Monday, April 30, 2007

Lesson from a Road Trip

I'm sure Jesus will be thrilled when he cruises by this billboard

Anyone who has had the pleasure of driving through the Midwest has stories about some of the unique billboards and signs that line the side of the road. I had to drive to Kansas City on Saturday to pick up a rescue dog that we decided to take in. I saw a billboard near Mount City, Missouri on 1-29 like the one above, and it got me thinking about the purpose of such a sign.

The people who created this billboard obviously think that Jesus will be driving on I-29 to Kansas City and that he somehow needs reassurance regarding the people of Mound City's level of trust in him. The sign shows that they are emphatic in their trust in Jesus.

But let's think about this. If Jesus were around, that would present certain theological challenges that I won't get into (2nd coming? Isn't that supposed to be like the apocalypse?), but assuming that Jesus IS around, putting a billboard on the side of the road on I-29 is a huge waste of money.

First of all, Jesus probably flies everywhere. If you think the son of God is going to take a trip in his '70 Baracuda, think again. President Bush doesn't drive anywhere, and despite the fact that they are friends since George stopped snorting coke for breakfast in 1992, I think Jesus probably has the hook up on the private jet.

Jesus also probably doesn't need reassurance. The fact that he's the figurehead of one of the most popular religions in the US next to Mormonism and Scientology probably means he knows he's the bomb. His father is all-knowing, so if Jesus was lacking in confidence about the level of trust hillbillies from Missiouri had in him, he could just ring up dear old dad on the red telephone and get an update.

Then there's the ever-popular anti-abortion billboard that anyone who lives in the Midwest has seen anytime they drive anywhere. The entire idea of the anti-abortion billboard is that people assume that when you drive by you'll either be on your way to have an abortion or that you'll be performing an abortion as you drive by, and that by reading the billboard, you'll have an epiphany and realize that you forgot you had a baby inside of you.

But the baby inside of you is the whole reason you're getting the abortion. The problem isn't that you're forgetting someone. It's the knowledge of that person that leads to the desire to get an abortion. If you didn't know you had a baby in there, you probably wouldn't be seeking an abortion.

The anti-abortion movement has put a lot of effort into trying to humanize the fetus by making it seem as though people who have abortions don't realize that they're keeping themselves from having a baby. This is stupid mostly because if casual sex with your uncle didn't result in a baby from time to time, abortion wouldn't really be an issue, would it?

Needless to say, both groups need to work on their delivery a little bit, because the message really isn't getting across the way they intended.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Behold, the mighty Weng Weng:

So, Ryan keeps posting well-thought out opinions about recent news stories, and here I am, showing up with a rap video about the star of two horribly-dubbed, zero-budget 70's Filipino midget spy movies. I'm starting to feel like the comic relief around here:

Yes, his name was Weng Weng. And he was 2'9'', balding, and killed enough bad guys to make Chuck Norris blush. 'For Your Height Only' might be the greatest unintentional comedy of all time. The sequel, 'The Impossible Kid', is almost as good. The scenes in that rap video are from both movies and they are just as bad as they look. And by 'bad,' I mean 'incredibly fucking awesome.'

I just wish I'd have found these movies back when the Midge and I were in college. 'The Human Tornado' and 'For Your Height Only?' The Shelfo's would've been proud.

You can buy the movies here, and here. And you should buy them. They both got a 'thumbs up':

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fallacies about firearms

The aftermath of the violence at Virginia Tech has elicited a variety of reactions from individuals on both sides of the debate about the right to carry firearms. Most of the debate has been pretty lame. Both sides of the debate are people who are using a tragedy to justify their particular position on the issue of gun control, which is pretty sick and opportunistic when you think about it.

On one side, you have those in favor of gun control saying that the tragedy could have been prevented, if only for better gun control laws, which is completely ridiculous. Just as illogical are those who say that if the students at Virginia Tech had been armed with weapons, the whole mess could have been avoided like our friends over at Plains Feeder.

The idea that gun control laws are effective is emperically denied by the number of illegal guns that are estimated to exist in the US. You can ban all the guns you want, and that will just create a larger black market for guns. Since most attempts at gun control focus only on the currently legal methods of obtaining guns, like waiting periods and making certain models illegal, more laws will not make us safer. This was emperically shown to be the case in England. After passing one of the most restrictive handgun laws in the world, violent crimes committed with firearms doubled.

Similarly, the idea that more people with weapons is actually safer is also emperically denied by statistics. The Centers for Disease control reports that despite the fact that we have largest number of legal weapons, we also have the largest number of children who are killed by guns each year (5,285) in the world by an order of magnitude over the next highest country (Canada had 150).

If the students at Virginia Tech had been armed, they may have been able to stop the attacker before he killed as many people. But, they might not have. Police carry guns and this does not mean that they are never shot and killed or that they always get the bad guy. And police are extensively trained in how to use firearms. A bunch of 19 year-old college students with guns is a whole different situation. Having a gun is not a guarantee that you can stop a crazy person from storming your classroom and killing a bunch of people. It's not a cloak of invincibility, which you have to believe if you think that having a gun would have saved those people.

The potential benefit of stopping this guy from killing in a very rare and unlikely incident is far outweighed by the increase that would be seen in accidental gun deaths in people's homes. It would take 160 incidents like Virignia Tech each year to offset the number of children who are killed by guns each year in the US, assuming the number of weapons didn't increase when we told people they would be safer with a concealed weapon.

Both sides of this debate can accuse the other of cashing in on the fear and confusion that resulted from Virginia Tech. This does make both sides very hypocritical. I'm am not an advocate for gun control because banning things has been emperically shown to be shitty policy, but saying that something like Virginia Tech could have been prevented with a firearm is manipulative, and probably not very accurate when you look at the overall impact firearms can have on people's lives.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

This planet's fucked! Let's go to another one.

Jokey headline aside, this is great news:

Earth-like planet found

Which reminds me, I wonder how Bush's plan to send humans to Mars is coming. I bet we'll get an update now that space exploration is back in the news...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Omaha Cop Gets 5 Years Probation for Rape

Officer BJ Hooker
I enjoy discussions about justice and morality, so let's try this one on for size: Former Omaha Police Officer Scott Antoniak, pictured above, was convicted in January of raping a prostitute in his police cruiser last year. Antoniak basically told her to put his service revolver in her mouth, point out crack houses to him or go to jail. When the prostitute initially refused, Antoniak started driving her to jail, so she changed her mind and gave him complementary roadside assistance.

The best part is that he was caught because she saved some of his man goo by spitting it onto her driver's licence. A subsequent investigation yielded a DNA match, and Antoniak was fired from the Omaha Police. The shocker came today when Antoniak was sentences to a mere 5 years probation, when he could have potentially faced up to 50 years in jail for his crime. He won't serve a single day in jail.

I think it's safe to say that if the victim had been say, a white girl from Elkhorn (an affluent area of whities in Omaha), he would have received the death penalty, but because we're talking about a black hooker in this case, he got the weakest sentence ever for rape.

People have argued that because oral sex is in the job description of a prostitute, this really shouldn't even be a crime, which is funny. Does that mean if I'm an accountant (which I thank God every single day that I'm not, by the way), that if the cops show up and want me to do their taxes for free or go to jail, I should do it? And does that make it acceptable for the cops to do that sort of thing? Absolutely not.

For some reason, our society places a lot less value on hookers than they should. In Seattle, when ladies of the night started turning up dead by the dozens in the 1980s, there was no real sense of urgency or outrage from the community. Eventually, Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer, strangled 49 prostitutes, and those are just the ones he admitted to avoid the death penalty.

Others have said that Antoniak paid his dues already since he lost his job, and given the circumstances surrounding his firing, he's unlikely to work in law enforcement outside of Kobe Bryant's personal security detail. My personal feeling is that if you rape someone, some jail time should be mandatory. At least long enough for you to experience what your victim did, at the hands of a large man named Larry, who doesn't offer choices between oral, anal, or all of the above.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Destined to repeat it

In the wake of a tragic event like the Virginia Tech massacre, it's easy to lose perspective on things. The news channels have been flooded with every detail of the gunman, his writings, his background, his favorite cereal, etc. While all of this is very interesting, the only purpose I could see to this sort of orgasm of information is if we actually were able to use it to prevent such a thing from happening again. The problem is that we won't.

Much of the same speculation about tougher gun laws, more controls on violent video games, better emergency response plans, was mentioned after the Columbine Massacre nearly 8 years ago. Schools have updated policies, stricter penalties for students who break the rules, and yet none of these things can prevent the sort of horrific attack that was brought against Virginia Tech students.

You can blame the university, you can blame the guy that sold the kid the gun, you can blame all the people who saw warning signs of behavior in the perpetrator. The bottom line is that if someone crazy wants to shoot and kill a whole lot of people, none of this analysis, preparation, rule-making, etc. will actually prevent an attack. The sick individuals who plan this sort of thing know what the regulations are and find ways around them. You could ban guns tomorrow, lock down the university every time someone sneezes, and install metal detectors in every school in the United States. We won't be any safer.

Meanwhile in Iraq, violence has claimed the lives of hundreds of Iraqi citizens and US soldiers. As the deathtoll rises, we've become desensitized to the fact that a GOOD day in Iraq is 33 people dead. Today, a series of bombs went off that killed 156 people at last count. And yet, no one in the media is talking about how our government's penchant for violence and war may have a huge impact on citizens here. If Dr. Phil thinks that violent video games lead to violence, he should check out the REAL death and suffering that we continue to catalyze in Iraq, and that is part of our regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, April 16, 2007

New Xbox 360 game podcast is up

If you liked the last podcast that I was on, I think you'll like this one even more. The original three from the podcasts are all there, as well as myself. You can download it here.

If no one who visits this site really cares about these, I can quit posting about them. It's just something I do in my spare time that I think some gamers might appreciate, but if no one here is into gaming at all, that's cool. Just let me know in the comments section and I'll stop wasting everyone's time. :)

Also, I'm too lazy to post a full review of the movie 'Hot Fuzz', opening on Friday, 4/20, so I'll just say that if you liked 'Shaun of the Dead,' you'll like this too. I don't think it's quite as good, but it's still a lot of fun.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

500 impressions in 2 minutes

Okay, gotta try to bring some laughter back to this blog:

Props to my man Deva for sending me the link. It's a keeper.

Also, I saw 'Hot Fuzz' a couple of days ago, and will try to post a quick review sometime in the next day or two.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Abby 2005 - 2007

If things keep happening like this, people are going to think this is a pet eulogy blog or something. I am completely devastated right now, since this morning I lost a member of my family, my not-quite 2 year-old Boxer, Abby.

On Sunday, the wife and I noticed that Abby was lethargic and then starting vomiting, which is not all that uncommon for this dog. You see, a good part of Abby's diet consisted of non-food items like rocks, tree branches, dog poop (her personal favorite), and anything else she could eat. When the symptoms persisted and she stopped eating, we took her to our vet. Lots of X-rays revealed that she had something stuck in her esophagus, which is the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach. Our vet said we needed to see a special vet to look with a camera to see if whatever was stuck could be retrieved.

This morning, my wife took her to the special vet. I didn't know at the time that this would be the last time I would see her alive. I just figured "She's going to get something removed from her esophagus, and she'll be as good as new." When the vet started the exam of her esophagus, he found a massive infection and a piece of compressed rawhide treat that had lodged in her esophagus, cutting off the blood flow to that area. When you're a certified poop eating Boxer and tissue in your throat dies, the resulting infection is quick and, in this case, fatal.

She died on the operating table as they tried to fix her up.

The vet was a fantastic guy, and given the fact that he didn't know us before this morning, was very upset about the outcome. He cleaned her up so that we could say our goodbyes, which is one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. I can't imagine having kids at this point, because if there is a feeling worse than how I feel right now, I'm certain it would kill me.

There's a subgroup of you reading this right now who probably think I'm being dramatic and that to have this degree of grief over a dog is silly, but you can kiss my ass on both cheeks. Abby was a member of my family, and the wife and I loved her like she was our child. There are thousands of people who take their dogs for granted and treat them like shit, but we spoiled Abby and gave her a great life.

Thanks for the memories, Abby. You were a fantastic friend, even though you were the naughtiest dog I have ever met in my life. I wish you would greet me when I walk in the door or stick your cold nose in my face to wake me up in the morning, but it's slowly dawning on me that I won't have that anymore. So, while the rest of the world worries about Don Imus and who the father of Anna Nicole's baby is, I have a huge hole in my life, where a very naughty and very wonderful dog used to be. We'll miss you.

Don Imus is racist? NO WAY!

Don Imus CAN'T be racist. No way. Just look at him...

I just don't believe it. I mean, look at the facts. He was born in the 40's, and loves to wear cowboy hats. No WAY is he a racist!

Sarcasm aside, initially, I wasn't even gonna comment on what he said about the Rutgers women's basketball team. But then during his 'apology' while talking to Al Sharpton yesterday, he said, 'I can't get anywhere with you people.'

'You people.' There it is right there, in plain ignorant English. Michael Richards's handling of his own meltdown might not have been ideal, but at least he didn't drop another bomb DURING his apology. Granted, his meltdown was a lot worse (this should go without saying, but the audio here is NOT SAFE FOR WORK):

Apology? Imus might as well have said, 'I just want to tell all you darkies that my wallet is REAL sorry for what I done.'

His radio show is going to be suspended for two weeks, but I really hope it's in lieu of being fired. If you're apologizing for a fuck-up, and you fuck up the apology, you're a true moron who should never be allowed near a microphone again.

Oh, and to those white folk who were born in the 40's, who love to wear cowboy hats, and aren't racist, I apologize to all five of you. But you know, I just can't get anywhere with you people...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Calling all 12-year-old boys and tapeworm sufferers

Okay, so observe Exhibit 1: Lindsay Lohan on GQ's cover a few years ago. Go ahead, take it in. Study it. You know you want to. Now, let's observe Exhibit 2:

This is a picture of the self-same Lindsay Lohan, taken in the last year. Now, take a second and compare the two pictures. Having done so, allow me to pose this question: why would anyone who looks like the person in Exhibit 1 ever want to look like the person in Exhibit 2? And, realize, it takes ACTUAL AFFIRMATIVE EFFORT to make the transition from Person 1 to Person 2. No one would ever accuse Person 1 of being overweight. Check out the abs on Lindsay 1. We can safely say that Lindsay 1 would fit anyone's definition of a thin, fit person. So we can also safely say that the only way to eliminate the roughly 20 pounds that separates Lindsay 1 from Lindsay 2 is through a diet consisting mostly of smoking cigarettes and licking stamps.
Now, no one is going to accuse CowboyLaw of being dangerously thin. And this probably affects my perception of other people. But I am certainly not the first person to say that women in this country are starting to get a little too skeletal for my tastes. I am, however, the first person who's going to definitively explain why this is. And the answer is simple: the reason we have so many women who look like 12-year-old boys or tapeworm sufferers is that gay men have been running women's fashion for too long.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of gay guys. They're nice, friendly, polite, and throw absolutely bitchin' parties. I'm pro-gay marriage , pro-gay equal rights, and pro-gay adoption. The only way I could be more pro-gay is if I started dating a guy. But this simple truth needs to be recognized (if you'll forgive a sweeping generalization that I believe is 95% accurare): gay men have no use for breasts and hips. They do not consider them asthetically pleasing. And so the gay guys who run women's fashion do not design runway clothes that fit or look good on women who have breasts or hips. And, due to some crazy logic I've never understood, popular culture is actually influenced by runway fashion.
I propose the following solution: gay men will be slowly phased-out of women's clothing design, and replaced by normal men and women who have normal perceptions and ideas regarding what women should actually look like. This is a national emergency, people: smokin' hot women are in short supply as it is, and if prompt action is not taken, they may disappear entirely, like what happened to rational Republicans in the last 7 years. The time for action is NOW!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Air Travel is Double Plus Safe!

Every once in awhile, I come across a news story that makes me vomit in rage. This is one of those stories.

Here's the skinny. There's a government agency, now a branch of Homeland Security, called the Red Team. BTW, totally cool name. A friend of mine works for the San Diego County Attorney's Office, and reports to work every day at the Hall of Justice. Same sort of thing. Anyway, Red Team was originally formed after Pan Am flight 103 went down over Lockerbie, Scotland. Red Team's mission is to test aviation security by trying to sneak fake explosive devices onto airplanes.

Now, in an interesting move, the Red Team was put on hold after 9/11, but has since resumed testing airports. Which is exactly what anyone who wants safe air travel wants. Apparently, in recent tests, the TSA workers at Denver Airport (who are some of the biggest assholes I've ever encountered) failed to detect 90% of the fake bombs the Red Team attempted to (or, more accurately, were successful in their attempt to) sneak onto airplanes.

How do we know this? Probably because the government publishes this information because the government is willing to be held accountable to the voters and taxpayers, right? Sorry, I just couldn't help myself. Of course not. We know this because some TSA screener thought the 90% failure rate was so horrific, he/she leaked the information to the Denver news. See, according to the TSA, information on the performance of its employees is classified information. The TSA's Denver spokesman, when asked about the leak, said of the anonymous leaker: "They're out of line, it's not acceptable and it's not appropriate." Gee, I thought the same thing of your failure rate! But, let's be sure we keep our eye on the ball here: what's unacceptable is that someone leaked the test results, not that Denver TSA would apparently let Natasha and Borris and their bowling-ball bomb walk through security and get on my plane.

If all this talk of 90% failure rates is making you feel uncomfortable, rest assured that the TSA conducts its own tests, which are quite different from the Red Team's tests. TSA's spokesperson said that Denver's screeners have "done well in the past" with respect to the TSA's test. I can envision the TSA's test now: they hire a Mexican guy (because there are few Arabs in Denver and to TSA screeners, all brown people look alike), strap 2 bandaleros across his chest, Poncho Villa-style, have him carry 2 rocket launchers, and give him an ID that says his name is Percival Wiffelgate III. When confronted with that individual, Denver's TSA screeners apparently get a vague impression that something is wrong, most of the time at any rate.

I don't want to end this post on a down note, so I'll share the following comment from the former leader of the Red Team: "The last thing TSA wants to do is look bad in front of Congress and in front of the public, so rather than fix the problem, they'd rather just keep them quiet."

Whoops! That sounds worse than I thought it would. Let's try again: "There's very little substance to security. It literally is all window dressing that we're doing. It's big theater on TV and when you go to the airport. It's just security theater."

Holy crap! That sounds worse than the first one! Okay, third time's the charm: "The terrorists can pretty much do what they want when they want to do it."

Wow, that was, like, even worse yet. I guess I'll just try to end with a little recap:

People can smuggle bombs and other forbidden devices onto airplanes at will. You are not supposed to know any of this, which is why the TSA keeps test results top secret. The bad people in this story are not the incompetent, fascist screeners at TSA Denver who couldn't find bombs on passengers, but rather the person who leaked the test results to the public. The nation's foremost expert on security testing says that, in the language of the SAT: America is to future terrorist attacks as a drunk girl at prom is to the guy who slipped her a roofie.

Rest safely citizens, knowing that the government is acting in your best interests and keeping you safe!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Video Game Podcast

Hey everyone. I'm now contributing to the podcasts for, which is an Xbox 360 gaming website that combines all the news and articles from other blogs into one place, so if that's your thing, feel free to check it out.

I'd been listening to the podcasts on the site for about six months now, and I really liked the format. It's basically three gamers shooting the shit for an hour or so about Xbox 360 games, industry news, etc. I talked with one of them on e-mail for a while, and he decided to get me involved, for a bit of an 'insider' perspective. I think it went pretty well, minor sound issues notwithstanding:

Podcast #14

Hopefully my sound issues will be worked out in time for the next one. There's a piece of software that I'm going to download that will allow me to record my own voice during the podcast, so it'll sound cleaner, and I can send that directly to Jeff Haug, who will edit it in so it doesn't sound like I'm on a phone.

If you like the podcast, you can also subscribe to the iTunes feed (there's a link on the page), so that way even the iPod-obsessed like CowboyLaw won't have any excuses for missing it. Well, other than his not being a gamer. :)