Thoughts On "Bonus Tracks"

As you saw from the picture a couple of posts down, I got my Electric Light Orchestra Out of the Blue 30th Anniversary Edition CD in the mail the other day. It's digitally remastered and sounds much better than the original first-generation CD I have. It also has three additional "bonus tracks." The first is just an alternate bridge chorus for the last song on the original album, "Wild West Hero." It only runs 26 seconds, and really is only for the completist. It might have been more interesting if it had been an alternate version of the entire song. The second bonus track is "The Quick and the Daft," a rather frenetic instrumental piece that runs 1:49 in length. It's interesting, but not really a complete song, either. The final bonus track is "Latitude 88 North," and it is a complete song, 3:24 long. It's not bad, it's clearly ELO, but it's not necessarily something that fits into the album's concept.

In a case like this, the original seventeen tracks are the original canon; the three bonus tracks are more of an apocrypha. It's strictly in the mind of the listener as to whether they add to the listening experience. I've heard the original double-album (and its format successors) many, many times over the past three decades. There's a flow to it, and the bonus tracks, especially the first two, don't really fit into it. I can always de-select those tracks from iTunes and they won't be on the iPod, if I don't want them to be.

Bottom line: Whether you want the bonus tracks or not, this version of the CD is clearly superior to anything else that has been out there. If you want Out of the Blue, this is the definitive, must-have version. And it's very inexpensive, so it's well worth purchasing for any ELO fan.

So Easy, A ...

Spotted in last night's mail: An envelope claiming to be "The Reality Report," with a picture of the GEICO Caveman with the subtitle "We're not laughing." On the back, the return address: Up With Cavemen, with the subtitle, "Cavemen are people, too."

I saw a discussion on a blog a week or two ago, asking if the Caveman commercials had jumped the shark. Some thought that had happened with the commercial involving the therapist, others felt that the ad campaign was clever and entertaining. In today's hypersensitive grievance society, even non-viable Litho-Americans cannot be mocked with impunity! Say something offensive about anyone, anyone, and you'll be forced to apologize and buy them the roast duck with mango salsa. And that's a best-case scenario, assuming that you don't have deep pockets, like Michael Richards, for instance.

Speaking of which, we had to watch an hour-long series of training videos about "Working Together With Dignity and Respect." We learned that everyone has a reason to feel aggrieved, so it's best not to offend them. You cannot harass or discriminate by race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or physical or mental disability, or you're in trouble. Big trouble. Safest conversation gambit: "Hi, howya doin'? Me too, see ya later." Do not get too close to the other person while conducting this conversation, however, as that could be construed as sexual harassment.


From the Inside

Here is that inside cover art from the Electric Light Orchestra's Out of the Blue album. Click on the image for a much larger picture. The mini-book format has got to be the best I've seen for putting in all of the cover art, liner notes, etc. It even has the silly little cardboard cutout spindle toy that came with the album, albeit in a much tinier form.

A William Jennings Bryan For Our Time

To the surprise of no one, former Vice President Al Gore won an Academy Award last night for his "documentary" film, An Inconvenient Truth. This morning, I heard a political analyst gushing on Fox News about how Mr. Gore has completed a political comeback "of Nixonian proportions." Hmmmm. We all remember how well that one turned out, don't we? And someday in the not-too-distant future, we'll see him on the stage in Stockholm to accept his Nobel Peace Prize.

For some reason, Gore reminds me of William Jennings Bryan, the late 19th Century Populist. I could see him giving a speech telling the polluting industrialists of the First World that they "shall not crucify Mankind upon a cross of carbon." If you saw his red-faced rant about President Bush, in which he declared, "He has betrayed this country!" then you have seen Gore at his most populist.

Frankly, the man worries me. I see right through him, but I suspect that many people will not. They'll be taken in by his messianic appeal to the New Religion of Environmentalism. Ironically, this new religion is championed mostly by those claiming to be atheists. They believe in Rational Science, but if you don't toe their line, they will be no more tolerant of you than if you were an apostate Muslim in Mecca.

Don't believe me? Read this article from the Toronto Globe and Mail:

Eco-pilgrims gather to 'heed the Goracle'
Hundreds pack U of T hall in show of devotion to climate cause

Like many a bygone leader who happened along at a key moment in history, Mr. Gore -- who has been sounding the environmental warning bell for years -- has suddenly inspired the kind of faith and fervour in others that he insists will be needed to overcome such a monumental problem.

"From my perspective, it is a form of religion," said Bruce Crofts, 69, as he held a banner aloft for the East Toronto Climate Action Group amid a lively prelecture crowd outside the old hall.

"The religion for this group is doing something for the environment."

While he no longer espouses traditional religion, Mr. Crofts recalled how, as a Sunday school teacher decades ago, he included Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Robert Kennedy as well as Jesus Christ in his lessons, as examples of great leaders who stepped forward when called upon by circumstance. In that sense, he feels Mr. Gore fits the bill.
How did all of this happen? Well, after losing the 2000 election, Mr. Gore retreated to the wilderness. I don't know if it was for forty days and forty nights or not, but he did manage to pack on a few pounds and grow a rather patriarchal beard. Some would say that the loss of the election caused him to come unhinged. It's as good an explanation as any. But after his widely-publicized bout of Bush Derangement Syndrome, he once again retreated to the shadows.

This time, however, when he re-emerged he had found a new cause to champion: The threat of global warming, or "the climate crisis," as he has now dubbed it. He made a really scary movie that showed how, due to Mankind's sinful pollution of the atmosphere with carbon dioxide, the oceans are going to rise and drown all of the Earth's coastal cities. Low-lying areas like Florida and Bangladesh and coral atolls in the Pacific all will be inundated. And the only way to solve the problem is for Al Gore to jet repeatedly around the world, in aircraft that put huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, in order to preach his sermon to the masses.

Don't do as he does, peons; do as he says. He'll be coming to your town this summer with his consciousness-raising concerts, with his entourage spewing Gaia knows how much extra carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in order to spread the gospel.

And don't dare to mention that some reputable scientists dispute the evidence that Gore has given us in his film. That would be heresy, and the Goracle's followers deal harshly with heretics. The good news is that they probably wouldn't burn you at the stake, since that would liberate too much carbon into the atmosphere.


Send In the Clowns

"This is not a circus, my friend!" -- Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin

With apologies to the lachrymose jurist, this week will indeed be remembered as the week the circus came to town. And it's been a bi-coastal three-ring circus: The battle over the curvaceous corpse of Anna Nicole Smith in Florida, the ongoing disintegration and rehab hokey-pokey of Britney Spears in La-La-Land, and the farcical trial of Scooter Libby in Washington, D.C.

I guess it's an open question as to who had a worse week, Britney or Anna Nicole? Britney totally lost her composure, while Anna Nicole is just decomposing. On the one hand, Britney has the advantage, in that she's still alive to make a comeback. On the other hand, sometimes you're just better off dead.

After yesterday's ruling, at least we know where Anna Nicole is heading: The Bahamas. The hearings in Judge Seidlin's court were must-see TV. We could not look away, God help us. We. Could. Not. Look. Away. I missed the final part, with the judge crying as he made his decision, but I heard about it. That was enough. All I can say at this point is "Closed casket, people; In the name of all that is holy, closed casket."

Meanwhile, Britney's back in rehab, again:
You put the psycho in,
You let the psycho out,
You put the psycho in and you shake her all about,
You do the rehab hokey pokey until she's all dried out,
That's what it's all about.
Did you see that picture at the top of this post, from her umbrella assault the other night at K-Fed's house? That brought to mind a lyric from a Tom Petty song, "Zombie Zoo."
Sometimes you're so impulsive,
You shaved off all your hair,
You look like Boris Karloff
And you don't even care

You're dancin' at the zombie zoo,
Dancin' at the zombie zoo...
Perfect. And here's the video, you lucky people!

I'll write more about that third ring of the circus when a verdict comes in from the jury in Washington. I don't hold out much hope for Libby getting a fair trial, since the trial is a political witch hunt by an out-of-control special prosecutor. The population of D.C. is overwhelmingly Democrat-leaning. I probably couldn't get a fair trial there, either, if I was on trial for something.


Everything Old Is New Again

I ordered a new CD yesterday from Amazon.com, although it's actually an old CD. Indeed, this is the fourth different incarnation in which I've purchased this particular music. I'm talking about the Electric Light Orchestra's Out of the Blue - 30th Anniversary Edition. I owned the double record album when it came out in 1977, I got it on 8-track tape in the early 1980s, and I got it on a CD when I first got a CD player around 1985 or so. Now, I'm getting the digitally remastered CD with three additional tracks (although only one of them is actually a full-length song, from what I've heard) as well as all of the original album artwork in the accompanying booklet.

That last part was almost as much of a selling point for me as the "digitally remastered" part was. Most people under thirty have grown up with compact discs as their preferred musical format. The main problem with CDs is that a lot of the old record albums had cool liner artwork, and much of it didn't end up in the early CD packaging. Indeed, many of the early CDs had blank inner liners or the briefest list of song titles. In the case of the Out of the Blue album, there was a mind-blowing illustration on the inner fold of the album cover, depicting the control room of the space ship on the outer cover. The interior art never made it onto any of the CD versions of the album. My memories of it are old and dim, so I'm looking forward to seeing it again. It's an old friend, long lost, soon to be regained.

I wonder how many more formats I'll end up buying it in over the next few decades?


High Rollers

If you ask the people running the casinos in Las Vegas, "Who do you love?" the answer you'll get is "The Chinese." It's Chinese New Year, you see, and Las Vegas is a very popular tourist destination for Asians and Asian-Americans during the two-week-long celebration. I read an interesting article about this earlier today, which noted that 90% of Chinese tourists spend at least a portion of their vacations in Nevada. And as the title of this posts notes, they're big spenders, due to the Chinese tradition of playing games and gambling during the Chinese New Year celebration; indeed, there was more action during the first weekend of the Chinese New Year than on the Super Bowl, at least at the MGM Mirage's nine properties.

This New York Times article on the same subject mentions the cultural changes that Vegas has made to accommodate their visitors from the Far East, including hiring feng shui experts to have "lucky" numbers of lanterns hanging and "lucky" numbers of koi in the reflecting ponds, and getting rid of the huge lion's mouth gate because the Chinese considered it to be unlucky. However, no matter what the feng shui aspects of the casino may be, there is one iron law: The House Always Wins. Remember that, if you choose to wager your hard-earned money at a casino. You may beat the odds for a short period of time, but ultimately, the odds always favor the house. They didn't build that fantastic city in the desert by losing, you know.


Happy Presidents Day

I watched a large chunk of the History Channel's series on The Presidents on Saturday. I came away with an understanding of how little I had known about many of them. Part of that is due to the way we learn our American history. It seems that there are a few major crises in the past that punctuated long periods of time when nothing much was happening. We look back at things that animated past political discussions like tariffs and the gold standard and they seem pretty inconsequential to us, although they were certainly not so at the time. So less-famous Presidents like Polk or Arthur don't get the recognition today that they should for some of the things that they accomplished.

Another interesting thing I discussed via e-mail with my friend Barbara last week was Presidential facial hair. All of the first fifteen Presidents were clean-shaven. Abraham Lincoln was the first president to grow a beard. Andrew Johnson was clean-shaven as well, but then nine of the next ten Presidents had facial hair: Ulysses S. Grant (beard and moustache), Rutherford Hayes (beard and moustache), James Garfield (beard and moustache), Chester Arthur (moustache and BIG sideburns), Grover Cleveland (moustache), Benjamin Harrison (beard and moustache), Cleveland again, William McKinley (the clean-shaven exception), Theodore Roosevelt (bully moustache) and William Taft (moustache). Starting with Woodrow Wilson in 1913, all American Presidents have been clean-shaven, at least while in office. But for half a century, facial hair was the norm for American Presidents.


One-Liner of the Day

Did you see the pictures of Britney Spears' newly shaved head? She was spotted with her new look at a tattoo parlor, although the new flash was apparently a pair of lips on her wrist, rather than something on her newly-denuded noggin. Britney, hon, you're no Persis Khambatta (Wow, I didn't know that she was dead!).

I guess the best thing to say about this whole thing is that, after seeing her infamous panty-less pictures, I can definitively say that the no-carpet matches the no-drapes. (Ba-dum-dum!)

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all weekend...


No Joy In Montgomery

...or Biloxi or Birmingham or Tuscaloosa or anywhere else in the Yellowhammer State. Put down that Pocket Rocket, ladies! Step away from the Sybian! A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Alabama's ban on the sale of sex toys. Fortunately for the women of Alabama, they can still purchase them from out-of-state sources.

This is one of the few cases I can think of where I actually find myself on the same side of an issue as the ACLU.

Goodbye, Alice

Last night was my last night of going in to work at 11 p.m. Effective next week, my hours have been changed so that I start at 10 p.m. instead. There are advantages and disadvantages to going in an hour earlier. The good part will be getting off an hour earlier. There will be less traffic on the drive home, fewer school buses, etc. The bad part will be going to work an hour earlier and having to deal with more traffic on the roads. Also, it means that I won't get to listen to Alice Cooper's "Nights With Alice Cooper" radio show, which had become a nightly staple for my drive to work. It comes on at 10 p.m., so I'll just be out of luck, since I'll already be at work when it comes on.

I think that management has probably made a mistake in moving all of our hours to a 10 p.m. start time. If the mail isn't done by 6:30, and many days it isn't on at least some of the machines, then they will have to keep people overtime to finish the mail. Guess what? I'm not on the overtime desired list, so when 6:30 comes, I'll be walking. If they tell me I have to stay, I'll file a grievance, since if they'd left me at the old start time, I'd be there until 7:30. Oh well, not my problem.

There's been a really big propaganda push at work for the ERRP program, which is the Ergonomics Something-Something Program. ERRP seems the perfect acronym for a program that will be a gassy belch of talk that probably won't accomplish much. There is a whole glass case full of little animal cartoons with cutesy ergonomic slogans. Some warn to "Stop MSDs", without telling us just what the heck an MSD is. My guess was Management's Stupid Decisions, although those would be absolutely unstoppable.

Yesterday was cool, rainy and overcast, perfect sleeping weather. I got about 10 hours of sleep, waking up at 9:00 p.m. I'm well-rested for my three-day weekend. Today is also cool and overcast, although not rainy so far. I'm not going to waste today with so much sleep, though. Let the weekend begin!


In the News

I saw last night on the sports news that NASCAR has suspended Michael Waltrip's crew chief Larry Hyder indefinitely and fined him $100,000 for some kind of chicanery. It was already the fifth incident of cheating detected as the NASCAR season prepares to start. I think it had something to do with jet fuel in the engine manifold or something like that. Rumor has it that Hyder will be fired. Given that Waltrip is driving for Japanese auto maker Toyota, perhaps hara-kiri would be more appropriate. Hai!

The new gold-colored George Washington dollar coin comes out today, the first in a series of presidential dollar coins. There will be four different designs each year, and each President will be honored in the order that they served. My question: Will Grover Cleveland get two different coins, since he was both our 22nd and 24th Presidents? Cleveland was the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms. I think it would be kind of cool to have a "young Grover" coin and an "old Grover" coin, like the proposed "young Elvis" and "old Elvis" postage stamp designs. Only the "young Elvis" was actually used, of course.

UPDATE: YES! There will, indeed, be two Grover Cleveland coins, according to the release schedule from the U.S. Mint's site. Note that the release schedule only goes through Nixon in 2016. I'm guessing that the web page pre-dates Gerald Ford's death in December, and that only deceased Presidents will be honored. So the next question: What happens if Jimmy Carter is still alive in 2016? He'd be pushing 92 when his coin was due to come out. But the Ronald Reagan coin can't come out until after the Carter coin is issued...

Finally, the FBI investigators in Salt Lake City are still stumped about why 18-year-old Bosnian immigrant Sulejman Talovic went on his shooting spree, but they "had no reason to believe he was motivated by religious extremism or an act of terrorism," according to this morning's AP article.

"It's just unexplainable," said FBI agent Patrick Tiernan on Wednesday. "He was just walking around and shooting everyone he saw." 'Just unexplainable.' Right. This article in the Salt Lake Tribune said that Talovic had regularly attended Friday prayers at a mosque in Salt Lake City up until December, when his father had him get a full-time job. One wonders what was preached at this particular mosque. Was it "love thy neighbor as thyself"? As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.

When someone considers everyone who doesn't believe what he believes to be an infidel worthy of death or enslavement, the world is a target-rich environment. Occam's Razor, folks. Occam's Razor.


Valentine's Day

Eh, so what. My iPod song of the day is Warren Zevon's "Nobody's In Love This Year" off of Transverse City.

Instead, let's talk about the MSM coverage of the mass murder at the mall in Salt Lake City, Utah. They're stumped: What could the 18-year-old Bosnian immigrant's motive have been? Just as they were stumped when somebody shot up the Jewish center in Seattle and killed a woman there, just as they were stumped when a man tried to run people over with his SUV at a North Carolina university, just as they were stumped when the two Beltway Snipers didn't turn out to be a couple of white yahoos like the profilers thought they would be. Could there be any common thread to these murderous incidents? (Muslims) No, didn't think so.

You see, there are two kinds of murderous rampage shooting incidents: The ones where the shooter is out to kill someone in particular who he believes has wronged him (an ex-wife or ex-girlfriend, a boss, etc.), and the ones where the shooter doesn't really care who he kills, as long as he kills lots of people. The latter kind of incident is far rarer, and usually involves some kind of "cause." For instance, the Oklahoma City bombing falls into this category, because the bombers were anti-federal government nuts. All of the incidents I mentioned in the paragraph above were committed by young Muslim men who were intent on murdering as many infidel strangers as they could. Some were more successful than others.

Indeed, as soon as I heard the words "Bosnian immigrant," I wondered which mosque he attended and what sort of hatred of infidels had been preached to him. If you saw the recent special program on Fox News Channel, in which "mainstream" Muslims expressed those sort of sentiments in their own words, you probably wondered the same thing. Now, you may be thinking, "Hey, how do you know he was a Muslim?" The answer: His name was Sulejman; he was named for Suleiman the Magnificent, known as one of the greatest Ottoman sultans, and conqueror of the Balkans. The idea that non-Muslim Bosnians would name their son Sulejman would be as absurd as a Jewish family naming their son Hitler Goldberg (to use an example I saw in the comments at Little Green Footballs).

Strangely, the MSM seems to be ignoring the fact that Sulejman Talovic was a Muslim, just like the shooter in Seattle, just like the "Jeep Jihadi" in North Carolina, just like John Muhammed the Beltway sniper. No, no terrorism here. All is well. Move along, nothing to see here, folks. Hmmmm... Maybe it's not so strange at all that they're ignoring it.


Your Cheetah-ing Heart

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a news story about someone's fatal foolishness is just a news story about someone bucking for a Darwin Award. Sometimes, however, there is more meaning that can be read into the story. And this is one of those stories:

Animal lover mauled to death after entering cheetah cage at Belgian zoo
BRUSSELS, Belgium: An animal lover was mauled to death by cheetahs at a zoo in northern Belgium, authorities and zoo officials said Monday.

It was unclear why Karen Aerts, 37, entered the cheetah cage late Sunday, Olmense Zoo spokesman Jan Libot said. She was found dead in the cage, Libot told VTM television.

Aerts, from the city of Antwerp, was a regular visitor to the zoo, which is 90 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of Brussels.

One of the cats that killed her was named Bongo. Aerts had adopted Bongo under a special program, paying for food for the cat, Libot said.

"Karen loved animals. Unfortunately the cheetahs betrayed her trust," he said.

Police said they were investigating why Aerts entered the cage, but ruled out any foul play.

They believe she hid somewhere in the park after it closed and managed to find the keys to the cheetah cage.

Animal rights group GAIA called for the immediate closure of the zoo, saying it was unsafe for both visitors and for the cats it is home to.

Rudy Demotte, Belgian minister responsible for animal welfare, has sent a team of inspectors to investigate.

This story offers so much on which to comment.

First, it's a pretty good allegory for those people who don't understand that there really is danger in the world. Not all wild animals are cuddly Disney critters; not all people are your friends, either. There are a lot of people in Europe who lack this understanding.

Second, what's with the goofy line about "unfortunately the cheetahs betrayed her trust"? Cheetahs are wild animals! They are not just oversized domesticated cats on steroids! One or two million years ago, our hominid ancestors roamed the same African savannah as the cheetahs. And some of those hominid ancestors who encountered cheetahs became the cheetahs' lunch. Just because you adopt a wild animal at the zoo and buy its food doesn't mean that you are suddenly its best friend. Domesticated animals like cats and dogs may show some gratitude to those who feed them. Wild animals do not.

Finally, I couldn't let the animal rights group GAIA pass without comment: "How trite! GAIA? You've got to be kidding me!"

So now the zoo is going to get a visit from the Gaian Inquisition. ("Nobody expects the Gaian Inquisition!") The animal rights fundamentalists don't believe that animals should be kept in zoos. Of course, with their natural habitat vanishing due to mushrooming human populations in Africa, it may not be too long until the only place you see animals like cheetahs is in zoos. I would suspect that GAIA's solution would be fewer people in Africa. I wonder what their stance is on American money being sent to Africa to fight AIDS? It's keeping people alive longer and contributing to habitat loss, after all. I'd like to tell the GAIA folks that and then watch their heads spin and explode like the Fembots in the Austin Powers movie.


Clouds In Their Coffee?

The hockey-stick folks aren't going to like this: Apparently some other scientists have a rival hypothesis about why the Earth's climate has warmed. Their explanation: The Sun has been more active over the past century or so, increasing the magnetic field around the solar system and making it more difficult for cosmic rays to penetrate the Earth's atmosphere. When there are more cosmic rays striking the Earth, more clouds form in the atmosphere than at times when there are less cosmic rays. The greater the amount of cloud cover, the more sunlight reflected back into space, which causes the earth to cool. Right now, due to the active Sun, cosmic rays and cloud cover are lower than in the past, causing the Earth to warm.

The IPCC report that came out recently said that it was "90% likely" that human activity was the cause of global warming. However, their research did not take into account this natural increase or decrease in cosmic rays/clouds due to solar variation. For them, human activity was the only variable they looked at, and the only variable they WANTED to look at, and their acolytes like Ellen Goodman have declared that "global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future." Frankly, I consider that to be a bit over-the-top, and given that there are other possible hypotheses out there, more than a bit arrogant. These mainstream media mavens would have you believe that this issue has been settled to the satisfaction of all of the world's scientists. That simply is not the truth.

As I have written before, these self-annointed experts are the ones who would fly in their private planes and drive their SUVs while we peons scratched at the ground with sticks to grow crops to feed them, after their "thirty Kyotos" effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They would have no problem with the idea of wrecking our economy to "fix" something that may quite possibly be the Sun's fault rather than our own!

Here's another article about the cosmic ray hypothesis. Feel free to do something "scientific" and think for yourself. Don't feel the need to follow the dogma of the "global warming" alarmists, although be aware that if you don't, you may be ostracized for failing to adhere to orthodoxy. Go ahead. Be a free-thinker. You might discover that a so-called "inconvenient truth" might be neither one nor the other.


Thoughts on Anna Nicole's Passing

It's too bad about poor Anna Nicole Smith. I have a theory about her death: I believe that she was taken out by a NASA hit squad, in order to divert attention from the foibles of astronaut Lisa Nowak. Think about it: Now the Greta Van Susterens of the world will all be heading from Houston to Hollywood, Florida, to cover the cause of Anna Nicole's death and the upcoming custody battle for her 5-month-old baby. All those media vultures hanging out in front of Lisa Nowak's house will flock to the new location, and NASA will be out of the negative publicity spotlight for a while. And how far is it from Cape Canaveral to Hollywood, Florida? Not far, not far at all. Inject her with a lethal dose of drugs and everyone will think it was an accident or suicide. Brilliant!

Tune in next time when I explain why Harry Truman actually was the one who set up the JFK assassination.

Actually, I'd want to watch out for the health of that baby, given how much money she's worth at this point. It's kind of like the books/movie A Series of Unfortunate Events, except there's just one orphan. Everyone else seems to be dying off, though: The old geezer Anna Nicole married, the geezer's son, Anna Nicole's 20-year-old son and then Anna Nicole herself. Now only the baby is left...


Something to Bite Into

I could write about the travels and travails of astronaut Lisa Nowak (and I thought about doing it), but that would be like shooting fish in a barrel. Most of the good jokes have already been made. In the end, I feel kind of sorry for her and hope she gets the help that she needs. Anyone who would drive that distance non-stop in diapers is obviously a few thrusters shy of a shuttle launch.

Instead, I'm going to write about Pringles Select chips. They don't come in the cylindrical containers like regular Pringles. They're a bit more crispy and much smaller in size. The come in four flavors; I've only tried two. First, I tried the Sun-Dried Tomato flavored potato crisps, which were pretty good. Then I tried the Cinnamon Sweet Potato crisps. Wow! Those are tasty! The other flavors are Szechuan Barbecue and Parmesan Garlic. I think the Szechuan Barbecue ones are actually rice chips, although I could be wrong.

Finally, if you're interested in politics, you might like to stop by the Pajamas Media site and vote in their weekly presidential primary straw poll. The poll is at the top of their home page. You also can vote at Instapundit or at Roger L. Simon's blog, both of which are "precincts" for the poll. I voted in both last week's and this week's poll. You are allowed (even encouraged) to vote for one candidate in each party. If you are a partisan of either party, this lets you choose who you like the most in your own party and who you find least objectionable in the other party. It's kind of interesting to see who's leading in the polling, both in the overall results and among the readers of the "precinct" blogs. Check it out if you're interested...

Who did I vote for? I voted for Newt Gingrich among the Republicans and Bill Richardson among the Democrats. I've seen Gingrich frequently on Fox News Channel and I like what I've heard from him. As for Richardson, again, I've seen him numerous times on FNC and he doesn't come across as a moonbat. I wouldn't even consider voting for most of the Democrats in the general election. I'd at least hear Richardson out, though. He'd probably be better than some RINO like Chuck Hagel, for instance.


Great Moments in Advertising

In Boston today, litigators are salivating like a pit bull with a juicy steak dangling in front of him. Some boneheads decided to do a guerilla ad campaign for a late night Cartoon Network show by placing electronic devices around the city. Naturally, when the devices were first noticed, they were treated as possible bombs, and the city's law enforcement agencies leapt into action. I watched this yesterday afternoon, wondering like everyone else if this was some kind of terrorist activity. It was only when I got up to get ready for work that I learned it was all a hoax, a publicity stunt gone awry. The folks in Boston aren't laughing, however. The city's traffic was snarled, the subway shut down, river traffic along the Charles stopped. And then there's the costs of the huge law enforcement reaction, the bomb squad, etc.

Well, you know that the lawyers will make out like bandits on this one. How many people will take part in the class action suit for damages for mental anguish and fear of a terrorist attack, for loss of business due to snarled traffic, etc.? The Cartoon Network is owned by Time-Warner. Two words: Deep pockets. For the lawyers, it's like winning the lottery.