29 July 2003

fear and aggression,
according to a recent study on why people are psychologically oriented toward right wing ideology, researchers found that fear, aggression, willingness to believe in dogma, acceptance of inequality, resistance to change and fear of terror are all factors that might lead you down the road of conservatism. pretty much all describe dubya, don't they?


28 July 2003

p.s. i just check out the cowboy school website. that guy is screaming out for a "daily show" appearance.

when i grow up...
no this isn't a rumination on my fear of aging. i'm just thinking about what i would like to do for a living in some bizarro-world scenario.

here are my top choices. post your own and explain why.

1. firefighter. you get to break peoples' doors down with an axe, slide down a pole instead of taking the stairs and generally be a hero everywhere you go (thanks osama). perks include: taking your dog to work and driving just the back end of the ladder truck.

2. train engineer. trains just kick ass. ever seen footage of one in a head-on collision with some redneck's pickup truck that stalled out on the tracks? need i say more? heavy metal, baby. heavy metal. perks include: not having to steer and free travel miles -- lots and lots and lots of them.

3. pharmacist. you're like a doctor, but without all the medical school loans and "ethics panels" to please. everyone loves to make conversation with pharmacists. you're the life of the party when you know exactly how to make the right combination of muscle relaxant, horse tranquilizer and anti-depressant. perks: cure your ailments with homemade recipes. better living through chemistry, huh.

and if you still can't find your dream job, there are still openings in cowboy school. giddyup.

come on be my baby tonight...
those are, of course, the famous lyrics from the song written by the mulit-talented david of real world-new orleans. that show has given us some great moments, huh? i think david might have even topped himself when he sang "be my baby tonight" live on the dave chappelle show. anyway, here are some great real world moments compiled by the sports guy, a columnist for espn.com.

Where does Adam from "Real World Paris" rank on the Unintentional Comedy Scale when he starts rapping? Is it possible that he beat out David from New Orleans for Most Hilarious Musical Performance on a Reality Show? It seems like a record we would never see broken, but here we are witnessing history. --Ken Sandak, Connecticut

Wait a second ... let's not get carried away. David unleashing that "Skeedopple beedopple bee" song on an unsuspecting nation was like Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a game -- nobody will ever approach it. But Adam's rapping still ranks a solid 96 on the UCR Scale; it isn't just the singing, it's lyrics like "I will not hide my family pride" that really pushes it over the top.

I have no problem sticking him into the Pantheon of Real World Moments, which includes:

David's girlfriend dumping him in a car ("RW: Seattle"). I don't think I've ever enjoyed a breakup more, from David screaming "You're killing me, Kira! You're killing me!!!!!!!!" to him in the confessional, looking into the camera and crying, "You want the real world, this is it, right here!" That's always a fun line to break out at parties.

Stephen slapping Irene ("RW: Seattle"). This becomes more and more astounding as the years pass -- they actually let him stay in the house after this. And he whacked her!

David punctuating a put-down of Beth with "That's why you have those big hairy pimples on your face!" ("RW: Los Angeles"). Probably the most horrible thing ever said on any television program, ever.

Pedro screaming at Puck about eating his peanut butter ("RW: San Fran"). There was a time when I could rattle off Pedro's entire, incoherent speech. Needless to say, I was unemployed and living at home at the time.

Tammy getting an abortion because the father didn't make enough money ("RW: Los Angeles"). And she ended up marrying (and divorcing) Kenny Anderson two years later. High comedy.

The first time Amaya referred to her breasts as "The Twins" ("RW: Hawaii").

The threesome in the shower ("RW: Miami"). A watershed moment for the show -- the night the lightbulb finally went off for the producers, when they realized, "Hey, it doesn't hurt to have a couple of bimbos on the show."

Steven nearly kicking Brynn out of the house ("RW: Vegas"). An emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. Bonus points for Steven's classic quote after the house meeting, "I thought I made some really amazing points."

(And if I forgot anything ... forgive me.)


25 July 2003

apocalypse now...
the book of revelations is now getting some serious exposure with the ultra-fundamentalist "left behind" series of novels. if you're into the theology of the apocalypse or want to learn a bit about the rift between fundamentalists and catholics, check this out. it's a debate between a former fundamentalist-turned catholic theologian and the author of the "left behind" books, who is a hard-core fundamentalist himself. some good stuff there.

shut up little man...
i've had some bad next door neighbors, but apparently pete and raymond have become cult legends with the infamous "shut up little man" album. they're two belligerent alcoholics who were tape-recorded by their next door neighbors in the lower haight in san francisco. i might just have order the cd.

asians are the new jews?.....

this great story in slate really got me thinking about ethnicity and the nature of meritocracy. the article itself makes the thesis that asians are overtaking jews at the #1 position in america's meritocracy.
there also seems to be this huge link between ethnicity and how we react to that meritocracy. i think therein lies an answer to the question "why so few italo-american intellectuals?" we're no less intelligent than any other group, but we RESPOND differently and strive for different things than jews and asians tend to.


22 July 2003

my next vacation...
i need to convince di to go to belgium with me. i really really need to. for a beer lover, it's like making your hajj to mecca. although not as well known for their beers as the germans, english or irish, they have a long, long, long history of brewing -- starting with none other than trappist monks (now THAT'S my kind of organized religion).
anyway, i found this list of belgian pubs to visit. notice that the first pub has 1,080 different beers.

hey rumsfeld, war IS hell...

i found this letter posted on altercation, another good blog on msnbc.com.
It's from the cousin of a G.I. who just got back from iraq.

This weekend I finally had a chance to catch up with my cousin in-law who just got back from Iraq last week. Twenty years old he is now a different person than when he left and not in a good way. His pictures tell the story. The first few rolls are of him and his buddies clowning around and striking posses with their various weapons in Kuwait.
It looks like a regular old NRA wet dream, young boys and guns. The sad thing about the pictures is how young they look. When you see the Marines on TV in full combat gear they look very menacing, but strip them down to t-shirts and baseball hats and you see what the kids that they really are.
The pictures at first almost made it look like a good time. There was regular college hijinx going on. It was Frat Row Baghdad style. In the latter rolls the mood started to change. You never saw any of them without helmets or vests on.
He told me the night they rode into Baghdad was the scariest night of his life. The vacation was over and the shooting began. An RPG scorched the hood of his Humvee. They felt the heat in the cab. He estimated that he was 1-2 feet away from being blown to pieces. Which is a lot better than one of his friends fared.
Last he saw that guy all they could find was the body and a bunch of brains sprayed all over the inside of a truck, no face or head left. He also fared better than the family he watched get killed. His unit emptied their weapons into a home when they took fire. He watched as a four year old was, in his words, “vaporized.”
After looking at about three rolls of film I asked him where the rest were. (He took 12 in all). He told me that he threw them away. Everything that happened after the first three rolls he wants to forget. He said he looked at them once and wanted to vomit.
Do you really need the Kodak version of a scene that is already burned into your mind? The biggest tragedy of all is that his belief in America has been shattered. He went over there idealistic. He was protecting US and freeing the citizens of Iraq. Now he just feels used. “It was all a f**king waste,” he told me without emotion. And he is one of the lucky ones; he is home.

what really matters in life...

i found this in some random corner of this world wide web.

"A professor stood before his Philosophy 101 class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the golf

balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous - - yes.

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and proceeded to pour the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things -your family, your partner, your health, your children, your friends, your favorite passions - - things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else- -the small stuff." "If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things at are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. Play another 18.

There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal." "Take care of the golf balls first - - the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers.'"


21 July 2003

there go my vacation plans...
it turns out hunting for bambi was a hoax. pretty funny cuz at least a few of the local tv channels in las vegas had bit on the story. even funnier was fox news blowhard bill o'reilly spending 20 minutes arguing with the supposed proprieter of the whole shady affair. funny.

sushi wars...
apparently japanese sushi chefs in DC are peeved that koreans are opening up their own sushi restaurants.
i can understand that. instead of traditional recipes, i'm sure they'll "americanize" their sushi -- we'll probably be seeing "hamburger rolls" (with ketchup instead of wasabi) pretty soon.
reminds me of how pizza has become so commodified. and it's not just the big chains like dominos and pizza hut that have destroyed quality pizza- it's the greeks. seriously, pretty much anytime you hear the pizza chefs speaking greek, run like the wind.


15 July 2003

news you can use...
if found this little page today on the new york times' website. apparently they monitor which stories are the most popular on a daily basis. i don't know if the link will always work, but it might be worth bookmarking.


14 July 2003

it's the economy, stupid...
ok, that's an old line. but dubya's team does love to play hide and seek with evidence that their economic policies might not do so well. the worst part of this story: bush's team tried to prevent increases in the "adverse effect wage rate," which is a minimum wage paid to farm workers here on H-2 visas. the move took money from farm workers and gave it to rich fat-cat agri-business (which of course gives a portion of that money back to dubya's re-elect campaign). still think there wasn't any difference between gore and bush?

we report, we already decided...
this doonesbury cartoon neatly sums up why liberal viewpoints so often get trampled in our culture.....because they do it to themselves. because liberals feel a need to be inclusive and, well, liberal, they're sometimes too accepting of even the nuttiest of ideas and idealogies. it reminds me of a headline from The Onion: "ACLU Defends Neo-Nazis' right to burn down ACLU headquarters."

beer of the day...
stroh's is one of the original cheap-o "old man" beers. it only costs like 3 bucks for a six-pack....and it actually tastes good. it's an easy-drinking beer perfect for hot weather, say at the beach where those expensive bottles of microbrew aren't worth the trouble.

the "ideal" candidate...
this man may be who dubya least wants to face in next year's election. gen. wesley clark was a commentator on cnn during the war and is an interesting possibility for running as a democrat. read why.


11 July 2003

beer of the week...
ipswich ales is a local massachussetts beer that is only distributed in that state. i highly recommend the ipswich original ale. it's an english-style bitter ale, which ironically means it's not really all that bitter. anyway, it's a nice orange color and very rich malty taste but not thick and muddy like a stout. find it next time you're in beantown.


10 July 2003

privatize marriage...
here's an interesting column from Michael Kinsley. he argues that the solution to the gay marriage question is to simply "privatize" all marriage -- essentially no longer make it a government-sanctioned relationship, but instead let anybody marry anyone else any way they want to do it.

from the bible belt to the gold coast...
remember the news that william "lounge lizard" bennett was a gambling addicted moral hypocrite? well now the 700 Club honcho pat robertson is defending convicted war criminal and liberian dictator charles taylor. apparently he likes taylor because he's a good baptist defending himself against savage muslims. that's already a huge oversimplification but there's another factor at play: the "good rev" has his own little interest in a liberian diamond mine that was arranged with.....you guessed it, Taylor.

tour de freedom...
ok, we can re-commence saying "france" instead of freedom, but i found myself watching the tour de france yesterday. i couldn't name more than one rider in the whole race, but apparently, televising a long, long, long bike race across the entire country of france is a technical feat akin to the great wall of china or michael jackson's newest face.


09 July 2003

we report, they decide....
as intellectually stimulating as michael savage, hannity&colmes, greta van facelift and other brainless american mass media is, those know-it-all tea-and-crumpets-loving brits are bringing "the guardian" to the land of apple pie, baseball and military tribunals. apparently "the economist" and "financial times" have done well here before. now -- how to permanently replace that "we report, you decide" crap with BBC america.

"invade their countries, kill all their leaders, convert them to chrisitianity"....
that was, of course, the famous ann coulter strategy for ending terrorism. there's more of her ridiculous, poorly thought out, completely insane writing on the way with the publication of "treason," which argues that democrats are all traitors and joseph mccarthy has gotten a bad rap. oh boy. where to start? try here, where her writing gets sliced up like sushi in the wall street journal.

the pub re-opens...
i temporarily lost my bloggin mojo, but i think it's back now. just as the thermometer hits 100, sharks are off the rhode island coast and bush is travelling through the bush, i'm back in the pub.

clinton lied, but his didn't get anybody killed....
yeah that little white lie about iraq buying iranium from niger was completely "bushit." we've known that for months. but i did like this ny daily news story about presidential lying that puts this recent fiasco into nice context.


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