The new math

Reading a review of last night’s American Idol, I discovered this gem:

He wowed them with a soulful Desperado, though, prompting Randy’s four-word assessment: “See you in Hollywood, dude.”

“See” is number one. “You” is number two. “In” is number three. “Hollywood” is number four. “Dude” is number what?

I like USA Today. I applaud that it’s written for a 6th-grade level because that encourages more people to read it. It’s the best newspaper for presenting a broad range of news stories with minimal slant. But it shouldn’t be written by imbeciles.

I suppose “dude” is number threEve.

The Bread-O-Meter

Just when you were afraid I’d gone soft with the sentimental skiing narration… (part three arrives later tonight)

Weather forecasting is generally an imperfect activity. I understand that. In Washington, DC, the local meterologists seem to use a Ouija board for their forecasts. Specifically, I watched the weather telecast on Fox 5 this morning.

Yesterday, the meteorologist predicted freezing rain and ice to follow the snow we’d already received. The forecast changed many times throughout the day, with a hedged revision always thrown in. The following is his morning monologue:

I guessed wrong on the ice yesterday, so I’ll be giving away an umbrella later this morning.

An umbrella? At least make it meaningful and give away cash. Better yet, how about this: if you screw up the forecast, you get into a pit and we watch you fend off a hungry lion. You get weapons, of course, but one of you dies.

I believe that idea could happen some day, except I know there’s some ass in Olney who can’t wait to get his free Fox 5 umbrella.

WTF is wrong with people?

I get a lot of spam at my work e-mail account. It’s annoying, but easy enough to delete penis enlargement and discount vicodin nonsense. I ignore these and secretly laugh that this continues because I know it means people respond to these. When I checked my e-mail this morning, I didn’t laugh.

I received spam with the subject line “CC:Jews suck!”. I did a double-take because it was so ridiculous. Once I realized that it really said that, I did what I never do with spam; I opened the e-mail. This is what it said inside: “Do you hate everyone but white people then join the Nazi revolution!”. I am without commentary.

Even though the current anti-spam legislation isn’t working, it’s clear that we need to continue trying for at least one reason other than the nuisance of unsolicited e-mail. I shudder to think of who will respond to this, but I know some will.

I’ll end with a quote from Wil Wheaton’s post “I heart spammers.”:

Therefore, on behalf of the Internet, I would like to invite all the spammers in the world to kindly fuck themselves.

And don’t cuddle after, you bastards.

Censorship lives while the First Amendment Dies

WARNING: There is a considerable amount of profanity in this post. Skip this post if you don’t wish to read these words.

After reading this article from USA Today, I am so upset. Just because Bono says “fuck” on tv, that doesn’t mean “family rights” groups get to trample on the Constitution. United States citizens are granted inalienable rights that are being ignored. It’s morally wrong to censor speech because some people don’t like it.

After the enforcement board ruled that Bono’s use of “fuck” wasn’t sexual, FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell recommends that the FCC ignore this and prohibit anyone from saying “fuck” on television, whether pre-recorded or live. This is censorship.

Why is it that Americans are so puritanical? Why are we afraid of profanity? They’re just words, protected by the first amendment.

I googled this issue and found an article at that explains why this thinking is wrong, based on constitutional law. I don’t want elected or appointed representatives of my government baby-sitting me. I don’t need their protection, thanks.

In response to this, the U.S. House of Representatives is considering bill HR 3687, which would punish any station airing the 8 “profane” words and phrases outlined in the bill. Here’s the text of HR 3687:

To amend section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, to provide for the punishment of certain profane broadcasts, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, is amended–

    (1) by inserting `(a)’ before `Whoever’; and

    (2) by adding at the end the following:

`(b) As used in this section, the term `profane’, used with respect to language, includes the words `shit’, `piss’, `fuck’, `cunt’, `asshole’, and the phrases `cock sucker’, `mother fucker’, and `ass hole’, compound use (including hyphenated compounds) of such words and phrases with each other or with other words or phrases, and other grammatical forms of such words and phrases (including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms).’.

Let me understand this. It’s ok for the Congress of the United States to think, write, and speak the words “shit”, “piss”, “fuck”, “cunt”, “asshole”, “cocksucker”, “mother fucker” and “asshole”, but it’s not ok for me to hear these words? Why? They’re just words. If someone doesn’t like them, turn off the radio or tv. They should monitor what their kids watch. Blah, blah, blah.

I e-mailed the FCC Chairman and Commissioners, as well as my Congressman to voice my displeasure with this. If you agree, please do the same to save America.

Here’s the link to find your Representative. This is the e-mail I sent to my representative:

After reading that the FCC would rule that no use of the “f-word” is acceptable on the airwaves, I discovered that HR 3687 is under consideration. As a constituent of yours, I do not support this bill because it ignores the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

While I am not offended by such language, I understand that others may be offended. However, the purpose of the constitution is to provide majority rule while protecting the rights of the minority. Free speech is a right, not a priviledge. Do not support this bill.

Even though I’m right, I know I’ll get a form letter about why I should be thrilled that my Representative is working hard to protect me and the ideals of God, family, and America. When I get it, I’ll put it on the pile with all the others.

Today, I learned…

I’m starting a new series of posts titled “Today, I learned…”. These won’t be daily posts but will dscuss anything “profound” that I learn.

Today’s lesson is this, with a 2-for-1 bonus thrown in:

Watermelon doesn’t smell good when left on a counter to rot.


Sometimes, having roommates sucks. And the definition of “sucks” can change in unexpected ways.

Inept citizenry

My commute to work is normally 30 minutes. I spent almost 2 hours in my car this morning thanks to the “winter storm” we had last night. In Washington, DC, winter storm means .3 inches. Make sure you read that closely… Point three inches. That means the first car to hit the road this morning melted it all with tire friction.

For my entertainment, this quote is from an article in the paper. It details the beauts that live around me.

A number of schoolbuses were just plain stuck, unable to move at all.

Many commuters could not get out of their driveways. And when they did, some returned after seeing the clogged roads ahead.

On top of it all, metrorail’s Orange Line was closed for a time during the early morning hours after an SUV crashed through a fence near the East Falls Church station and landed on the tracks.

I’ll take these in order:

“A number of schoolbuses were just plain stuck, unable to move at all.” The poor writing of this sentence shows the level of intelligence in our nation’s capital. Enough said.

“Many commuters could not get out of their driveways.” I backed my Volkswagen out of its parking space, uphill, with no problem. People are incompetent.

“On top of it all, metrorail’s Orange Line was closed for a time during the early morning hours after an SUV crashed through a fence near the East Falls Church station and landed on the tracks.” I have no idea how this happened. For anyone not familiar with DC and I-66, allow me to explain what had to happen for this SUV to get onto the tracks of the Metro.

1. Veer to the left at a 90 degree angle.

2. Jump the 3 foot concrete wall.

3. Drive on the grass for 15 feet.

4. Knock down the chain link fence.

5. Drive over gravel for 3 feet.

6. Drive onto train tracks.

It’s so easy, I can’t believe it doesn’t happen all the time. With some liberties on my part, Eric Cartman said it best. “Ehhhhhhhhhh. God I hate you, D.C. drivers.”

Awwwwwwww, skunked again

I’m more perturbed than I’m going to let on, but Dale Murphy just missed election to the Baseball Hall of Fame again. He received 43 votes, which amounts to 8.5% of the ballots. He needed 380 votes, or 75%, for election. At some point in the future, members of the Baseball Writers Association of America will realize that they can’t continue to ignore most of the stars of the 1980s.

When players like Dale Murphy and Ryne Sandberg continue to be ignored, there is something wrong. Player statistics were less spectacular in the ’80s, but that’s because the game was different. Murphy was near the league lead in home runs nearly every year throughout the decade. But there’s a big difference when the league leader hits 35 homers versus the 50+ for today’s star hitters.

A player should be judged on the merits of his accomplishments against those of his contemporaries, not against those who come after him. This is the same situation happening to Art Monk, who spent most of his 15+ years with the Washington Redskins. In 1992, he became the NFL’s All-time Receptions leader, passing Steve Largent. All-time leader. Monk was none too shabby compared to his contemporaries.

Consider these stats:

Receptions – Monk is now 5th with 940 and Largent is 8th with 819

Yards – Largent is 7th with 13,089 and Monk is 9th with 12,721

Touchdowns – Largent is 3rd with 100 and Monk is tied for 28th with 68

The only glaring stat is touchdowns. Largent had the benefit of being his team’s only legitimate target for the bulk of his career. Monk shared opportunities with the likes of John Riggins, Ricky Sanders, and Gary Clark. Monk waits for the Hall of Fame call that won’t ring. As for Largent? His career resides in the Hall of Fame.

Knowing that I’ve been let down by these votes for several years, I’m going to get sappy for a moment and quote myself.

I believe Dale Murphy will be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. It will be a magical day, with sunshine and laughter and cheers. I will be there and I’ll remember all of the joy I had watching him play. He defined my childhood and allowed me to grow into the beauty of baseball.

I still believe.

UPDATE: From Jayson Stark’s column about his Hall of Fame ballot, here’s what he had to say about Murphy:

Murphy: We don’t know what this guy did to deserve to have his vote total plummet from 116 to 43 in just four years. But apparently, this whole voting group wiped the ’80s out of its memory banks. Because in the decade of the ’80s, Murphy led all National Leaguers in runs and hits, tied Mike Schmidt for the most RBI and finished second to Schmidt in home runs. He also was a back-to-back MVP, a five-time Gold Glove winner, a 30-30 man, a leading vote-getter in the All-Star balloting and one of the great baseball citizens of modern times. That may not make him a Hall of Famer. But he’s sure the best player ever to fail to get 50 votes.

I agree.

Feed our beef to the Mexicans!

Following up on my Mad Cow disease post, the U.S. Agriculture Department announced that it will kill 450 calves in Washington state. One of these calves is an offspring of the cow confirmed to have the disease. I quote:

Officials decided to kill all month-old calves in the Sunnyside, Wash., herd because they cannot determine which one was born to the infected cow. While officials have said contaminated feed is the most likely source of infection, they cannot rule out transmission of the disease from mother to calf.

These facts are reassuring. Quality control is so good in the meat industry that they have to kill 450 calves to be certain that they kill the right calf. That’s how I want my food supply monitored.

On another note, I found an article about being a man, which means eating a burger. After reading it, I haven’t decided if I will scream or laugh. There are several annoying points and lame attempts at humor, but there are ideas that made me laugh at myself as a vegan. (I’m not going to recap most of it, but I do recommend that you read it. It’s worth the effort. And the link will open the article in a new window.)

I’ve never asked anyone if Pez is vegan because I’ve confirmed it for myself by reading the ingredients. I ask waiters about ingredients every time I go to a new restaraunt. I had planned to start claiming I had food allergies, but it’s my body and my money so I don’t need to lie.

Even though the writer is using humor, there are valid points in the following paragraph:

Tasty irony here. Cows are vegetarians who generally mind their own business, and never pick an argument over whether the guy they’re dating would store his meat in their refrigerator if they were married. They get sick when evil ranchers turn them into carnivores – and cannibals – by feeding them nasty remains of cattle and other livestock. It’s all very impolite.

This next statement from the article doesn’t apply to me (because I say so): “One of mad cow’s most horrifying symptoms is to make these people [vegetarians] even more self-righteous than usual.”

As much as I like to rant, I don’t want my posts to be about why you should go vegan since you can make that decision for yourself. It’s the stupidity of this situation that I despise. Thus, when Mark Rahner writes “This means we’re still at grave risk of the spread of obnoxious vegetarians. They can’t discreetly be euthanized, but other measures are being taken,” I’ll accept the humor because he’s trying to be funny rather than rude. Ha ha.

As I step down from my soapbox, I want to thank Mark Rahner since my thoughts were provoked by his article. But since I’m always right, Mr. Rahner, I will, in fact, tip my hat back. And I will do it jauntily. Always jauntily.

Gossip, gossip, gossip!

Scanning The Washington Post, I read an article about Britney Spears getting married over the weekend. With regard to this, I don’t care.

The article itself angered me. Reilly Capps, which I have to assume is a fake name, wrote the article. What Reilly wrote is not journalism fit for a respected newspaper like The Washington Post. When I search for news from my newspaper, I don’t want this:

Other cynics pointed out that Spears’s career has struggled to find direction in the roughly two years since she split with Justin Timberlake, who now dates Cameron Diaz despite spending a half-dozen years as lead singer of a dorky boy band.

“…Justin Timberlake, who now dates Cameron Diaz despite spending a half-dozen years as lead singer of a dorky boy band”? What gives Reilly the authority to judge who is worthy of whose affection? What gives Reilly the authority to use the adjective “dorky” outside of a source’s quote? This isn’t the Weekly World News.

Now consider this:

Whatever the motive, the fact that Spears has got her first marriage under her belt and will soon have her first divorce/annulment can only help her career. As Madonna, J. Lo and (soon) Jessica Simpson will testify, you ain’t a diva till you’ve been divorced.

It’s good to know that Reilly Capps has insider knowledge about Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey’s marriage. I admit, I mocked them in an earlier post, but I was mocking the show and how they’re portrayed. I’m smart enough to know that the show is edited to tell a story, which may or may not be the true story if MTV showed the film footage in its original linear flow. Apparently a cheap joke is worth ignorance for Reilly.

It continues:

Britney has been semi-famous ever since she joined the Mickey Mouse Club and became a Mouseketeer. She met Timberlake on the show and they dated for years, but she swears they didn’t, you know, do it until about two years ago. Really.

It’s good to know that Reilly resorts to cheap humor to nail down the point that we’re all better than Britney. That’s definitely easier than actual thought. Good work.

I’m glad I read this article online; no tree had to die for me to read this fine piece of journalism.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone were right

I’ve stated before that I’m a vegan, so the discovery of Mad Cow Disease in the U.S. doesn’t scare me. I don’t need to speak out about it or preach to you about your eating habits. Eat whatever makes you happy. All I ask is that you make an attempt to educate yourself, so that’s not the point of this post.

While searching the news this afternoon, I came across an insightful article about the government’s response to this crisis. More cows will be killed, more meat (probably already eaten) will be recalled, blah, blah, blah. It’s the same nonsense. But it’s only logical to assume that if there’s one infected cow, there are more that haven’t been discovered.

What disturbs me is this:

“Even though we know with a very good degree of certainty that there’s no direct disease spread animal-to-animal, simply being on the same farm there are some public perception issues related to those animals,” [Dr. Ron DeHaven, the Agriculture Department’s chief veterinarian] said.

Public perception issues? Rather than educate the public, it’s easier to slaughter animals? I’m not bitching about that from a vegan, “Please don’t kill the poor cows” mentality. The safety of humans should be the top priority.

I’m angry that this is how we’ve come to expect our government to treat us. We accept this. I’m not four, I can think for myself. Tell me the facts, the risks, and how to prevent the problem (yes, that should include vegetarianism/veganism). I can handle it.

Also, the spin has started. It’s not our fault. Let’s fix this problem, but we want the world to know that it’s someone else’s fault and we’re smarter than everyone. I give you this:

American officials have stressed that the diseased cow’s age and the date of the feed ban suggest the infection occurred in Canada. This idea, if proven, would underline the effectiveness of the ban and, what is more important, would allow U.S. authorities to place the root of the problem north of the border, in Canada.

Like I said in the beginning, Trey Parker and Matt Stone were right. Blame Canada.