Kerry: Still A Douchebag

Just watched the asshole's press conference. What an arrogant prick! First he makes a stupid statement last night in Los Angeles, about how if you don't study hard and be smart, you'll end up stuck in Iraq. Many have interpreted that to be an insult to the intelligence and education of our troops, although Kerry insists that he was insulting President Bush, not the troops. Perhaps that was what he intended, but it was clumsily done, as was Lurch's trademark in 2004.

In any case, he came off looking like an asshole in his press conference. I still despise him and everything he stands for and am glad I voted against him in 2004. I hope that this boomerangs against both Kerry and the Democrats next Tuesday. Go ahead and offend veterans, you stupid dick! See how it pays off for you.

Hint: I suspect that on November 8th, Kerry is going to be as popular as a California arsonist during the Santa Ana season.

One More Week...

And then we can get this election over and done with. Frankly, I'm sick of hearing about it, but I will go out and vote because I consider it a civic duty. I think that a lot of the same people who were disappointed on Election Day 2004 are going to be disappointed again, no matter what the mainstream media and the pollsters say. I'm deeply, deeply skeptical of the polls, for one simple reason: The people who are sampled in the polls are people who choose to cooperate with the pollsters. Most people don't have the inclination to give 15 or 20 minutes of their free time to some nosy stranger. However, there are some people who are deeply unhappy, and it is human nature to want to share that unhappiness with others. Those are the people who are delighted to give their time to the pollsters, to bend their ears with how much they hate George W. Bush and how unhappy they are with Republicans being in charge and how angry they are about being out of power. The Republicans, who aren't that dissatisfied, say, "Sorry, too busy to talk now" and hang up. Happy people don't take part in polls. This is why the polls have said what they have for so long. Those who are counting on those polls to predict the results of the elections and to "measure the drapes" for their new offices may be in for a rude shock on the night of November 7th.

The bad news is that the would-be candidates for the 2008 presidential race are already starting to scuttle out of the woodwork. A congressman from California made his announcement of an "exploratory committee" yesterday. Ugh! Give us a few months, people! Have the decency to wait until 2007, at least! I think that when the 2008 Florida primary rolls around, I won't vote for anyone who announces his or her candidacy in 2006, just to make the point.

P.S. Happy Halloween!


Things That Make Me Angry

I'm a libertarian at heart. I don't care who sleeps with whom, as long as everyone involved is a consenting adult. Note that teenaged girls are not "consenting adults," so I have no pity for Warren Jeffs' polygamist cult. But when I read this AP story, I was ticked off:

Boy Killed in Crash on Sect's Land

ELDORADO, Texas - A 3-year-old boy was killed and another child was injured Thursday when a minivan they were riding in crashed on a ranch owned by polygamist sect led by Warren Jeffs.

Allen Rulon Jeffs was pronounced dead at a local hospital, and 3-year-old Richard Rulon Jeffs was in critical condition Thursday night. Isaac Steed Jeffs Jr., 3, and the driver, Barbara Joy Jessop, were treated and released, the San Angelo Standard-Times reported Friday.

It was unclear whether the victims were related to Warren Jeffs, who has been arrested on charges of forcing a teenage girl to enter a spiritual marriage with an older man. His attorney has said Jeffs believes the case is religious persecution.

A news release from the Schleicher County Sheriff's Department said the minivan hit a boulder while traveling on a gravel road in Eldorado, about 190 miles northwest of San Antonio.

The boys were not wearing seat belts, Sheriff David Doran said. No charges are expected, Sheriff David Doran said.

"No charges are expected." Excuse me, Sheriff, but did you know that it is required by law in the state of Texas that all children under the age of 5 and 36 inches in height be buckled into an approved child safety seat when riding in a car? At the very least, the driver is guilty of breaking that law, as well as negligent homicide in the death of that little boy.

As I said, I'm a libertarian at heart, but not when it comes to wearing seat belts. Seat belts save lives. People who don't buckle up are stupid, and people who don't buckle their children up are stupid AND negligent. I'm sure that the woman's heart is broken, but the law is the law, and it should be enforced so that everyone knows that children have to be buckled up in the car, even if you're a religious cultist. If you have so many kids that you can't afford child safety seats, then get a horse-drawn buggy like the Amish.




First, I'm sure you're wondering about the rest of those Samuel Adams beers I wrote about the other day. I liked the George Washington Porter, which was a strong, thick dark beer. The James Madison Dark Wheat Ale was pretty good too. It was noticeably thinner than the Porter. I didn't like the 1790 Root Beer Brew at all. I had a few sips, said, "Yuck!" and poured the rest down the sink. Three out of four ain't bad, I guess.

Second, on the new 8 GB iPod Nano: This is the best thing since sliced bread. I've had it for a couple of weeks and it lets me carry an astounding amount of music around with me at work. With m0re than two thousand songs to choose from, I can't complain that there's nothing to listen to.

I'm also getting a chance to get re-acquainted with some parts of my CD collection that I haven't listened to in a long time, as well as finding the holes in it when I find that I don't have a certain song that I want to hear. Usually it turns out to be something that I had on cassette at one time or another.

Today, listening to some early Beatles albums (Beatles For Sale, Help!, Please Please Me), I was reminded of the sheer songwriting genius of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Most of the best songs were theirs, and the ones that didn't hold up so well were the ones that others had written. There's some mediocre stuff on those albums, but the ratio of hits to mediocrity is very high. And these guys were putting out two albums a year, plus singles, in the early '60s. They were amazingly prolific.


Testing YouTube

Let's see if this works. This is a Republican campaign video made by David Zucker, the director of movies like "Scary Movie" and "Airplane." I found it at DrudgeReport.com. It's the campaign video that was too hot to handle.


Changing the Subject

I was going to write a lighthearted post today about Columbus Day and wonder how much longer such a politically incorrect holiday could survive.

However, due to certain current events that you might have heard about, I've decided to write about something else instead. One thing's certain: The subject of political discourse is about to change, from a really nothing sex scandal to a serious discussion of national security, missile defense (and those who would block it), and foreign policy mistakes.

For one of the biggest ones, see the archival picture. I really hope that in retrospect, it isn't remembered like the one of Neville Chamberlain getting off the airplane and telling the British people that Herr Hitler was someone that they could work with and that there would be "peace in our time."

Thanks, Madeleine. Thanks, Jimmy. Thanks, Bill. You gave away the farm for absolutely nothing. Way to go.

P.S. Given that the NorKs officially went nuclear on Columbus Day, by which holiday will the Japanese join the club as well? Easter? St. Patrick's Day? Presidents' Day? Martin Luther King Day? The other countries in Asia probably won't like it, but tough shiitake, as they say.


"Have You Ever Seen This Much Lively Robot?"

Steven Den Beste at Chuzumatic pointed me to this site:

"Doukoku" Animatronics & Robots

It brings to mind Frau Farbissener from the Austin Powers movies, shrieking "Bring in the Fembots!" Except these Japanese "Actroids" don't shoot bullets from their jubblies. There's a little bit of Engrish on the page, but most of the sentences make sense. Note that the robots shown on that page appear to be the DER model, but the pictures on Chizumatic are of the new Actroid DER2 model. Here is another picture of the new DER2.

Definitely cuter than C-3PO or R2-D2.


What's On My iPod

Last night, the answer was "not much." I messed up when recharging and synching things up on my iPod yesterday, and clicked on the option to synch my Top 25 Most Played songs. Unfortunately, that was ALL that was on my iPod last night, since it cleared everything else off. It was easy to fix that this morning, and I now have everything back on the iPod. Anyway, here were my limited options for listening last night:

1. "She May Call You Up Tonight" - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs - Under the Covers, Vol. 1 (2006) - This is one of three songs from that CD in my Top 25. The CD is a collection of fifteen covers of '60s songs, some well-known, some obscure. This one is one of the obscure ones, with the original performed by The Left Banke (whose big hit was "Walk Away Renee"). Needless to say, I really like the song.

2. "It's All Been Done" - Barenaked Ladies - Stunt (1998) - A great song with a storyline crammed into 3:26. Have we met before... and before... and before?

3. "And Your Bird Can Sing" - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs - Under the Covers, Vol. 1 (2006) - The original version was on the Beatles' Revolver album, which is also on the iPod. I also have a version of the song on the Beatles' Anthology set where John Lennon giggles his lyrics throughout the song.

4. "Monday, Monday" - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs - Under the Covers, Vol. 1 (2006) - The Mamas and the Papas were the original artists on this one. This version is in a slightly different key. It works for me; it might not work for you.

5. "I'm Down to My Last Cigarette" - k.d. lang - Shadowland (1988) - Yeah, I like country, too. I love her vocals...

6. "I Touch Myself" - Divinyls - Divinyls (1992) - Speaking of vocals, there's only one Christina Amphlett. You'll probably recognize the song if you saw the Austin Powers movies. Remember the scene when he made the Fembots heads' explode? Yeah, it's that song.

7. "Family Tradition" - Cracker - Countrysides (2003) - This comes off an album where Cracker went out and played honkytonks under the name of Ironic Mullet. This is their cover version of one of Hank Williams, Jr.'s signature songs. Sobriety strictly optional.

8. "Mr. Wrong" - Cracker - Cracker (1992) - An amusing song from Cracker's debut CD. I love these guys, so you'll see some more of them further on down the list.

9. "American Jesus" - Bad Religion - Recipe For Hate (1993) - Driving guitars and sardonic lyrics. Great song.

10. "The Metro" - Berlin - Best of Berlin 1979-1988 (1988) - Quintessential '80s synth-pop. The first time I heard it, I thought that it was Debbie Harry and Blondie, but it turned out that I was wrong.

11. "Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now)" - Cracker - Cracker (1992) - "What the world needs now is another folk singer, like I need a hole in my head."

12. "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville" - R.E.M. - Eponymous (1998) - I'm kind of surprised that I've played this one more than "It's the End of the World As We Know It," but there you go.

13. "True to You" - Ric Ocasek - This Side of Paradise (1986) - This was the Cars' lead singer's first solo album, and on this song, he has the entire Cars lineup except for drummer David Robinson backing him up. It has the Cars' sound in spades.

14. "Surrender" - Cheap Trick - Heaven Tonight (1978) - "Surrender, surrender, but don't give yourself awaaay-aaay-aaay-a-hey."

15. "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down" - Cracker - Countrysides (2003) - This time, they do Merle Haggard. Again, sobriety strictly optional.

16. "Ain't Gonna Suck Itself" - Cracker - Countrysides (2003) - This was the only song on the CD that wasn't a cover. It's Cracker's way of kissing off their old label, Virgin Records. Rude and funny.

17. "Pictures of Matchstick Men" - Cracker - Hello, Cleveland! (Forever bonus disc) (2002) - "Hey, waitaminute! That's a Camper Van Beethoven song!" you say. And you're right. But David Lowery was in Camper Van Beethoven, which is why he's doing the song on this live disc. Love the wailing guitar chords that open this song.

18. "Used to Love Her" - Guns N' Roses - G N' R Lies (1988) - Yeah, it's misogynistic. Hey, it's a song. Get over it.

19. "Raspberry Beret" - Hindu Love Gods - Hindu Love Gods (1990) - This was Warren Zevon and all of R.E.M. except for Michael Stipe, getting together and jamming on a bunch of classic blues tunes, and this cover of the Prince song. Kicks ass!

20. "She's Vibrator Dependent" - Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper - Root, Hog or Die (1989) - Mojo's not for everyone, but most of his stuff is funny as hell, and this story about a man who's "been replaced by batteries" is one of his funniest.

21. "I've Done Everything For You" - Rick Springfield - Working Class Dog (1981) - Great '80s pop/rock song, written by Sammy Hagar. My favorite song by Springfield was "Bruce," where everyone gets him confused with Springsteen, including his own mother! Unfortunately, I don't have that one. Yet.

22. "Hanging On the Telephone" - Blondie - Parallel Lines (1978) - Unlike the Berlin song listed earlier, I always knew this one was done by Blondie.

23. "Banditos" - The Refreshments - Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy (1996) - Another story song, about a cross-border bank robbery, with the classic lyric "Everybody knows that the world is full of stupid people..."

24. "The Riverside" - Cracker - Greenland (2006) - This is my favorite track off their newest CD. It's got an uchronic feel to it, as well as a weird wailing hollow sound that reminds me of the cry of a lonely sea monster. Don't ask me why...

25. "Flagpole Sitta" - Harvey Danger - Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone? (1997) - "I'm not sick but I'm not well..." Great song.


Marlins: Stuck On Stupid

In a move that surprised absolutely no one, the Florida Marlins have fired manager Joe Girardi after one season of his three-year contract. This happened despite the fact that Girardi is likely to win the National League Manager of the Year for his heroic achievement of keeping the Marlins in the N.L. wild card race well into September, even though the team had the league's lowest payroll and was largely made up of untested rookies. The team started a horrific 11-31, and it appeared that the prognosticators who had predicted that the Marlins would have the league's worst record were well on the way to being correct. But Girardi helped turn the team's fortunes around, and the Marlins briefly went over .500 in September and were contenders for a wild card playoff berth until a late-season slump. They finished at 78-84, much better than anyone had hoped at the beginning of the season.

So why fire Girardi? Because he had disagreements with the general manager and the owner, including one memorable case where the owner, Jeff Loria, was arguing with the umpire from his box and Girardi told Loria to knock it off because he wasn't helping. Needless to say, almost all sports team owners are self-absorbed egomaniacs to some degree (See Steinbrenner, George; Cuban, Mark; etc.), and Loria was no exception. How dare this, this hireling!, tell him to shut up! At that point, Girardi's fate was sealed, even if the team had managed to sneak into the playoffs and then win the World Series, as they did the last two times they won the wild card berth.

Let's be honest: Girardi did one helluva job getting the young Marlins to play as well as they did and to stay in contention in an admittedly weak National League for as long as they did. Will new manager Fredi Gonzalez be able to do as well? It remains to be seen. The Marlins' loss will be someone else's gain, however, and I expect that Girardi won't be unemployed for very long. He's a Chicago native, so don't be surprised if he ends up managing the Cubs next year.


8 GB? Yes and No

My new iPod arrived on Friday. I had imported more than 7 GB of CDs into the iTunes program on my computer, and was surprised to find out that when I plugged in the iPod to synch it that the actually amount of space on the iPod was not a full 8 GB but only 7.45 GB; I think that the rest of the space is taken up by the operating system. When everything was synched, I only had about 150 MB of space left! Ah, well, time to do some pruning. I unchecked some songs on the CDs where I only really wanted one song anyway, and then put another CD or two on. I've got some more CDs coming from Amazon, so when those arrive I'll have to do some more pruning.

The iPod itself is impressive. It's about the size of one of those Skor candy bars and now contains a sizeable chunk of my CD collection, more than 2000 songs total. It could play for about six days and not play the same selection twice. I can't say "not play the same song twice" because there are some redundancies where I have the same song on one CD and also on a greatest hits CD by the same artist. Don Henley's "Boys of Summer," for instance. I hate to prune the one off the regular CD because it would break up the flow of the disc. (I keep wanting to type "album," which dates me.) Decisions, decisions.