Apr 20, 2007


You remember Bushisms, right? Those clever little quotes from our Commander in Chief that made us all laugh until we realized he was chiefly commanding death. There haven't been many of them recently. Where the country used to chuckle at his incompetency, now we groan and pray for the men and women whose lives he is ruining.

Lest you think there are less of them, here are a few from yesterday. Yep, these are all from one day. But believe you me, this has nothing to do with Gonzales being under oath.
  • "There are jobs Americans aren't doing. ... If you've got a chicken factory, a chicken-plucking factory, or whatever you call them, you know what I'm talking about."
    I sure do. I spent much of my collegiate days plucking the chick-a-dees.

  • "Politics comes and goes, but your principles don't. And everybody wants to be loved _ not everybody. ... You never heard anybody say, `I want to be despised, I'm running for office.'"
    Uh, remember Alan Keyes?
  • "I've been in politics long enough to know that polls just go poof at times."
    So do emails, memory, testimony, presidential approval polls, and rationales for war.

  • "There are some similarities, of course [between Iraq and Vietnam]. Death is terrible."
    Unless we are talking about the death penalty or the death of a mother that could have been saved with a late term abortion. Or any death in a Rambo movie. Those are cool.

  • "Remember the rug?"
    This is after he was asked about his hope for succeeding in Iraq. He likes to tell this story of his first major decision when he entered office. He had to get a rug for the Oval Office. Overwhelmed, he gave that task to his wife with the instructions that the rug reflects optimism. Now we just need one that says common sense.

  • "A good marriage is really good after serving together in Washington, D.C."
    A good second marriage to a trophy wife in Florida . . . priceless.

Apr 17, 2007

Red Sox know how to deal with interference

Would have LOVED to have thrown my pizza at Bartman.

"He's got mud on him.... and an alcoholic beverage..."

Ho No

[1] Yo-ho-ho... I didn't even have to actually hear it. I knew as soon as I saw his face on the screen that the Baseball world had already felt the first forewarning tremors of the impending eruption of Mount LouPi (LOO-pee). Oh, the layers upon layers of subtext that exist beneath the ex-jock-turned-manager's in-eloquence: "I can start to see how this team loses games!" In case you're keeping score, that was just nine games into the season.

[2] Forward, ho!... 100 years is such a nice, round number... don't you think?

[3] Oh-ho... 101 years will be a numerical palindrome.
Another palindrome: CUBS SBUC! (The second 'B' is silent.)

[4] Wagons, ho!... On the same day that the [Censored], [Unutterable], [Blasphemous] [Stool-samples] blew a five run lead (excuse me while I giggle) and lost to Cincinnati (I'm sorry... gimme just a minute...) the La-la Dodgers were bashing the Padres' brains in 9-1. I mention this just, you know, just in case you're keeping score.

[5] Gung-ho!... Speaking of the Dodgers, you might have noticed that at the end of Sunday night's nationally televised contest between L.A. and S.D. (it only seemed like nothing more than four hours of everybody from Jesse Jackson to Bud Selig and his godawful haircut blowing Jackie Robinson's ghost and then lamenting the fact that today's black athletes are choosing to get rich quick in other, lesser sports; there was actually a Baseball game going on in the background) they named Jackie Robinson the "Player of the Game." That was a nice gesture, but it overshadowed the fact that Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, Wilson Valdez and Randy Wolf went a combined 9-for-14 (.643) with three walks, a sacrifice, three doubles, a home run, five runs scored and seven runs batted in. Martin, Ethier, Valdez and Wolf were the 6, 7, 8 and 9 hitters in the Dodgers' lineup.

[6] Idaho is the Apache word for Comanche.
What does Comanche mean? I dunno.

[7] Arapaho... a specific type of Native American.
A rappa' 'ho'... a female singer of urban music.
A rap o' 'ho'... a female character in urban music.

[8] Hi-ho, hi-ho... Paul Simon once "walked around Soho for the last night or so." It had nothing to do with "a come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue. I do declare there were times when I was so lonesome I took some comfort there, la-la-la." That, in turn, also had nothing to do with that 'ho' Mrs. Robinson... but I detect a pattern.

[9] Tally-ho... In the movie Sin City, there is a character named Miho. She is a prostitute. But then, so is just about everybody else.

[10] Ho-ho-ho... go commando!

[11] Land: Ho!... Yes, I have publicly used the word 'ho' before. It was in a piece entitled, "The Ever-increasing Stupidity of the American Sportscaster," which you will not find here because it pre-dated this little whine and cheez party. I will now quote from it: "It is not a tough road to hoe. It is a tough row to hoe-- the expression is derived from gardening. I suppose it's possible to have a tough road to 'ho', but I don't think you can say so on television." Apparently, I was right.

[12] Aloha, Don Ho.

[13] Bud Selig should get the ol' heave-ho.

Apr 10, 2007

The Evolution of Creationism

I was surprised by the question, because it was the very same one I've been wanting to ask people like her for a looong time...

I was listening to Anderson Cooper 360 (CNN) last week. With Time carrying us all toward the culmination of one of the most, um, grave religious seasons of the year, when all of Christendom celebrates the resurrection of the man-sized, clown-faced, egg-laying Easter Bunny by filling brightly-colored plastic eggs with candy and then hiding them, Cooper was running a series of... segments, I guess you'd call them, entitled, "What is a Christian?"

In one of these... segments, Cooper was moderating (fueling the fire of) a debate --which on cable news means a verbal splooging of finely-honed dogma that escalates into a shouting match of not so finely-honed dogma before the host cuts them off and reminds everybody that this is, after all, America in the twenty-first century and, therefore, commercialism trumps news or views or discussion, every time, and we'll be right back-- moderating a debate over whether or not the Theory of Intelligent Design should be taught alongside the Theory of Evolution in public schools.

The Theory of Intelligent Design is a prime example of the latest, ahem, evolution in the shaping of the message being pushed by the Religious Right. It is the next step up the ladder from simple spin doctoring-- one of the best examples of which is the labels applied to the abortion issue.

Most supporters of Roe v. Wade refer to themselves as "pro-choice." It's an accurate enough term: While they're not in favor of abortion per se, they are in favor of keeping the option legal, if only for others to use. The implied rhetorical logic, of course, is that opponents of the Roe v. Wade decision are "anti-choice" --which is also accurate. If you need proof of that, all you have to do is read enough bumper stickers that say "It's not a choice. It's a child."

Anti-abortionists, realizing early on that they weren't getting anywhere by labeling themselves "anti-abortionists," or by labeling their opponents "murderers" and "baby killers" --not to mention the hypocrisy of killing abortion clinic employees-- decided to give themselves a positive label: "Pro-life." Apparently, their views on capital punishment are an entirely separate issue.

As I said before, the Theory of Intelligent Design represents the next step-- a far more sophisticated mechanism for introducing theology into the secular world. Fully realizing that they run the risk of being branded as kooks and superstitious crackpots if they do nothing more than thump The Book of Genesis down on the debate table, the Religious Right and others who desperately want there to be something more than a great big empty out there have carefully crafted an argument which they hope will seem more reasonable and be more palatable. It is a somewhat clever (insidious?) argument, because it utilizes one of the basic imperatives of the scientific method itself: The imperative to question and to challenge that which is accepted.

The Intelligent Designists, you see, do make a valid point when they say the Theories of Evolution and Big Bang --no matter how widely they are accepted-- should be continually explored, questioned, and challenged with alternatives. The very same scientific method which led to the acceptance of those theories says so. One thing many people tend to overlook most of the time is that the word "theory," within the realm of science, has a weighty definition: It means that while the evidence would seem to support a particular idea, that while all the data seems to fit, nothing has been proven.

Furthermore, Intelligent Designists are also accurate when they accuse evolutionist of having a knee jerk negative reaction to any theory that isn't Darwinism and the Big Bang. Most evolutionists, seeing a lamb in wolf's clothing --theology in the guise of science-- do have that reaction.

Such was the case last Wednesday night when Anderson Cooper was doing a not very good job of referee-ing the barnyard squabble between an evolutionist named Robert Boston (Americans United For Separation of Church and State) and a creat-- uh, intelligent-designist named Charmaine Yoest (Family Research Council). Had it been a debate competition, held in a vacuum, where it didn't matter who was right or wrong but only how well they represented their assigned point of view... she would have royally kicked his [donkey]. Whereas she came across as reasonable and fair-minded, he was the one who seemed dogmatic, exclusionary and nit-picky. During one near-hysterical exchange, he repeatedly interrupted her-- badgering her about the age of the planet. For her part, she chose to ignore the question on the grounds that her personal opinion regarding any one detail was beside the point of the larger argument.

This debate, however, was not and is not being held in a vacuum, and there are, I think, some important points to be, uh, pointed out...

Among many other things, Yoest, regarding what she referred to as the "censorship of anything non-Darwinian," said: "I think our children have more robust intelligence and, and questioning to be able to cope with looking at all the different theories that are out there."

Then she said: "I just have to ask: What is he [Robert Boston] so scared of?"

Later, as the squabble became more heated, she addressed Boston directly with the same question: "What are you so scared of?"

I was surprised by the question, because it was the very same one I've been wanting to ask people like her for a looong time: What are you afraid of?

Because I'll tell you what I'm afraid of. In fact, I'll go you one better, Charmaine: I'll tell you what you're afraid of, too...

Children --especially young children-- often do have a more robust intelligence than they are given credit for. However, they are sorely lacking in skepticism and critical thinking. In some ways that's good: It fuels creativity. In some ways, though, it's bad: It makes them gullible, impressionable. As children grow into adulthood, some of that early intelligence morphs into "common sense" and rote, the growing skepticism warps into a certain jadedness and, apparently, Charmaine, their critical thinking develops some major-league blind spots. You'd be appalled if you really knew how many walking, talking and otherwise clear-headed people there are in this country who are utterly convinced that all rivers flow south.

The Theory of Intelligent Design presupposes the existence of a supreme being. Any such theory is --by definition!-- theology, not science. Theology belongs in theology class, not science class.

The following passage is from the first chapter of The Book of Genesis: "God made the two great lights, the greater one to govern the day, and the lesser one to govern the night..."

Clearly, this passage refers to the sun and the moon. Notice the poetic --dare I say metaphorical-- use of the word "govern." If the god you believe in does exist, Charmaine, then neither the sun nor the moon govern anything at all-- He does. So much for a literal reading of the text.

Moreover, the moon is not a light source; it is a planetary body whose soil is appreciably reflective. It does not glow with light of its own; it reflects the light of the sun. The Book of Genesis is not a scientific text; it is an ancient collection of often rather stilted bedtime stories. In fact, that's all it was ever meant to be. Why, I got a phone call from God just last week, and he told me that he's very disappointed in all you creationists' failure to grasp the concept of allegory. He finds it strange that the very same people who think He invented, well, you know, Everything find it so hard to believe that He invented storytelling. He wonders why Jesus is allowed to use parables to make a point, but He isn't.

He also thinks Howard is a jerk.

And Dick Cheney, too.

So, Charmaine, what am I afraid of?
I'm afraid of superstitious, fairy-tale believers like you, with your heads in the sand and gaping holes in your critical thinking, filling the minds of impressionable young souls --that are already destined to have low test scores-- with bedtime stories masquerading as scientific fact. I'm afraid of you and your kind pushing this country and its people toward the very kind of theocracy we're supposed to be fighting against in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm afraid that you True Believers are the harbingers of a new Dark Age.

And now, Charmaine, do you know what you're afraid of?
Death. It is cold and dark out there and it lasts a long, long time, and you just can't face the very real possibility that when the end comes it will indeed be The End. You are afraid of the astounding insignificance that bespeaks-- that your existence was an accident to begin with and someday all too soon it will be Over, completely, forever, and your life will ultimately mean no more to the universe than the life of an ant in Timbuktu means to you...

Ah, but take heart: For while most evolutionists seldom speak of God and, indeed, very well may not believe in one, the Theories of Evolution and Big Bang do not preclude His existence. They don't even try to do that. What they try to do is explain the physical mechanics of the world and the universe, nothing more. Oh sure, in doing so they reaffirm that The Book of Genesis is a theological text, neither science nor, for that matter, history. But that's not the end of the world.

Heck, it's not even the beginning.

P.S.... Bud "The Serpent" Selig must go.

Apr 5, 2007

Steve Poltz

One of my favorites will be in San Fran next weekend (12 Galaxies on the 9th). Since calling Killre involves a lots of cell phone batteries, which I am short on, I will recommend him here. For the rest of us Chicagoans, he will be here on June 9 (Shuba's). For those not in the loop, here is a little taste of the Poltzer.

Caption Me

Around the web in 60 clicks

I know you are all very, very busy so let me recap some news events for you to save you all the trouble of formulating your own opinions.

  • Lovie Smith the first black coach to lose a Superbowl. Undercovered story after the overcovered first to make it to the Superbowl.

  • G-Dub mocks Democrats for taking Easter vacation days before going to Crawford. Our fearless leader has taken 405 days of vacation before this one. Lying can really take it out of a man.

  • More Fox Poll fun. I am telling you, if you are not watching Fox you are missing the greatest comedy since early Carlin. By the way, they claimed Britney won.

  • Jenna Jameson's newest movie on hold due to botched vaginoplasty. And to think that I thought a whole lifetime might pass me by without typing the words "botched vaginoplasty."

    "She underwent a vaginoplasty at a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, and she is very unhappy," said the source, who added, in perhaps an unfortunate choice of words, "she has decided to hole up and not speak to anybody. The producers are about to pull the plug on the movie," which would be a mainstream production.

  • There is something in my Bush! Republican compares Bush's job approval ratings to gonorrhea. He couldn't get applause so he went with the clap.

  • The Windy City Flyer breaks a record. Devin Hester, known around these parts as the Windy City Flyer will be the first player to receive a 100 rating for speed in a Madden football game. This makes him Madden-faster than Deion Sanders or Randy Moss ever were. So next it will be easy to virtually win the Superbowl.

  • 'Weird Al' is still funny. I can't believe this guy is more up on popular music than I am.

Apr 3, 2007

Ball Four*

* with apologies to Jim Bouton...

Well, I have good news and bad. It concerns a correction from last week, when I erroneously stated that the Washington Nationals were still owned by Major League Baseball. While it's true that Bud "The Cowardly, Lyin'" Selig and his crew did run that franchise (into the ground) for more than four years, they no longer do: The Nationals were sold to a group headed by Ted Lerner last July.

So the good news is that ol' Bud is no longer the officially unofficial but no less ultimate runner of the show for any National League franchise-- unless, of course, you count the Brewers, wink wink. Commissioners, you see, are not supposed to (officially) be owners, wink wink. Conflict of (official) interest, don'tcha know. Of course, that didn't stop Bud from maintaining (official) ownership of the Brewers during his entire six-year tenure as the Acting (unofficial?) Commissioner of Baseball... but I guess we're not supposed to officially count that, either. In that same spirit, I propose that we don't officially count Ben Sheets' two-hit, complete-game victory over the Dodgers on Opening Day. Sound fair?

Anyway, the good news is that MLB no longer owns the Nationals. The bad news is that that's the only good news I've heard concerning the Commissioner in quite some time...

Speaking of the Dodgers...
Charlie Steiner, a former ESPN anchor and current play-by-play voice of the Dodgers, has a two-hour radio show called The Baseball Beat on XM. It airs every weekday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Since following the Dodgers all over the country makes Steiner's schedule pretty hectic, he is often and ably filled-in-for by a consummate Professional Broadcaster named Chuck Wilson.

The format is simple: Steiner or Wilson converse with, on a rotating basis, all the various beat writers (from all the various newspapers) who travel with and cover all the various teams, everyday. With Professional Broadcasters interviewing Professional Writers, the show is blessedly bereft of jocks, ex-jocks-turned-broadcasters and ex-jocks-turned-coaches/managers, which means that everyone on the show --you're not going to believe this-- everyone on the show is actually able to put their thoughts into words. In complete sentences, no less!

Until they go to commercial, of course. Fortunately, though, there aren't many commercials: Since the program displays a few too many glimmers of intelligence for the average quarter hour, listenership is low.

But anyway...
Last week, I heard Chuck Wilson interviewing Paul Hagan of the Philadelphia Daily News. Hagan told an amusing little anecdote from Phillies camp, and it involves a former member of the [Censored], [Unutterable], [Blasphemous] [Stool-samples]...

William Savage is a strapping, six-foot-five, two hundred ten pound right-hander who grew up in southern California and attended the University of Oklahoma on a Baseball scholarship. Drafted by Philadelphia, he spent most of last summer in the South Atlantic League-- low A-ball. When he was invited to Phillies camp this spring, he knew he didn't have much of a shot at making the major league roster. That didn't stop him, however, from setting a goal for himself: To go the entire Grapefruit League season without walking a batter.

When Savage showed up at camp, he readily told anybody who would listen --and, no doubt, more than a few who wouldn't-- about his rather modest yet worthy goal. At least one veteran right-hander was paying attention...

You might remember Jon Lieber; it hasn't been all that long. Lieber won 20 games for the C.U.B.S. back in 2001, but elbow problems cut short his season the following year. I don't know whether Tribune Ink said, "Good luck and thanks for playing," or simply sent him a form letter, but they certainly wasted no time at all in giving the man who had so recently been their ace the ol' heave-ho.

Lieber underwent ligament replacement surgery, and the subsequent rehab kept him on the shelf for more than a year. He pitched for the Yankees in 2004. Since then, he seems to have found a home with the Phillies. In the three seasons since his comeback, he has thrown 563 innings and, despite a 4.46 ERA, has a won-lost record of 40-32. If those numbers don't exactly strike you as stellar, consider this: In those same three years, Kerry Wood has thrown just 226 innings, and has a record of 12-15 (ERA 3.90). Oh, and here's another stat: Whereas Kerry Wood has --ahem!-- "earned" an average of over nine million dollars per season for the last three years, Jon Lieber has averaged about five million.

But anyway...
William Savage's goal of not walking anybody was going alright until, one day, he found himself in a 3-and-2 count. He got the ball back from his catcher, palmed it, shoved his glove under his armpit and began rubbing the baseball while he took a walk around the mound, collecting his thoughts. He may or may not have noticed his teammate Jon Lieber, watching the game from the cab of his big-[donkey] truck, which was parked just beyond the low Tru-link fence that surrounded the field.

Savage put his glove back on and popped the ball into the pocket. He climbed atop the mound, took a deep breath, got the sign from his catcher, went into his wind-up: The arms swung high, the back arched, the right foot slipped into the slot, the pivot, and then that complicated, sequential explosion of muscles needed to propel a five-ounce, leather-covered spheroid with more speed and action than the laws of physics say is possible...

At just that instant, Jon Lieber sounded what we can only surmise is a really loud-[donkey] horn.

Savage's pitch sailed all the way to the backstop.

How long to you suppose it will be before ESPN's Chris Berman refers to that new Boston pitcher as "'Andrew' Daisuke Matsuzaka"?

Bud "No Balls" Selig must go.

Apr 2, 2007

SOLD, American - who wants the Cub$?

Cub$ sold, (pause) and now back on the market!

Tribune, after months of pleading for someone with a checkbook to be bought out, settled on real estate mogul Sam Zell.

Because he owns stake in the White Sox, he will have to sell the Cub$, after the 2007 season - which began today, with a loss. Someone ought to keep track of that...

Some so-called 'analysts' have estimated that the Cubs could fetch $600 million or more. Perhaps even more if you were able to factor in a winning team if they were to consistently get into the playoffs.

Remember, the Tribune bought the team in 1981 for $20.5 million. However, this was 1981 dollars, and you couldn't even buy a couple hockey teams and a new stadium for that paltry sum.

Its strength as a sports franchise — and the lure of potentially steering them to their first championship in a century — has attracted the interest of many potential buyers. Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, actor Bill Murray and columnist George Will are among those rumored to have interest, along with numerous Chicago business figures. Uh, yeah, and I'll keep holding my breath. Turning blue...

Bottom line? This is an interesting development, if anything it prolongs the agony of having Tribune employees continue to oversee the team for a year - and yet another distraction, or an excuse for when they come in 4th place after spending $325 million dollars.

Well, not their money anyway - the poor sucker who buys the team's money.

Clever like a Fox

I have recently developed a new habit. It is a bad habit. I cannot stop watching Fox News or reading foxnews.com. I tried to stop. I can't.

When the world comes tumbling down on Fox's beloved politicians (read:Republicans) they resort to some truly hysterical tactics. For example, are you aware that 68% of all Americans are "defeatists?" Or that the "left-wing of the Democrat Party" [note: no 'ic' at the end of Democrat] is now telling generals how to do their job?

The newest results from the Fox poll are out. You can read them here. There are some great questions that we all need to start asking ourselves. For example, question #39 really makes one stop and think. It reads, "Who do you trust more to decide when troops should leave Iraq -- U.S. military commanders or Members of Congress?" Good fucking question. I suppose I would not much care which as long as it is not G-Dub. Unfortunately, that was not an option in the multiple choice.

Question #38: "Do you think a Congressional investigation into the dismissal of the eight federal prosecutors is good use of taxpayer money?" Again, good question. I am not sure. I do know that it was very poor use of our judicial system. Especially when they are being replaced with Gonzo and Rove's friends according to the Washington Post.
No other administration in contemporary times has had such a clear pattern of filling chief prosecutors' jobs with its own staff members, said experts on U.S. attorney's offices. Those experts said the emphasis in appointments traditionally has been on local roots and deference to home-state senators, whose support has been crucial to win confirmation of the nominees.
Question #36: A long one. Read it yourself but I do like the choices. "1. Yes, allow a grassroots organization to run the party. 2. No, don't allow a grassroots organization to run the party. 3. Don't know." I want my party run by Dobbs damn it, not MoveOn.org. Those crazy lefties think that a war started under false pretenses somehow is more important than lying about a hummer. Not a Hummer, a hummer. Capital H Hummers you can lie about if they can find out who was in the meeting.

Anyway, just in case you wanted to join the fun in FoxLand.

Cub Killre Update

Yes, it gets it's own post. Follow this link. Did you read that? And I was on it early.
Tribune Co. said Monday it plans to sell the Chicago Cubs at the end of the 2007 baseball season, putting one of its most valuable assets on the block as it simultaneously announced that real estate magnate Sam Zell was acquiring the media conglomerate.
Cubs could go for over $600 million according to the AP. And of course even after all is said and done, the Trib still keeps yappin'.
"The Cubs have been an important part of Tribune for more than 25 years and are one of the most storied franchises in all of sports," said Dennis FitzSimons, Tribune chairman, president and chief executive officer. "In our last season of ownership, the team has one mission, and that is to win for our great fans."
The Trib has made my beloved Cubbies storied all right. And it seems appropriate to me that they should be sold after the 100 years of nothingness.