anatomy.

WHY IT NEEDS TO BE RETIRED: When played at a bar, it does nothing but get a bunch of middle-aged women with fupas and gunts up on the dance floor who ask the DJ to play “Margaritaville” next.


WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: The wanna-be hipster. That’s right, he’s not a hipster, but he is choosing to become one. That’s like being potty trained and choosing to shit your pants. Unfortunately for him, the killers lost hipster credibility when they became profitable to a record label. So, even though he’s wearing a t-shirt featuring the tour dates of a band he’s never heard of, and really really tight jeans, once he’s popped this song on, other hipsters react like a Klu Klux Klansman hearing his buddy quote a Martin Lawrence movie.

WHY IT NEEDS TO RETIRE: The sound of the lead singer bellowing “I NEEEEVVVEEERRRR” towards the end of the song is reminiscent of the sound a man makes when he inadvertently sits on his testicles. The worst part about this song being picked in a juke box is that someone is definitely trying to say something about themselves, thus the next two selections his dollar provided is going to be even more shitty emo. By the end, you’ll want to take the Pabst Blue Ribbon he’s forcing himself to drink and lodge it in your windpipe.


WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: The bespectacled, sweater-wearing grad schooler who wants to play a song that shows off his knowledge of political and world affairs. He almost puts on Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire” but figured REM might make him look a little hipper. But his inability to talk to the opposite sex compels him to explain every cultural reference in the lyrics. “Did you know Leonid Brezhnev served as leader of the Communist party longer than anyone except Stalin? It’s true. And Lester Bangs was an influential music writer who wrote for Rolling Stone and Creem magazines. Hey, where are you going? ”

WHY IT NEEDS TO BE RETIRED: Everyone who hears this song thinks they can sing along, but they always end up screwing up the words. So you get a bar full of people screaming, “That’s great it starts with an earthquake…birds…Lenny Bruce!…hurricane…LEONARD BERNSTEIN…oh wait, that comes later.”


WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: She’s a shy wallflower with lots of acne in her mid-20s who still reads Sweet Valley High books and plays with her My Little Pony dolls. This song represents her fairy tale dream where she steps onto the dance floor and wows all the guys with her graceful moves. At the end of the night she’s swept off her feet by a handsome Prince Charming who takes her away in a chariot led by 10 mighty steeds. Later that evening, she realizes she’s in a rusty 1984 Datsun and the guy next to her has a pizza stain on his Foreigner T-shirt and he’s asking her to chip in for gas money.



WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: Look to the bar, there’s probably a gentleman there who’s wearing a flannel shirt with black sleeves. Upon closer inspection, you’ll realize he’s wearing a sleeveless flannel shirt, and what you thought were sleeves are actually a dark, dense fur that’s made a home on in his shoulders and upper arms. He’ll meander up to the juke box and stare it for ten minutes looking through every album twice, because unlike the sex he has with his obese wife, he’s in no rush to finish. When he selects the song, watch closely, because as it begins to play, he’ll say the words “turn it up,” then hold his hand up and when Skynyrd says “turn it up,” he’ll drop his hand down, signifying that he correctly predicted Skynyrd would say this as well.

WHY IT NEEDS TO RETIRE: If Lynyrd Skynyrd had a Juke Box at their house, I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t be on it. This song, much like Jenna Jameson’s vagina, once was great, but years of non-stop commercialized rocking have made it unsuitable for use.


WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: The middle aged guy who’s still in the suit he bought just to make sure he landed the Peterson account, which he did! But he knows it’s Friday now, time to order some chicken fingers and let loose! Right before he plays the song, he’ll talk to his buddies about how they should totally take a trip to Vegas together. “Fuck it, let’s just do it.” Then they’ll all check their blackberries to find that they either have a prostate exam, a kid’s play to go to, or “wife wants to go see her parents so I kind of got to keep my weekends open for whenever that will be.” Then they’ll sit in silence until one of them leaves and heads to the juke box to make this ass kicking selection.

WHY IT NEEDS TO RETIRE: This song is as played out as Steve Perry is ugly. Whenever it’s selected on a juke box, it’s like a time out is being called from having fun. If this still pumps you up to hear, you probably also get pumped up when your wife says stuff like “I rented the first season of that show “The Closer” that my sister recommended. Maybe if I’m not too tired afterwards we’ll have sex or something


WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: The mega brodawg wearing a white bandana and rings on his fingers who “cannot believe!” that his “main man” Carlos Santana got together with the lead singer of the “totally best fuckin’ band ever” Matchbox Twenty. Seriously, this has “gotta be the best jam of all time, bro.” He’s pretty sure that the only way a better song would come along is if “Jimi came back from the dead to play with, like, Mozart, bro. Totally.”

WHY IT NEEDS TO BE RETIRED: It’s a washed-up guitarist joining forces with the world’s blandest singer to write a song that my parent’s older friend’s like (honestly). This song should only be played on the jukebox in homes for the deaf.


WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: The college freshman who just “discovered music” and is “getting into” the “deep and heavy lyrics.” This gateway song will lead this young man into an ill-advised Steve Miller concert, Pink Floyd posters on his dorm walls and, tragically, the purchase of a Phish album. If you see these signs in anyone attempting to use the jukebox, call the authorities immediately.

WHY IT NEEDS TO BE RETIRED: This song has been played so much even Glenn Frey and Don Henley stab their own ears with icepicks whenever they hear it. Killing someone for playing it is legal in 13 states.


WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: The 39 year old newly divorced woman whose friends have taken her to a bar where they’re all ten years older than the everyone in the bar, including the manager. After a 45 minute session where she and her friends repeatedly convince her that “any guy in this bar would fuck you. I’m telling you, Janice. You show me one other person who’s had three kids and is as hot as you!” she downs her last cosmo and makes a beeline for the juke box. She confidently plays this song, and as the beginning piano solo comes in, she turns around towards her friends as they all excitedly scream in unison, then begin singing. Behind them a group of 25 year old frat guys say “How many beers to take down the grandma?”

WHY IT NEEDS OT RETIRE: Nothing kills a buzz faster than having a group of people next to you get up and sing a song with the same passion and intensity of Russell Crowe speech from Gladiator, then suddenly sitting down once the song is over. Attempting to empower yourself by singing a 70s disco song tells the whole bar “I have low self esteem. Talk to me later when I’m drunk and there’s a good chance I’ll fuck you.”


WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: With his over-the-top Broadway theatrics and his over-the-belt belly fat, Meatloaf attracts the tubby, pony-tailed husky guy who thinks to himself, “Hey, if a great big fatass like Meatloaf can pull this off, then I can too. Because I am also a great big fatass.” He then proceeds to try and out Meatloaf Meatloaf by undoing his pony tail for full hair-flip effect, props one knee on a table and sings along as loud as he possibly can. When he tries to get a girl to do the “let me sleep on it” part she politely declines and he’s forced to sing both the male and female parts by himself. Moments after the song is over he goes home, very alone.

WHY IT NEEDS TO BE RETIRED: First off, it’s eight minutes long. Secondly, it’s shitty Meatloaf singing about having sex in a car. The man is too fat to have sex in a barn. I’m pretty sure those are the only two reasons you need.


WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: He’s got a lifted truck that’s most likely powered by gasoline and “deez nuts.” He’s pounding bud lights sitting at the bar in a shirt that’s either sleeveless, or with sleeves short enough to show off the tattoo he got to commemorate the animal that most closely resembles the demeanor he displayed while playing middle linebacker in high school. He’s also a few beers deep and “there’s a lotta fatties and uptight bitches in this place,” so it’s vital that he take it upon himself to “fucking rock THIS SHIT brother.” He walks over to the juke box while maintaining a full body flex and enters the numbers for this song. Then he nods his head approvingly, as if to say to everyone “Don’t worry, you’re about to see what I picked and it’s gonna take your nuts and shove them inside your asshole, bro.”

WHY IT NEEDS TO RETIRE: Unlike some other songs on the list, this was never an acceptable juke box selection. The only time this is an appropriate selection is when you’re a stripper working the mid-day shift and you need a pick me up because you’re feeling gassy from the free hot dog lunch buffet your club was offering.


WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: He or she is around 55 and although they seriously considered a cut off the Beach Boys “Pet Sounds” album, “you just can’t go wrong with the beatles.” They’re wearing Teva Sandles and a sweater from whatever college their son or daughter attended. They don’t go to the bar that often, but hey, who doesn’t love a good margarita. Maybe it’ll get them drunk enough to have sex with their significant other who has become disgusting with age! They’ll probably be sitting with several other older people who are waiting for just the right time to pull out their story about when they first heard this beatles song, which will be a lie, since the actual first time they heard it they were smoking laced weed while awkwardly looking for a place to shoot their load in the circle jerk that just “sort of happened.”

WHY IT NEEDS TO RETIRE: Before you freak the fuck out, we’re not saying the Beatles suck. The Beatles are a legendary and influential band and because of that, everybody has heard every one of their songs so many times that it feels like you’re living in North Korea and its propaganda spewing from megaphones mounted in the street.


WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: The lonely guy wearing a suit, who just took off his sportcoat, loosened his tie and undid the top button on his shirt. After ordering a scotch and soda he asks the bartender where he was when this song came out. Instead of listening to the guy’s answer, he immediately starts telling him how he came this close to signing to the Mets farm team and how his wife left him because he worked too much and that he really wanted to be a astronaut when he was a kid. Hours later, when he’s finally done with his pity party and gets up to leave, he doesn’t even notice that the bartender hung himself with a bar towel.

WHY IT NEEDS TO BE RETIRED: It makes everyone over 37 all weepy and sad as they sit there and reminisce about all their hope and dreams that never came true. And it makes everyone under 37 furious with murderous rage because they have to listen to this shitty song one more time.


WHO PLAYS THIS ON THE JUKE BOX: The 55-year-old hippie who’s long, thinning hair and tie-dyed T-shirt scream desperation for a bye-gone era. He’ll spend the entire 8:32 of this epic ballad telling you how much better things were back in the 1960s because the youth actually fought for something. Then, because this song is so goddamn long, he’ll run out of boring stories and will start telling you his “secrets he learned in ‘Nam” that the government invented cancer and that LSD is the only true form of learning. Once it’s finally over, he’ll ask you to sign a petition to legalize hash.

WHY IT NEEDS TO BE RETIRED: It’s an eight-minute long shitty folk ballad that has long outlived it’s welcome. It needs to die.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Insight the numbers

If you haven't read the last entry, you probably need to go back and read it, as I am going to explore the numbers in the George Will column and throw out there what I agree and disagree with.

48.3 - The first number that came up in the column, it was the popular vote percentage that John Kerry received in 2004. Will seems to think this shows strength for the Democrats in 2008. I disagree, it shows that even with an unpopular President, John Kerry could unseat him. Consider less than one month before the 2004 election, Pew Reseach had Bush's disapproval rating at 48% (44% favorable), Fox had him just slightly ahead on favorables (47%-46%) a week before the election, Newsweek at the same time had the numbers reversed (46% approval, 47% disapproval), but none of the numbers leading up to an election show overwhelming support for a war time President.

Plus there is the added factor that popular vote is not the way we elect Presidents to begin with and the idea that we should use this as some sort of Rosetta stone to show strength in the Democrats chances in 2008 is problematic at best. Since most states allot their electors as winner take all, who cares if you lose a state by a single vote, you will lose all of that states votes in the Electoral college. California is a prime example, even if you lose the state by one vote, all 55 members of the Electoral College go to the state's winner, and none to the guy who kinda came a little bit close.

251 - John Kerry's vote total in the Electoral College. What this means is Barack Obama has to get votes somewhere, he has to carry a state or two that the Democrats lost in 2004. A simple Kerry strategy is a losing strategy. While it can be argued that Obama has more appeal to an independent voter than John McCain does, Obama's weaknesses demographically are the same ones that John Kerry had in 2004.

41, 21 Obama lost West Virginia by 41 points to Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary there, the question is how many of those voters are loyal Deomcrats that will support the party nominee, versus how many will either stay home on election day or cross party lines and vote John McCain. While it would be easy to pretend that racism doesn't exist, the simple fact of the matter is some people will not vote for a black man. Ed Rendell, the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania (the 21 of our equation) when speaking to the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, guessed that in his last race for governor, he picked up 5 points simply because his opponent was black. Consider that Republican turnout was subdued in that race (only 38 percent of the voters were registered Republican) and of the registered Republicans in that race, 21% crossed party lines and voted Ed Rendell, who will never be mistaken for a Republican as he was the former head of the Democratic National Committee, and the 5 points Governor Rendell said he got because of skin color may be a lowballed number.

While I make that point, I understand that some people don't like Barack Obama for any of a number of reasons that have nothing to do with race, but for some, skin color will be the primary issue.

7.2%, - 1.2% I will grant that McCain has a chance in Michigan, albeit a slight one. Putting Romney on the ticket will mean little, people by and large don't vote based on VP, just ask Kerry how picking Edwards helped in North and South Carolina in 2004 (Kerry lost both). VPs and First Ladies have one thing in common, they can't win you votes, but they certainly can lose them for you.

55 - Will and I agree here, Obama's fundraising has been vastly superior and McCain chasing votes in California, a state that consistently votes Democrat would be a waste of resources. When playing from behind in money, you have to run a smarter campaign, chasing votes in a state you have no chance of winning isn't that smart, let alone the cost of even campaigning in California. McCain would be better served to spend that cash in say, Colorado, than where it will surely be wasted.

15 - The idea that Barack Obama can compete for North Carolina's delegates based on his assumed cash advantage. True he can, but he had problems with having a cash advantage against Hillary. Despite spending upwards of 14 million dollars in Ohio and Texas, Obama lost both primaries. He outspent Clinton in Pennsylvania and lost by 10 points in the primary. One of his campaigns problems was a tendency to use money to make up shortfalls rather than connecting with voters, it will not be enough simply to throw money at North Carolina and assume he will be competitive, he will have to actually campaign there.

56 - Nothing to add to this, or for the matter......

4 - as these are just simple computations with no real need to be argued.

2016 - Assuming Barack Obama wins, this would assume he would be a two term President, which is not a given. A bad first term would open him up to a challenge from either someone in his own party or a Republican in 2012. Lest we forget, one party rule has a recent history of not being all that effective and Barack Obama most likely enter with Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. Reagan was effective in part because he had a Democratically controlled legislative branch to contend with, and Bill Clinton's effectiveness was vastly changed from his first two years to his last six when Republicans took over the legislative affairs of state. Likewise one party rule, whether in be Bill Clinton's first two years, or George Bush's first 6 years have shown that one party rule isn't necessarily a panacea for all that ails us.

Okay, enough of my analysis for one evening, I have food waiting to be digested. Glad I could bore you all to tears.

Stolen content .........electoral math

November's Magic Numbers

By George F. Will
Thursday, June 12, 2008; 12:00 AM

Presidential politics, like football, chess and other rule-bound competitions, is simple in objective but complex in execution. The objective is 270 electoral votes. This year the execution will turn on numbers such as:


In 2004, John Kerry won that percentage of the popular vote, the strongest showing ever by someone losing to a re-elected president. The lesson of this is that Democrats start from a position of strength.


That was John Kerry's electoral vote total. Barack Obama stands a better chance of holding Kerry's 19 states and the District of Columbia, and finding 19 more votes, than John McCain does of holding all 31 of Bush's states. Obama might capture the 2004 red states New Mexico (5 electoral votes), Nevada (5) and Colorado (9) -- George W. Bush won them by a combined 127,011 votes -- giving him 270. McCain, who in his 10-year campaign for the presidency has lingered in New Hampshire long enough to vote as a resident, might turn it red, gaining 4 votes. Obama, however, has reasonable hopes of winning Iowa (7), which Al Gore won by 4,144 votes out of 1,315,563 cast in 2000. Bush won it in 2004 by 10,059 out of 1,506,908 cast. And Obama's estimated 90,000 caucus votes this year almost equaled the combined118,167 won by Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, McCain, Ron Paul and Rudy Giuliani, who finished in that order. Furthermore, Obama might carry Virginia (13). Bush won it with 54 percent in 2004, but rapid demographic changes favor Democrats and Obama won this year's primary with 623,141 votes while McCain was beating Mike Huckabee with 244,135. And should former senator Sam Nunn be his running mate, Obama might win Georgia. Obama's 700,366 primary votes were more than Huckabee's 326,069 and McCain's 303,639, combined.

41, 21

Obama lost by 41 percentage points the primary in West Virginia, which is contiguous to Pennsylvania (21 electoral votes), where he lost the primary by 10 points, partly because, as in West Virginia, he was unappealing to blue-collar whites. McCain might hope to win Pennsylvania -- assuming that Obama's running mate is not the state's popular governor, Ed Rendell.

7.2%, -1.2%

Michigan's first-quarter unemployment rate of 7.2 was the nation's worst, and Michigan was one of just three states, and the only Midwest state, whose economies contracted (Michigan's by 1.2 percent) in 2007. Democrats misgovern Michigan, so McCain, especially if running with native son Mitt Romney, might hope to turn Michigan, with its 17 electoral votes, red for the first time since 1988.


California has that many electoral votes, more than one-fifth of 270. McCain, who probably will be relying on 84.1 million taxpayer dollars, cannot afford to compete in California.


Obama, probably relying on voluntary contributions, will have enough to spend speculative millions on, say, North Carolina (15). In 2004, Bush won it with 1,961,166 votes (56 percent) but in this year's primary, where turnout was below what it will be in November, Obama (875,683) and Clinton (652,824) received 1,528,507, slightly more than Kerry received in the 2004 general election.


That is the number of jurisdictions that will be deciding the allocation of the 270. There are 50 states and the District of Columbia. Maine and Nebraska, however, award two electoral votes to the candidate who wins the statewide popular vote, and one to whichever candidate carries each congressional district. Maine has two districts, Nebraska three. Since the two states decided to abandon winner-take-all allocation of their electoral votes (Maine in 1969, Nebraska in 1991), each state's congressional districts have not differed in their presidential preferences. But Nebraska's 2nd District is, essentially, Omaha. Obama might sense an opportunity.


That is the number of commas in the total number of possible combinations of jurisdictions that can give a candidate 270 or more electoral votes. The votes disposed by the jurisdictions range from 1 (the Maine and Nebraska congressional districts) to 3 (seven states and the District of Columbia) to California's 55, with 17 different numbers between three and 55.


Assuming, not rashly, that Barack Obama wins, 2016 is the next time Hillary Clinton, who will then be 68, can seek the Democratic nomination. By then, the median age of the electorate will be 47, so for many millions of voters, Bill Clinton's tenure will seem only slightly less distant than Grover Cleveland's, the last Democratic presidency that did not make sensible citizens wince.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

BFT 7.0 - Liar, liar, media's on fire!

Ove the course of the last week, as the Democrats finally came up with a nominee, the media has spent a large chunk of its time looking back on the race and the missteps made and what can be learned from the campaign, and what can be expected in a race between Senators McCain and Obama. 

I am not sure what you have taken from the race, maybe it was a profound liking of one candidate over the other, or a profound disliking of one candidate over the other.  Maybe it was riveting and caused you to vote, maybe it was tedious and you wished it all would go away.  Whatever it was, a large number of you took something away from it all.  As for what I took away from it?  The media are a pack of liars.

Mind you, not a pack that favors one over the other, just a pack of liars either looking to fill TV time or column inches, but liars nonetheless.  Three examples if I might. 1) Shortly after John McCain received the Republican nod, the New York Times ran a front page story about how Senator McCain had an affair with a lobbyist.  The problem was, they had no evidence to support such a claim, but they ran the story anyway. 2) The night Barack Obama recieved the delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton was involved in a conference call with some of her supporters, where she was asked if she would be willing to be Obama's Vice President.  She answered yes, she would consider it if offered.  The media took that answer to a question and proceeded to create the story that she was lobbying to be Vice President.  Certainly some of her supporters were hoping she would be selected to be on the ticket, but at no time did the media actually provide any proof that Hillary herself had done anything but answer a simple question posed to her.  3) Late this week, Senator Obama fresh off of his victory was asked about Michelle Obama and the "whitey" video.  The problem is, there isn't a shred of evidence that such a tape exists, it is all based on a posting by an ex CIA guy, Larry Johnson on his blog, and his story has changed a number of times since its original posting, but never has there been a single report of an actual person having this tape. 

This lack of facts has not stopped the media however, as they bloviate amongst themselves how these shocking revelations of nothing somehow affect the campaign.  Here is a novel idea, when doing reporting, how about basing it on facts in evidence rather than rumor and speculation.  And if you can't handle that simple job criteria, then get the hell out of the way for people who can.

Magic lassos and things that go bump in the water

When I was but a boy, at first girls didn't interest me. I imagine that is the case with most guys, we don't just pop out of the womb and begin our quest for the elusive female. So, that being said, when they did start to catch my eye,  my first TV sort of crush would have been Lynda Carter, who played Wonder Woman. You may ask yourself why I bring this up, well today in the news I saw that while boating, Lynda Carter found a dead body floating in the water. My first thought was "I wonder if she will put on that hot costume again and try to solve the case." And let's not kid anyone, the costume was hot for 70s TV. Plus the magic lasso, imagine what you could do with a rope that made people tell the truth. The kinky side of my brain is just awash with possibilities, but the logical side imagines that the only truth I would be getting would be something like "Get off me."

Hi kids, how the hell are ya? Just relaxing in my overly warm apartment here. There is nothing on TV, I just finished watching an episode of West Wing over at Surf the Channel, where they have streamlined the design a little bit and made lauching full screen windows easier. I am getting to the point where I have no need for TV at all. As long as I can keep up on Deadliest Catch, where they just started Opolito crab season, crab fishing in the Bering Sea during winter, freaking crazy, let me tell you. Hurricane force winds, 30 ft waves and it is snowing out, I can't imagine what the wind chill on that is. Give me that and a West Wing or Newsradio or something cool and I will watch all of my TV right from my computer. Heck, today I watched Hillary Clinton's concession speech right from my computer, CNN steeamed it live, so who needs cable really?

The Clinton concession was interesting for a few reasons, but I am going to focus on the radio show that I produce and what happened there this week. As you all know, Tuedsay night Barack Obama passed the delegate threshhold needed to be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States. The host of the show, Lynn, has been an Obama supporter from day one, I started as an Edwards guy, but once he dropped out, I have stayed out of it, trying to be as nuetral a party as I can be in the proceedings. Anyway, Wednesday morning, our first show after Obama has clinched the nomination, we go on the air and our first call is from a lady named Florence. Florence was a big Hillary supporter and said she will not vote for Obama and that Hillary shoud run as an independent and so on and so forth. This brought us call after call from Lynn's listeners who were Obama supporters about how Hillary didn't concede Tuesday night, Hillary didn't say enough nice things about Obama in her speech, Hillary this, Hillary that. It was literally a laundry list of all of the reasons to hate Hillary Clinton. When that list wasn't enough, we could go into the hating Bill Clinton list. We got three calls on, of all things, Bill's relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Finally, after 2 hrs and 45 minutes of this nonsense and just 15 minutes left in the show, I asked a relatively simple question, are there any Obama supporters out there this morning that are happy he actually won? Here it was, an historic moment in political history, an African American man has a chance to become President, and all everyone wants to do is complain about the person that lost. Maybe it is just me, but if I wake up to the realization that a candidate I am supporting just got his party's nomination, I am in a pretty happy mood, but you wouldn't know it from these folks.

Okay, I will put the political stuff away for the time being. I finished my first full season in the major leagues in baseball on the PS2 and Joe Random (my create a character) did indeed win Rookie of the Year. Not only that, but the Devil Rays won the World Series as well, winning a best of 5 3-1 against the Texas Rangers, a best of seven 4-2 against the Toronto Blue Jays and sweeping Philadelphia 4-0 in the World Series. Joe did okay in the post season, batting over .400 with 2 HRs an 12 RBIs in 14 games. I started the next season, and it has been hit and miss so far. On the bright side, I won the starting first base job for the major league roster, so I will not start the season playing in the minors, on the bad side, there are three first basemen on the roster, so my playing time has gotten cut into a little bit. So far I am 12 games into he new season, and while I have played in all 12, 2 of them all I did was come in for one at bat as a pinch hitter. Considering the end of the last season I was playing every day for the last two months, either at first or as designated hitter, I was hoping I would roll up plenty of playing time this season, now that may be in jeopardy.

I have mentioned in blogs past that this page is ahead of the curve on some things. About 5 weeks ago I said how absolutely boring horse racing was, and that the hype for the Triple Crown was overblown because it is almost never won. Well, one horse, Big Brown, had managed to win the first two legs of this year's heralded Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness), so what happened today at the Belmont Stakes? Lost, and not just lost but finished dead freaking last. Really, don't mind me, I just know shit. Just think, only 47 more weeks till the next Kentucky Derby and we can go through the same cycle again.

I have taken to replying to spam mail recently. It gives me something to do in front of the computer that releases stress. Anytime I get spam now, I reply to the same address with "Fuck you!" written in the email. If that doesn't work, if the email gets bounced back for not recognizing the address, I look up the second half of the address on the web, find the contact info for the company that hosts the email address and send them a copy of the email with "Fuck you!" attached to it. It's quite fun actually, I got to tell AOL to fuck off today, sending a copy of a spam email with a address right to their legal department. Spam me? I spam you, bwah hah hah!

I finished this week's Pogo badges. Absolutely hated the blackjack badge, always nice when you lose more tokens chasing a badge than you get for winning it.

Well, after an extended vacation, and by vacation I mean just working one job as opposed to two, I started the quest for the second job today. Nothing too exciting mind you, just applications at this point, but one has to start somewhere I guess, and no better place than the beginning.

Drug update........

Always glad to help people with their medications when I can. Anyway, I am going to cut this short. And you Asshat from last week, and since Sharon Stone and Susan Sarandon got their own entries, I will not pick them, I will go with the Palm Beach County School District faculty. Not all of them mind you, just the Facebook members. Damn, we will be minting Asshats all night on that one.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Faith in your fellow man

Yes, the video is disturbing, but as disturbing as the actual hit and run is, watch how many people walk and/or drive by and do nothing. 



Stolen content and recommended reading

While I already have the website firmly entrenched in the links section, Drew's book is now out in paperback so those of you who like to buy things on the cheap, now is your chance (though I was cheaper still by requesting a review copy for work).  As for what the Fark this is all about, have a review....


press box

Fark Founder Flattens Fourth Estate

Beats the press with his new book; they take scant notice.

By Jack Shafer

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers" was Thomas Jefferson's motto. Drew Curtis shares the sentiment to the extreme in his splenetic takedown of the press, It's Not News, It's Fark: How Mass Media Tries To Pass Off Crap As News, which came out late last spring.

In 278 quick pages, It's Not News, It's Fark does more to advance the journalistic art than all the millions spent by the Poynter Institute, the Shorenstein Center, the Nieman Foundation, the Project for Excellence in Journalism, the Columbia Journalism Review and the American Journalism Review, the Committee of Concerned Journalists, the various Annenberg outposts, and the Freedom Forum, combined.

Instead of urging journalists to raise their standards—the typical tack taken by the press-guardian-industrial complex—Curtis puts the onus on readers, insisting that they become better news consumers. The educated reader's top enemy is the "filler" of non-news, he argues, which the mass media pumps out whenever there's not enough hard news to complete a newscast or fill a newspaper. Through this crack come the inaccurate, fear-mongering stories about germs, earthquakes, and potential terrorist attacks; the worthless formula stories hooked on changing seasons, hot-weather spells, shark attacks, and holiday traffic patterns—the media events generated by PR firms that reporters translate into news stories. Even when journalists do right they often go wrong, he writes, by pausing in the middle of well-reported pieces to give equal time—in the name of balance—to flat-earth "nutjobs" (his word) who take the opposing view.

All the garbage the press publishes and broadcasts when it runs out of genuine news is what Curtis calls "fark." "Fark is supposed to look like news ... but it's not news. It's Fark," he writes. (The first chapter of his book gives the tangled origin of the word fark.) High-octane blends of fark contain celebrity news, press coverage of itself, and news served in the context of no context. When Shepard Smith screens, say, five seconds of a burning skyscraper in Brazil, followed by five seconds of a cat rescue in Montana, followed by five seconds of a flood in Thailand on the Fox News Report, you're sucking his fark.

Curtis became a press-taster nonpareil on the way to building into an Internet colossus. The creation myth in Curtis' book explains that back in 1999 he was e-mailing to friends links to the various "strange" news stories that he'd collected. As the e-mails became a couple-times-a-day event, Curtis decided to relieve his friends' inboxes by posting the weird links directly to his personal Web site. The growing audience supplied Curtis with even more links to weird and interesting news, as well as their comments on the stories, which he also published. The site, which Curtis calls "a news aggregator and an edited social networking news site," now receives 2,000 submissions a day and claims 3.5 million unique visitors a month.

By raising the critical awareness of its readers, encourages a kind of real-time press criticism of all the news on the Web. The mob Curtis has recruited to his site naturally ridicules the most outrageous fark, which appears on the home page, but it also assesses the news in other categories—sports, business, geek, showbiz, politics, etc. Readers endorse worthy stories with tags such as "cool," "interesting," "spiffy," "amusing," and "Florida"—applied to all goofy, stupid, and messed-up stories from the Sunshine State.

"The people involved in Florida stories, and this absolutely does include presidential elections, are bona fide hosed up," Curtis writes. "It's not a lifestyle choice, it's who they are."

It's easy to accuse Curtis of wanting to have it both ways—disparaging the same crap journalism that he showcases on (a showcase that earns him a comfortable living, by the way).

But what's wrong with wanting to have it both ways? Why can't be both a critique of the press and a valid news feed? Take, for example, the BBC News report linked to by today: A woman dressed in a tomato costume suffered a slipped disk when the town mayor kneed her head as he leapfrogged her. One can easily take joy in reading the story and disparage BBC News for publishing it. Rather than being contradictory, the act is not unlike watching bad television. If you watch bad television because you think it's good, you're screwed up. But if you watch bad television because you like the feeling of watching bad television, you're OK.

For all its insight, Curtis' book has gotten scant attention from the mainstream press. Although Salon gave it decent exposure, the Tucson Citizen was the largest American newspaper to review it, and theirs was a mini-review. Curtis did better on the broadcast side, with segments on NPR, Fox News Channel, and the nerd cable channel G4TV. Perhaps the book got overlooked because Curtis stuffed it with hilarious examples from his Web site, and Dave Barry blurbed it, making critics think it was a humor volume. ("Humor" is where my local Borders stocked the book.) Perhaps book review editors were put off because the book is a little farky itself: It suffers from more than 100 pages of padding, and it's derivative of material available on, as Wired blogger Dylan Tweney notes.

Even so, I encourage you to add a little to your diet to inoculate yourself from all the useless media out there. If it doesn't make you sick to your stomach, try Drew Curtis' book for dessert.


This column is not a pathetic attempt to get my story posted on and reap the thousands of hits that naturally follow. Honest, I just found myself reading the first chapter online and liked it and wanted to read more and decided to write about it. Trust me, and send e-mail to (E-mail may be quoted by name in "The Fray," Slate's readers' forum, in a future article, or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

Jack Shafer is Slate's editor at large.




Thursday, June 5, 2008

Helping to plan your vacation

Perhaps you could summer in Nashville, TN


Living it up, redneck-style, at the Hotel Preston

One unique Nashville boutique hotel is reaching out to tourists attending the CMA Music Festival offering the Redneck Package - a customized stay in Music City complete with a complimentary 6 pack of PBR and pork rinds. Wish you were here!

Live like a local at the Hotel Preston with our Redneck Package. Only the best…bag of pork rinds and a six pack of PBR (that’s Pabst Blue Ribbon for you tourists) awaiting your arrival. And for some in-room tv snacks, RC Cola, Moon Pies and Goo Goo Clusters all made in Tennessee. Then, belly flop in our luxurious outdoor pool and don’t forget…no sun block allowed for that deep red tan! And experience the Trailer Park Resort in Nashville where you can compare your mullet to the wall of fame.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

It's a final

Text of Democrat Barack Obama's prepared remarks for a rally on Tuesday in St. Paul, Minn., as released by his campaign:

Tonight, after 54 hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.

Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard. And because of what you said—because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another—a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign—through the good days and the bad; from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls. And tonight I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for president.

At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office. I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party, and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.

That is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she's a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she's a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.

We've certainly had our differences over the last sixteen months. But as someone who's shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning—even in the face of tough odds—is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children's Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as first lady; what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency—an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be. And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory. When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen. Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided. Well I say that because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time. There are independents and Republicans who understand that this election isn't just about the party in charge of Washington, it's about the need to change Washington. There are young people, and African Americans, and Latinos, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation.

All of you chose to support a candidate you believe in deeply. But at the end of the day, we aren't the reason you came out and waited in lines that stretched block after block to make your voice heard. You didn't do that because of me or Senator Clinton or anyone else. You did it because you know in your hearts that at this moment—a moment that will define a generation—we cannot afford to keep doing what we've been doing. We owe our children a better future. We owe our country a better future. And for all those who dream of that future tonight, I say—let us begin the work together. Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America.

In just a few short months, the Republican Party will arrive in St. Paul with a very different agenda. They will come here to nominate John McCain, a man who has served this country heroically. I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine. My differences with him are not personal; they are with the policies he has proposed in this campaign.

Because while John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.

It's not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush 95 percent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.

It's not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college—policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.

And it's not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians—a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn't making the American people any safer.

So I'll say this—there are many words to describe John McCain's attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush's policies as bipartisan and new. But change is not one of them.

Change is a foreign policy that doesn't begin and end with a war that should've never been authorized and never been waged. I won't stand here and pretend that there are many good options left in Iraq, but what's not an option is leaving our troops in that country for the next hundred years—especially at a time when our military is overstretched, our nation is isolated, and nearly every other threat to America is being ignored.

We must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in—but start leaving we must. It's time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future. It's time to rebuild our military and give our veterans the care they need and the benefits they deserve when they come home. It's time to refocus our efforts on al-Qaida's leadership and Afghanistan, and rally the world against the common threats of the 21st century—terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change and poverty; genocide and disease. That's what change is.

Change is realizing that meeting today's threats requires not just our firepower, but the power of our diplomacy—tough, direct diplomacy where the president of the United States isn't afraid to let any petty dictator know where America stands and what we stand for. We must once again have the courage and conviction to lead the free world. That is the legacy of Roosevelt, and Truman, and Kennedy. That's what the American people want. That's what change is.

Change is building an economy that rewards not just wealth, but the work and workers who created it. It's understanding that the struggles facing working families can't be solved by spending billions of dollars on more tax breaks for big corporations and wealthy CEOs, but by giving the middle-class a tax break, and investing in our crumbling infrastructure, and transforming how we use energy, and improving our schools, and renewing our commitment to science and innovation. It's understanding that fiscal responsibility and shared prosperity can go hand-in-hand, as they did when Bill Clinton was president.

John McCain has spent a lot of time talking about trips to Iraq in the last few weeks, but maybe if he spent some time taking trips to the cities and towns that have been hardest hit by this economy—cities in Michigan, and Ohio, and right here in Minnesota—he'd understand the kind of change that people are looking for.

Maybe if he went to Iowa and met the student who works the night shift after a full day of class and still can't pay the medical bills for a sister who's ill, he'd understand that she can't afford four more years of a health care plan that only takes care of the healthy and wealthy. She needs us to pass a health care plan that guarantees insurance to every American who wants it and brings down premiums for every family who needs it. That's the change we need.

Maybe if he went to Pennsylvania and met the man who lost his job but can't even afford the gas to drive around and look for a new one, he'd understand that we can't afford four more years of our addiction to oil from dictators. That man needs us to pass an energy policy that works with automakers to raise fuel standards, and makes corporations pay for their pollution, and oil companies invest their record profits in a clean energy future—an energy policy that will create millions of new jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced. That's the change we need.

And maybe if he spent some time in the schools of South Carolina or St. Paul or where he spoke tonight in New Orleans, he'd understand that we can't afford to leave the money behind for No Child Left Behind; that we owe it to our children to invest in early childhood education; to recruit an army of new teachers and give them better pay and more support; to finally decide that in this global economy, the chance to get a college education should not be a privilege for the wealthy few, but the birthright of every American. That's the change we need in America. That's why I'm running for president.

The other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a debate I look forward to. It is a debate the American people deserve. But what you don't deserve is another election that's governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won't hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon—that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.

Despite what the good Senator from Arizona said tonight, I have seen people of differing views and opinions find common cause many times during my two decades in public life, and I have brought many together myself. I've walked arm-in-arm with community leaders on the South Side of Chicago and watched tensions fade as black, white, and Latino fought together for good jobs and good schools. I've sat across the table from law enforcement and civil rights advocates to reform a criminal justice system that sent thirteen innocent people to death row. And I've worked with friends in the other party to provide more children with health insurance and more working families with a tax break; to curb the spread of nuclear weapons and ensure that the American people know where their tax dollars are being spent; and to reduce the influence of lobbyists who have all too often set the agenda in Washington.

In our country, I have found that this cooperation happens not because we agree on everything, but because behind all the labels and false divisions and categories that define us; beyond all the petty bickering and point-scoring in Washington, Americans are a decent, generous, compassionate people, united by common challenges and common hopes. And every so often, there are moments which call on that fundamental goodness to make this country great again.

So it was for that band of patriots who declared in a Philadelphia hall the formation of a more perfect union; and for all those who gave on the fields of Gettysburg and Antietam their last full measure of devotion to save that same union.

So it was for the greatest generation that conquered fear itself, and liberated a continent from tyranny and made this country home to untold opportunity and prosperity.

So it was for the workers who stood out on the picket lines; the women who shattered glass ceilings; the children who braved a Selma bridge for freedom's cause.

So it has been for every generation that faced down the greatest challenges and the most improbable odds to leave their children a world that's better, and kinder, and more just.

And so it must be for us.

America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.

The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment—this was the time—when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

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