Thursday, August 2, 2007

Like the Baltimore Colts in the dead of the night...

I'm outta here.

Friends, neighbors, countrymen: Go here.

Ta.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Hey - I'm not so fat in Springfield....

As part of the oppressive and truly frightening marketing blitz for The Simpson's Movie, the folks at Burger King have set up a "Simpsonizer" where you can upload a headshot and they'll, well, they'll "simpsonize" you, making you look like Matt Groening drew you.

Here I am (with Rastacat) going to the Kwik-E-Mart.



The site is simpsonizeme.com. Don't do this unless you've got a half hour to kill. Plus it's pretty damn particular about the picture you upload: gotta be a headshot at least 640x480, or it will make you wait for five minutes and then tell you it doesn't like your picture...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Interesting...

Well, this actually worked for me. Anybody else get the right answer?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Boston
 

You definitely have a Boston accent, even if you think you don't. Of course, that doesn't mean you are from the Boston area, you may also be from New Hampshire or Maine.

The Northeast
 
The Midland
 
Philadelphia
 
North Central
 
The West
 
The Inland North
 
The South
 
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Something to tide you over...

Combining my dual passions for Gilbert and Sullivan and the Miami Bass sound...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Not dead, sleeping...

Rough month.

Much work. Work-work and home-work. Garages to rustle into shape, firings to avoid to keep paycheck coming.

Still not completely dug out, but I am very thankful for the couple of you who keep dropping in.

Talk to you this weekend, I think.

ciao.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Don't be That Guy...

It seems in my old age I'm turning into That Guy.

I'm that guy who can't manage to dress himself anymore...

Here I am at Wife'sCousin #9's wedding wearing one blue and one black sock.



And I'm that guy with the perverted kid...

Here's the grainy surveillance picture of The Boy grabbing his second cousin twice removed's butt during their dance. He certainly likes to get close during the dances with the ladies, which depending upon their station in life (mothers naturally respond to a child at their bosom, twenty-somethings think he's about to do "The Motorboat").



I'm that guy who yells at poor little thirteen year old umpires.

While I did not go to the lengths of the drunken fat guy below (the first 30 seconds, I didn't watch the rest of the clip, don't feel compelled to either), I apparently did give the poor eighth grader umpiring my son's little league game a little bit of a hard time last weekend. In my defense, I thought I was just helping him decipher the play that had just happened in the field. While I can see why calling him a "buck toothed blind little rodent" might have gone over the top, I feel we were just having a sincere exchange of opinions. At least I don't have to go to boring little league games (at least until the restraining order expires)....



And finally, I'm that guy who watches 1980's karaoke on YouTube. Here's Debbie Gibson's lost in your eyes. It was put up by some Filipino guy who's got like 600 of these things up. Majorly lovely time-waster....



Well, that's it for now. I'm off to wallow in my that guyedness now. Ciao!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Wake me up when September ends...

Apparently I've gone on strike for the month of June. It's already the 7th and not nary a post.

Well, I've got an excuse. I've been really busy. (Due to my busy exhaustion, I wrote that as "busty". Yes, yes, I've been busty. But busy too.) Oh, sure, I hear you scoff; we're all busy. But I've been go-to-bed-at-2-am busy. I've been five-baseball-games-in-a-weekend busy. Two weddings, a graduation, two birthdays, and a new and very demanding relationship with a chiropractor who lusts after my hairy back three times a week...

And today it's an all-day staff meeting mixed with "team building" retreat, kickball game, and ice cream social. Now, I'm always skeptical about these forced-fun things. I had a track coach in high school who was the biggest martinet ever and he was all into theme-costume practices and all sorts of mandatory fun stuff. Mandatory fun is only necessary when you're not having real fun. So there you go.

Anywho, gotta run off to the mandatory fun meeting. Be back later tonight, I hope (after kid concert #2 this week....) with a picture of my wearing of two different color socks to the wedding last weekend, and if I can clear it through wifeypooh, another of the boy (age nine) grabbing the ass of his hot, tattooed 21 year old second cousin at that same wedding.

Ciao.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Kal 4 Prez: Issue One: Torte reform

Greetings, fellow countrymen. Well, the political world's all a-buzz over that actor about to announce a presidential bid. I'll tell you what, I ain't afraid of him.

Here at Kal For President, we welcome all comers: from Romney and his freshly shellaced hair, to obvious brainwashed-sleeper agent John McCain, to also obviously brainwashed sleeper agent Barrack Hussein Obama, I welcome them all.

So, as a part of my exciting and paradigm-shifting campaign, let's start talking some issues!

First, a reading from the Book of Al:

I sued Coca-Cola, yo
'Cause I put my finger down in a bottle
And it got stuck!

I sued Delta Airlines
'Cause they sold me a ticket to New Jersey
I went there, and it sucked!

Yeah!!!

If you stand me up on a date
If you deliver my pizza 30 seconds late

I'm gonna sue, sue
Yes, I'm gonna sue
Sue, sue, yeah that's what I'm gonna do
I'm gonna sue, sue
Yes, I'm gonna sue
Sue, sue, yeah I might even sue you!

Ugh!!


From "I'll Sue Ya", off the Album "Straight Outta Lynnwood."

So, my "handlers" tell me Al is talking about the need for torte reform by sarcastically suggesting he will sue people for all these minor offenses. Sure, whatever.

Let me tell you, it's hard to get good help these days. These 22 year old kids fresh out of some fancy-pants college trying to tell me how to run my campaign. And then they come up with something stupid like this.

What the heck do they mean by torte reform? Look, I've had a lot about these little torte things, and let me tell you, I think they're wicked awesome. I love those alternating layers of cake and icing and chocolate mousse and all that. I think they're quite yummy. And I frankly don't think they need reforming at all!


Yessirree, I do love those tortes just the way they are.

Seems like it's my campaign staff that needs some reforming!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Rube Goldberg for pyromaniacs

Found this on Live Leak. It's a neat Rube Goldberg machine using fire...



(Just seemed appropriate, tonight's Criminal Minds is all about a serial killer arsonist.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day, 2007

The first Memorial Day since a 25 year old from Pleasantville was killed in action carried extra feeling for many in town. A fresh grave in our cemetery, which hasn't accepted war dead in at least a generation.

The war hit home for me this spring as well, as a young man I had worked with fairly closely was killed in action. He had joined the military in 2004, in the midst of the fighting, knowing full well what he was getting into. His father, a West Point graduate and decorated soldier in Vietnam, had turned against Bush's war, but Andrew had joined and proud to had done so.

This was after an evening of talking to the kids about the war, spurred by 60 Minutes' story of the Iowa National Guard troop they've been following since deployment. The Girl just doesn't understand it -- why do we need to waste American lives half a world away? Why can't these people just take care of themselves?

I don't have any answers for her. Some things I used to be very sure of I'm not so much anymore. I can't put a value on Andrew's life. Is all this worth it? Of course not. Not if you're asking me about this one kid I knew who went off to war knowing full well all the dangers and possibilities.

But what if it works? We won't know for years, of course. But are we planting anything that will blossom in the arid desert seas and lush river valleys of Iraq? Is there a child is Basra growing up amongst the chaos of hatred of a sectarian war (for this isn't Iraq against the US, this is Sunni and Shite and Kurd against each other, with bonus points for knocking off an infidel invader or two...), is there a young man or woman growing up thinking to himself or herself; this is crazy, this isn't what Allah wants?

Is there a teenager somewhere dedicating themselves to a future of bringing his or her country together around a shared vision and rejecting the destructive and nihilistic hatreds of the present?

How will this end? For too many American young, it will end in death. But will their sacrifice mean more than some writing on a marble slab in a cemetery; festooned with flags a flowers once a year? I hope so.

But I don't know.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Movie Night: The Most Depressing Movie Ever...

The picture to the right is from a scene of "The Pursuit of Happyness" where homeless Will Smith is spending the night in a locked BART subway station with his five-year old son.



And this isn't the most depressing scene in this movie.

What a freaking nightmare of downer movie. I'm one of those people who identify just a little too much with characters in movies and books and by half way through this one I was ready to cut my wrists.


I'm not going to spoil the plot (here's the IMDB page for the movie), but suffice it to say, everything happens to Smith's character, short of a raging case of jock itch. Usually when a character eats one crap sandwich after another it's a case of lousy writing, in this case however, Smith's character is based on real-life homeless-man-turned-stockbroker-turned-multimillionaire Chris Gardner.


Couple of points:


* Between this movie and Crash, I'm beginning to think Carter's wife is a real bitch.


* Dan Castelanetta actually sounds like Lenny in real life, although oddly enough, Lenny is voiced by Harry Shearer. Weird.


* Jaden Christopher Smith, Will and Jada's kid, is painfully cute.


* Yeah, yeah. I cried. So sue me. I'm an easy emotional mark.


It's these damn father-son movies that get to me. I'm awash in Daddy issues -- the Father/son daddy stuff, not a fixation on old gay men -- so any movie with even a lick of Dad-stuff puts me over the edge.


This is an issue for another post and another time (I've just spent the last 1/2 hour of Cold Case trying to put into words the difficulty of raising boys, of making them men while teaching how to be so much more, all the while waiting for the inevitable point in time when they kill you in cold blood to seize control of your kingdom...), suffice it to say, I was puddle-city halfway through and felt emotionally exhausted by the end.


So, let's Sandraize this one. First, the groundrules, as always:


The Sandra Bullock Scale© was devised to rate a movie sleepability, due to my inability to stay awake through any Sandra Bullock film since Demolition Man. A perfect score of five out of five represents a movie's a) stupifying boredom combined with b) lack of even token nudity despite hot chickage [see Practical Magic... what a waste of time, Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock and zero nudity... Rated PG-13 for sensuality my fanny...]


At any rate: there was no sleeping through this thing. It was a bataan death-march of a movie and it would've been unsporting chickening out mid-way through. Well, it was sort-of worth it, as... well... I'd be giving away the whole point of the movie (oops, too late).


Anywho, as dreadful as it was, it did keep me up, so, gotta be fair:

0 of 5 Sandras!

For those of you who are interested, the real story of Chris Gardner can be found here. Until next time, save the isle seats for me (so I don't drool on anyone as I fall asleep)...

Biker (coffee) Bar



You don't want to get in the way of these mean hombres before they've had their first half-caf venti double sweet two squits lattee.
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Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Little Advice

If you're ever in the State House, feel free to shake hands with the people who work in the coffee shop. Everyone else, not so much.
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Friday, May 25, 2007

Someday, the Messiah-Shark Will Come...

The Washington Post had a delightful and terrifying story yesterday about virgin births among sharks. Apparently in September 2001 a baby hammerhead shark was born to one of three female hammerheads sharing a tank at Henry Dormley Zoo in Omaha Nebraska. No males had been in contact with the females and they had all been in captivity for a number of years.

Now, last year on my old blog I noted that the DARPA (black helicopter guys) have been working on technology to use Sharks for their nefarious schemes; putting sensors in shark brains to try and get them to be use their excellent sense of smell to root out... well, lord knows what those DARPA guys are doing with the sharks. Part of me thinks that the whole "friggin Sharks with laserbeams on their heads" thing in Austin Powers came from DARPA. So I'm a little skittish about sharks from the get-go. I mean, even more skittish than that whole "they like to eat people" thing. That I can understand. It's the teaming up with the evil government scientists in the black helicopters that puts me on edge.

Anyway, now we get news that sharks have achieved virgin birth. Scientists had originally thought that perhaps one of the females had some male "materials" (hey, this is a family blog) stored up from before captivity.

Well, when they autopsied the baby shark (apparently another animal in the tank killed it shortly after it was born) they found that it was an exact genetic match to one of the three female sharks. No poppa. Asexual reproduction.

Apparently scientists had heretofore observed this kind of asexual reproduction, parthenogenesis, only in lower forms of life such as lower plants, aphids, parasitic wasps, and certain fans of the Jerry Springer Show.

Now, as a supporter of sex, I find this appalling. And even more importantly (frankly, how much more sex am I going to have anyway?), is this shark, born outside of shark sin, the long-promised Messiah-shark who will lead his Selachimorphian brothers and sisters to freedom? Will he rise again in glory to judge the living and the dead? And is he just a messiah for sharks, or are we land-based hairless monkeys invited?

I dunno. Messiah-sharks and Zombies. I don't like our odds.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Guess the Bellybutton

John Stamos and Tom Selleck were on Conan the other night and the subject of bellybuttons came up. Well, the three of them decided to compare bellybuttons. Can you pick which one belongs to each?






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Well, the pasty hands probably give the last one away. The top one, the ugly, deformed and utterly disturbing nubbin of a bellybutton belongs to John Stamos. The middle one, flanked by discolored spots that are obviously fatal skin-cancer from his days of shirtless vollyball while house sitting for reclusive billionaire Robin Chambers, is Tom Selleck's, and the bottom is ultra-white boy Conan O'Brien.

See ladies: ultra-sexy John Stamos has a gnarly bellybutton. And ultra-sexy Tom Selleck has a nasty case of fatal skin cancer. And of course Conan, is, well, Conan.

Kal wins, by default.

See the youtube clip here. And a tip of the hat to Thesuperficial for finding this.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thirteen Stories From an Old Man

Gino tagged me on a meme requiring the writer to make 13 predictions about the world as it will be when he or she is “old”. Well, RW already stole my joke about opening the paper this morning and reading off the first 13 headlines, so I guess
I’ll have to put a little work into this.

Appropriating his formula, what will the world be when I am 75, 40 years hence? Well, let’s see....



Dateline: Pleasantville, Massachusetts. May 23rd, 2047.
The bones are creaky as I rise out of bed. The ladies on the news sprightly tell me we’re in for a cool one today; the recent mid-90’s heatwave1 will be replaced by a pleasant sea breeze bringing temps down into the ‘80s. Of course this will be only after a late morning series of thunderstorms which could cause a stray tornado or two2. I make a mental note to fasten the storm shutters, then slap my forehead for my forgetfulness;

“Wifeypooh?” I say in a loud, clear voice.

As always, she answers. “Yes, dear?”, her voice cool and modulated.

“Could you secure the storm shutters when the barometric hits 29.5, would you?” She demurely responds yes. Never fails me, does she. “Coffee too, okay? And run the morning program, would you?” She quietly beeps an affirmative as the plasma in the bedroom lights-up with my emails, headlines, and the usual array of operational stats for the house.

The Boy was over with his grandkids the other day, my great grandkids – the oldest now two (it’s time to start paying for college, isn’t it!), and commented that he thought it was more than a little weird that I named the home control system3 after his mother – dead now these last ten years after blowing an aneurysm yelling at a door-to-door salesman4.

“Dad, don’t you think it’s time to move on? You’re still a young man, and with the new implantable, fully bionic penis5 that guy Avitable keeps talking about, you could still date. “

That boy. Always the romantic. And yes, I’ve read Avitable’s raving about the thing – how he actually made a horse cry the other day – but frankly, with my back I don’t think I could lug the bastard around. And look, as a full-time naked blogger he could deduct it as a business expense, I can’t afford $23.7 million… That’s almost two weeks of social security checks6.

The headlines were the same today as yesterday it seems. Luxembourg is the seventh European nation to make Arabic their official language7, George Quinton Robert Romney Bush has already announced for the 2056 Presidential election, having just turned 26. His uncle, President George Herbert Smith William Bush II pledged his instant support, himself the frontrunner in the 2048 race. His cousin, George Walker Texas Ranger Jefferson Bush, the current Governor of Old Mexico, cried foul – understandably, why his Dad would go supporting someone else for 2056 when GWTRB was running in 2052 and might be trying for reelection himself in 2056 was a little odd.

Although, hey, ever since the Bush and Clinton political families put aside their differences and pledged only to marry each other, the genetic material’s gotten a little thin. It wasn’t in the news, but I imagine George William Hillary Bush-Clinton, the military governor of Afganiraqanianistan is probably pissed.

I'll tell you though that these ten year presidential election cycles8 are getting a little tiresome...

The siege of Fort Gino in Arizona continued. I’d have to remember to send him an email. I mean, really, how important are incandescent bulbs anyway? Jeez. Just give up the lightbulbs9 Gino.

"Wifeypooh? Tull tickets?" She responded that she had placed the order for tickets, and Ian and the Boys, well the embalmed corpse of Ian and four sessions players all born about ten years after Ian passed out and fell out of his walker on stage that fateful night in Providence, playing the Jacobi bar mitzvah10.

But we loyalists still show and hope that one of these years they'll produce a new album. Although fifty years later Dot.com still holds up, I'll tell you what.

I surfed over to Large Regular, where Chris is mocking Bill Simmons for having a real, live, stroke when the Celtics yet again got screwed in an NBA draft lottery, getting the supersecret purple ping pong which gives them the last pick in the NBA draft, right after last year's champion, the Beijing Yau Mings11. Well, there's always the Patriots who have won the last 39 Superbowls12 and will be coached this year by a retarded Monkey with one testicle. The Krafts complained that the NFL forced them to hire the retarded monkey, but given the fact that the the majority of NFL teams are coached by Schottenheimers, the descendants of Marty and Brian, the commissioner figured that was the only way to level the playing field.

Of course, I had to surf through 57 popup ads of Peyton Manning trying to get my to buy a Rascal. That bastard's been dead and he's still in 67.3% of all the ads13 on Webovision. Well, that's what winning one superbowl (and choking 14 other times in the playoffs) will get you...

And, don't you know, I've been on the webovision longer than they government allows14 (don't want us to all get obese, you know...) so Wifeypooh breaks in and gently reminds me it's time for my mandatory exercises.

Well, that's fine. RW said he wanted to break-in the new flying Mini and wanted to zoom up to Minnesota to hear Harmonica Man's latest band rock the nursing home. I've read of his prowess with the holographic harmonica is something to experience in person.

Afterward he promised to drop me off in Toronto. I've got a hot date...

If the home system would just stop it's interminable bitching... Yes, I am wearing this out of the house, thank you very much. No, I don't mind that it's a velour sweatsuit... Yes, yes, I'll be back by ten... Jeez. Where's the remote?

Damn that boy. He disabled the mute button.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Why This Culture Stinks: Reason #272

News Item: (Well, sort of, I got it from The Superficial) (Heyyyy.... It's not on The Superficial. I'm aghast. I rely on The Superficial for all my celebrity news! Oh, I guess I'll have to go to TMZ...)

Okay, News Item: Britney Spears made such a stink about the lack of leather seats on the United Airlines plane she was supposed to fly to Florida on that the captain of the plane taxied back to the terminal to let her off.

(Oh, and The Superficial has the story up now. I think my vicious taunting got to them)

Anywho: what the heck? If I complained about something so bitterly that the captain of the plane had to go back to the terminal to let me off, what do you think would happen?

Yes, that's right. I'd end up in the hoosegow. And so would you. And after getting extra special full-body cavity searches by the TSA, we'd most surely end up on a no-fly list and possibly even get audtied by the IRS just for fun.

We would most certainly not be allowed to interfer with a flight crew (the catch-all federal felony they tag everyone from terrorists wanna-bes to disorderly drunks) and get dropped off at the terminal.

I mean, this is America, right? This is a country of laws, and not men (and chicks). Right? Why the special treatment for trailer trash multi-gazillionaires?

And Britney, really, hon: You wear so little clothing, and velour dosen't stick you your fatty sweatty baby-momma ass like leather does. It's really the better choice.

Love,

Kal

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I'm not threatening, I'm just sayin'...

News Item: Earlier this week the corpulent body of Jerry Falwell was found dead on his office floor.

Fact: March 12, 2006, Falwell dismisses global climate change, saying "scientists who are not on the payroll of the government" were skeptical of climate change.

News Item: Pat Robertson escapes death when his private plane crashes without him aboard last May.

Fact: on August 2nd, 2006, Pat Robertson declared on the 700 Club that he was a "convert" on Global Warming.

God doesn't screw around. C'mon Gino: hand over those incandescent lights before anyone gets hurt.

Yup, still alive

Sorry I've been away for a couple of days. I'm writing something that's a little difficult (plus I'm fat and lazy. Just so you know.)

I will leave you with the one thought:

Chicken Curry and an english-style pub for a business lunch = Bad Idea.

Smellingly yours,

Kal

Monday, May 14, 2007

Reason #476 I'm a Republican....

It's tough nowadays to admit one's republicanism, but Thank God for Tony Snow.

Apparently Mr. Snow, Bush's spokesman, is in a band called "Beats Workin'", and, get this...

He plays...

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

Jazz/Blues Flute!

I sh^t you not.

Here's a YoutTube clip of him doing "Stormy Monday Blues" sounding A LOT like Ian Anderson on Tull's version of the same song.



Apparently Tony and his band are in a battle of the bands at the National Press Club dinner with geriatric newsreader Bob Schieffer's band: "Honky Tonk Confidential". Here's an MP3 clip of one of their songs, with Shieffer singing.

Tony and his band, on their website, has on their songlist stuff like the Stones, The Grateful Dead, Badfinger, The Doors and Grand Funk Railroad. Shieffer? Schieffer plays crappy honky tonk crap.

Republicans = cool music.
Democrats = crappy music.

I rest my case.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Ewww....

 


Meat free chicken? Well, if you're the kind of person who's strict about definitions and says "chicken is poultry" then why feel the need to tell me it's meat free? All poultry should be meat free, right? I mean, you're not slipping porkchops in with my poultry, are you?

And if you are the kind of person that says anything with eyes is "meat", then what exactly is "meat free" chicken made of? Bananas?

This is very troubling...
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Friday, May 11, 2007

Can't talk... eating working...

Ugh. Deadline for vast quantity of written work coming up (like in two and a half hours). Eeek! Just checked, it's two hours! Small amounts of written work done. Need to turn into vast amounts quickly... No time for chatting.

Have a great weekend, and to all you Mothers and Mother$@#$ers out there, happy Mother's Day!

Oh, and for Motherdear, who may or may not be lurking, here's for you:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Arggghhghg!

Two frickin' I've tried to set up my linklist. Two times. Both times I get like 14 entries done and the thing closes. Closes!

Mother$^@#$ing Blogger...

So, sorry to all my regular reads for not linking. It's not that I'm a big snob, it's just that I'm technically inept...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

I don't mean to alarm you but.... RUN!

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, they used to say. These days, the price of just staying alive is eternal vigilance. Or at least watching Fox25 every morning.

Case in point: last week news broke around here that the Medical Examiners office had "lost" a body. Apparently some poor guy died under mysterious circumstances in some hotel and they carted him off to the ME for an autopsy, and the ME "lost him".

Now our ME's office has been in the soup quite a bit lately. They misplaced somebody's eyes last year, and had a real bad problem with unclaimed corpses piling up and stinking out the joint. So, according to the cover story press accounts, in the process of cleaning out all the old, unclaimed corpses (maybe it's like a school lost and found: if nobody claims stuff it gets donated to orphans or something at the end of the year), anywho, in the process of cleaning out the old corspes, they think they might have gotten rid of this new corpse by mistake.

Sure. Right.


But I was buying it. Until someone thinking themselves a wiseguy emailed into the Fox25 morning show that obviously the body was a zombie and had walked off on it's own. The hosts all laughed it off and moved on to the next story.

Well. You see, I've read "The Zombie Survival Guide", and I know what to look for. I remembered a story back in February about alleged misdoings at a certain catholic cemetery in the Boston Archdiocese. Apparently they were reburying bodies, dumping them out of caskets, taking gold fillings, that sort of thing. Now, the interesting thing is a family had requested an exhumation to see if the charges were true, that their grandmother was buried just in the dirt, actually under the coffin of her later-deceased hubby.

Both the Church, and the family (who had hired a high-priced lawyer famous for his role in litigating the big church sex scandals) made high profile statements and Fox25 ran wild with this story... up until the exhumation. Then: nothing. Now, if indeed the charges were true, wouldn't that family (or the high-priced attorney) want to say, "See, I told you so(now pay up)". And if the charges weren't true, wouldn't the Church want to say: "See, we did everything right, now buzz off"?

But the silence has been deafening. Which can lead me to only one conclusion: the story was hushed up by the government. Classic Stage 1 Zombie Outbreak behavior. I don't know about you guys, but I'm starting my stocking up now. By summertime this place could be crawling with the living dead, and I need to be ready to split at a moment's notice.

Don't say I didn't warn you...

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Pot (Belly) Purri

As a special treat, I'm train-blogging today via the Treo and my spiffy magic wireless keyboard, so if this post degrades into gibberish, blame my inability to type on a tiny keyboard perched on my shoulder bag (plus the keyboard has a nsty habit on not synchingup with the Treo until you type your first letter, so if I miss a bunch of first letters of words, you know why.

(Note: I went back and edited when I got to my desktop. Couldn't take all the errors.)

Anywho - on to today's subjects.

1. Crash

Saw Crash over the weekend. Going to Sandra-ize it in a later post, but, man, what a movie. After it came in the mail I really thought we'd hate it, and the first ten minutes filled me with dread, but, wow. This could be the one that rewrites the rules. More later.

2. Fat@ssedness

My back has been on strike since about Saturday, and as much as I'd like to blame some crushing yardwork or fantastic accident, I woke up with it this way. So unless ninjas attacked during the night and I sleep-fought them off, there's no good reason I've been schlepping along like an invalid for the past three days.

There seems to be one solution: my back has finally decided that it's tired of lugging around my fat gut, and has gone on strike until further notice,

There's a lot of merit to this possibility, as I have reached yet another level of fat@ssedness I never thought I'd get to. The two of you who've been around for a couple of years may remember that I hit 250 a couple of New Year's Eves ago and went on a dieting and exercising binge that saw me drop 30 pounds, back to to marriage-day weight of 220.

And 220, you mqay recall, is about 40 pounds heavier than my woo-ing weight of 180. (But that was high school, back when I had a metabolism..)

Well, recently we've been flirting, aw, hell, when been completely molesting, 260 pounds, with the number 264 actually being spotted recently.

So this is completely out of hand. It's time again for an epic quest to dump off a pound or 50.

But I need incentive. (Oddly enough, "Not dying" isn't incentive enough.)

Last time I had the incentive of a contest with Brother-in-law #3, who himself was weighing in over three bills and needed to lose some weight for a wedding.

Plus, I was trying to look good for a certain young lady who I was sort-of mentoring and totally chasing after.

(Before you think me a cad: I am very happily married. But that doesn't mean I'm completely inured to the charms of the fairer gender. And it's kind of like a dog chasing a car: like the dog, I have no idea what I'd actually do with it if I were to catch it, so it's harmless, okay?)

Anyway, I need a potential victim love connection unsuspecting lass to chase after to get the old testosterone focused in the right direction. (Otherwise the testosterone says "screw the treadmill, let's play Madden tonight"). I'm going to start perusing the local health-food store to see if I can find a suitable person. (I have a wickedly horrible thing for hippy-chicks... They're my krypotite.)

And Bollix, occassional commentor and long time reader has volutneered to accept the challenge and enter into a gentlemen's wager as we both try to lose weight.

Since he's about 40 pounds lighter, we'll be doing it on a percentage basis. He's one of those crazy bicycle nuts who dress up in tight clothes and cycle all overr the place (lunatic), but I think with the proper incentive (find that hippy chick soon), I can give him a run for his money.

Well, gosh. My train ride's already almost over, so I've got to wrap this up. I wanted to mention one more thing, but that will have to wait.

Just one warning though: Stay away from the graveyards, okay?

That'll have to be it for now. Chat with you later.

(unless they get me, of course....)

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Movie Night: Tom Hanks, the World's Greatest Actor..

After holding on to The 40-Year Old Virgin and Return From Witch Mountain for about two weeks, finally got around to returning them and getting the next movies on the kid's and our lists.

First, the mandatory explanation:

The Sandra Bullock Scale© was devised to rate a movie sleepability, due to my inability to stay awake through any Sandra Bullock film since Demolition Man. A perfect score of five out of five represents a movie's a) stupifying boredom combined with b) lack of even token nudity despite hot chickage [see Practical Magic... what a waste of time, Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock and zero nudity... Rated PG-13 for sensuality my fanny...]

Anyway, we seem to have blown through every single kid's movie at Netflix and are starting to get mostly-harmless '80s PG-rated comedies of suspect intellectual heft. I hope we're not doing any permanent damage to their developing brains...

This weekend's offering for the kids was Turner and Hooch, a typical odd-couple cop movie from Tom Hanks' unfortunate "I'm getting paid for this, right?" period (The 'burbs, Turner and Hooch, Joe vs. the Volcano). The only twist being Hanks' partner -- a large, ugly, slobbering dog. The Hooch of the title.

I'm not going to bore you with the plot, you've undoubtedly seen it before, so let's get right to the digressions:

First, if you look up "Turner and Hootch" (note the different spelling of Hootch) in The Urban Dictionary, you get slang for something very dirty. I'm not going to spoil it for you, but the kicker is the whole humming the Sanford and Son theme. That just makes the whole thing, if you ask me.

Second: decent "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" potenetial in this one. For instance, I was looking up the career of bit player Clyde Kusatsu (he played a grocery store manager) and was too lazy to type in "Tom Hanks" in the search bar and managed to get to him in five steps (with bonus points for actually using Kevin Bacon). Kusatsu was in a couple episodes of M*A*S*H with David Ogden Steirs, Steirs was in Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame with Demi Moore, who was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon, who was in Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks.

You've also got Urkel's next door neighbor (who was also in Die Hard) and Craig T. Nelson for your Kevin Bacon game needs.

Third: Did I miss the three and a half weeks where Mare Winningham was romantic lead material?

All in all, a fairly inoffensive bit of late '80s buddy genre. Nothing to write home about, but gave the kids a couple of chuckles.

(The Boy just wandered down, here's his take: "I liked... Umm... Ummm.... Uhhh.... DAD! Don't write the Ummms!...." okay, okay. Here, after much prodding: "I liked that the dog wrecked the really organized guy's house. And I like Daddy's stinky feet")

(Uh, thanks. I think he just wanted to see if I would put that down. No editing here, babe. We're blog veritie!)

Anyway, I'll give it three out of five Sandra's, as I didn't fall asleep, but probably because I was surfing the net while watching it.

(The Boy's rating: Zero! And he wants to remind you all that he likes my stinky feet.)

(Yes, he's truly a delightful child.)


Thursday, May 3, 2007

Happy Beltane

Sorry been away, but it's Beltane you know, and I've been... well... busy.

The first of May, long before the Commies stole it for May Day, is a very important day. In the Celtic and Pict parts of the British Isles it's Beltane, the traditional kick off of summer.

Beltane's an ancient festival celebrating the death of winter and the begining of summer (June 21st, our "first day of summer" is actually mid-summer's day). Befitting my new status as a Crunchy Conservative interested in the environment and Mama Earth and all that crap, I've been trying to revive some of the old customs.

So, for Beltane you've got to build a big bonfire, dance around, maybe do a little Maypole dancing, and... well... some other stuff.

Beltane is around planting time, and you really want to make sure the Earth is super-fertile so your crops will grow nice and tall. Apparently the ancient druids believed that you could help along Mama Earth in her fertility by, well... getting busy in the furrows. Your fertility would rub off. So to speak.

So I got the bonfire all set, did a bit of dancing around, skipped the Maypole (that just looks goofy). And then asked Wifeypooh if she wanted to help me fertilize the garden.

Long story short, I woke up this morning in the bushes with a splitting headache, an egg on the top of my head, a broken spade next to me, and a ticked off wife locking me outof the house.

I guess she said no.

Ah well, maybe next year. For a bit of Maypole dancing, how about Men Without Hats?


Monday, April 30, 2007

Getting in touch with my inner dork...


1. Spiffy new laptop running Vista
2. Palm Tungsten e
3. Palm wireless keyboard
4. Palm Treo - leaning up against a Rubik's cube, for added Dork points...

Not pictured: nifty presentation wireless powerpoint advancer/laser pointer.

I am the King of Dorks!

(and with all this wireless radiation going on I plan on developing a nasty brain tumor any day now...)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

KaraMia doesn't care about this post...

(and neither do most of you, but I don't care!)

I've been giggling since February. I finally got over it last week, and then the draft happened and it started all over again.

First, here's what got me giggling back in February...

Meet Adalius Thomas.





Adalius Thomas is one big mother-truckin' linebacker who can drop into coverage, stuff the run, and has speed off the edge. He does it all. He's played something like eight different positions at one time or another.

He was the cream of the free agent class this off-season, and my New England Patriots did something completely out of character. They opened up the checkbook and put a push on for the big stud.

So that had me giggling.

And then they went nuts.

Donte Stallworth, erstwhile Saint and Eagle, and certified burner (4.2 40 time in college). Sure, probably a bit of a head case. And some involvement in the League's substance abuse program, which is never a good sign... But... 4.2 in the 40!

They added his former college teammate Kelley Washington (6'3 with speed... 6'3 with speed... 6'3 with speed), and then brought in the next Troy Brown (speedy, smart, undersized with a huge heart), in Wes Welker. (Plus the guy absolutely killed the Patriots in a game at Miami this year... Getting him off the Dolphins was a two-fer).

That's three pretty good new wide receivers for a team that was one first down away from the Super Bowl. By now, I'm giggling every time I drive by The Razor (Gillette Stadium's wicked cool unofficial nickname).

And the draft was still coming, and the Pats were holding two first rounders (they absolutely robbed at gunpoint the Seahawks, getting a first for Deion Branch...).


They came into the draft with some real needs on defense. Their Linebackers are getting old, and got abused by the Colts last year, and they need a defensive back, where Safety Rodney Harrison is still a force, but is getting limited by injuries.



So they go and draft Harrison's replacement, right down to nasty temperament, Brandon Meriweather. Meriweather's the guy who stomped on another player during the Miami-Florida International game. He's a little smaller than Rodney (Rodney's 6'1 and 220, Meriweather's 5'10 and 190), but he hits bigger than his size.



The Pats traded their second '07 first rounder for the 49'ers '08 first rounder which looks to be a decent deal if they didn't have anyone else of 1st round caliber on their draft board. They also gave away their 3rd rounder to Oakland, for Oakland's '08 3rd, and some other flotsam pick.



The announcement of the Oakland trade was interesting, because there had been rumors all day about Oakland trading Randy Moss, their disgruntled superstar. Since it didn't happen with the 3rd round swap, I figured the deal was off the table, as there was no way you can get Randy Moss... That's Randy Moss, he of the 6'4 frame and blazing speed and fierce temperament, for some low second-day draft picks...



But oh my God. Coming back from dropping the boy off at CCD, word hit the radio that Moss was in Foxboro, undergoing a physical. He had apparently agreed to contract concessions, and was coming to New England for a 4th round pick. A fourth round pick. Four.



Oh



My



God.







Rumors about Moss had been floating around the Patriots for months, back to the middle of last season. Everybody pooh-poohed them, saying Belichick would never bring in someone like Moss. An obvious malcontent, a locker room problem.

But remember Corey Dillion? He was an absolute @sshole his final season at Cincinnati, a real cancer in the locker room, and he came to the Patriots and got the message.

Doug Gabriel, Moss' erstwhile Raider teammate? He came to New England, didn't get with the program, and was shown the door. I don't think Belichick's all that sentimental. I think he's a football coach, looking to win football games, and is going to do it with the best players he can get who buy into his system. And Randy Moss, for all you can say about him, wants to win football games.

I almost feel bad for the Colts. Almost.

Maybe I'll stop giggling by July. But I don't think so...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dumb Enviro of the Week: Sheryl Crow

If there's anything that makes it difficult to be an environmentalist (other than Gino’s continued Troglodytism), it's when a celerity says something very, very silly, proving once more there is absolutely no connection between the ability to make good public policy and the ability to play chords while standing up.

Today's example: Sheryl Crow. Ms. Crow, the erstwhile Armstrong marriage-wrecker, has shared her environmental vision of the world. Apparently, Sheryl's very concerned about de-forestation and paper production. So on April 19th she blogged about a couple of possible ways to cut down on wasteful paper usage.

No, no, not reining in CD packaging so there are no more 13-page foldout posters inside CDs, it's about our wasteful toilet paper usage:

I propose a limitation be put on how many sqares (SIC) of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required.

Sheryl, Sheryl, Sheryl.

Look, I don't know what you're eating, but when normal people eat food and poop, well, sometimes it gets a little messy. And one square of TP ain't going to cut it. Sometimes, after a particularly hot chili, why, I bring an extra roll in there.

How about this - why don't you cut down the size of your entourage when you're on tour? Take a look at her typical tour contract. It specifies parking space for three tractor trailers, four buses, and six cars. Now, compare that to the mighty Jethro Tull, who require only one 45 foot bus with a trailer. (Ian and the boys also have a contract rider specifying that all unused catering food go to a local soup kitchen. And he doesn't feel the need to pat himself on the back about it...)

But really, what do you expect, she's a rock star, not a Mensa member. Here's what she wrote after a visit to New Orlean's 9th Ward:

"-the irony is that many of those who left, were happy to leave- they were living in conditions so unbearable anyway, life away from New Orleans is preferable...so maybe our concern for a displaced community is...misplaced?"

Which makes her sound a lot like Rush Limbaugh. We shouldn't be too concerned about folks who lost their homes and possessions, because, well, their homes and possessions kind of sucked anyway? Actually, it's not Limbaugh, it's more like Marie Antoinette, who responded that the peasants who were out of bread and hungry should eat cake instead.

Actually, Sheryl's now saying the whole toilet paper thing, as well as her other suggestion that we not use paper napkins and wipe our mouths on disposable sleeves, were jokes. I can see that. And lord knows, I wouldn't want the Drudgereport to be running excerpts from my blog everyday. People may take things out of context. (or what’s worse, may not!)

But this is a teachable moment: actually, Sheryl's got a point there, buried within her nanny-like tut-tutting about our apparent wasteful hygiene habits. Trees are wonderful "eaters" of carbon, sucking it out of the atmosphere and using it to grow. So we like trees. The rainforests and forested areas are what we call “carbon sinks” because they “sink” carbon back into the ground. You remove too many trees and you upset the Earth’s natural carbon cycle even more.

But, actually, trees are best at sucking up carbon when they're growing. So paper companies which cut down a lot of trees, but also plant more to replace the trees than they cut down, aren’t as bad as you may think, Sheryl. They produce a lot of fast-growing, young trees to suck up carbon. And unless you're incinerating the waste, the paper ends up, at worst, sitting in a landfill, becoming part of the earth again.

So we shouldn't go around talking about people using less toilet paper and risking serious cases of monkey-butt. We should talk about rules for responsible forestry and requirements that companies practice sustainable wood harvesting techniques. There’s a cost to those linen napkins too, you know, in terms of water used to wash them and the electricity needed to dry them.

And really, trust me on this. You want me to use as much TP as possible. Really.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

David Halberstram, RIP

Author David Halberstram was killed in a car accident in California yesterday.

I've only read two of his books, "The Fifties" and "The Education of a Coach" (about Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick), but two's enough to know we've lost a giant of letters, and a wonderful example of a person with a view not clouded by political affiliation or partisan zeal, but instead by a realistic assessment of who we are as a people and the breadth of our potential as a nation.

Look at the commencement address he gave at the University of Michigan in the spring of 2000.

You are fortunate enough to live in an affluent, blessed society, not merely the strongest but the freest society in the world. In this country as in no other that I know of ordinary people have the right to reinvent themselves to become the person of their dreams, and not to live as prisoners of a more stratified, more hierarchical past. We have the right to choose: to choose if we so want, any profession, a venue to live and work in, any name. As much as any thing else this is what separates us from the old world, the old world across the Atlantic and the old world across the Pacific, where people often seemed to be doomed to a fate and a status determined even before their birth. We have the words of the great physicist I. I. Rabi to remind us of that special freedom, of the privilege which comes with choice. When he received the Nobel Prize, Rabi was asked by a journalist what he thought: I think he said, that if I had lived in the old country I would have been a tailor.

I do not think the stunning success of this society took place by happenstance. Both by chance—and by choice—I have become something of a historian of the second half of the twentieth century. I graduated from high school in 1951, and from college in 1955, and my professional career, throughout the Civil Rights movement and Vietnam took me through the stormiest years of much of the last 50 years. And if there is one great truth which categorizes that period in America it is that this nation has systematically become more and more inclusionary in race, gender and ethnicity—that we have made a constant and increasingly successful effort to make the playing field as level as possible, and to open doors once firmly closed.

When the question of inclusion or exclusion, one of the most basic to the concept of a state, has arisen over the years—when the status quote has been challenged—not every one has been in accord with the premise of a more inclusionary society, whether in sports, in the military or in the economy. There have always been doubters and they were always convinced, that the old ways were the best, that this impulse to open America up, much of it court-driven would somehow weaken us, that newer Americans were not as worthy as old and that the different groups hungering for a fairer share of the good life were not as worthy as those who had held power before them.

I am old enough to remember when a great many influential Americans were absolutely convinced that Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays would fail in the great arena of sports, and that our military would be significantly weakened by the integration of the armed force. You might like to wonder that when you think of Michael Jordan or Colin Powell, and their respective brilliant careers. These doubters, those who favored the status quo (in many cases it should be noted, because it favored them) also believed that the descendants of slavery who had worked so hard for so little for so long and who had been voiceless in our society for so long would somehow weaken our economy, if given a fair place in it.

The truth is, not surprisingly, that this effort to be inclusionary has made us in all ways a better, fairer and stronger society. And as for the economy being weakened by being more inclusionary I should mention to you that the year that I graduated from high school, 1951, the Dow stood at 250. Yes, that's right, 250.

I believe that this great American ideal, to be more just, to be more inclusionary, to offer to the children of others the educational possibility we would want for our own children, has given us not just strength but much of our common purpose. We still believe that we can improve ourselves and make this a better and more complete nation: we may argue with each other about the rules in the social contract, we can dispute each other's arguments, we are often cantankerous. But slowly steadily we are on our way to becoming the world's first universal culture. No wonder then that our popular culture has such power throughout the world—it is something that people all over the world can understand.


Looking at the commencement address he gave at Tulane in 2003, it's essentially the same, but with a nod toward the contemporary issues of the War on Terror and the occupation of Iraq:

But I would ask you today not to be fearful--we are not a fearful nation, we have never been one, and the members of our own families who settled in this country often after the most difficult and arduous of journeys were most assuredly not fearful people. Instead I want you to look forward to the essentially rich future which lies ahead of you, the blessed future which goes with the great good fortune of being a college educated citizen of this bountiful and most dynamic country.


This is something missed by those whose modus operandi is to complain first about America and ask questions later. We have problems, sure. But give me a country that doesn't have problems? Don't give me some two-bit European country with a social class system out of the 1600's. There is no place on this planet that matches the opportunity we provide, and the results we achieve.

It's something John Winger hit square on the head. We're the Mutts. We're the wretched refuse kicked out of every decent country in the world. But mutts are stronger than purebreds, because mutts mix the best traits and leave out the bad teeth and hemophilia you see in the British Royal family.

And that's what Halberstram was talking about.

And somehow, I think he would've been please to see the connection between Bill Murray's character in Stripes and his own Pulitzer Prize winning career...

PS - Yeltsin, Halberstram, who's next?

Lilac Sunrise



The lilac bushes have started budding.

Morning coffee on the porch is not far away. We've started grilling again, and baseball season's just kicked off.

Welcome back, spring.

Friday, April 20, 2007

A belated Happy Belligerent Americans Day

I forgot to post this yesterday, but it's a tradition I have to recognize April 19th, Belligerent Americans Day.

1689: Massachusetts Governor Edmond Andros is booted for being an autocratic @sshole.

1775: Mob of ruffian farmers on Lexington Green start shooting on Redcoats (who are the army of the country of which the ruffian farmers are citizens, by the way) as the Redcoats are in transit to Concord to arrest some fellows who were plotting against the Government.

1861: Mobs of ruffian city folks riot in Baltimore, attack Union troops on their way to Washington DC. Four union soldiers and nine civilians are killed.

1898: Congress grants President McKinley's request for War with Spain.

1917: The S.S. Magnolia encountered a German U-Boat and fired what is believed to be the first American shots fired in WWI.

1993: The government storms the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. Seventy-four religious extremists die in resulting conflagration / mass suicide / murder.

1995: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols explode a truck bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168, including 19 children.

Now, if I were Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I wouldn't get out of bed today...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I am just so damn proud of the USA...

I just read a story from the London Daily Mail that made me so gosh darn proud of my country that I knew I had to share it with you.

And to provide you with the appropriate soundtrack for your reading, here's a little patriotic music to read by:

(the good part starts at 0:33)



Okay, now on with the story.

Well, it seems that folks in old blighty have started to take after their corpulent younger cousins and obesity is quickly becoming common over there as well.

This has all the usual side effects; poor health, fat out of shape kids, and the breakdown of the family as people eat too much fast food, cats and dogs living together, fire and brimstone being rained from heaven, all that end of the world crap.

Now, for whatever reason they cremate a large proportion of dead people in England (I would assume land constraints, but I don't know so I'm not going to guess), like 2/3rds.

And this pandemic obesity is causing a problem with their crematoria. You see, the average English coffin is 16 to 20 inches across. Well, that's before Burger King. So their crematoria are built to handle that sized coffin. Problem is, there's a growing segment (the segment is growing, as well as each of the people in that segment, don't you know) of their population which is requiring coffins up to 40 inches wide.

Wide load, indeed.

So, what's this got to do with America? Well, in retrofitting their crematorium "fleet", English companies are having to turn to American companies:

"Among them Lewisham in South London has ordered a 44 inch cremator from the United States, where the world's highest rates of obesity means the funeral trade is geared up to meet the problem."

Alright! We're the world's leading exporter of fatass-fryers!

Let's hear it for the good-ole, corpulent, USA!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A World Without Bee Stings?

A World Without Honey?

Actually, it's worse than that. There's growing evidence that something very odd is going on with bee populations across the United States and Europe. In the past month or so Drudge has picked up a couple of stories about recent the growing phenomenon called "colony collapse disorder" (CCD) where bee colonies pull a Roanoke and disappear. Some possible culprits of CCD are parasites and immune deficiencies caused by pesticides. Another possible vector, according to studies done in England, are cell phones. The numbers are pretty scary, with massive losses in bee populations in 22 states.

Either way, it's fairly clear something is going on, and there's a decent chance that we're more responsible than not. Now before you go all troglodyte [Gino: ;)] bees are crucial parts of agriculture. While we've been busy creating artificial pesticides and toxic-runoff producing fertilizers, we haven't figured out how to effectively replace the simple bee's role in pollinating crops. If bees go, well, we go.

Here's Einstein's take on it:
“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
Look. I'm a Republican. I'm a conservative, in the classical sense. I don't get all weepy about calling out evil and facing it (Nazi Germany, Iraq, the Soviet Union) and I don't think that it's particularly productive or sustainable for the Government to be relied on for sustenance, education, and direction.

I believe in God and I think he's as real as a rock, but even if I didn't I believe that the idea some overarching and eternally true moral sense is required for human beings to live together and not kill each other. I voted for GW Bush twice and I cried when Reagan died. I'm red state, baby.

But my party has got itself all fricked up over the environment, and the love of money, and the debasement of quality living, and I can't stand it anymore.

You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing, and something is not right here.

It's time to slow down. It's time to stop thinking that newer is automatically better. It's time to stop paving the green places, start reinvesting in our cities, recreate our neighborhoods and... and... and this is the toughie: turn off the goddamn TV and have dinner as a family.

For my conservative friends: you claim membership in a creed that cites personal responsilbility and minimalist government intervention. The flip side of that is a requirement that we be stewards of our own lives -- we don't believe in the nanny state so we work, we take care of our own family, we, in short, take care of our own business.

Well, this big world of ours, this is our business too. This is all part of stewardship. We have a responsibility to ourselves, and our kids, and our kids' kids, to understand what we're doing to the world and, as best we can, minimize our footprints. And we don't do that when in the name of efficiency or economy we buy cheap crap made oversees by slave labor for companies that piss and moan every time you try to make them clean up their messes.

We don't practice stewardship when we say "oh, the Earth is so big and nothing I do can have much impact." Multiply that statement times 6 billion and you see the problem.

We don't practice stewardship when we, in the name of convenience, surrender the moral and ethical programming of our children's minds to the folks who put "Two and a Half Men" on TV.

Too many in the Republican party have come to associate "conservatism" with bowing and scraping to big business. Efficiency is exalted as the end. Big is good. Cheap is good. Stock market's up? GREAT! Does it matter that it's up because the five biggest companies on the Dow have undertaken "downsizing" initiatives to inflate profits at the expense of thousands and thousands of jobs? Ah, the hell with those folks who got canned, I'm gonna get an extra $0.04 on that quarterly dividend...

Times are changing. Are you ready?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

What do you think you get for frequent flier miles?

Have you guys heard about the Rocketplane XP? Being built by a private company in Oklahoma, made up of a shadowy bunch of ex-aerospace industry guys (one had experience on the SR-71 blackbird program and has done contracts for DARPA, the secret hi-tech defense guys) and political hacks (a bunch of ex-NASA guys, and the chairman of the board is a two-time Republican Convention Delegate), the Rocketplane should be lifting off sometime in late 2007 or early 2008 carrying four suckers who pay $250,000 to go 100 kilometers into space and experience weightlessness for 3-4 minutes.

The technology looks neat, if somewhat limited in its application. It's pushed by two conventional turbofan jet engines, and one kerosene-fueled rocket engine related to the Atlas Rocket engines. Only 43 feet long (smaller than a 8 person private jet) this puppy will get to Mach 3.5, reach a minimum apogee of 34 miles, upside down so you can look out the roof and see Mama Earth, and then land at a normal airfield in unpowered flight mode (ie, you're gliding... Yeah, that sounds fun.).

Anyway, they've got a fairly developed website where they solicit your requests to be separated from a quarter million of your hard earned money. They've got some interesting schematics of some of the technological features of the craft, some which raise more questions than provide answers.

For example: The ventilation system is designed to provide clean, dry air to the cabin, contains a chemical scrubber to remove CO2, and is specially designed to filter out "any foreign items such as dirt, hair, or vomit that may be released in the cabin".

Umm...

Okay.

I can see some concern about vomit. That makes sense; you're going to be pulling 3-4 G's, and that may trigger a re-run of lunch. And dirt, well, sure, whatever. I mean, I would assume they're not doing the whole clean room thing that made John Kerry look like such an ass when he visited NASA, but I would be concerned if they're expecting too much dirt. Maybe they should vacuum more often. And, you know, "dirt" is sometimes a euphemism for something else, something a little more squishy than what we usually think of as dirt, but instead of counting on a filter to take that stuff out of the air, maybe they should just take a tip from this person, and issue each passenger their own Depends.

It's that middle thing on the list that's giving me a little problem. Hair? They're expecting hair to be released in the vehicle? Maybe they are expecting to have Lisa Nowak (from link in that last paragraph) and want to protect against the stray public hairs that come loose during groovy zero-G lovemaking. And you new know when Clarence Thomas may make a reservation and you'd hate to have a repeat of that whole "who put a public hair on my diet coke" thing.

Of course, this isn't the only way you can get into space. Over at Space Travellers you can book a flight on a Mig-25 Foxbat. That baby'll get you 15-20 miles up, about the right height to see the curve of the earth and high enough that you're wicked screwed when your assembled - by - disgruntled - commies - after - vodka - break aircraft falls apart.

By the way, "travellers" isn't a typo. The folks who run the website can't spell, but they can send you into space. Go figure.

Anywho, there are a number of adventures to be had from the old Soviet space program, but not that flight to the International Space Station Lance Bass was supposed to take a bunch of years ago. You can though, for the price of either $5.50 US$ or $5,500 (again, these guys should hire an editor, it would give me a little more confidence in their abilities) book a trip to Kazakhstan this October to watch the liftoff of a Soyuz rocket bound for the ISS.

For that dough you get accommodations at a 3 star hotel (I'm guessing it's no worse than the Day's Inn in Durham, NC), and all "transportations" in Moscow and Star City (the old Soviet kosmodrome in Bakinour, Kazakhstan (including "economy class" airfare from Moscow to Baiknour... Economy class Russian airlines? Boy, that sounds fun...)

You also get to watch preparations and training, and have a special seat in the VIP section of the stands watching the liftoff. Again, this is Russian space technology we're talking about here, so remember to bring your umbrella to deflect flaming chunks of rocket should the thing blow up on the pad.

Oh, by the way, handicapped folks need not apply, as the homebase for the pinnacle of commie technology doesn't have any elevators.

Me, I'll stick with driving fast and watching Borat again today, thank you very much.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hello, been a while!

Sometimes when you're up to your ass in alligators it's hard to remember you started wanting to drain the swamp.

It's hearing season up here in Boss-town, so I'm very busy scuttling from oak-paneled room to oak-paneled room, kicking @ss and taking names. Oh yes, the forces of sin and inequity (that is, nasty polluters and perpetrators of sprawl and bad development) quake when they see the mighty Kal and his cohorts coming.

Well, maybe not so much. I am at an inherent disadvantage with the malefactors of great wealth: I can't golf, and I don't like to drink in public...

(My drinking is all done at night, in the dark, while caressing the lovely, cold blue-steeled barrel of my .38.)

So, some personal news: I've become an uncle for the first time, as Brother-in-Law #2 has finally spawned. See, the wife and I are the oldest in our families, and up to now none of our combined five brothers and sisters had seen it fit to settle down and fulfil their biological imperatives.

Wifeypooh has a bundle of brothers and sisters, but the one closest to her age is, at 34, a confirmed bachelor. I think he spent way too much time with Wifeypooh growing up and has seen what a miserable bastard I am -OUCH!- (boy, she moves quietly when she wants to)...

Anyway, he's not going to get us nieces or nephews anytime soon. And Brotherdear is a Stage 4 commitment phobe with a nice dose of LookingForMsPerfect-itis, so while he's been in a couple of fairly long term relationships, I have my doubts (although I like his current paramour... She seems to call him on his shit, which he severely needs...) But I'm not holding my breath with respect to him.

The other siblings are all fairly young (Sister-in-Law#2 was 5 when I started dating Wifeypooh about 100 years ago), so we've had to wait a while, but it finally happened today, with a little girl coming this afternoon.

And I'm so glad it was B-I-L #2 who had the kid, as he was the giver of several loud and obnoxious baby toys for which I now get to return the favor, bwa ha ha...

Well, off to do some work. Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

And another thing...

I am proud to announce that if you google "Layfette House Foxboro", my "review" of 2/14/07 comes up number one.

For those of you who don't remember it, my opinion of this particularly restaurant (and to reinforce it for any google-bots that happen by):

Layfette House sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks sucks Layfette House sucks....

Thank you for your support.

The Soundtrack of my life...

The best decade of music ever...



(Argh! Frustration! Supposed to be playing 14 videos from my YouTube "80's Radio" playlist! Why is it only playing the first one?!? Gagghg!!!

Well, anyway here's the link to the playlist, if you're interested. Ciao!)

Help!

Staying home with sick kid...

Watching Spy Kids 3-D...

Brain shirnking....

Help!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Google Paper, what a deal!

You guys been on gmail yet? They've got a new feature, where they'll mail your email to you.


What a deal! If you don't really like electronic mail, they'll send you your emails through the US Postal system, printed out on paper!
For free!
How can they afford this, you ask?
Well, they'll include ads on the back of the emails, in large, red type.
Still, sounds like a wicked deal, doesn't it? I had a few ex-bosses who would have loved this option, as they seemed to just print out and read all their emails anyway.
And over on Googlesightseeing.com they've got a story about the great new feature on from Google, live satellite imagery on GoogleEarth!
But the more I thought about this, the more worried I became. I mean, wouldn't this be a perfect tool for terrorists or something? What the heck are the folks at Google thinking?
So I called the State Department and told them what the folks over at Google were up to. I mean, not the mail thing. That's cool. But the whole real-time satellite imagery open to anyone. That's no good. Jeez, those guys could launch cruise missiles or something!
Oh, yeah. Happy April 1st.

Friday, March 30, 2007

I am the King of all Dorks!

I was perusing my statcounter today, noting that Gino, the troglodyte, had stopped by a couple of times and not lavished praise on my wonderful bride's fake McNugget making ability, when I noticed something...

You know how statcounter tells you various things about your visitors, like the resolution they're working with, or what browser they're using? Nifty little tool, and useful for professional developers so they know if they're getting all folks with 1200 pixel wide resolution, it's not good to use pictures that only cover 800 as their background... (cough... right, Stone?... cough cough).

Anywho, I noticed that most of my visitors are using XP as an operating system. A couple of Windows 2000, a 98, a few Macs, and a windows 3.0 (that's Gino... he says "winnows 3.0 was good enough for me granpappy, issn' shore 'nuff good fer me").

And then there's someone with shiny new Windows Vista. Who might that ahead of the curve person be? Oh, yes, that's right. ME!

Me! on the spiffy new laptop I purchased yesterday. Vista, baby!

I mean, I know fvck all about how to use it, but it shore does look pretty.

And gives me an excuse to not do any work for the next couple of weeks ("Uh, I can't finish those TPS reports, Vista's acting weird again. Have Milton do it...")

Thank you, now I'm off to go figure out how the hell to get a new document in Word 2007....

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Faux Food

As the boy was born around April Fool's, Wifeypooh usually brings in a treat for his class which looks like something else. A couple of years ago it was poundcake and frosting that looked like grilled cheese, sushi made from rice crispies and fruit roll-ups, and this year's entry, the cookie chicken nugget, with jelly dip:



Bon appetite!

Monday, March 19, 2007

What the #$!@#%$! time is it anyway?!?

I interrupt my ongoing education of Gino to the dangers of Global Climate Change to bitch about one of the "solutions" to climate change.

Meet Ed Markey. Ed's the congressman from the 7th Massachusetts congressional district, and proud father of the provision of the 2005 Energy Bill which has screwed up to a far-thee-well every computer clock in this once proud nation. (Apparently, this picture shows Ed discarding the Parliamentarian of the House's advice not to run, and debate, with scissors.)

Anyway, where once America was an industrial giant and leader of the free world, the last two weeks have seen our great nation humbled and humiliated, as people across the continent have missed meetings, missed trains, and been generally lost, time-wise. Our Outlook calendars are a mess; meeting requests from non-updated computers are off by an hour, and we can never figure out which way their off, so we end up making them two hours off by trying to fix them. And commuting in the dark to work? That's sooo February. We were supposed to have commuting in the light by this time!

Now our good congressman thinks that he was doing something positive for energy efficiency by moving the time change. He points to the $4.4 billion in energy usage which will be saved by 2020. He points to the safety aspects, that late afternoon drivers will have more daylight, so perhaps fewer kids will get run over by dim-sighted old farts.

But I fear poor Ed was a dupe in all this. Ed was clearly a tool of the charco-golf industrial complex. As Deep Throat said, uggblaug-gaaaggg... Oops, not that Deep Throat... As the Watergate Deep throat said, follow the money...

Who stands to make out in all this? Why, the Golf industry. And the recreational grilling industry, that's who!

Read this, from Scott Deveau, in the Canadian Financial Post:

According to the congressional testimony in 1985, the golf industry estimated an extra month of daylight saving would amount to US$200-million in extra equipment sales and green fees. Even barbecue manufacturers came forward saying it could amount to an additional US$100-million in grill and charcoal briquette sales.


When it stays lighter for longer in the day, these folks figure they make more money. We'll all be golfing at 7pm in March, apparently.

Well that's it! I'm not going to be some tool of the dread leisure industry. That's right: Kal's World is now a DST-free zone. Please remember to adjust your watches when you leave.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

And then somthing Gino and I can agree on...

Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Dropkick Murphys! (yeah, a day late, I know...)

Here's The Rocky Road to Dublin,



And, of course, their signature ending...



Enjoy.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sure to piss off Gino...

Welcome to my little propaganda zone.

God has quite a sense of humor, dumping a foot or so of snow on the beginning of the first Interfaith Climate Walk in Massachusetts. This is nothing new, and it seems like every time the guys in Washington have a Climate Change hearing it gets canceled by a blizzard.

Add to that the recent Al Gore stories (Mr. Inconvenient Truth uses more electricity in a month than most of us use in a year, Mr. Inconvenient Truth flies all over globe in CO2 spewing aircraft, etc etc...) and it can be a tough time to work on climate issues.

(Oh, and let's not even get into that recent documentary, The Great Climate Swindle, the producers of which have already admitted to using data that "looked better" than was scientifically accurate or properly labeled.)

But since you've deigned to come visit, allow me to subject you to my favorite piece of climate advocacy, this ad produced by the British government:



Now isn't that something? I saw it this week as part of a presentation by Solitaire Townsend, an English marketing specialist working on climate issues, training climate advocates how to get across to mass audiences a message usually reliant on boring and confusing scientific jargon. The video is part of that effort.

But this isn't new stuff. Found this while noodling around on YouTube (looking for all my videos those bastards from Viacom are getting pulled down. Screw you Viacom. I hope Viagra becomes illegal, Sumner Redstone, you prick...)

Anyway, check this out from an educational film made back in 1958:



Now, of course, the Warming Skeptics will point out that the environmental movement is just a bunch of loonies looking for something to bedevil progress with whatever crackpot theories they can come up with.

Remember, for instance, that in the 1970's the crazy Birkenstock-wearing loons were talking about a new ice age. Well, when we were pumping millions of tons of sulphates (SO4) into the atmosphere we were increasingly the reflectivity of the atmosphere, which would have eventually, in years and years, caused severe cooling.

But we got a handle on sulfates in the 1970's and reduced their impact on the atmosphere. Now, their effect moderated the warming impact of CO2, so having less SO4 in the atmosphere means not only less Acid Rain, but less offsetting action to Global Warming.

Which is why some in the Bush administration have publicly proposed "salting" clouds with sulfur (or maybe some sort of huge, orbiting mirror to deflect the killer sun's rays). All this so they don't have to put in a compact fluorescent light bulb.

Where am I going with all this? Damned if I know. I'm going to warn you though I'm going to be doing more on this stuff here, so be prepared for weekly harangues about your polluting ways, you troglodytes.

Thank you, that will be all.