Friday, September 29, 2006

Pulped Fiction

I caught the last half of "Pulp Fiction" on regular cable tonight, and I'd like to reenact the experience for you:

beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeee "Zed's dead, baby. Zed's dead." eeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeee "I shot Marvin in the face!" eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee e eeeeeeeeeeeeee e eeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

I found it interesting that they repeatedly replaced "fuck" with "damn". Apparently a natural human function is more repellent than blasphemy. And "shit" is much worse than, say, showing people shooting each other in the face.

Almost more agonizing was the butchering that Tarantino's great staging got. There's a wonderful scene where Butch and Marsellus Wallace are discussing what to do with the gay hillbilly S&M rapist they've defeated. In the letterbox version you can see Butch standing behind Marsellus in a really well-framed shot, taut with tension and perfect lighting that really makes the whole scene hum. On TV, though, they chose to crop it so you can't see Butch at all until he walks out. The whole tone of the scene changed, making it much less effective and powerful.

It reminded me that I really need to get a copy of it on DVD, it's a classic. Especially when it's more than just an hour and a half of beeping puncutated by the occasional hail of gunfire.


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Are We Different Enough?

"The issue isn't whether we are the same as the Nazis. The issue is, we aren't different enough."
--Israeli historian Avi Shlaim
Yesterday the United States Congress passed a bill which allows the President to decide what is and is not torture. Since we have been interrogating prisoners for the last six years in secret prisons overseas, we already know what behavior this President considers acceptable, so in effect we just gave a stamp of approval to:
  • Repeatedly submerging the person's head in water to the point of almost drowning, then reviving them to do it again, and again, and again.

  • Electrical shocks

  • Repeated beatings, to "a bloody pulp" in the case of five of Saddam's generals

  • Long-term standing and sleep deprivation, 40 hours at least

  • The cold room,risoners left naked in cells kept in the 50s and frequently doused with cold water.
Ask yourself -- if you read about an enemy doing this to American soldiers, would you be pissed? Would you consider it torture? I would. And we've been doing it for up to six years. When the Soviets did these exact same things in their gulags, and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, and the North Vietnamese during the Viet Nam war, we condemned them for it. We have now taken their place, becoming a nation that tortures people, people who have never had a trial, people who have no way to defend themselves in a court of law, people who may be completely innocent. That last is not rhetorical, sadly:

Four years ago this month, a Canadian citizen named Maher Arar was on his way back to Canada from a family vacation in Tunisia. The Syrian-born man had a stopover at JFK airport in New York. The date was September 26, 2002. He wouldn't see his family for another 374 days.

After being questioned at the airport, U.S. officials took him to an immigration facility in New York. Two weeks later he was secretly flown to Jordan aboard a Gulfstream Jet. Maher Arar ended up in Syria where he was held in a cell, the size of a grave. He was repeatedly tortured. For weeks his family didn't even know where he was.

On Monday, the Canadian government admitted for the first time that Arar was a completely innocent man.

Let's review that again. We whisked a completely innocent man off the streets of the United States and tortured him for a year in the Middle East. This was done not by the Soviet Union, not by China, and not by al Quaeda. By us. And yesterday, our representatives put their stamp of approval on behavior like this and its utter imperviousness to redress in a court of law.

What's particularly galling is that the techniques in question (particularly waterboarding and cold rooms) were stolen primarily from the Khmer Rouge and were intended not to discover secret plots, but to force confessions. Confessions to what? Whatever the torturers wanted, because when you torture someone they'll say literally anything to make it stop. Other than reading tea leaves, it's about the stupidest and most useless way to gather intelligence there is.

But that's not all the bill passed yesterday did. It also eviscerated the right to habeus corpus. From Wikipedia:
A writ of habeas corpus is a court order addressed to a prison official (or other custodian) ordering that a detainee be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not that person is imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he or she should be released from custody. The writ of habeas corpus in common law countries is an important instrument for the safeguarding of individual freedom against arbitrary state action.

It's so important for protecting liberty from arbitrary state action that it's written directly into the Constitution:
"The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it."
(Article One, section nine).

We basically gutted it yesterday. In essence, the President can declare anyone he likes to be an enemy combatant. The language is so vague, referring to "providing support for terrorists", that almost anything would fit it. And once a person is so declared, they can be taken into military custody where they will not have the right to challenge their arrest or to see the evidence against them. Habeus corpus does not exist for these people.

The worst part of this bill is a truly malicious combination of (1) allowing the administration to be sole arbiter of what all these words "mean", and (2) stripping the courts of any power to intervene in those decisions or even hear about their abuse. We're basically saying "We completely trust the President, he does not need any check on his authority whatsoever." But if history has taught us nothing else, it is that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Investing the Executive with this kind of broad, unchecked power is completely antithetical to everything the Constitution and our Founding Fathers stood for.

We're doing things which, during the Cold War, were the exclusive province and distinguishing characteristics of our enemies. We imprision the innocent, torture our prisoners, define words to mean anything we wish, and we do it all without any oversight or review by anyone except the man in charge.

Again, question is not "are we the same as our enemy", the question is, "are we different enough?"


Tuesday, September 26, 2006


First religion, now politics. I apparently just canNOT let sleeping dogs lie. I have all kinds of funny, good stuff to write -- my Mom's birthday is today, my oldest friend in the world visited over the weekend and we had a great time, there's this awesome "Concert In The Cave" music series out where we live -- but there is legislation pending in Congress that I (and lots of others from across the political spectrum) believe to be the most important to face our country in my lifetime and I can't just let it go without some kind of comment.

It's no secret I'm what most people would consider a liberal. Fundamentally that means I think government has a significant role to play in shaping the society we live in for the greatest good, for the greatest number of its citizens.

I'm conservative in the sense that I believe whatever the proper role of government is, it should fulfill that role in a fiscally responsible manner. Balanced budgets, paying your bills, investing wisely, all of that stuff. I also believe in old-fashioned things like patriotism, justice, loyalty, honor, the great traditions of our military, strong defense, self-reliance, and responsibility.

All of which is why I find the current administration's philosophy of "The Unitary Executive" so profoundly alarming. Here's one way of stating the position from FindLaw (emphasis mine):

However, Bush's recent actions make it clear that he interprets the coordinate construction approach extremely aggressively. In his view, and the view of his Administration, that doctrine gives him license to overrule and bypass Congress or the courts, based on his own interpretations of the Constitution -- even where that violates long-established laws and treaties, counters recent legislation that he has himself signed, or (as shown by recent developments in the Padilla case) involves offering a federal court contradictory justifications for a detention.

This is a form of presidential rebellion against Congress and the courts, and possibly a violation of President Bush's oath of office, as well.

After all, can it be possible that that oath means that the President must uphold the Constitution only as he construes it - and not as the federal courts do?

And can it be possible that the oath means that the President need not uphold laws he simply doesn't like - even though they were validly passed by Congress and signed into law by him?

In a nutshell, our President and his team of advisors (notably VP Dick Cheney, former White House legal advisor John Yoo, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales) believe that the President of the United States has the power under the Constitution as Commander In Chief to do pretty much anything he wants if he believes he is defending the country from attack. So far this has included the belief that the President can ignore laws passed by Congress, can use Presidential Signing Statements to essentially reinterpret those laws, can decide what court cases the Judiciary gets to hear, can detain suspects (even US citizens) indefinitely without recourse to a defense, can wiretap our phones and emails without oversight or probably cause, and can abrogate or reinterpret foreign treaties at will.

In other words, the President is above the law, because if he does something then by definition it's not illegal.

Once that concept is codified into law, we no longer have a constitutional democracy. Whatever party you belong to, or whatever political or religious philosophy you align yourself with, willfully elevating any of the three branches of government to a level that cannot be checked at all by any other is an insanely disastrous course of action. George Bush won't be President forever -- if you're a Republican, imagine this kind of unchecked power in the hands of a Hillary Clinton or a Michael Moore. Imagine that someone truly nuts gets elected, and can then declare almost anyone who opposes him as an "enemy combatant" -- even US Citizens -- able to be whisked away to secret prisons in far-away countries, tortured at will, and denied even the possibility of redress from the courts.

Those are the tools of the tyrant, and we're on the brink of writing them into law.

I want to quote at length from Andrew Sullivan, who used to be a strong backer of George Bush before it became clear that "The Unitary Excutive" is nothing but a euphemism for a dictatorship. The full post is here, and I encourage everyone to read it. This is a very real Constitutional Crisis facing us, and we remain silent at the peril of our very liberty.

Whatever else this is, it is not a constitutional democracy. It is a thinly-veiled military dictatorship, subject to only one control: the will of the Great Decider. And the war that justifies this astonishing attack on American liberty is permanent, without end. And check the vagueness of the language: "purposefully supported" hostilities. Could that mean mere expression of support for terror? Remember that many completely innocent people have already been incarcerated for years without trial or any chance for a fair hearing on the basis of false rumors or smears or even bounty hunters. Or could it be construed, in the rhetoric of Hannity and O'Reilly, as merely criticizing the Great Decider and thereby being on the side of the terrorists?

All I know is that al Qaeda is winning battles every week now. And they are winning them because their aim of gutting Western liberty is shared by the president of the United States. The fact that we are finding this latest, chilling stuff out now - while this horrifying bill is being rushed into law to help rescue some midterms - is beyond belief. It must be stopped, filibustered, prevented. And anyone who cares about basic constitutional freedom - conservatives above all - should be in the forefront of stopping it.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

If Thy Rod Offend Thee ...

(Warning: This is fairly off-color, so hopefully no kids are reading this.)

A man in China had a penis transplant, but has since requested that the new appendage be removed due to "a severe psychological problem of the recipient and his wife".

This brings new meaning to the oft-used phrase, "I wouldn't even screw her with YOUR dick."


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It's Just a Game ...

The University of Oklahoma played a football game on Saturday against the University of Oregon, in Oregon. The very end of the game featured two controversial calls by the officials, both of which were upheld after an instant replay review, which directly led to a come-from-behind Oregon victory.

Oklahoma should have won, but they didn't because of two bad calls. The officials have admitted they were wrong. The Pac-10 (the conference Oregon plays in) admitted the calls were wrong. Everyone has apologized profusely and admitted they blew it. Twice.

The replay official in question has been having a tough go of it:

“I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, my blood pressure is skyrocketing,” Riese said, looking haggard and worn as he sat on the front porch of his house.

His wife is a registered nurse, and has been checking his blood pressure every four hours, he said.

Riese said he has stopped answering the phone, and police are investigating the threatening calls while keeping an eye on his neighborhood.

“They not only threatened me, they threatened my wife and kids,” Riese said.

The guy made a bad couple of calls using out of date equipment and under a time crunch, and some fan took the time to call the man's house and threaten the lives of his wife and children.

Because of a football game. A game!

Some people really, really need to get a life.


Monday, September 18, 2006

A Restaurant Peeve

The Enemy

Once again today at lunch, I came up against a very peculiar pet peeve of mine while visiting the restroom.

And no, this isn't going to be as disgusting as you might think from that rather troubling lede.

The restrooms in most restaurants I've visited lately have had an automatic, motion-activated paper towel dispenser. You just wave your hand in front of it (making no contact with it at all) and out spits a section of paper towels.

No other part of the restroom is motion-activated, even though such technology is available. Not the flush handle on the toilet, not the soap dispenser, not the faucet, nothing -- just the paper towel dispenser.

Here's the part that irritates me:

The handle on a paper towel dispenser is literally the only part of the entire restroom virtually guaranteed to be germ-free! It's the only thing a person with dirty hands is almost certain not to touch during the visit -- if your hands aren't clean, you're not going to be reaching for paper towels. In fact, the only time someone's going to need a paper towel is after they wash their hands, when they're already clean.

Even the SOAP dispenser is a horrible thing to touch, germ-freak-wise, because only people who haven't washed their hands yet need soap. Ditto the faucet, you only grab that if you're in need of cleaning hands that are already dirty. The door handle to get out is a crap-shoot (pardon my pun) because while some clean-handed people are exiting, you can bet your fanny that some non-washers have also left that way.

In fact, I can't think of a single square inch of real estate in the entire room that has a HIGHER chance of being germ-free than the paper towel dispenser. And yet, this is where the Management has decided to allocate its hard-earned and all-too-scarce facilities enhancement dollar.

It's a minor point, I know, but it's literally like this in every restaurant I've visited around where I work. Every. Frigging. One. Sociopathy at that kind of level cannot be coincidental


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Nerd Humor

You know you're a geek when you laugh at jokes that combine both computers AND math. Well then, color me a geek!

(Cartoon courtesy of, a collection of geek-oriented humor. My other favorite cartoon from him is below.)


Friday, September 15, 2006

El Hornito

I don't speak Spanish, so when I saw a truck on the highway with "El Hornito Bakery" on the side, I immediately wondered if their motto was "A bun in every oven."


The Funnies

I don't know if they do this in other parts of the country, but back home in Louisiana we called the comics page in the paper "The Funnies". I realize the name's a bit of a misnomer because, let's be honest, most of the time the comics on these pages are anything but "funny" (I'm lookin' at you, Mary Worth). It's been so long since we got a daily paper, I'd kind of fallen out of the habit of even thinking about them, but since I started reading "The Comics Curmudgeon" every day, I find myself missing those little three and four panel slices of goodness.

Luckily, the Houston Chronicle has come to my rescue! They have a really neat little applet that lets you build your own comics page. You just select the comics you want to see, and it builds a page for you. No longer will you be cursed by huge "Prince Valiant" strips taking up most of the page, or the zombie-like undead persistence of such classics as Hagar the Horrible or Family Circus (unless you want to be, of course).

Get in touch with your inner kid again with this easy to use little applet. I think we could all use more of "The Funny" these days.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Six Million Dollar Redneck

This is such a great story, I had to comment about it:

Double amputee uses thought-controlled arm

Pioneering bionic arm technology may offer hope for injured veterans

DAYTON, TENN. - Jesse Sullivan has two prosthetic arms, but he can climb a ladder at his house and roll on a fresh coat of paint. He’s also good with a weed-whacker, bending his elbow and rotating his forearm to guide the machine. He’s even mastered a more sensitive maneuver — hugging his grandchildren.

The motions are coordinated and smooth because his left arm is a bionic device controlled by his brain. He thinks, “Close hand,” and electrical signals sent through surgically re-routed nerves make it happen.

I have to say, the story brought a little tear to my eye, to think that this guy could do so much that was never possible before. I love that technology (my nerd side) can help people live richer, fuller lives (my country side).

Beyond how genuinely cool and uplifting the story is, of course, I also had to laugh because it's about time a real redneck got some of the benefits of high tech. I say redneck because consider what we learn about Jesse in the article:

  1. He's wearing a "Dollywood" baseball cap

  2. He's used his bionic limb to crank the lawnmower (breaking the arm in the process), paint the house, crack walnuts, and control a Weed Whacker

  3. His grandkids call him "Paw Paw"

  4. Greatest wish for the future use of his arm: going fishing

Finally! That six million dollar body was wasted on Steve Austin, who was a pampered rich-boy astronaut/test pilot. He didn't need a six-figure extreme body makeover, he already had all the advantages. Jesse, on the other hand (no pun intended), was an electrical line worker whose wife was a caterer, a real working man. Here's a guy who really needed the high-tech help, and he got it. And then he uses it to keep on living the good country life! What did Steve Austin ever do, catch some spies? round up bad guys? I bet he never even WENT fishing once he got all dolled up.

City slicker.

What's really great, but the article doesn't go into, are the enhancements planned for the arm in the future:

  • Built-in Pocket Fisherman

  • Integrated channel changer, so you can just point your finger, think "ESPN" and bam, there goes the tv

  • Palm-mounted bottle-cap opener, for when you're out on the boat with a cooler of Buds and "someone" (and you know who you are) forgets the opener back on shore

  • Speaker and digitial recorder, so when your grandkids "pull your finger" a realistic fart-noise is actually generated

  • "Gimp Mode", an on-command feature that renders the arm completely limp and useless until you're ready for it to come back, so when your wife wants you to do something odious like take out the garbage or clean the toilets, you can say "Dangit, the stupid thing went out again! Sorry hon."

The possibilities are endless, and if the developers would like to consult with me and my country friends on other enancements we'd be happy to advise.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I'm a Simian

It will come as no shock to those who have known me for more than an hour or so that I am a Simian. I am referring, of course, to the lines in my palms.

Most people have two lines crossing their palms horizontally, a "head" line and a "heart" line. Approximately 4% of Caucasians have this line on at least one hand, according to Approximately 13% of all Asians have it on at least one hand.

I, of course, have it on both hands.

The condition is known as a "Simian Line". Combined with my excessive body hair, I think it's only fair to conclude that I am, in fact, a Bigfoot. I eagerly await my invitation to the mutant organization known as "The X-Men".


On Drawing Lines

Once again, Ed Brayton puts things so much better than I could ever hope to, so I'll just link to him. In fact, maybe every day instead of just posting, I'll redirect this blog to his, that should be faster :-) You can read the whole thing here. (Bold emphasis below is mine.)

I think we spend entirely too much time and energy drawing the lines in the wrong place. Too many people are focused on dividing us up into all the wrong groups. Humans are tribal by nature, I think, but as the world has shrunk we've developed the ability to form intentional tribes rather than tribes of necessity (family, village, etc). But we still tend to distinguish Us versus Them based on the most superficial of characteristics. The lines shouldn't be drawn between Christians and atheists, Jews and Muslims, and so forth; they should be drawn between the decent and intelligent and life-embracing people in every group and the bigoted, ignorant and reactionary people in every group.

They should be drawn between those who treat others as equal human beings and those who treat others as pawns to be manipulated, commodities to be bought and sold, or objects upon which to inflict their need to make themselves feel stronger. They should be drawn between those who respect the right of each individual to own themselves and control their own lives and those who seek to use their power, individually or collectively, to deprive others of that self-determination.

I should print that out and hang it on my wall, it's just absolutely perfect. Religion can be positive or negative. So can atheism. Political conservatism can be positive or negative, as can liberalism. It's not so much about what people believe, as how they treat other people. I think the labels and the distinctions we make among different systems of living tend to obscure that basic fact.


Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11

Everyone else in the blogosphere (and beyond) is memorializing 9/11 in their own way. I feel spectacularly unqualified to do so. But for what it's worth, I think this is a good day for us all to remember what's important in our lives, to reflect on how much our loved ones mean to us, and to appreciate that nothing in our world is permanent. Love with your whole heart every moment of every day, allowing the sure knowledge that all of this will eventually pass to give each instant not a shadowy pall of fear and dread, but rather a keen-edged intensity that heightens our joy.


We Make Up Words


fan‧eu‧rysm  /ˈfænyəˌrɪzəm/ [an-yuh-riz-uhm]
a permanent cardiac or arterial dilatation usually caused by weakening of the vessel wall caused by meeting one's celebrity idol.
Usage: "Ohmigod, Becky totally had a faneurysm when she met Brad Pitt!!1!!!"
See Also: fangasm


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Live Longhorn Blogging

I'm going to try something new, and blog during the Texas Longhorn - Ohio State Buckeye game. In theory this will be a running commentary I'm typing in as the game goes on. Given the pathetic speed of both my internet connection and my laptop, this could be a disaster.

Game Over. Very disappointing, obviously. This team has a lot of growing to do. But, the season's still young and anything can happen. If they run the table the rest of the season (with Oklahoma a big fat speed bump on that road) then it's certainly possible they could still play for the championship; stranger things have happened. But realistically, the best they can hoper for at this point is a BCS Bowl Game.

Ohio State is good, but I don't know if they're national championship good. Troy Smith, despite having the announcers crawling into his pants all night, was good but not unbelievable. Take away the 10 points Ohio State scored off of UT turnovers and UT wins.

But they DID turn the ball over those two times, and made too many other mistakes to boot. You can't give a good team like the Buckeyes that many chances, they'll crush you.

This is the curse of TiVo. Now I have this crappy game on my machine, stinking up the hardware. I have to go delete it before it infects my recording of last year's Rose Bowl.

06:31 in the Fourth Quater: Ohio State touchdown. 24-7. Not looking good for the home team ... too many mistakes and Jim Tressel is too good at ball control. I can see that Texas hasn't figured out their identity yet. Last year it was "Keep it close and let Vince win it for us." This year I don't think they've realized yet that they need to be a power running ball-control team. Keep it on the ground and throw it just enough to keep the defense honest, and rely on your defense to keep the other team under control. Still seven minutes left but this is going to take a miracle. Or two.

12:18 left in the Fourth Quarter: That was the ugliest field goal attempt I have ever seen. If that field goal attempt were a house, it would be condemned it was so ugly. If that field goal attempt were a man, it would be illegal for it to be photographed it was so ugly. If that field goal attempt were ... ah hell, Selvin Young should've caught the damn pass before that and it would've at least been easier. Ugly and easy can win, just ask any redneck near closing time at a honkey tonk.

Start of the Fourth Quarter: I like the no-huddle! Get the guys out there moving the ball, being aggressive. Both teams have the same yardage so far, and yet all you've heard is how unbelievable Troy Smith is.

0:53 left in the Third Quarter: Another Texas mistake, this time a holding penalty on Third Down after making a first. Mistakes are killing us.

3rd Quarter Commercial Break-In:: The Detroit Shock have won the WNBA title. The WNBA is still in business?! That IS a shock!

04:19 left in the Third Quarter: Note to self: ask Brent Musberger, Kirk Herbstreet, and Bob Davies (yes, I am probably spelling those wrong) what Troy Smith's ass tastes like. They should know, as their lips have been kissing it the entire frigging night.

Beginning of Third Quarter: It took the entire halftime to reboot my stinking laptop. This thing needs to be converted into a coaster, that's all it's good for. Terrible start to the half for Texas, with McCoy throwing an interception, then failing to get a first down on the next series after a terrible swing pass to Selvin Young. We're KILLING these guys on the ground, frigging run the ball! If this keeps up, Austin fans will once again be howling for the blood of Greg Davis, our offensive coordinator.

Halftime: Ohio State 14, Texas 7. Both teams looked a bit rusty, but they were ahead of the broadcasters who by the sound of them were unaware there was a football going on in the very stadium they were sitting in until halfway through the second quarter. I learned about all the other games going on, I learned about fun duck-sponsored trivia, I got interminable trivia about the announcer's record as a defensive coordinator, but I got very little actual commentary on the action. I did, however, learn that Colt McCoy is not Vince Young. Not because Vince Young is Vince Young, like you'd think, but because apparently Troy Smith is Vince Young. Thanks for that keen insight, Brent Musberger.

Most surprising to me about the first half was how much room the UT defensive secondary was giving the Ohio State receivers. I also was surprised that UT went away from the run for much of the second quarter after decimating Ohio State on the ground. On the plus side, Texas' defensive players can tackle like nobody's business. That wasn't always the case, before Gene got here we practically needed a lasso to get anyone down.

Still a long half of football left to play, but this is going to be rough. Texas may only win by 50 now.

0:16 left in the first half: Damn! Long pass for a touchdown by Ohio State. Finally Troy Smith throws a TD pass to Ted Ginn Jr, which is surprising since the announcers were holding on to both their jock straps the entire half.

0:42 left in the first half: Ohio driving. Maybe someone should alert the Longhorns that new rule changes this year allow you to get closer than 10 yards to the man you are covering.

1:42 in the first half: Texas just scored! The personal foul call that gave UT a first down inside the ten was pretty pathetic, but I'll take it.

The broadcast team is a nightmare. Brent Musberger is one of the worst play by play men in the world ... people in Croatia probably write in to complain about the guy and they don't even have American football there! Best Musberger line of the first half: "what we have here is the Texas defense against the Ohio offense." Really? And here I thought maybe just for kicks the two defenses would go head to head. Idiot.


Great TV Moments

I was reminded in the comments about two of my favorite "Classic TV" moments. Thanks to the miracle of YouTube, I can now bring them to you!

First, from the great "Taxi", we have the "What Does a Yellow Light Mean?" sequence. I remember watching this when it was first broadcast, and I thought my family and I were going to die laughing. Reverend Jim is one of the all-time great TV characters.

The second clip I wanted to share is from "WKRP In Cincinnati". The station plans a Thanksgiving promotion involving the dropping of live turkeys from a helicopter.

The middle part drags a lot more than I recalled, but the very last line (at 5:35) is the one that gets me -- "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."



Thursday, September 07, 2006


A freelance project I did the programming for has just gone live -- it lets you whack several different Austin American-Statesman journalists in the head with a newspaper. Even if you don't live in Austin or read the paper, let's face it, you've always wanted to hit a journalist. So here's your chance! You can play the game by clicking here.



There appears to be a problem posting comments from registered Blogger users (at least, I can't post using Denise's account). Can anyone else comment here? If you're getting an error message, please e-mail me at

Sorry for the hassle!


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Template Change

Blogger has recently released a beta version of their blog publishing software, and of course I couldn't resist switching over. If I were an actual farmer, I'd have genetically engineered pigs, geese, and crops so fast it'd make your head spin -- I just can't resist new toys.

The layout and color of the entire blog is now different; Blogger has made it very easy to switch templates and to add new features. All of the content should be the same, though by all means, if you see something missing you want to have back, just let me know. This does not include missing personal items of yours, only things that go on this blog. No, I don't have that missing sock, quit asking me about it!

The biggest missing piece thus far is the "Read More" functionality I used to have, so you didn't need to see a whole post if you didn't want to. I'll try to figure that out ASAP.

The other cool new feature, though, is labels. This will allow me to tag each entry with a keyword or two for easier grouping and sorting. So for instance, if you wanted to see all the posts I've made about horses, you could just click on that link and you'd see only those. I'll post more about all that when I learn how to use it (I'm still learning myself).

Thanks to everyone who's stopped by since I started publishing, and especially to those who take the time to make a comment (even short ones). I like learning about what different people think about various topics of interest to me, and it's always enlightening to get a different perspective. I thank everyone who's been willing to share their insights, as well as those who just like reading (you're important too!).


Saturday, September 02, 2006

The Oatmeal Festival

I hope you enjoy the slide show I put together to commemorate our trip to the 2006 Oatmeal Festival in our little town of Bertram, Texas.

(If you have trouble viewing the Flash movie here on Blogspot, you can access it directly at