Sunday, July 29, 2007

'God can't help us now.'

It's now been told that some of Pat Tillman's last words were 'God can't help us now.' Wow. I wonder how those at Fox News will spin this, although they'll probably just ignore it, or hide it deep on their website.

Religious beliefs aside, the man did what he felt was right, and at great personal cost to himself. He gave up millions of dollars. How many people can say that? And what did our government do for him in return? They used him as a marketing tool, and then they lied about the cause of his death. Regardless of your political leanings, there is no excuse for how it was handled.

I've been against this war from day one, but that doesn't keep me from supporting our men and women who are over there. They may have signed up for service, but there's a certain amount of trust they should be able to feel about their commander-in-chief, that they won't be put in harm's way without a good reason for doing so. And for once, I'd like Fox News to stop showing footage of troops on camera saying how they agree with the president. That's PR spin. If you don't want to get fired (or in their cases, dishonorably discharged), you don't talk shit about your boss in public.

But I digress. I just want our men and women over there to not have to continually get maimed or killed for no good reason, and I want our government to stop lying to us. Lofty hopes, I know. But it shouldn't be that way. If this is a democracy, and a majority of Americans want the war to be over, why isn't it over yet?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Absolut NASA

Party at zero gravity
A report from a panel appointed to investigate NASA's policies related to astronauts was released this week. Basically, astronauts are not only crazy, as evidenced by Lisa Nowak's cross country diaper run to kill the hypotenuse in her love triangle with another astronaut in February, but they also like the hit the sauce before they fly the space shuttle.

We shouldn't really be surprised by all this drinking and carrying on really. At this very moment, many of you are likely making plans for how you're going to chemically dispose of your work week with alcohol and other substances. However, I doubt very much you're doing this while you're at work. If you are, send me the number for your Human Resources Department ASAP.

I wouldn't expect astronauts to behave any better than I tend to behave. Particularly given that before flights, they are often sequestered for long periods of time. But, I also don't fly a million dollar piece of equipment paid for with tax payer money that is so fragile that I think the wings are actually made out of the same foam as the cooler you keep fishing bait or dead hooker parts in when you go to the lake.

The drinking might explain, however, how an astronaut could stare this woman in the face and think about sex

So here's a toast to you NASA. May all of your spacewalks be drunken spacewalks and may you never drive cross country in diapers to kill your boyfriend's mistress only to be arrested and publicly humliated on this blog.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

We Didn't Start the Fire

Did I just quote a Billy Joel song? Yeah, I guess I did.

I got asked by at least four people yesterday if I started the fire in Dallas that led to explosions at some industrial chemical plant. I like shit done blowed up real good as much as the next red-blooded American, but for the record, 'No, I was at my desk, slaving over spreadsheets.' I didn't even make it to the other side of the building, where I'm told people had a great view of it. But hey, that's what YouTube is for:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Silver Ring Thing

A court in England ruled this week that a little girl couldn't wear her silver ring that signifies that she will be waiting until marriage to have sex in school. This ruling no doubt disappointed her male classmates, who were likely setting up a pool to prognoticate how many STDs this lass has by the time she leaves primary school. Really, you say? Shouldn't all 8 year-old kids promise their vaginas to Jesus until they walk down the aisle?

And as our 95% posting from last December points out, the vast majority of people do not wait until they meet that special someone that they have a 50% probability of divorcing before taking the skin boat to tuna town.

The only thing scientific that we can say about viginity pledges is that they do not keep people from having premarital sex. The 95% figure has been stable for a very, very long time. Rather, the only thing that virginity pledges accomplish is to make it more likely for those idealistic little bastards to engage in high risk sexual behavior, such as unprotected sex, oral sex or anal sex, since we all know that a lady is still considered a virgin by Jesus, no matter how many times she's taken a spicy beef injection up the backroad. If you think I'm kidding, click here to see the study that came out in the Journal of Adolescent Health in 2005.

Now, I am not bagging on people who want to wait to have sex until they are married. I feel sorry for people who wait, because I think sex is a healthy thing that you should have when you're ready. Hopefully once we get all these fundies out of the White House, people will stop trying to treat premarital sex like vaginal terrorism, and realize that we all need to lighten up and get laid.

You need more Aquabats in your life.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

If you can read this, you're not our President

The wild ride that has been the Bush Administration gets more and more surreal every day. If you had told me 4 years ago some of the amazing shit that has happened in the last 6 months would have gone down, even I wouldn't have believed it.

Here are my favorite pieces of evidence that President Bush is a complete idiot.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tommy Chong killed in Iraqi crossfire?

I didn't even know Tommy Chong was in Iraq, much less got so involved in the conflict that he died in a crossfire.

Seriously though, are we done with this fucking 'war' yet? I put 'war' in quotes because we're not fighting anyone. Our men and women are playing police while militants from different factions all shoot at them. I have a cousin over there right now who's been in the National Guard his entire adult life, and even though he went down to a reservist long ago, he got called up late last year. United States National Guard. In Iraq. That's just fucking stupid. And that whole explanation of 'We're fighting them over there so they don't bring the fight over here' is nothing but jingoistic bullshit. We've already lost more American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan than we lost in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attack, not to mention the 100,000-plus injured. Does that fact not speak to anyone in Congress?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Man vs. Wild

Several months ago, I saw this video and it got me thinking (I would post the video, but then I would have to use YouTube's rather pathetic posting tool, and this will be a long post, but the video is important, so go watch the video and then come back and read the post. Go ahead. It's okay. I'll wait.): what self-respecting man, not to mention a hunter, lets a damn deer beat the crap out of him? I don't consider myself to be a paragon of manhood, but I can sure as crap beat the hell out of a damn deer. Size up the opposition: no claws, no useful teeth, no strong legs for kicking, weighs about as much as I do. All you have to do is get in close, grab ahold of that deer, throw it to the ground, stay on top of it and commence to whuppin'. Game over, man, game over!

But my thoughts ultimately went beyond deer (as, indeed, all thoughts eventually must). Having devoted a fair amount of time to thinking about it, I have narrowed the debate down to a simple scenario, which I share with you so that you, too, can ponder it. Consider the following:

If you were placed in a pit, roughly the size of a basketball court, and allowed to arm yourself as you saw fit (but no firearms), what is the most vicious animal you'd be willing to fight?

As you ponder that, let's first discuss the limitations. If at all possible, you should limit yourself to human-powered weapons, like swords, lances, spears, etc. Powered weapons (like a chainsaw) are allowable only if you're fighting a truly dangerous animal (like a bear). You can equip yourself with any style of shield you like, from the very large (modern SWAT or heavy knight) to the relatively small (classic Roman footsoldiers had shields maybe 2 feet in diameter). Other armor is also permissible, but weight often makes it a bad idea. You can put simple obstacles in the pit, but only in balance with the danger level of the animal you're fighting, and nothing that gives you an unfair advantage (like a high platform you can perch on and stab down at the animal). My primary obstacle (when I considered it) was a steel column about four feet in diameter. See, 4-legged animals have poor turning radii, so if you were going to fight something very dangerous (bear's a good example) you'd need something which you could put (and keep) between you and the animal.

As you continue to ponder your battle animal, and now that you understand some of the basic limitations, let's talk about why this is a relevant question. I think the issue is important because I'm alarmed at what I can only call the pussification of humanity in general and men in particular. The fact is, humans are incredibly rugged, tough animals and we're build to fight well and fight hard. And yet, several months ago, I was eating at a restaurant and saw a group of people flee a table because a cricket had hopped under the table. An extreme example, I grant, but the fact is that people have lost touch with our innate ability to fight, mano a mano, with animals. We're turning into a society of men more in touch with manscaping and creme rinses than with physical confrontation. You might argue that the recent global outbreak of war and violence suggests otherwise, but let me retort. At least with respect to Americans, even the way we go to war allows us to maintain a safe distance between ourselves and those we're killing. Navy ships fire cruise missiles from total safety hundreds of miles out to sea. Planes drop bombs from 30,000 above. Cannons lob shells at targets miles away. Tank commanders pull the trigger from inside a totally bulletproof war machine. Even foot soldiers keep maximum distance while shooting at the enemy.

Want proof I'm right? Watch the final battle scene from Saving Private Ryan. In 30 minutes of film, all of which is routinely bloody, there's only one scene which regularly gets my heart beating hard and me holding my breath: the scene where the Brooklyn Jew and the Nazi are wrestling each other with the knife. Instinctively, our mind understands the difference between shooting at people a hundred yards away and wrestling with your opponent face-to-face. Both may well be terrifying, but only one activates the primal responses in the depths of our brains.

Our distant ancestors fought saber-tooth tigers, giant bears, and woolly mammoths for survival (for any born-again Christians who are reading, your ancestors also battled T-Rexs, brontosauri, velociraptors, and all manner of deadly thunder lizards because, as the Bible theoritically says, we all lived on the planet at the same time, back when Earth was brand new, about 6000 years ago). And they did it with crude stone spears and wooden clubs. And if humans weren't capable of winning those battles, we wouldn't be here today. We have the physical capacity to square up with animals, we have just lost the mental confidence to do so.

Let me use a concrete example: battling a bull. Having had the opportunity to observe many bulls up close and personal over the years, I can assure you they are dangerous animals. Large, heavy, aggressive, horned, and fully capable of killing you. And yet, on a weekly basis, 120-pound Spanish men in fancy-pants suits go mano a toro equipped with little else but a tablecloth and a number of swords, and walk out unscathed. It can be done. And, to steal a line from Anthony Hopkins, what one man can do, another can do.

Let me use another example: battling a wolf. Wolves are scary, and may have killed one or more of your ancestors back in the day. But battling a wolf would not really be that hard. Here's my advice. I would wear a hockey-style catcher's mask and I'd strap two soccer shin guards to my left arm. Best weapon is a cutlass (a heavy, double-sided sword). The mask protects my face and neck. As the wolf ran at me, I'd crouch slightly and hold my left arm in front of me. 99 times out of 100, the wolf will bite the left arm (protected by shin guards) and start shaking. All I need is to land one good blow with the heavy cutlass, and the wolf is either killed outright or so badly hurt that the coup de grace will be easy to land.

So, take some time and ponder the question. What's the most vicious animal you'd fight, and how would you do it? So far, the only animals I've ruled out are the big cats (lion, tiger, etc.), bears, and huge African herbivores (elephants, hippos, rhinos). Other than those, I think I could devise a way to kill any of God's other creatures. Which is only reasonable, because humans are the pinnacle predator on this planet.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

Libby: Prisoner No More

Bush just commuted the sentence of Scooter Libby. Brief details are here.

Yes, dear readers. He really is that stupid, and he really is that hypocritical. Is he going to blame it on activist judges? Terrorism? Border security? The lack of social security reform? I guess we'll have to wait for the official statement.

I can't wait to see the McLaughlin Group this Sunday. When Libby was sentenced, all four panelists agreed (for once) that there would be no commuting of the sentence, unless it was a Christmas gift after the 2008 presidential election.

This just proves yet again who really runs the White House:

Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Your little American flags you put in your lawn this time of year don't make you patriotic

On the block where I live, there is a family that puts up little American flags in their lawn during this time of year. This is the same neighbor that drives a Mercedes with a Bush/Cheney sticker from 2000 on the back. People who put flags in their yard to show their patriotism for 7 days a year are missing the point. If you do this, you probably like Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American" song, and think that because you know all the words, you're a patriot.

You want to do something that's actually patriotic? How about volunteering for the military and going over to Iraq to fight with the troops? How about campaigning for health care reforms, better education, and cheap prescription drugs so that your country men and women don't have to drive into Canada to get heart medication.

Why not do something actually patriotic, like standing up for poor people in your community? They are Americans too, they just don't have as much money as you do, so they can't buy 50 little American flags to put in their yard. Quit thinking that because you did something symbolic the last time you were at the Home Depot, that somehow you're supporting the troops. Buying shit like magnetic ribbons to hang on your car that were made by terrorists isn't helping us get anything done in Iraq any faster.

This 4th of July, if you're one of the real patriots who is actually doing something to make this country better, whether that's fighting in Iraq or working with underprivlaged kids here at home, I salute you. If you're like my neighbor down the street with his little American flags and pseudo-patriotism, kiss my ass.