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    Monday, April 30, 2007

    More Admissions You Don't Expect Rachel Ray To Make

    "A pound and a half of kielbasa will feed a lot of hungry women."

    "You can either try to find a kielbasa this big or get two smaller kielbasas, but either way, make sure they have a casing covering them."

    "Most of the big appetites in my family belong to the women, but sometimes my brother can keep up with us."

    Boobs In The News!

    Side Notes is back blogging, and she has this link to a story from England.

    Woman 'sprayed cop with breast milk'

    An 18-year-old woman is due in court today accused of assaulting a police officer with breast milk. Felicha Marin, of Palmerston Road, in Acton, was charged with shoplifting and assault after being arrested on March 29.

    It is alleged she was detained for trying to steal shoes from Lizard, in Hill Street, Richmond. After being arrested for theft she sprayed an officer with milk from her right breast. She is due to appear before at Richmond Magistrates' Court today.

    So many questions. First off, does this mean The Benny Hill Show was a documentary? What made her think this would work? Wouldn’t you have to have great aim to succeed? Does she practice a lot when she’s alone? Will competitive target breast milk spraying be a new Olympic sport? So many questions, so few answers.

    It's Bohemian Rhapsody Monday!

    And now, a very special message from He-Man

    Friday, April 27, 2007

    You Tube Fun Bonus: People I Know In Movies Edition

    A trailer and two short films starring the extremely-talented Greenman.

    Count On Me trailer

    Punch In

    Truth Spoken

    You Tube Fun Bonus - Funny Stuff

    From Beaucoupkevin, via Kung Fu Monkey, the Die Hard song:

    And drunk monkeys. Because if monkeys make everything better (and they do - don't try to argue the point), then drunk monkeys make everything FANTASTIC!

    Great Moments In Stupidity

    I don’t have the skill set to diagnose someone’s mental condition, but what the hell was this guy thinking?

    University of Iowa police took a student into custody for questioning Thursday after he wore a ski mask to class at Macbride Hall and placed UI officials on alert for the second time this week.

    According to a UI news release: It was about noon when a student entered Macbride Auditorium wearing a hooded jacket. He sat down and removed the hood but left the ski mask on. Another student called police.

    So, a week and a half after a shooting spree on a college campus, you decide to go into a large lecture hall wearing a ski mask that covers your face and refuse to take it off? That’s not going to freak anyone, nope, not at all.

    You Tube Fun - Dire Straits

    Romeo and Juliet

    Sultans of Swing

    Tunnel of Love

    Industrial Disease

    Thursday, April 26, 2007

    Lewis Black Is Coming To Hancher!

    Lewis Black is coming to Hancher!

    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    An Open Letter To The Chick-Fil-A Employee Working The Register Closest To Panda Express Around 1:00 P.M. On Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    I don’t know this for a fact, but I don’t believe the woman standing in line in front of me wanted to discuss the last haircut you got for five minutes before you took her order. Yes, she was wearing the uniform from one of the mall’s hair styling salons, but rather than signaling that she wanted to discuss the last haircut you got, to me that would have signaled that she didn’t want a conversation having anything to do with hair on her lunch break. And you know what, you could have thanked me when I gave you the dollar back after you handed me two fives, a one, and three quarters and said “Your change is $10.75.” Finally, I apologize for getting a touch testy when you handed me a small coke instead of a large coke and then tried to cover up for it by saying “That’s the size coke you get with a regular combo”, but I really wasn’t willing to overlook that statement particularly because you had just told me my order took so long because of the large fries I requested with the jumbo-sized combo. I almost said something to your manager, because he was standing right beside me out front restocking napkins and ketchup, but I figured I didn’t have to after he looked at me, rolled his eyes, and shook his head when your response to my statement that I had paid for the king-size combo was “Oh. That’s right.” You tried to blame your overall ineptitude on somebody's order fifteen minutes prior to my visit - "I'm sorry," you said, "but I've been flustered ever since that guy wanted cheese on his sandwich" - but I'm betting flustered is probably the way you go through life, not a one-time thing.


    Tuesday, April 24, 2007

    Things About eBayers I Don’t Understand

    I don’t understand why, when there are several identical items up for auction like, oh, let’s say the Cars Diecast Movie Moments Two-Pack with Sarge and Fillmore, and those items are listed at an identical price, with identical shipping costs, and nearly with identical ending times as if, oh, say, they were all listed by the same seller at roughly the same time, why, given that, would someone bid on the item someone else has already bid on instead of one of the other items that no one has bid on?

    Monday, April 23, 2007

    Admissions You Don't Expect Rachel Ray To Make

    From tonight's 30 Minute Meals:

    "If you're like my husband, and you love the taste of dark meat..."


    Saturday, April 21, 2007

    Excuse Me

    Pardon me if I step on some toes.

    Yesterday, some members of the sports blogosphere decided to change the blog highlights to the colors of Virginia Tech. They did this, so they said, to honor the dead and to show support for the living. They did this to proclaim, as one blog said, that while they may have gone to different colleges, for yesterday, they were Hokies.

    Uhm, no.

    Now, I'm not feeling all that fond of the sports blogosphere lately anyway. There's only so much overt homophobia, implicit misogyny, and implied racism one intelligent adult can take. But this particular gesture struck me as even more, well, crass than the sports blogosphere usually is. And believe me, that's awfully crass.

    Don't get me wrong - I have nothing but sympathy for those who were directly or indirectly affected by Monday's events. But the 32 people murdered on Monday weren't the only people murdered last week. They weren't the only people who died last week. They weren't the only victims of a horrendous act last week. Further, the others who died last week were no less worthy of being honored, their families no less in need of support, then those at Virginia Tech. So where's the show of solidarity for those folks? Where's the proud proclamations on their behalf?

    That's why I find the gesture so crass. When your only connection is tangential at best - "Hey! I'm in college too!" or "Hey! I'm a human being too!" - it's not about supporting or honoring. It's about co-opting the grief of others to show how wonderful you yourself are. It's about proclaiming to the world that "I am a good, kind, caring person." It's self-serving, not supportive, and it's offensive.

    Friday, April 20, 2007

    You Tube Fun - Social Commentary Edition

    I Don’t Like Mondays – Boomtown Rats

    Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore – John Prine

    Fortunate Son – John Fogerty

    I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag – Country Joe McDonald and the Fish

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007

    You Tube Fun Palette Cleaner

    I'm sorry you all had to see that last post, but SOMEONE WAS ASKING FOR IT!!! As you all should know by now, my You Tube Fu is strong.

    And now, a little something to cleanse the palatte

    Sunday, April 15, 2007

    The Never-Ending Pool

    So, I'm flipping channels this afternoon, and briefly land on a commercial for the Never Ending Pool. This is a pool with a huge pump that constantly forces water at you, making you continually swim forward or else get pushed to the end of the pool. You can swim laps forever, never hitting the end of the pool. Unless, of course, you are Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner.

    Prince Namor scoffs at your never-ending pool

    I'm just about to switch to another station when, in the middle of the testimonials, a woman says
    "It's just like having a treadmill in your basement!"

    The hell?

    A 15-foot, $5,000 swimming pool is just like having a treadmill? Except for the whole, well, almost $5,000 cheaper and staying dry thing, maybe. Maybe.

    I mean, is that really the pitch that's going to convince a skeptical buyer that the never-ending pool is for them? "Well, I was doubtful, but, man, if it's just like that treadmill I could buy for a couple hundred, I'm in!"

    I went into the wrong field.

    Friday, April 13, 2007

    You Tube Fun - Steve Earle

    Copperhead Road

    Hard-Core Troubadour


    I Ain’t Never Satisfied

    Thursday, April 12, 2007

    RIP, Kurt Vonnegut

    Kurt Vonnegut - great writer associated with the Iowa Writer’s Workshop or the greatest writer associated with the Iowa Writer’s Workshop?

    Certainly right up there among the other former faculty members – also in the conversation would be John Cheever and Philip Roth. However, everyone knows, or at least it used to be that everyone knows (knew?), exactly where the Vonnegut house was on the north side of Iowa City. I have no idea where Roth or Cheever used to live.

    Expanding the conversation to people who attended the Writer’s Workshop, you’ve got Raymond Carver, John Irving (who does a hell of a book read, if you ever get the chance), and Flannery O’Connor who can be included in the same conversation as Vonnegut. Much as I might like T. Coraghessan Boyle or W.P. Kinsella, I can’t toss them in there. Same with Jane Smiley.

    So that leaves Cheever, Roth, Carver, Irving, and O’Connor as people associated with the Writer’s Workshop in the same league as Vonnegut. I think you have to hand Kurt the title of greatest writer associated with the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. In fact, if it weren’t for a guy by the name of Tennessee Williams, you’d have to give him the title of greatest writer associated with the University of Iowa. But I’m gonna give that one to Mr. Williams.

    RIP, Kurt.

    Snow and Global Warming

    As Matt points out, snow at this time of year allows those who are so inclined to say “Global warming? See, there’s no such thing as global warming!” The problem is, at least with regards to this, is that global warming is the name of the phenomena, not the results of the phenomena. Global warming refers to the fact that the base temperature of the planet has gradually (or not so gradually, in the overall scheme of things) increasing over time.

    Now, this is something that is not in dispute. The base temperature of the planet has been gradually (or not so gradually, in the overall scheme of things) increasing. Check out this graph.

    Sorry. Let’s try that again. Check out this graph.

    You can argue the cause of this increase, you can argue the results of this increase. But you can’t argue that the base temperature of the planet has been gradually (or not so gradually, in the overall scheme of things) increasing. Global warming is a given.

    Still, because people want to ignore that we as humans could be the primary cause of the increase, or that we as humans can’t do anything to reverse the trend, people will pick up on the name of the phenomena and try to belittle any way they can. Snow in April? Guess that proves there’s no such thing as global warming! (Of course, to go that route one must ignore the fact that we didn’t get any measurable snow until the last week in January, and ignore the fact that there were days in April colder than it was on Christmas or New Year’s. But the ability to ignore facts is one of the strengths of the “there’s no such thing as global warming” crowd, so this shouldn’t be a problem.) But how do we get around this problem?

    I propose a simple solution. Instead of referring to it by a name that is a description of the phenomena taking place, global warming, let’s call it Freaky-As-Shit Weather Patterns Caused By An Increase In The Planet’s Base Temperature! That way, we’re describing the result, not the phenomena, and we make it a lot tougher for the anti-science crowd to dismiss.

    You’re welcome.

    Wednesday, April 11, 2007

    On The Radio

    Despite the fact that the new BMW (and it’s hard to call a 1990 vehicle new, believe me) came with a six-CD changer, I indulged myself and purchased an XM receiver. It came with both a car deck and a home deck, so that I can use it in both. Best Buy installed the car deck, and it works wonderfully.

    The deck has 30 presets, though I have been using only ten. I’ve mapped out all the presets I want to use, however, and will get them established. One of my favorite presets is Channel 12, X Country, the home of Alt Country (or Progressive Country or Americana, whichever name you prefer).

    (My second favorite preset is Channel 7, XM 70s. It’s like a radio station straight from my junior high, high school, and college days. It’s great to hear the songs I loved from those days; it’s even fun to hear songs I hated. For instance, I couldn’t stand BTO – Bachman Turner Overdrive – back in the day. Now, I find myself singing along with Takin’ Care Of Business or You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet if they come on, proving the old adage, it might be crap, but it’s my crap.)

    Anyway, I’m driving home yesterday and hit the preset for Channel 12, where I am treated to the Ricky Skaggs-Bruce Hornsby bluegrass version of (wait for it)

    Rick James’ Super Freak

    (Listen to a snippet here.) This immediately becomes the second best bluegrass version of a funk/hip hop song, the best being, the Gourds’ version of Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice. Which I tried, but failed, to insert into this post. It failed because the link where the song was changed everytime, which mean the link I was directing the MP3 player to was never right after first usage. If I can figure it out, I'll re-edit.


    Snow? SNOW? SNOW!!!!!

    Just when you think winter's gone, they drag it back in. Oh well, at least the effect of having snow on fresh, green grass is really pretty. But still.


    Tuesday, April 10, 2007

    You Tube Fun Extra - Dire Straits

    Twisting By The Pool

    Gas For Life And Other Prizes

    I was gassing up the other day – the car, not me – and noticed that B “You’ll always be Amoco to me” P is giving away gas for life. I got to reading the fine print, because I’m a fine print reading kind of guy, and noticed that they are defining gas for life as approximately $95,000 over 35 years. Now, my first thought was that $95,000 over 35 years wasn’t bad – roughly $2,700 a year, or $52 a week. My next thought was that 35 years is hardly a life, until I considered that, at 47, 35 years would put me at 82, and if I’m still around and driving at the age of 82, I wouldn’t be upset that my free gas was running out.

    Along those lines, the Chick-Fil-A opening at Coral Ridge Mall on April 19th will give free food for a year to the first 100 customers they get next week. Chick-Fil-A defines free food for a year as one combo meal a week for 52 weeks. They will begin forming the line on Wednesday, April 18th, at 7:30 am.

    Now, I am fond of Chick-Fil-A. I was very happy to see one was going to be opening. But waiting a day and a half for one combo meal a week for 52 weeks? Not me. That’s not who I am; that’s not how I roll.

    Friday, April 06, 2007

    Bonus You Tube Fun - Alanis Morissette Covers My Humps

    You Tube Fun - Amy Winehouse

    Amy Winehouse (h/t to Occasional Superheroine)


    Back To Black

    You Know I’m No Good

    Me And Mr. Jones

    Thursday, April 05, 2007

    My Friend Ethan and His Brother Andrew

    I love the "Dude! I'm trying to eat my pizza!" expression on Ethan's face.

    Tuesday, April 03, 2007

    More Tuesday Fun

    Lawyerbear. He’s a bear and an attorney.

    Tuesday Funny

    Via Kung Fu Monkey, the email inbox of the worst Star Wars engineer. Here’s a sample:

    Subject: Trash Compactor

    From: Death Star Detention Level Janitor
    Date: A Long Time Ago 7:46 PM
    To: Nardo Pace

    Hey, kid. That trash compactor you designed is up and running and I've got to say it looks great. Lots of grime, a magnetically sealed hatch that can't be opened from the inside, a tentacled garbage creature that practically serves no purpose at all. It's got everything a salty old janitor could ever want.

    One thing, though. It takes an awful long time to flatten garbage. I'm talking a minute or more, depending on how many flimsy poles I toss in there. If our capital ships can boogie at faster than light speeds, why can't we make a few walls slide toward one another at a speed that outpaces a Hutt's leisurely stroll?

    Monday, April 02, 2007

    Republican Profiles In Courage

    I’ve been avoiding politics lately because, well, there are so many others who do it better. Why repeat what everyone else is saying? Still, sometimes, something comes up that is so perfect in its absurdity that you have to comment.

    Case in point: Last week, Senator John McCain (R-Pandering) declared that the recent troop surge was a success and told radio host and degenerate gambler William Bennett (R-Hypocrisy) that there are neighborhoods in Baghdad where “you and I could walk” today. McCain took quite a beating for those comments, and to prove his detractors wrong, he went to Baghdad and took a walk yesterday, afterwards stating at a press conference that his visit was proof that you could walk freely in some areas of Baghdad.

    Here’s the thing. McCain was joined on his little stroll by 100 American soldiers, three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships.

    John. I’ve got some straight talk for you. (Ha. No one else will use that joke. And if they do, they owe me royalties!) If you need 10 soldiers and one helicopter to accompany you on a walk, you aren’t walking freely. If you need 100 soldiers and five helicopters, then you’re putting American lives at risk to prove a talking point that was immediately disproved by the fact that you needed 100 soldiers and five helicopters to make the walk.

    He sure looked cute in the bulletproof vest, though.

    Sunday, April 01, 2007

    Iowa Basketball: Part One - A New Hope

    I'm an Iowan, a grad of the U of I, and a fan of Hawkeye athletics. As such, I am required by state law to have an opinion on the basketball coaching situation. Fortunately for all of my readers (both of my readers?), I do. Let's organize them into some nice groups, split them into several posts, and with any luck, I finish before a new coach is named. Let's start by discussing the man of the moment, Steve Alford.

    One of the things you see said most often is that Alford caused a split among Hawkeye fans. He didn't. The split existed before he got here. It was a split between fans who liked Dr. Tom Davis, the previous coach, and those who wanted him gone, despite the fact that he was incredibly successful and a wonderful human being. These were the people who wanted a coach to take us to the next level, because competing for a Big Ten title every year, making a postseason tournament and winning a game or two every year, well, that just wasn't good enough. No, these fans wanted a different coach, and they were loud enough and vocal enough that they convinced the Athletic Director to give Dr. Tom his walking papers. Oh, sure, he was given one last year before he was forced out, but he was forced out, and the fans played the greatest role in that process. More on those fans later.

    Enter Steve Alford. Alford was hired from a small school in a mid-major conference. In his four years there he had two teams that did well and two teams that didn't. He had never coached at a major college in a major conference. But a deep run in the NCAA tourney that year made him the hot coach, and everyone thought we were lucky to get him. Everyone including Alford. See, he was a cocky guy - always had been, going back to his playing days. But that's what we wanted, see, we wanted that cockiness, that swagger, because, well, because. These were things that were common knowledge about the man when we hired him.

    But here's the thing. There's a very thin line between being cocky and being an arrogant prick, and guys who have had only a moderate level of success at a small college are going to have a lot to learn about coaching at a major college in a major conference. Which means that we had, in essence, hired an arrogant prick who had a lot to learn. Guess how well that went over, especially among fans who had regarded Alford as the savior come to lead us to the promised land.

    Well, he didn't. Instead he came in and got off to a rough start among Iowa faithful. There's a litany of fan complaints - he never took responsibility for anything that went wrong, he blamed his players, he took all the credit, he didn't recruit well, he was a bad in-game coach, he rubbed people the wrong way with his attitude - and they are all accurate. At least they were all accurate with regards with his first few years here.

    But there's this thing human beings do - they grow, they change, and Alford was no exception. He changed, he grew, and by the time he left last week most of those complaints were no longer valid, or at least were not valid to the extent to which they were when he first came here, because we all occasionally fall back on our old habits, no matter who we are. But the instances of the behavior fans complained about, that fans still complain about (check out some of the fan letters in today's Press-Citizen for examples, and keep that link handy, because we'll be coming back to it in Part Two), became fewer and farther between.

    There was one complaint that didn't go away, however, the complaint that he rubbed people the wrong way. Now, I think it's fair to ask if people would have been so annoyed with him if the Alford we got the last four years had been the Alford we got the first four years. Personally, I don't think they would have been. But that's irrelevant speculation at best, because the fact of the matter is that by the time Alford left last week, there was a vast contingent of fans so thoroughly annoyed with the man that it didn't matter what future success he might have here, he was never going to be accepted.

    Don't believe me? Then you're wrong. The aforementioned Dr. Tom had the sort of record many fans now claim is what they want most. Further, even his detractors regarded him as a genuinely nice human being. Yet it wasn't good enough. It wasn't the mythical next level. Alford, who these fans regard as Satan incarnate - well, maybe not Satan incarnate, but Lord knows, they don't like him - would not be given any breaks for anything. How do I know that? Because he wasn't given any this year.

    Think back to our season last year - we contended for the Big Ten regular season title, we won the Big Ten tourney, we didn't lose a game at home, and we graduated two of the most popular players in recent history. If there was ever a coach who had earned himself a free pass for a year, it was Alford. And what did he do this year? He took a young and inexperienced team that was a preseason favorite to finish ninth in the Big Ten and finished in a tie for fourth. Fourth! His reward for finishing fourth? A de facto vote of no confidence from the Athletic Director and fan scorn.

    So he left. Took another job. You can't really blame him for that. You can blame him, however, for his return to form that he had seemed to have shaken, for the potshots at the school and the program, for his "so long suckers" attitude in his departure. Tough to blame him entirely, though, because certainly many Iowa fans and media have earned that attitude. But that's better saved for another post.

    (Yes, I know A New Hope is actually the title of what is now Star Wars 4. So sue me.) (I don't mean sue me literally - you'd have no grounds for any sort of court action.)