Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lite Brite Terrorism

I recently became a fan of the Adult Swim show 'Aqua Teen Hunger Force.' I'd seen a few episodes here and there, and liked it, but not until after I bought the first four seasons on DVD did I truly appreciate the show's random yet subversive style. If you haven't gotten on-board with them, here's a good place to start:

So, the Mooninites are pretty much the breakout stars of the show. At least, that's what those who are marketing the upcoming feature film think. And it was a good idea to market the film around them, except for some fuckfaces in Boston who had to ruin it for all of us.

Blinking lights. I don't know if Boston is full of idiots or epileptics. So should we ban blinking lights now? The Massachusetts Attorney General was quoted tonight as saying, "It had a very sinister appearance. It had a battery behind it, and wires." Well, jumpin' Jesus on a pogo stick. Maybe we should ban batteries too. Would that mean the terrorists won? I guess they aren't the only ones who hate our freedoms.

In typical marketing fashion, those behind the campaign buckled like a belt and apologized. And yet, according to the mayor of Boston, the apology isn't enough. He's thinking of sueing Turner Broadcasting for the 'hundreds of thousands of dollars' the city lost in chasing a bomb scare. "I just think this is outrageous, what they've done ... It's all about corporate greed." Until he takes down every billboard in Boston, that statement is completely hypocritical. Besides, Turner Broadcasting didn't call in the bomb threat, one of his fuckwad constituents did. Sue that person, and good luck getting six figures out of him or her. Come to think of it, how much does a bomb squad worker make in a shift anyway?

I'm guessing that this story will disappear in a couple of days, then reappear as a sidebar once the movie hits theaters. Well, I think it's more important than that. This country is full of complete fucking idiots, and for once, I'm not specifically talking about the 27% who still approve of the job our President is doing. We owe it to ourselves as a nation to band together, reach across party lines, and immortalize this moment, if only to remind ourselves just how stupid some people are. So, I made this:

Print and post this wherever you're surrounded by people who are incapable of forming an intelligent thought (work, bars, airports, stadiums, churches, jury deliberation rooms, monster-truck rallies, the White House, et. al.).

Never forget.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Gifts from Wonder Showzen

If you don't watch Wonder Showzen, you really should. Why you ask? The defense enters into evidence Exhibits A and B. These kids are rad.

Where do babies come from?

A hero comes in many sizes....

'300' movie (not about bowling)

I'm pretty excited about the upcoming movie '300', based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller. It's being directed by Zach Snyder, who previously made the new 'Dawn of the Dead' (one of the only remakes I've appreciated lately). I read an interview with him in Rocket Magazine recently and he seems to 'get it.' He understands the 'fanboy' mentality, but also wants to make a film that aspires to more than just please fanboys. He also seems pretty happy working with a lot of digital effects. I liked Sin City, but there's still so much that can be done with this green-screen style of filmmaking.

The story (based loosely on the Battle of Thermopylae) is definitely ready for a 21st-century update. Snyder has said on numerous occasions that this isn't going to be 'historically accurate,' but rather, a 'sitting around a campfire version' of the tale, as the graphic novel was.

While digging around the internet, I didn't like the wallpapers I found, so I made my own:

If the film is half as good as that trailer, it's gonna be a classic. Then again, if I had a dollar for every time I've said that...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Paper or Plastic?

While Kid Bling's test was both educational and important, there's really only one thing which needs to be tested. And that's the ability of the average Midget Blog reader to detect which women got their chests from their mom and which ones got them from Dr. Finklestein. Unless you work at a strip club, this test is not safe for work.

And just for the record, I got a 95%. The gauntlet has indeed been cast down.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Gonzales/Bush vs. Constitution/English

Lewis Black once memorably hypothesized that the true cause of strokes is as follows: someone near you says something so monumentally stupid that you can't wrap your brain around it no matter how hard you try. And since you can't understand it, the quote lodges in your brain and festers until your brain ruptures.

I would nominate our Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, as the most recent source of such a brain-destroyingly stupid saying, except that I'm so horrified by what he said that it actually drains most of the humor out of the quote. Testifying before Congress, Gonzales was asked to justify Bush's practice of holding detainees at GitMo. As an aside, let me simply say that I believe history will rank the GitMo prison only slightly behind the Japanese internment camps in the list of Absolutely Horrible Things the U. S. Government Has Done. That being said, Gonzales was asked why these prisoners had been denied their habeas corpus rights---which is to say, the right to petition a federal court judge and challenge the legality of their internment. Gonzales replied that "The Constitution doesn't say every individual in the United Sates or every citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas."

This struck the Congressmen, and indeed should strike anyone who has read the Constitution, as a bit odd. And so, Arlen Specter (whom no one would accuse of being a liberal) asked Gonzales if the Constitution does not, in fact, say "habeas corpus shall not be suspended cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it." Gonzales acknowledged that the Constitution did, in fact, contain exactly those words. But he went on to explain that the Constitution does not say we have the RIGHT TO habeas corpus, it only says the government CAN'T TAKE IT AWAY. And, in Gonzales-logic, there is a difference between being given a right and a prohibition on the government taking the right away.

Now, my immediate reaction to this line of logic was, of course, to laugh out loud. However, the laugh died on my lips when I realized the following things: (1) this person is the Attorney General, the person essentially in charge of enforcing all federal laws; (2) he really believes this; (3) Bush really believes this; (4) this is likely not the only example of the use of this kind of logic in the Bush Administration. As these thoughts rushed through my brain, my mood turned from incredulous humor to absolute dread.

This is the problem when a country is governed by ideological zealots rather than by rational human beings. Logic, truth, and objective reality mean nothing to these people. They are, as Colbert would say, more interested in truthiness than in truth. And for 6 years, they have been governing with no checks or balances on their power. I expected Gonzales to finish his reality-adjusting testimony by saying "We have always been at war with EastAsia. We have never been at war with EuroAsia."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

i phone: Another i ploy for your i money

Ever since Apple introduced the i phone a couple weeks ago, I have been talking to people about their impressions of this device. I'll admit that I was intrigued by the idea of eliminating the need to carry both a music player and a cell phone (particularly since I learned that the Blackjack phone doesn't have a headphone jack), but as the details have creeped out, I've grown more cynical about it, as I am sure you'll be surprised to know.

Why you might ask? Well, it could be that it's going to cost a shitload of money. It might be that Apple has an exclusive deal with Cingular Wireless, the absolute shittiest wireless company in the universe, so if you want i phone, you'll be paying for your cell phone plan ($50), unlimited data plan ($50) and WI-FI ($99), if you want to use your $600 phone to it's fullest potential. Want to replace to battery? Like ipod, Apple is going to anally intrude you for the honor. Nevermind all these reasons to question the iphone is a questionable investment, when Motorola will have a rip-off within 6 months that you can get free with a 2 year wireless plan. Oh yeah, and according to Apple, the iphone won't even run itunes.

The reason I am skeptical is not among those very valid reasons. Rather, the endorsement of the iphone by a particular individual that I know is the sole reason that I think the iphone will be a complete piece of crap. Techno Tim (obviously not his real name) is a friend of a friend, who hangs around at various social functions. Last weekend while watching the NFL playoffs, I got a lesson in what a magical device the iphone will apparently be courtesy of Omaha's leading technological expert.

At this point, the iphone could perform open heart surgery, cure cancer, and bring 4 generations of dead midget relatives back from the dead, and because Techno Tim is among the bandwagon jumpers of this particular device, his lack of credibility makes me even less likely to shell out $900 a month for something that I can currently achieve for a fraction of the cost with two devices.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

If you only take one She-male quiz this year....

Since this blog hasn't been too serious about current events lately, I thought I'd continue that trend. Take this quiz, and let us know how you scored. Me, I got an 8 out of 16. I'm not sure what that means. Maybe I just flipped a coin on all of them, or maybe my taste in she-males is a little suspect.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Don't drink when your team is in the playoffs.

A friend of mine isn't feeling too well today. Rumor has it that he had more than a few to drink yesterday. One of the four NFL teams playing yesterday was one that he's a big fan of, and that may have had something to do with it. Whether he's got the bottle flu, or if he's actually sick, it doesn't matter. But it did get me reminiscing of how I learned not to drink when one of your favorite teams in in the playoffs.

In 1998, the Chicago Cubs made it into a one-game wild card playoff with the Giants, for the right to play the Braves in the NLDS. I went to a sports bar in Greeley with some friends and my roommate (I don't remember the name of the place, but their chicken-fried chicken was to die for). I got destroyed and don't remember much of the game, but a New Belgium rep was there, asking people random trivia and if you got a question right, you got a free Fat Tire hat. My roommate pointed at my drunk ass and said, "Ask him a movie question!" and so he did .... "What color was the swimsuit that Phoebe Cates wore when she got out of the pool in Fast Times?" and even though I hadn't seen the film yet, every straight male raised in the 80's knows the answer:

Bang, free Fat Tire hat. Anyway, this story does have a point. We all went back to our house and drank more, and watched the live celebration footage on WGN. Then my friends left, and I thought my roommate had already went to bed, so I locked up and ceremoniously passed out. Then I woke up the next morning and saw that my roommate's SUV was gone, and I had four messages on my answering machine.


'Goddammit, you locked me out of the house. (knocking sound) HELLOOOO!!! I'm knocking on your bedroom window ... wake up asshole!'



The messages continued to get worse. Turns out that he was about to go to bed, and his fiancee called, and they got into an argument, so he stepped out on the front porch to have some privacy. Our walls were pretty thin, as you can imagine with a college-area house. It was an honest mistake, locking him out. Could've happened regardless of how much booze I'd had. He also could've put on some pants before going outside at night in a t-shirt and boxers in the first week of October in north fucking Colorado, but I'd have woken up easily if I was a little more sober.

So apparently, I finally woke up, wrapped a towel around my boxers (I was embarrased to answer the door in just my boxers?), and opened the door and let him in. Apparently, he called me words most sailors have never heard before. Then he packed a bag and drove that night to talk with his fiancee ... she lived about four hours south of Greeley. Of course, I didn't remember letting him in, so I woke up, heard the voice messages, saw his car was gone, and I just assumed he was driving around somewhere in Greeley, in his boxers, trying to buy a gun somewhere so he could kill me. I finally got ahold of him early that afternoon, and he wasn't mad anymore. He and his fiancee were struggling with the long-distance relationship thing, so he took a few days off and went to be with her. They ended up getting married about a year later and I was a groomsman, but I'm getting off-topic again.

Oh, and let's not start with the time when the Broncos won their second Super Bowl, and I got so drunk off of Fat Tire that I tried to bring a pistol to the 'impromptu street celebration' that was happening a block away, and then drank tequila straight out of a bottle that some random frat boy handed me, then put on a ski mask and was jumping through a fire in the middle of an intersection, then pro-wrestled with a coworker in some stranger's lawn and lost my Bronco hat, then got tear-gassed by jackboot-wearing riot police, then went home, then was drunk enough to try to go back to the riot and got tear-gassed AGAIN.

So, the morale to the story. I've learned that you shouldn't drink if your team is in the playoffs. After the Broncos' second Super Bowl win, I've never had more than three beers, and that includes all the Avalanche playoff runs. I was stone sober when Ray Borque raised the cup, and I'm glad, because it was a great sports moment that I actually remember.

Drinking when your favorite team is in the post season is fun for having stories to tell, but otherwise? Always a bad decision.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Girls Gone Wild? No worries, they're just being girls rocks. Just when I was feeling slightly guilty about all those late night TV ads on Comedy Central for Girls Gone Wild that I heard from some other people and did not personally see, experts are reporting that when girls go wild, it's completely natural. Keep on forgetting to take your meds, wild ladies. We salute you in all your natural glory.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The most addictive Flash game I've played yet

Someone sent me THIS today, and my productivity went down the shitter. I'd put it right up there with the Yeti Sports line, for those of you who remember.

I'm struggling with which approach to take. The laser-beam Shaq free throw technique got a coworker past 3,400 points, and it got me past 2,300, but now I'm doing underhanded shots, and they're a lot more satisfying when you make one (although the time it takes for them to come down eats more off of the clock). I think if you can get good at the underhand shot, it'll be a lot more consistent than the laser-beam style, but I'm not there yet.

/oh snap!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The First Time is the Best

The Angry Midget and I dreamed of it for at least the past two or three years. Sometimes it felt just like my fantasy about being seduced by Heather Locklear...I wanted it so badly, but only a tiny part of me believed it would actually become a reality. This past weekend, though, our idea became flesh and dwelt among us. Well, not really flesh, and I don't know if an event can be said to dwell, exactly. I guess I'm just trying to say that it HAPPENED. "Of what does he speak," you ask? I speak of the long anticipated Pub Crawl in the Benson neighborhood's downtown area. It will go down in history as the 1st Annual Historic Benson Pub Crawl and Winter Retreat. Call me biased, but I think it was a night to remember.

There was a time when I thought others would view our dream as puerile and nekulturny (immature and crass). I sent the invitations wondering if I would ultimately find out the answer to the question; What if you threw a pub crawl and nobody showed up? Quite the opposite occurred, however, because we had about 30 "crawlers" of both sexes in a broad age range. Everyone started with enthusiasm, and several have clamored for a repeat of the event in the near future. So while some people would say that I'm just a borderline adolescent for organizing this, some would say I'm brilliant. Well, at least they would say I'm not a borderline adolescent.

Everyone reading this is dying to know what happened, right? The scope of this blog doesn't really allow for all the glorious details. Highlights, though, included 6 local watering holes (not Mick's, though, because they were going to charge us a $5 cover to come in for one drink); pool; darts; shuffleboard; finding the differences between two pictures of naked people (a brilliant idea for a bar game); PBR on tap; snakes in a bar (soon to be a movie released by Paramount); two obtuse semi-literate Benson townies calling some of us the perjorative term for men who sleep with other men (apparently simplybecause we were strangers in "their" bar); those same townies pulling down their pants in front of some of the guys (I don't know, you tell me...); a round for $free.99 from the owner of Marnie's Place (yes, from Marnie herself); Whiskey Drinkin' Woman by Nazareth on the jukebox at The Musette (o.k., maybe that was only a highlight for me); getting to scream at and talk smack to some Dallas fans as the Seahawks whipped the Cowboys (America's Team, my ass) in a Wildcard playoff game; no fights; no arrests for indecent exposure or being drunk in public.

The seven of us who hung in there to the bitter end got a rare treat. We stood on the fringes of a crowd that had more blue collars and red necks than a convention of Blockbuster clerks in the Sahara and watched in amazement as a couldn't-get-on-pitch-if-she-had-a-ladder, rode-hard-put-away-wet lookin', Harley momma in a tight, black, spaghetti-strapped, motorcycle tank top , led the other bar patrons in a rousing karaoke rendition of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA". You know, that song all the most insular right-wingers get so excited and misty-eyed and patriotic over. They talk about how they'd gladly stand up next to you to defend their USA, but, in this particular case at least, they would apparently really rather sit on their asses in a bar and drink cheap beer and judge anyone who doesn't look, think, and act like they do. There was one guy in there in Army BDU's. He's the only one there who had the right to sing that song, in my opinion. Unless, that is, all those other people just enlisted and were killing time while waiting for the bus to come and take them off to basic training. Putting magnetic ribbons on your car doesn't even come close.

I was just feeling proud of having organized and completed a successful crawl.

Tell me you're not praying you can make it to the next one. Will it ever be as good as the first one, though? I guess if it's your first one.

A recap of last night's Presidental speech

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Scoreboard (and a Solution)

Our boy RedneckLaw might know his way around a courtroom, but his internet debate skills in regards to the NFL are suspect. He's always running misdirection plays by quoting worthless statistics, and ignoring the only stat that truly counts. We can talk about QB ratings, or interceptions versus touchdowns, or rushing yards given up in half a game, but let's be honest: What really matters to any of us?

My apologies to our friend Miles, who is also a Chiefs fan, and grew up a Chiefs fan, but is not a myopic one. Both of our teams have some holes to fill in the off-season, and the trash talking is fun, but let's not lose sight of the most basic of facts.

CowboyLaw, I'm sorry the Broncos disappointed you when you were growing up. I know this feeling well, as my Cubs did the same thing to me on many, MANY occasions. But I can never understand why you pulled a Benedict Arnold, and I can have no sympathy for you picking a team that doesn't have multiple pieces of championship hardware. If you're gonna sell out your team, why not go all the way and become a Cowboys or Steelers fan? Actually, I have a solution to your problem. You live in San Francisco now, so why not just become a 49ers fan? They've got five Super Bowl wins. They had a good second half of the season this year. AND, they spoiled Denver's post-season plans, so that would help fuel your prerequisite Bronco hate.

You switched once, so why not switch again? Why even have an allegiance to any team at all? They're all going to break your heart at one point or another.

The Difference Between A Blizzard and A Hurricane

In the last few weeks, I have received numerous copies of an email that is circulating the way annoying emails tend to circulate. If you haven't had the pleasure, I am an envious, and I won't glorify the author's self-aggrandizing ideas by reprinting them here. I do, however, want to take the opportunity to disassemble some of the complete garbage logic contained within it. The point of the email is simply that the recent blizzards in Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska were as devastating as Hurricane Katrina, and unlike New Orleans, citizens of Colorado were somehow better people than those in New Orleans, because they didn't blame President Bush or FEMA or white people.

The whole idea that a blizzard, no matter how severe, is somehow on the same level as a hurricane in which thousands of people died in three states, is laughable only if it weren't so disgusting. The author of this email obviously lacks perspective in addition to intelligence, as he or she contends that much of the problems in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina were somehow related to the lack of work ethic of the people whose entire lives were destroyed in a matter of hours.

Don't get me wrong. Denver got a fuck ton of snow (which is a lot, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the unit of measure known as the fuck ton). A lot of people in Colorado and Nebraska were without power. Thus far, fortunately, people haven't been killed as a result of these storms, thousands of homes were not wiped off the face of the earth or completely uninhabitable. Thousands of livestock have died, but I would be a hypocrite if I felt bad when cows and pigs die, since I enjoy eating them nearly every day.

The saddest part, in my opinion, is that people still have this perception that the people of New Orleans, particularly the poor black people who couldn't leave the city, are somehow at fault for their situation in the months following the complete devastation of their city. Some Americans obviously lack empathy and the ability to see the difference between a really terrible snow storm, and perhaps the most significant weather disaster in recent US history.

The ironic part is the while the author of the email's premise is that people in New Orleans had a sense of entitlement following that disaster, I'm not sure how that's clearly different than the sense that somehow having the resources at your disposal to deal with a natural disaster makes you a better person. It's as if the people from New Orleans had all the resources they needed, they were just too lazy or dumb to access them. It's such a disgusting sentiment, and yet based on the number of times I have received this email, it's obviously prevalent enough that some people have felt compelled to forward it to me.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Florida Beats Down OSU and Chiefs Potpourri

Florida's trouncing of Ohio State in the BCS Championship last night really brings up some interesting issues. First of all, for the second year in a row, sportswriters were so busy giving Troy Smith the reacharound that they forgot that they still had to play one more game. Just like with USC last year, sports reporters were falling all over themselves to crown the Buckeyes national champs without even having to play to the game, and they ended up being completely wrong. I think more sports writers picked Boise State to beat Oklahoma before that game last week than gave the Gators a chance to beat OSU. With the way Michigan got embarrassed by USC, combined with last night's game and the Big 10 Conference's losing bowl record this year, I think it's safe to say that the Big 10 is completely overrated.

Also, in the comments of Lord Bling's previous post, CowboyLaw wanted to know what other team, besides the Chiefs last weekend, intercepted Peyton Manning twice AND held them to 9 points or less in a half. As it turns out, this occurred in 25% of the Colts regular season games (4 for those of you who cheer for the Chiefs). It all started with Jacksonville on September 24th. The Jags held the Colts to 7 points in the first half of that game. On October 8th, Tennesee held the Colts scoreless in the first half and intercepted him.

The Broncos held Manning and company to 6 points in the first half of their October 29th game, a game in which undrafted Rookie RB Mike Bell had 6 times as many rushing yards as Larry Johnson did against the Colts D. The Dallas Cowboys held the Colts to 7 points in the first half of their November 19th game, intercepted Manning twice, plus, unlike the Chiefs, they actually won the game. As did Tennessee on 12/3, when they intercepted Manning twice, held them the 14 points and actually won.

As you can see, intercepting Peyton Manning and/or holding the team to less than 10 points in a half was not an uncommon occurrance. By comparison, the number of games where this occurred was more frequent than the number of games where Trent Green had more touchdowns than interceptions (once, against the intimidating Cleveland Browns Defense), as well as the number of opponants the Cheifs beat who would eventually be in the playoffs (again 1, San Diego).

Then again, if Damon Huard were the future of my football team, I suppose I might savor a pathetic playoff loss as well. But, that's what fans of teams that don't win Super Bowls but every 40-50 years do, I guess.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A brief check of the scoreboard...

After the 2006 season, the scoreboard still reads: Broncos 2, Chiefs 1.

Right now, it looks like Denver will also have a better draft pick this April, although they'll have one extra slot to fill.

BTW, was I the only one that saw this at the end of the Seattle/Dallas game? Either that Seahawks fan is clarivoyant, or he had a Sharpie with him:

The sign on the right says 'Where's Vanderjagt?' Almost as funny.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Some Broncos Do Win Big Games

As I noted in an earlier post, there's nothing a real athelete hates more than not being in control of his or her own destiny. The best recent example of this is the royal screwjob that was bestowed on Boise State. People who have been paying attention to the college football bowl system (and I must admit that, in a regular year, I don't give 2 craps about college footbal bowls) will recall that, after the fiascos in 2003 (split national championship) and 2004 (Auburn goes undefeated but still isn't given a shot at the title), the NCAA tweaked the bowl system. The purported purpose of these tweaks was to ensure that the two best teams in the nation always played for the title. Never again (they said) would we have a split championship. Never again (they said) would a team finish the season undefeated and yet be eliminated from any meaningful bowl game.

And then you have this year. Only two teams finished in the Top 10 in the BCS rankings (and anyone who pretends to truly understand the ranking system and who does not have a Ph.D. in math is lying): Ohio and BSU. And guess what, boys and girls? Ohio gets to play for the national championship against a team who DID lose a game (to Auburn, whom any decent college football team can beat), and BSU gets banished to the Corn Chips Bowl to play the #7 team.

For those who have only seen scores and highlights from the Frito Lay Sub-brand bowl, one thing needs to be very clearly stated: the game was nowhere near as close as the score or the SportsCenter highlights would suggest. For 3 quarters, BSU absolutely dominated the game. The fourth quarter was absolutely crazy, on both sides of the ball. Now, let's remember why BSU got banished to the Doritos' cousin's bowl: because they really weren't that great a team; they just had an easy schedule against poor teams, and if they had played a real team, they'd lost. That's what every Big 12 and SEC fan said for the month of December. And then BSU made the Sooners their bitch for 45 straight minutes of football. And all that logic went right out the window. When the Chip Bowl was over, it looked more and more clear that BSU's season wasn't a fluke, that BSU was one of the best teams in the country, and that they might really have deserved a shot at the title.

We all know that no real changes will take place in the BCS. I don't pretend to have any answers, in part because I really don't care. But I do think that BSU's players got screwed. And I think that the BCS people don't really care. And while my apathy is no big deal, theirs is inexcusable.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Pandemic Avian Influenza for Complete Morons

If this guy doesn't have avian flu, then I think the rest of us are fine.

I was sitting at work the other day when some co-workers of mine started a conversation that I wouldn't have expected to hear at my job. I work at a research hospital. Naturally, people I work with are either scientists or pretty damned close. Now I'm not trying to make grandiose statements about the intelligence of people in the scientific community. Anyone who has read this blog with any regularity has concrete examples of the kind of stupidity that results when someone has more free time than common sense.

Either way, the people I work with should know better than to panic about 1) things with questionable factual support and 2) things that humans can do absolutely nothing about. Avian influenza or bird flu is an example of one such thing that meets both of those criteria, and yet two of my fine co-workers were in a frenzy about taking steps to prevent it.

First of all, if you look at the scientific evidence regarding the H5N1 virus that causes avian flu, there are some facts about it that one should consider before buying respirators and stocking your basement full of canned goods. The main thing to keep in mind at this point, and probably the reason that 1/2 of the Earth's population hasn't died from avian flu is that the virus is currently not passed from human being to human being. This is why all but one of the documented cases in people have been due to people who live in very close proximity to birds. I'm not talking about living across the street from KFC either. I'm talking about sleeping in the same room as your chicken coop, which in some places in the world is how people roll.

The problem is that in its current form, H5N1 is bad news for those that "love" chicken in more than an extra tasty crispy sort of way, but in places where chickens or wild foul are not kept in the house, the virus is not particularly likely to make much of an impact, since even if a person gets it, it's highly unlikely that person will pass the virus to another person.

What scientists are concerned about is that if the virus mutates into a form that can be passed from human to human, H5N1 is pretty virulent, which means lots of dead people. But this is not unique to H5N1. There are millions of viruses out there, many of them we don't even know about because they can't be passed between people, so the likelihood of getting them is incredibly small. Any one of those viruses, particularly the unknown ones, could mutate and wipe us all out in a matter of months.

Does this mean that we shouldn't do anything? Of course not. The CDC has a great website (linked on the title) that has answers to questions about what the CDC and World Health Organization are doing to track the disease and isolate it if mutations start to show human to human transmission.

Nonetheless, there isn't a damn thing we can do to prevent a pandemic because if a super virus does come along, all the preparations in the world aren't going to save you. So don't worry about, and stop talking about it at work. You're annoying the living hell out of your co-workers, and then they're writing about it on their blogs.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Mile-High Heimlich

There is an old saying among lawyers that, if you have a weak spot, you bring it up first before your opponent has a chance to bring it up. That way, you get to deal with the weakness on your own terms, and blunt your opponent's attack. Kid Bling's post demonstrates that he knows as much about law as I do about video games. That being said, anyone who thought I would let this momentus occasion pass with only a Bling post to commemorate it is crazy. We're going to do this the right way.

There, really, is only one thing that sports teams wish for. All season long, the silent mantra in the heads and hearts of every true athelete, regardless of the particular sport, is this: let us be in control of our own destiny. See, nothing sucks worse than to be in the position of Boise State: they did everything right, won all their games, and yet, despite being one of only two undefeated teams in the top 20, Boise won't get to play for the national title. Why? Because the teams they beat weren't good enough (a point I disagree with, but let's move on). This is every athelete's worst nightmare: not being in control of his or her own fate.

And the ultimate, final expression of the mantra "let us be in control of our own destiny" is this simple, playoff rhyme: "win and in." Sweeter words have scarcely been uttered by a pro player. Win and in means, quite simply, that to get in the playoffs, a team need only do what it sets out to do every game: win the game. Their destiny is, indeed, in their hands. Win and in.

But, the plot gets better: win and in, at home. Yes, right in front of the hometown fans, the people who pay your salaries, the faithful masses who brave (for example) bitter cold and fierce winds to see you play. Win and in, at home, in a sport where the home-field advantage really exists? Now that's something pro players dream about since they are kids.

Or, how about this: Win and in, at home, in a sport where the home-field advantage really exists, against a team that really isn't very good? I mean, at this point, the result must almost be a foregone conclusion, right? Win and in, at home, in a sport where the home-field advantage really exists, against a team which has been humiliated several times this season, and will finish with a losing record? Would anyone (except home-town fans who want to celebrate a whoopin') actually buy tickets to see such a game? A game so predictable it would not be broadcast except in the local markets of the two teams involved? One could not become a pro athelete without hoping for such a game.

But, as generic announcers like to say, that's why they play the games, rather than just predict them. For the "win and in, at home, in a sport where the home-field advantage really exists, against a really bad opponent" team, in this case, was the Denver Bronkeys (Donkos?). And Denver reached back, back, into the not-so-distant past, and took a page from its own playbook, circa 1985-1995. And, as everyone knows, there is only one page in that playbook, and only one play on that page. And anyone who has every tried to swallow a mouthful of partially-chewed steak will be familiar with that play, and with the wheezing, gasping, sputtering, choking sound that accompanies that play.

Now, detractors may point out that the Donkos shouldn't have been in this position in the first place. They were well on their way to losing to the Bungles, except that the Bungles apparently read from the same playbook as the Donkos, and managed to Bungle a play so routine that sometimes, telecasts don't even show it. And if they had lost to the Bungles, as they deserved to (based on their playing), this game wouldn't mean anything. Indeed, no AFC game on New Year's Eve would have meant anything, because the playoffs would have been cemented. But, the Bronkeys were the receipients of a gift, wrapped in tiger-striped paper. And apparently, like so many people out there nowadays, the Bronkeys believe in regifting. Or, call it synchronized choking.

I'm not going to spend any time in this post bragging about the Chiefs, or reminding everyone that certain contributors to this Blog have spent a lot of time this season telling us how bad the Chiefs are and how good the Bronkeys are. The Chiefs, truth be told, aren't that good. There is a high likelihood that their season will last only one more week. But that's not the point here. The point, friends, is simply this. One loss, Bronkeys-style, has Kid Bling ranting and raving and steaming about what his beloved Bronkeys have done. Pissed off. And rightfully so. And maybe now, Kid Bling is equipped to understand how, after being burned in this same manner (and, frankly, burned worse) about 8 times, I swore off the Bronkeys. Players change, coaches change, stadiums come and go, but the simple fact is that the ghost of choking Elway hangs over the Bronkeys like a cabbage fart in a New Year's Eve party. They are still the same team, the same as they always were and always will be. This, friends, is part of the Bronkeys game plan, as inescapable as a Jake Plummer bootleg (which we won't be seeing anymore) or a Bill Romanowski personal foul penalty. Either get used to it, or find yourselves a team that wins when it's supposed to.