Wednesday, December 31, 2008

LA Cops Kidnap Woman Who Had the Misfortune to Look Sorta A Little Like Jamie Lynn Spears

Members of the LAPD kidnapped a woman who looked like Britney Spears' sister and forced her to go with them to the baggage claim so that the Spears girl could get away.

Last September 11, when Jamie Lynn flew to Los Angeles, LAX cops tried to divert the paparazzi by using a decoy whom they escorted to baggage claim. The impromptu decoy -- Adessa Eskridge -- happened to be on the same plane as Jamie Lynn.

Eskridge's lawyer, Chuck Vernon, tells us one of the cops told Eskridge as she got off the plane, "You're going to help us with something." He says it was almost as if she was taken into custody. Vernon says cops told Eskridge to walk with them as they made their way to baggage claim.

"Almost as if she was taken into custody?" She was.

Actually, given what the police, security, and TSA employees can do to anyone who dares fly nowadays, being briefly kidnapped by the police so that you can act as a decoy for some spoiled trashy little twit is probably not all that bad.

I hope this woman is awarded $50 million and custody of Jamie Lynn Spears' baby.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What Better Way to Memorialize the Sacrifice of Those Who Have Died Trying to Protect Our Freedom than by Using Force to Take Someone's Property?

Some of the family members of victims of United Flight 93 which crashed on Sept. 11, 2001 want President GW Bush to spend his last days in office seizing the land in Pennsylvania on which the flight crashed.

The effort to build a permanent memorial began with legislation signed by Bush in September 2002, leading to plans for a 2,200-acre national park site. The bulk of the memorial is projected to cost about $56 million, including $30 million from the private sector, $10 million from the state of Pennsylvania and the remainder from the federal government, according to federal officials and the Flight 93 group. About 1,400 acres would need to be bought by the government to make it work, according to federal officials.

But much like faltering efforts to build a monument at Ground Zero in New York, the Pennsylvania project has been dogged by delays and, most important, a simmering dispute over a 273-acre tract that includes most of the crash site. The quarry company that owns the land, Svonavec Inc. of Somerset, has rejected a $250,000 offer from the Park Service for the land, as well as $750,000 from Families of Flight 93, according to documents and interviews.

$750K sounds like a lot of money to me- but then, it's not my property, and I have no idea what it's worth. The government must think it's worth something, if they're planning on spending at least $16M on it (by the way, do you really think the final price tag will be $56M?).

The Flight 93 group thinks there is no use pursuing further negotiations with the Svonavec firm and accuses the company's secretary-treasurer, Mike Svonavec, of seeking as much as $10 million for the land. Many of the families are also angry with Svonavec for forcing the Park Service to move the temporary memorial off his land, citing security reasons.

"All that we have worked for is endangered," the Families of Flight 93 and a related group wrote in a Dec. 9 letter to Bush. "It would be an insult to the memory of the brave souls on Flight 93, as well as to the nation that demanded that their sacrifice be remembered, that inertia prevented us from completing our task."

'I've jumped through hoops'
Svonavec accuses federal officials of failing to follow guidelines for buying property and said that his only interest is in getting a fair third-party appraisal of the land, which had been strip-mined for coal before it reverted to an area of meadows and trees before the Flight 93 crash. Svonavec also denied ever placing a $10 million price tag on the parcel.

"All we've ever asked is that an independent appraisal be done on the property, and then let's sit down and work it out," he said. "I've jumped through hoops. I'd do anything I can to get it done. But when they're hiding appraisals, what can you do?"

One group wants to memorialize the victims of Flight 93, and the other wants a fair price for his own property. It's hard to imagine being in either situation- if I'd lost a family member in the crash I'd be inconsolable. If I owned the property where the crash took place I'd hate to have to deal with the federal government when they're interested in using their power to take the land.

What a terrible, depressing story this is.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Inspirational "Footprints" poem and poster

It's important to remember "the reason for the season."

Monday, December 15, 2008

Re: Bernard Madoff's Ponzi Scheme, or, Madoff Vs. Blagojevich

I suppose what Bernard Madoff did was a bad thing- I'm not smart enough to follow this too closely, and the only "screwing" is metaphorical so my eyes kind of glaze over when I read stories like this- but the following line from this story caught my eye:

"There is no innocent explanation," Madoff said, according to the criminal complaint. He told the agents that it was all his fault, and that he "paid investors with money that wasn't there," according to the complaint.

"Paid investors with money that wasn't there." How similar is that to the government's "bailouts"? Who's going to jail for those "schemes"?

Moreover, compare the reactions of Madoff ("there is no innocent explanation") to those of Rod Blagojevich ("I don't care whether you tape me privately or publicly. I can tell you that whatever I say is always lawful."). Both are assholes, but which one is the bigger asshole?

I don't know the answer- I'm really asking! I don't know!

Old Witchcraft Secrets - Make Your Wildest Dreams Come True

I've been getting these witchcraft secrets spam scam emails lately. Apparently the problems with my spells and rituals aren't my fault- I've been misled by fakers and charlatans. The people who sent me this spam email are the real witches, who have the real secrets:

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I really like that line about "In fact, a lot of what they say will actually diminish your powers." It's true- but only if I take this bullshit seriously.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Comic About Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's Impending "Resignation."

He will not resign. He will persevere, abide, and endure. He will earn an appointment to a cabinet-level position in Barack Obama's administration.

The Greatest Christmas Movie of All-Time

My humble choice for the greatest Christmas film of all time is the now classic "Joyeux du Oignon et Noel," (NSFW) an animation masterpiece about the loss of innocence during the holiday season, available for viewing below:

It's hit over 15,000 views, so it's to be congratulated!

Another of those "Kids Today!" Articles that make no sense.

Kids today! They're on the road to ruin. It's just so much worse than when we were kids. They've got the facebook, where they post their "unflattering" pictures of themselves; they've got their video games, which are just so violent; they've got their marijuana, which is just so much more potent than what they had in the 60s and 70s; they've got their underwear-exposing baggy pants; they've got their tattoos.

And now do you know what they're doing? They're "hooking up" without falling in love! Seriously, they're giving in to their natural urges and they're not even feeling guilty about it! According to this "op-ed" column in the New York Times, "The Demise of Dating,"

Dating is dated. Hooking up is here to stay.

Hooking up, as the author Charles Blow (got to be a pseudonym, right?) describes it, is "a casual sexual encounter with no expectation of future emotional commitment". Does that sound scandalous to you? Or does it sound ideal? Sometimes a casual sexual encounter with no expectation of future emotional commitment is a good thing. Why would anyone want to limit themselves if they don't have to?

Blow, obviously a fairly hip guy who first heard about "hooking up" years ago (maybe when Tom Wolfe's book came out), "figured that it was a fad that would soon fizzle. I was wrong. It seems to be becoming the norm."

Of course this is bad. Because the kids are having more sex, and we can't have that.

Oh, wait.

I should point out that just because more young people seem to be hooking up instead of dating doesn’t mean that they’re having more sex (they’ve been having less, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or having sex with strangers (they’re more likely to hook up with a friend, according to a 2006 paper in the Journal of Adolescent Research).

Okay, so then there must be some reason why Blow thinks this "strange culture" is so bad.

It turns out that everything is the opposite of what I remember. Under the old model, you dated a few times and, if you really liked the person, you might consider having sex. Under the new model, you hook up a few times and, if you really like the person, you might consider going on a date.

Ah, I get it. "When I was a kid, we didn't do it that way, so it must be wrong." He's jealous. But I don't think he's jealous of the fact that the kids today are doing it. I think he's jealous of the fact that they don't feel shame about it. He gets the straight dope on the strange culture from the totally plugged in "Kathleen Bogle, a professor at La Salle University in Philadelphia who has studied hooking up among college students and is the author of the 2008 book, “Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus.”" She tells him that

"It used to be that “you were trained your whole life to date,” said Ms. Bogle. “Now we’ve lost that ability — the ability to just ask someone out and get to know them.”

Now that’s sad.

First of all it's not true. "Hooking up," even as explained in this stupid opinion piece, is described as an action between friends. You're getting to know them and hooking up at the same time. And even if it were true-- that we as a culture were somehow losing the ability to get to know someone through holding hands and walking around the town square, or attending Sadie Hawkins dances, or sharing a chocolate malted at the soda shop-- for crying out loud would that be a bad thing?

Only to some old fogey pining away for an idealized memory world in which things were done the right way, goldarnit!

But Blow's concerns aren't only with the kids today losing touch with the idealized past of his youth. He's also worried about "gender inequity"

The cons center on the issues of gender inequity. Girls get tired of hooking up because they want it to lead to a relationship (the guys don’t), and, as they get older, they start to realize that it’s not a good way to find a spouse. Also, there’s an increased likelihood of sexual assaults because hooking up is often fueled by alcohol.

You know how girls are. It's how they've always been, ever since Blow was a kid-- girls want to get married, and boys just want to get laid! That's how it is. That's how it's always been and there's no need to cite any statistics or anything to back it up. And while we're at it, let's also let people know that this "strange culture" isn't just a defiance of the old ways of doing things, it's also leading to sexual assaults because there's alcohol involved! And we don't need to give you any statistics about that either, because it's just so self-evident: Girls cannot take care of themselves, and boys are lust-crazed animals.

Why does anyone take these conservative, stasist old fogeys seriously?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Why is there original Steve Ditko Artwork Listed on eBay?

It seems suspicious that original artwork by Steve Ditko, the genius co-creator of Spider-Man and Dr Strange, and creator of dozens of other characters including The Question, Mr. A, and Static, has recently appeared for sale on eBay. It's difficult for me to believe that Mr. Ditko would sanction this, given his opinion about original artwork. It's probably not much of a stretch to assume that the artwork was stolen, especially given the shady nature of the original comic art market.

Links to the listings are here, here, and here. I took pictures of them and put them at the top of this blog entry as well. The dealer's eBay store is here. Here is the store's website.

I guess it's possible that the dealer's legitimate (the website seems so, but there's not much information about who runs it), and the artwork was obtained legally and with Ditko's consent, but that seems an unlikely reversal from the author of Avenging World.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Do you believe a Chinese woman really lost her hearing from a passionate kiss?

According to this breathless story, a woman lost her hearing from kissing too passionately.

A young woman has partially lost her hearing after her boyfriend ruptured her eardrum during an excessively passionate kiss.

The twentysomething woman was taken to hospital in the Chinese city of Zhuhai, in southern Guangdong province, completely deaf in her left ear after the smooch.

'The kiss reduced pressure in the mouth, pulled the eardrum out and caused the breakdown of the ear,' a medic called Dr Li told state newspaper The China Daily.

The doctor said the woman's hearing would return to normal within two or three months.

'While kissing is normally very safe, doctors advise people to proceed with caution,' the newspaper added.

That's the entire story, which can also be found here, here, here, and here. (This one adds the rather sinister sentence, "The incident prompted newspapers to dispense kissing safety advice." The authorities in China really want to control everything, don't they?) And here.

Every version is the same, with very little detail given. The woman's name isn't revealed, and the medical quote is from "a medic called Dr Li." We then get a short, hectoring quote from a Chinese newspaper about proper kissing etiquette.

I do not believe this story. It is just as true as this one.

Why oh why oh why do news organizations just blindly pass along this bogus information as "news"? Is it because of that great, irresistible headline "Kiss of Deaf" that so many of them used? That's part of it, sure. I mean, it's a great pun, and so what if you're just advancing a totalitarian attempt to control peoples' lives by demonizing a common activity?


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ån "As Seen on TV" Christmas

A photo of your humble blogger using his new shamwow to wipe away moisture from his snuggie this holiday season. Both are highly recommended as gifts.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I Feel Bad for Virgins in General, Whopper Virgins in Particular

Burger King has a new ad campaign called "Whopper Virgins," in which people from remote parts of the world, places where they don't even have a name for a burger (I think the ad says something like that) are given a Whopper, and then a Big Mac. These people then choose which they like the best.

This is awesome.

Can you imagine living in a world where they don't even have fast food? No? Neither can I. And I don't want to. But there are people who live like that, and we should know about them. Why? Because it's important to, you know, know about other people and how they live. This campaign is the perfect opportunity. We meet these people who have to work 25 hours a day, have no indoor plumbing or running water, whose homes consist of three walls (two of which are made mostly from dung- and those are the sturdy walls), and watch their eyes light up as they try for the first time the delicious fast food that you and I take for granted. (If you're reading this America, anyway.)

Of course, as this article points out, there are some jerks who don't like the campaign.

"It's outrageous," Sharon Akabas of the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University, told the New York Daily News. "What's next? Are we going to start taking guns out to some of these remote places and ask them which one they like better?"

If you can equate food with weapons, then there is no reasoning with you. You are a total jerk.

Marilyn Borchardt, development director for Food First, called the campaign insensitive.
"The ad's not even acknowledging that there's even hunger in any of these places," she told the Daily News.

The ad is feeding hungry people, meaning that you are the insensitive one, you jerk.

Brian Morrissey, writing on, likens the campaign to colonialism and declares it "embarrassing and emblematic of how ignorant Americans still seem to the rest of the world."

The ignorant ones are those who don't even know what a Whopper is! In this case, Americans are educating the rest of the world.

"It doesn't get much more offensive than this," noted The Inquisitor blog. "If visiting poor people in remote locations, some who would be at best surviving on below poverty levels and throwing a burger in their faces isn't bad enough, it gets better, because they also ask the Whopper Virgins to compare the taste of the Whopper to a McDonalds Big Mac as well.
"It's hard to place exactly where this begins on the level of wrongness."

Which is the part you find so "wrong"? The part where hungry people are fed, or the part where their opinions are solicited? "Let them starve, and I don't care what they think," is basically what you're saying.

There is plenty to get worked up about, but feeding the hungry isn't one of them.

The only problem I have with the campaign is that it compares the Whopper with the Big Mac. I don't know anyone who likes the Big Mac better. But put the Whopper up against the McRib, or the McGriddle, and there's no contest. The gold goes to McDonald's, hands down.

Some Thoughts on the new "Star Trek" Movie Opening in May 2009

There is a trailer out for the next "Star Trek" movie that opens next summer. This version is a sort of "prequel," I guess, or an alternate history or "reboot," I don't really know. Most of the actors look really young. But you know what? None of them is Jean-Luc Picard, and that means I've got no interest.

I never particularly cared for ST, even after I developed my totally healthy interest in SF (which stands for Speculative Fiction, thank you very much), but for a couple of years, around 1994-95 or so, I did watch The Next Generation regularly. The characters were more interesting than the SF elements, but there were a couple of those elements I did enjoy.

For one, I really liked the holodeck, or at least the idea of the holodeck. Story-wise, it was probably a cop-out to set episodes on that thing, but it would be fantastic to have a big room where you could go and set a program to fully immerse yourself in another world. Picard himself went into that thing and played like he was a 1930s hardboiled detective. I think they set another in the old west (Worf was a sheriff or something- or am I thinking of that episode of "Red Dwarf" where the guys got stuck in a virtual reality video game?).

Now I like to think I know a little bit about human nature. And with TNG we're talking about a crew of maybe as many as a thousand or so living in the close quarters of a spaceship with only limited shore leaves. Eventually, somebody is going to want to use the holodeck to relieve some of his loneliness. And by "relieve some of his loneliness," I mean he's going to want to have sex with holograms.

Just program yourself into the middle of a zero-g space orgy and go wild. Or perhaps you'd like to make simulated love with the futuristic equivalent of Angelina Jolie or Eva Mendes? Just a few mouse clicks is probably all it would take.

Unless the bluenoses took over, the way they have here on earth, now. And this is why the new "Battlestar Galactica" makes "ST" in all it's versions totally obsolete. If there was a holodeck on BSG, they would do an episode about how everyone wanted to use it to make simulated love with the futuristic equivalent of Angelina Jolie or Eva Mendes, and everyone else wanted to stop them because it was "sinful" and "bad for their souls." I have a feeling, based on the way things are right now, that the holodeck would have some surf-control set up so that it couldn't be used for those kinds of things.

After all, there were lots of children on the Enterprise, and we do want to protect the children. Which means that the pornodecks would be left on "Deep Space Nine," probably being run by that libertarian alien (I think he was called a "Ferengi" or something), and therefore the Enterprise could remain "pure."

Maybe a captain like Picard, or one of the higher-ranked crew members could get some holodeck nookie (I think Picard did get some kissing in when he was playing that detective), but what is the lonely ensign to do? He's got no partner. His skeevy rep has spread to the few available females who now refuse to date him, and the ship is now full of temptations he can never have. Without the sweet relief of a pornodeck, what is this man to do? Masturbation will only do so much.

It's only a matter of time before, you guessed it, his you-know-what makes its way into one of those automatic food generators. Those were the other cool SF devices on the ship, the things that Captain Picard would stand before and say, "Tea, Earl Grey," and a cup of steaming hot tea would materialize (presumably Earl Grey flavored), and then the captain would drink up. They did episodes where they got all kinds of exotic foods, from all over the universe, from that thing.

So to satisfy his normal urges, Lonely Ensign sticks his you-know-what into that thing and starts pumping away, lustily moaning something like, "Oh that feels so good," which sounds suspiciously like "odatfilsogud," which just happens to be a Bajoran delicacy that is very, very hot, and that dish appears directly on his you-know-what, and suddenly he's all burned up down there and in the ensuing lawsuit he ends up owning the entire Federation. All because those damned bluenoses wouldn't let them use the holodeck to satisfy their normal urges.

So anyway, those are my thoughts on the new "Star Trek" movie.