Monday, November 29, 2010

Early FID

I know this is in advance of FID, but good news just won't wait. 

One Iranian Nuclear Scientist Killed In A Car Bomb Attack, Another Injured 
For the second time in less than a year, an Iranian physicist died in a bomb blast, adding to the mystery of what appear to be attacks against Iran's nuclear brain trust.
Majid Shahriari, a nuclear scientist at the capital's prestigious Shahid Beheshti University, died in the Monday morning attack. Another Shahid Beheshti nuclear scientist, Fereydoun Abbasi (was) injured in a separate attack about the same time.
Congrats to either the CIA or, more likely, the Mossad. Whoever did it deserves our thanks.
Both scientists attacked Monday were driving to work shortly before 8 a.m. when they were approached by motorcyclists who either attached bombs to or threw them at vehicles, police said.
Payback's a bitch, ain't it, mo-fo's. What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

This is just too cool to pass up. I'm gonna crank up the volume, pop another Shiner, and sing along at the top of my lungs.

Score one for the good guys...

Fat Lip, Fat Head

The guy can't catch a break these days. A few weeks ago, Obama received a political black eye; now, while enjoying his favorite athletic activity over the Thanksgiving weekend, the President is popped in the face by a friend.
Couldn't happen to a more deserving person. Of course, NPR put a positive spin on it, "That Fat Lip Might Give Obama Some Street Cred," speculating that the scar might "actually fortify President Obama's profile, as he contends with Kim Jong Il, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Vladimir Putin," the idea being that emulating Scarface Al Capone could have intimidation potential.

NPR did provide an interesting side note, pointing out that "when Sarah Palin played point guard for the Wasilla High team that won an Alaska state championship, her nickname was 'Sarah Barracuda.'" 

I'd love to see that one-on-one match-up...

And in a related story, Bergheim Follies has just learned that Barney Frank has resigned from congress to take his dream job working for the TSA.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Visit Of Biblical Proportions

I just got back from making the final airport run to take the last of our Thanksgiving holiday guests home. It was a fine four days - a good time was had by all - but certain aspects of it reminded me of stories from the Bible.

The most obvious parallel is to the plaque of locusts that Moses visited upon Egypt. We had four high-school boys here, and they consumed food like the government consumes taxes. There was no satisfying them, no end to their insatiable appetite, and you got near their flashing silverware or chomping teeth at your own risk. It was like watching branches disappear into a wood chipper.  

A representative breakfast (and another Biblical parallel - take note of how everything goes by twos):
2 pounds of bacon
2 dozen eggs
2 tubes of biscuits
2 quarts of orange juice
2 jars of salsa

I got tired of standing at the stove and cooking, so the next day I whipped up a quick breakfast casserole - 2 pounds of pork sausage, 4 pounds of hash browns, 2 onions, 2 cups of shredded cheese, 2 cups of milk, and 6 eggs. There were actually leftovers, although that might have had something to do with the two tubes of biscuits and 1 pound of sweet rolls that were served along with the casserole.

Thanksgiving dinner consisted of an 18 pound turkey and a 6 pound turkey breast, along with a 4 pound baked ham and a multitude of side dishes. Dessert was 5 pies and a chocolate cake. We actually had enough leftovers for two more meals ... barely.

But all in all it was a good holiday. We enjoy each others company. The kids are good kids. There was a nice mix of shopping for the gals, football for the guys, outdoor activities for everyone (the weather was absolutely drop-dead gorgeous), and they left before we got tired of them (and visa versa). Even the dogs behaved themselves.

Now it's back to the grind. One more week of classes, then finals. Of course, the administrators have crammed all the meetings they blew off earlier in the year into the next week, but I can tolerate them because in 10 short days it'll be the between-semester break for me. Thirty days of no students, no classes, and no administrators. Of course, I have some research projects to work on and a couple of conferences to attend, but that's okay. It beats the regular routine.

It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it...

Sunday Funnies

Freya was driving home on Black Friday when she saw an elderly Apache woman walking along the side of the road outside Albuquerque, New Mexico.  She stopped the car and asked the woman if she would like a lift?

With a silent nod, the woman climbed into the car.  Freya tried in vain to make conversation with the Apache woman.

The old Apache looked closely at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a red gift bag on the seat next to Freya.

'What's in the bag?' asked the old woman.

'It's a bottle of gin that I got for my husband.'

The Apache woman was silent for another minute or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said, 'Good trade.'

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday Follies Happy Hour - Saturday Version

Thanksgiving threw me off schedule. Here's the Happy Hour video, one day late.

This week's selection was inspired by the news of Willie Nelson getting busted for pot - again.
A U.S. Border Patrol spokesman says country singer Willie Nelson was charged with marijuana possession after 6 ounces was found aboard his tour bus in Texas.

Patrol spokesman Bill Brooks says the bus pulled into the Sierra Blanca, Texas, checkpoint about 9 a.m. Friday. Brooks says an officer smelled pot when a door was opened and a search turned up marijuana.

Brooks says the Hudspeth County sheriff was contacted and Nelson was among three people arrested.

Sheriff Arvin West didn't immediately return a phone message left at his home Friday, but he told the El Paso Times that Nelson claimed the marijuana was his. The singer was held briefly a $2,500 bond before being released.

Nelson spokeswoman Elaine Schock declined to comment.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Texas A&M Does It Again

Dr. Calvin Rickson, a scientist from Texas A&M University, has invented a  bra that keeps women's breasts from jiggling, bouncing up and down, and prevents the nipples from  pushing through the fabric when cold weather sets in.

At a news conference, after announcing the invention, a large group of men took Dr. Rickson outside and kicked the shit out of him.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's All About The Gravy

Turkey: The Means to a Socially Illicit End
In a recent essay, Jeffrey Tucker observed: "turkey isn't delicious." He then went on at considerable length to show how to make a meal of turkey more delicious – and how not to cook the bird. He misses the point. He confuses ends with means.

Mr. Tucker knows a lot about preparing turkey. I don't. I do know a lot about eating turkey. And let me say from the start: Thanksgiving dinner is not about eating turkey. It's about stuffing yourself with a high-fat, low-nutrition food that is socially questionable except at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thanksgiving dinner is a revered middle-class celebration in America precisely because the middle class won't allow itself the culinary debauchery of a food that lower-class families in the South have delighted in for three centuries, several times a week. That food is gravy. I don't mean wimpy, light-colored turkey juice gravy. I mean thick, brown, clogs-your-arteries gravy.

Do we use lots of gravy on a plate full of turkey? Of course. Why? Because we like gravy. Turkey is a socially acceptable excuse to eat gravy, in the same way that artichoke leaves are a socially acceptable excuse to eat mayonnaise or melted butter. I mean, what socially conscious middle-class American would, in full public view, ladle out a plate of gravy and then consume it, spoonful by spoonful? But fork after fork of gravy smothering pieces of turkey are part of the annual ritual.

But couldn't you use a piece of bread to sop up the gravy, which would be a whole lot less trouble and a lot cheaper than buying a 22-pound turkey? In the rural South, yes. Not elsewhere. So non-Southerners have a substitute. It's called a hot turkey sandwich. You can also eat a mayonnaise sandwich, which lots of people do this time of year. It's called a cold turkey sandwich. Leftover turkey's main function is to enable us to enjoy another round of foods that we refuse to eat without a socially acceptable excuse.

Turkey is also about freedom of choice. "Would you like white meat or dark meat?" White meat means a double portion of gravy, because white meat is dry if the cook has aimed at producing decent dark meat. The cook is always entitled to this excuse for dry white turkey: "But I followed the recipe!" She did, indeed. White turkey meat is dry because it has so little fat in it. So, it's socially acceptable to load up on gravy. A gravy-loving, socially conscious person cannot easily justify a lot of gravy on dark meat. So, he or she chooses white meat.

With Thanksgiving dinner, we also get to eat mashed potatoes, which call out dryly for another ladle of gravy. So, it's two for the price of one.

No; it's actually three: don't forget about the dressing. And here's the great part: you are allowed to heap gravy on top of really high-fat dressing – as Tucker says, dressing made with pig. Thanksgiving dinner is hog heaven for gravy lovers, which means most of us.

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, one phrase comes to mind: "Everything extra is gravy."

Pumpkin Pie

Turkey is to gravy what pumpkin is to sugar. It justifies an indulgence. Pumpkin, like turkey, is good for you. But can you imagine anyone actually wanting to eat cooked orange vegetable in a crust? Not without a boat load of sugar! But sugar is on the outs these days in health-conscious circles, in the same way that gravy is out. So, Americans eat orange vegetable pie at Thanksgiving. With whipped cream. It's socially acceptable. It's even expected.

You think I'm kidding. Well, if you do, try a helping of sugar-free canned cranberry sauce. See how tasty that is. Wash it down with a glass of skim milk. (A milk chaser is ghastly enough with sugared cranberry sauce.)


Thanksgiving dinner is about consuming otherwise socially unacceptable quantities of gravy and sugar. Turkey, pumpkin, and cranberries serve as justifications for eating what we really want, but find it socially unacceptable to eat by themselves.

"Honey, please pass me the gravy dish. I've got a plate full of white meat here."

"All right, but save room for dessert. I've baked a high-nutrition orange vegetable pie."
Best wishes to you and yours for a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

California Ponders Suicide - Texas Offers A Knife

Col. Nick Rowe has written several posts lamenting the foolish - nay, even self-destructive - choices made by California politicos and special interest groups. Now Forbes has highlighted this trend, and by contrasting it with the path that Texas has taken shown it for the dead-end road it truly is.

California Suggests Suicide; Texas Asks: Can I Lend You a Knife?
In the future, historians may likely mark the 2010 midterm elections as the end of the California era and the beginning of the Texas one. In one stunning stroke, amid a national conservative tide, California voters essentially ratified a political and regulatory regime that has left much of the state unemployed and many others looking for the exits.

California  has become a cautionary tale of mismanagement of what by all rights should be the country’s most prosperous big state. Its poverty rate is at least two points above the national average; its unemployment rate nearly three points above the national average.  On Friday Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was forced yet again to call an emergency session in order to deal with the state’s enormous budget problems.

This state of crisis is likely to become the norm for the Golden State. In contrast to other hard-hit states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada, which all opted for pro-business, fiscally responsible candidates, California voters decisively handed virtually total power to a motley coalition of Democratic-machine politicians, public employee unions, green activists and rent-seeking special interests.

Texas’ trajectory, however, looks quite the opposite. California was recently ranked by Chief Executive magazine as having the worst business climate in the nation, while Texas’ was considered the best. Both Democrats and Republicans in the Lone State State generally embrace the gospel of economic growth and limited public sector expenditure.
Since 1998, California’s economy has not produced a single new net job, notes economist John Husing. Public employment has swelled, but private jobs have declined.  Critically, as Texas grew its middle-income jobs by 16%, one of the highest rates in the nation, California, at 2.1% growth, ranked near the bottom. In the year ending September, Texas accounted for roughly half of all the new jobs created in the country.

Even more revealing is California’s diminishing preeminence in high-tech and science-based (or STEM–Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) jobs. Over the past decade California’s supposed bulwark grew a mere 2%–less than half the national rate. In contrast, Texas’ tech-related employment surged 14%. Since 2002 the Lone Star state added 80,000 STEM jobs; California, a mere 17,000.

Hollywood too is shifting frames, with more and more film production going to Michigan, New Mexico, New York and other states. In 2002, 82% of all film production took place in California–now it’s down to roughly 30%. And plans by Los Angeles County, the epicenter of the film industry, to double permit fees for film, television and commercial productions certainly won’t help.
What on earth is LA thinking? An entire industry is moving production outside the city, and their solution is to double fees for the remainder?
International trade, the third linchpin of the California economy, is also under assault. Tough environmental regulations and the anticipated widening in 2014 of the Panama Canal are emboldening competitors, particularly across the entire southern tier of the country, most notably in Houston ... to lure high-paid blue collar jobs away from California’s ports.

Most worrisome of all, these telltale signs of palpable economic decline seem to escape most of the state’s top leaders. The newly minted Lieutenant Governor, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, insists “there’s nothing wrong with California” and claims other states “would love to have the problems of California.”
Newsom does a pretty good ostrich imitation: "There's nothing wrong here that more taxes and regulations can't fix."
But it’s not only the flaky Newsom who is out of sync with reality. Jerry Brown, a far savvier politician, maintains “green jobs,” up to 500,000 of them, will turn the state around. Theoretically, these jobs might make up for losses created by ever stronger controls on traditional productive businesses like agriculture, warehousing and manufacturing. But its highly unlikely.

Construction will be particularly hard hit, since Brown also aims to force Californians, four-fifths of whom prefer single-family houses, into dense urban apartment districts. Over time, this approach will send home prices soaring and drive even more middle-class Californians to the exits.

Ultimately the “green jobs” strategy, effective as a campaign plank, represents a cruel delusion. Given the likely direction of the new GOP-dominated House of Representatives in Washington, massive federal subsidies for the solar and wind industries, as well as such boondoggles as high-speed rail, are likely to be scaled back significantly.  Without subsidies, federal loans or draconian national regulations, many green-related ventures will cut as oppose to add jobs, as is already beginning to occur. The survivors, increasingly forced to compete on a market basis, will likely move to China, Arizona or even Texas, already the nation’s leader in wind energy production.

Tom Hayden, a ’60s radical turned environmental zealot, admits that given the current national climate the only way California can maintain Brown’s “green vision” will be to impose “some combination of rate hikes and tax revenues.”  Such an approach may help bail out green investors, but seems likely to drive even more businesses out of the state.
My God. If even Tom Hayden can figure it out, why can't the rest of the politicians?
California’s decline is particularly tragic, as it is unnecessary and largely unforced. The state still possesses the basic assets–energy, fertile land, remarkable entrepreneurial talent–to restore its luster. But given its current political trajectory, you can count on Texans, and others, to keep picking up both the state’s jobs and skilled workers. If California wishes to commit economic suicide, Texas and other competitors will gladly lend them a knife.
A recent list of jobs and businesses fleeing California is staggering.  

By pure coincidence, the headline in today's San Antonio newspaper announced that San Diego-based Petco (the pet store people) is moving a portion of its corporate headquarters, and 400 high-paying financial, accounting, and management jobs, from San Diego to San Antonio. Anyone want to bet that there's another Petco shoe out there getting ready to drop?

San Antonio also snagged the Toyota Tacoma production line from CA when Toyota shut down its Fremont CA plant last spring.

However, the purpose of this post is not to blow San Antonio's horn. It's rather to express the concern that CA will eventually become another member of the PIGS club. (The PIGS are Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain, all of whom have mismanaged their economy to the point where massive bailouts are necessary.) If this happens in CA, guess who'll get stuck with the tab?

That's right, the U.S. taxpayer.

After all, California is too big to fail...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

And So It Begins

My wife and I spent all morning, and untold hundreds of dollars, at the grocery store today. Friends and family are coming for Thanksgiving, and God forbid that any of them should go home without totally trashing their Body Mass Index.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The weather is usually superior to summer or winter holidays. There's not the gift-giving pressure associated with Christmas or Valentines Day. And we usually get at least a four-day weekend to do nothing but eat, drink, and watch football. What's not to like?

To make it even better, I like to cook. I start planning at least a week in advance, selecting recipes, making lists, and creating schedules. It drove my wife crazy at first, but over time she came to see the wisdom of my method.

The ultimate was about 16 years ago when we had just moved into a new house in Houston. Friends and family came from all over the country. There were so many of them we needed three large turkeys to feed them all. I got overly ambitious and prepared one using the traditional oven-roasted method, I smoked the second one, and deep-fried the third Cajun style. Somehow they all were ready at the same time, along with a multitude of side dishes. To this day I'm not sure how I pulled it off, but I'm wise enough to to stop when I'm ahead. That's the last time I tried anything on that scale.

Still, we will have several guests this year. So today was shopping. Tomorrow is preparing the ancillary meals (that is, what we'll feed them before the Great Feast). Since we're expecting crisp weather, I'm making a couple of gallons of chili. Wednesday will be spent preparing the side dishes. For example, I make the dressing ahead of time, refrigerate it, and then pop it in the oven alongside the bird.

Thursday, of course, is devoted to The Bird. In addition to roasting one, I'm trying something a little new this year. I'm a sucker for infomercials. I saw one a couple of weeks ago for an indoor turkey fryer. After a little research I ordered one. I'm going to fry just a turkey breast this time around. Between the big bird in the oven, the breast, and a baked ham, I figure that should satisfy the hordes. (We'll have four teenage boys here, all jocks, so 'hordes' is not an exaggeration, at least when it comes to consumption of vittles.)

To give you some idea of how the weekend will go, at least for the adults, about half a bottle of sherry is used in roasting the turkey. The dressing is made with brandy. Whiskey Sweet Potatoes are served as a side dish. Dessert is a choice of Jack Daniel's Chocolate Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Cream Sauce, or Bread Pudding soaked in Rum Sauce.

Recipes available upon request...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Busy Week

I'm writing my final exams this week (I create new ones every semester, so that any students who prepare using old exams get what they deserve), plus we're having friends and family come visit for Thanksgiving, so blogging may be affected. For example, today's effort is a simple visual aid to help illustrate FOD.

And while we're at it, let's throw in a little commentary on Bill Clinton, just for the hell of it.

Students at my university were assigned to read two books: "Titanic," and "My Life" by Bill Clinton.

One student turned in the following book report, arguing that the two books were nearly identical.  

Titanic:         cost -  $29.99
Clinton:        cost -  $29.99

Titanic:         Over 3  hours to  read
Clinton :       Over 3  hours to read

Titanic:         The story of  Jack and Rose, their forbidden love, and subsequent catastrophe.
Clinton :       The  story of Bill and Monica, their forbidden  love,  and subsequent catastrophe.

Titanic:         Jack is a starving artist.
Clinton :        Bill is a bullshit artist.

Titanic:         In one scene, Jack enjoys a good cigar.
Clinton :        Ditto for Bill.

Titanic:         During the ordeal, Rose's dress gets ruined.
Clinton :       Ditto for Monica.

Titanic:         Jack teaches Rose to spit.
Clinton :       Let's not go there.

Titanic:         Rose gets to keep her jewelry.
Clinton :       Monica is  forced to return her gifts.

Titanic:         Rose remembers Jack for the rest of her life.
Clinton :       Clinton remembers Monica for the rest of his life.

Titanic:         Rose goes down on a vessel full of seamen.
Clinton :       Monica...ooh, let's not go there, either.

Titanic:         Jack surrenders to an icy death.
Clinton :       Bill goes home to Hilary - basically the same thing.  

He received an A+ for his  report.

(Thanks, Terry)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Funnies

How To Cook A Turkey:

Step 1: Go buy a turkey
Step 2: Take a drink of whiskey
Step 3: Put turkey in the oven
Step 4: Take another 2 drinks of whiskey
Step 5: Set the degree at 375 ovens
Step 6: Take 3 more whiskeys of drink
Step 7: Turk the bastey
Step 8: Whiskey another bottle of get
Step 9: Ponder the meat thermometer
Step 10: Glass yourself a pour of whiskey
Step 11: Bake the whiskey for 4 hours
Step 12: Take the oven out of the turkey
Step 13: Floor the turkey up off of the pick
Step 14: Turk the carvey
Step 15: Get yourself another scottle of botch
Step 16: Tet the sable and pour yourself a glass of turkey
Step 17: Bless the dinner and pass out

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gun-Free Is Not Risk-Free

As long as I'm pointing out some of the foibles of the university where I work (yesterday's post), I should make mention of a recent campus (in)security event.

A few weeks ago we had an "active shooter" exercise. The intent was to tell everyone what to do in case someone started spraying bullets at his or her favorite professors and/or classmates. Stripping away all the politically correct nonsense, it boiled down to a 21st century version of the Cold War "duck and cover" drill.

We're supposed to lock our classroom or office door, turn off the lights, and stay in place until notified otherwise by LEOs. I guess the idea is that the shooter will be discouraged by the lack of targets wandering around and go home.

Somehow I don't think it will play out that way.

I should mention that my campus, like the vast majority, is a gun-freee zone. This ensures that the only armed people on campus will be the bad guy(s) and the college version of mall cops. That doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling of comfort.

Others are concerned as well.
On Sept. 28, 2010, math sophomore Colton Tooley opened fire with an AK-47 outside and then inside the Perry Castaneda Library at the University of Texas at Austin. No one was hurt or killed, except Tooley, who took his own life.

Did somebody forget to tell Tooley the UT campus is a gun-free zone? I have been wracking my brain for the last few weeks trying to figure out how he was able to physically bring a gun onto the campus when the stated policy of the University is that students simply aren't allowed to have guns.
How many tragedies have to happen or almost happen, like on the UT campus a few weeks ago, before we wake up and realize that gun-free school zones make absolutely no sense? 

Never before have I heard such foolish statements as when discussing gun policy on a university campus. Statements so ungrounded in logic as to be absurd.

"I just feel safer on a campus that doesn't allow guns, I like knowing that the person next to me in class doesn't have a firearm." How on earth is this a possibility? We don't attend a school surrounded by fences and metal detectors. Anybody who pleases can waltz onto campus armed to any degree they choose.

In fact, the only thing that gun-free school zones guarantee is that all of the law-abiding, responsible students at a university, and there are many, won't have a weapon. The people who break laws are the people we least want to carry a weapon, and those are the only ones who would carry a gun in a gun-free school zone.

Readers shouldn't misunderstand this article as critical of the police force. They work very hard to protect our campus and enforce laws. But the next most ridiculous statement I hear regarding gun-free school zones is, "it's the police's job to make campuses safe and secure, so students shouldn't be allowed to carry a gun with a concealed carry license."

The last time I checked, there isn't a police officer in every classroom on campus. That kind of a police presence might be the slightest bit overbearing, not to mention entirely impractical financially and administratively. The police are effective at enforcing laws and protecting students, but they aren't omnipresent. School shootings often lead to several tragic deaths before police can arrive and diffuse the situation.

It's clear, after several school shootings in the last few years, that gun-free school zones cannot physically or realistically keep students from carrying weapons. It's nice to pretend that if a University says students can't have guns, nobody has one, but it isn't reality. Universities have harsh policies against drug and alcohol possession, but students trample all over these rules on a regular basis.

The more important conclusion is that simply banning weapons on a campus doesn't work. There have been enough school shootings to show that no matter how firm a university's rules are about weapons, no matter how many signs and postings show pictures of guns with a circle around them and a line drawn through them, students still bring guns onto campus and kill other students. New solutions must be discussed. Whether this means concealed carry, more police officers, or preventative measures to help troubled students not resort to violence, something must be done to ensure a safe campus for students.
I teach in a city on the Texas-Mexico border, where gun-related violence is commonplace. I'm a veteran. I have a concealed handgun license. If I carry on campus I can be fired and prosecuted. If I even leave my firearm in my car - locked, secured, and unloaded - I can be fired and prosecuted. Even if there is no ammunition in the car.

Many of my students are combat veterans, police, or border patrol agents. They carry weapons daily as a job requirement, and may have to make life and death decisions at a moment's notice. Yet once they go home and change clothes, in the eyes of the administration they suddenly become incapable of safely and responsibly carrying those same weapons. If they do carry, they are likewise subject to arrest and prosecution.

In recent years there have been attempts to convince the state legislature to pass a bill allowing concealed carry licensees and LEOs to lawfully carry on campus. This year, because of the preponderance of conservatives elected, there is actually a chance it may pass.

Until then, I'll continue to carry pepper spray and a tactical knife, both of dubious protection but arguable legality. Not much help against a shooter, but at least I can defend myself when dealing with students upset about their grades...

(Images and link to original source here.)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Follies Happy Hour

I'm normally not a big fan of rap, but I thought this video was creative enough to be my official Thanksgiving Happy Hour song.

 So chill out and dig it.


Thank You Big Brother

We are reminded to be thankful for government, because among its many helpful functions is the posting of signs that warn us not to drink from the urinal.
Chandler's new City Hall comes with some features that have municipal workers and visitors scratching their heads. Like the restroom signs that tell people not to drink out of the urinals and toilets.

A few employees have been cracking jokes and speculating about what it would take to make them slurp from potties when water fountains and sinks are a few feet away.

The environmentally-friendly five-story building uses recycled gray water from its cooling system to flush the urinals and toilets. The notices disclose that. "There's a lot in this building that's so new and different; it's exciting stuff," Dunn said. As an aside, he said his private mayor's office restroom doesn't have a don't-drink-out-of-the-toilet sign.
Allow me to restate. One, the government believes it is necessary to post signs telling people not to drink out of receptacles where people urinate or defecate. I would think that most people don't need this sort of instruction, regardless of whether the water used to flush said receptacles is potable or not. Two, government officials are exempted from their own regulations.

Don't get me wrong. I think using gray water is a great idea. It's a wonderful way to conserve water. If it was used in office buildings and hotels millions of gallons could be saved. (For the uninformed, gray water is water that is collected from sinks, air conditioners, roof runoff, and the like, and used for non-consumption purposes like irrigation or flushing toilets. It may or may not be minimally filtered and processed. It is not waste water from kitchen sinks or toilets. That is black water, and goes into the sewer system. I learned all this when we installed a rain water capture system for our house, which I'll discuss sometime in the future.)

However, I remain unconvinced that we need a government agency to prevent us from lapping water from the toilet like some sort of two-legged dog.
Workers also are getting used to the building's energy-saving "light harvesting system." It's set up with light and motion sensors so if there's enough illumination from the sun or if offices and meeting rooms are empty they shut off. Marian Norris, assistant to the city manager, said the motion detector shutoffs save energy by extinguishing lights when workers leave their offices and forget to flip the switch. But crews are adjusting the system because it has been shutting off lights when people are working but are too still. That happened during a recent City Council subcommittee meeting that prompted one official to jump out of his chair and walk briskly around the table just to bring the lights back.
The university where I teach has a similar system. It's a giant pain in the butt. The damn lights are always going off in the middle of conferences with students or while I'm grading papers. It's reached the point where I've put a small fan with paper streamers in front of the sensor. The fluttering streamers are active enough to prevent the sensor from turning off the lights.

The same university has banned personal coffee-makers in our offices. The stated reason was that we have a break room, and should make our coffee in there "in order to conserve energy." No one in the administration has yet been able to explain why it takes less electricity to brew a pot of coffee in the break room than it does in my office, but "rules are rules."

One final comment on the restroom signs. The story comes from Chandler, Arizona. As we all know, AZ has a problem with illegal immigrants, mostly of the Hispanic persuasion. Yet the warning signs are in English only; there are no signs in Spanish. This is an obvious case of racism...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's That Time Of The Year

Course projects are due. Finals are just around the corner. Grandmothers are dropping like flies.

Seriously, at this point in the semester the students are getting tired and surly, the faculty are getting worn down and burned out, and the administrators are being even more troublesome than usual. That's why it was so refreshing to read the following article.

Department Of Education Study Finds Teaching These Little Shits No Longer Worth It
The U.S. Department of Education released a comprehensive, nationwide evaluation of American schools Monday indicating that attempts to teach absolutely anything to these little shits is just a huge waste of everybody's time.

"We remain committed to providing every student in the country with access to a high-quality education," said Education Secretary Arne Duncan, adding that good schools are a key component to the success of American democracy. "But to be honest, none of that matters. We're not talking about promising young scholars here—we're talking about a bunch of fucking animals."

"We've basically flushed $11,000 down the toilet for every single one of these little bastards," Duncan continued. "Not to mention 18 years of my life."

The study, which analyzed the effectiveness of both public and private schools, found that efforts to enlighten these terrors on the subjects of math, history, grammar, and science are as productive as slamming your head into a goddamn brick wall. The research also confirmed that the unbearable shits, who take everything for granted, consistently piss away each learning opportunity they're given.

"When I first started teaching, I would see the smiling faces in my classroom and get excited about nurturing their young minds," said Melanie Whitman, 35, a first-grade teacher quoted in the report. "Now I can't look up from my desk without wanting to puke at the sight of all those little psychopaths."

Secretary Duncan said the study is the first to provide detailed evidence in support of the theory that third-grader Scott Kriesel is a complete fuck-up and perhaps even the living incarnation of Satan.

According to the report, billions of dollars in federal resources have been spent to modernize classrooms and improve teacher training, even though the little brats spend their entire days carving profanities into desks, shouting at whoever's in charge, and refusing to sit down, shut up, and actually learn something for once.

In addition, research suggests that school boards across the nation have grown tired of fighting to obtain funding for brand-new textbooks only to have the miserable fucks just deface them all with ejaculating penis drawings on the first day of class.

When asked if charter schools might help solve some of the problems faced by public education, Deputy Education Secretary Anthony W. Miller told reporters the data indicated any difference they made would amount to jack shit.

"Some charter schools perform better than their public counterparts, some don't," Miller said. "You can't change the fact that any school, no matter how it's funded, is ultimately just another type of building to contain these goddamn monsters for seven hours a day."

Miller added that more involvement from home was not the answer, either, as the little shits tend to have shithead parents who just make everything worse. The only findings from the study that provide a glimmer of hope, he said, are student absenteeism and dropout rates, which continue to increase.

"Christ, I dedicated my career to my students, actually thinking I could make a difference in their lives," middle-school teacher Joan Kubickers said Monday. "If I'd gone into public relations, I'd be making six figures by now. And at a PR firm, I bet I wouldn't have to worry about my tires getting slashed in the parking lot."

"Well, I have to go," she added. "The fucking hyenas in my third-period class await."

The Department of Education study comes on the heels of a survey last month that found 90 percent of all elementary school students resent being taught by pathetic losers who couldn't get a decent job in the real world.
On first reading I thought this was a piece of fiction. But after thinking about it I'm not so sure...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The World Has Gone Crazy

I don't know what's going on these days. Normally I'd suspect a full moon, but this month it doesn't occur until the 21st

Anyway, we now have these two stories of bizarre assaults to go along with yesterday's post about the cop attacked with a sex toy

Wanton Tamale Assault 
A Florida woman was arrested Saturday morning for domestic battery after allegedly assaulting her boyfriend with a plate of tamales. The woman told cops that she tossed the corn-based projectiles at her boyfriend after he called her a “bitch” in front of the couple’s one-year-old son.
According to the police report, deputies responded to a 911 call. Upon their arrival, officers found the alleged victim, Roberto Olvera, with “tamale sauce all over his pants.”
As officers were interviewing Olvera, the woman “burst in interrupting him telling him to tell me that he called her a bitch” during an argument earlier in the day, and that “she threw the tamales on him because she is not going to let him call her a bitch in front of her son and get away with it."
The woman was booked into the Manatee County Jail on a misdemeanor battery count. She was released after posting $500 bond.
Seems like a bit of an over-reaction. He called her a bitch, she threw tamales at him. He wasn't injured; all that happened was that his pants got tamale sauce on them. No harm, no foul. Sounds like a fair exchange to me.

First a dildo, now tamales. What's next - a ninja attack cat?

Never mind.

Then we have the case of the pissed off girlfriend who decided that she didn't want her name tattooed on her boyfriend's neck after they broke up. Rather than employ that new-fangled laser tattoo technology, this gal went all old school on the dude.
Following an argument with her boyfriend, a knife-wielding Nebraska woman allegedly attempted to cut off a tattoo of her name from the man’s neck.
Tressa Amerson, 19, was jailed Friday night on a domestic assault charge following an altercation with her boyfriend Ronald Miner.
Miner told officers that he and Amerson “had been having ongoing relationship problems for the past week.” 
There's a candidate for Understatement of the Year.
Miner said Amerson “grabbed a knife and attempted to cut the tattoo of her name off his neck.”
In an interview, Miner said that he got the 2” x 2” “Tressa” tattoo in late-July and has been dating Amerson for about a year. Asked if he considered Amerson his girlfriend, Miner replied, “kinda, sorta, not really,” before adding, “she’s pretty crazy.” 
And we have another contender for Understatement of the Year. Two from the same story - not bad. 

Something to think about before you get someone else's name permanently inked on your body. Although to be fair, it seems that if tequila can cause you to get a tat or two, it should also be able to remove said tats...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Slinky Stooges

Some people are like Slinkies.

They're not really good for anything, but they bring a smile to your face when they're pushed down the stairs.


Today's post is a two-for-one special. You get a news-of-the-absurd story that I cleverly combine with a FOD post. I'm feeling quite proud of myself.

And now, the news...

Woman Attacks Cop With Sex Toy
A Gurnee woman faces aggravated assault and other charges after police say she threatened to hit an officer with a female sex toy.

Carolee Bildsten, 56, faces single misdemeanor counts of aggravated assault and theft of labor after being arrested at her home Tuesday, Gurnee Deputy Police Chief Kevin Woodside said in a news release issued Thursday.

The incident started at 7:20 p.m. when Bildsten walked out on her tab at Joe's Crab Shack in the 5600 block of Northridge Drive in Gurnee, officials said in the news release.

Police were notified about the bill, and checked the area to see if Bildsten could be located, Woodside said. Police found her laying in the grass on the south side of Grand Avenue, near Six Flags Great America.
That should have been a great big red flag.
The officer spoke with the woman and told her to pay her bill or she would be arrested. Bildsten said her money was at her home, which was a short walk away, according to the news release.

The officer escorted her to the apartment in the 5300 block of David Avenue. Bildsten went to the bedroom to retrieve the money from her dresser, Woodside said.

However, rather than getting the money, she removed a “clear, rigid, feminine pleasure device” from her dresser, held it over her head, and approached the officer in a threatening manner, Woodside said in the release.

The officer knocked the device away before being struck, Woodside said, and arrested the woman. The officer was not injured.
"A clear, rigid, feminine pleasure device" - I wonder how long it took the officer to come up with that description. Although if she was holding it over her head, rather than below waist level, I wouldn't feel too threatened.

A picture of the woman is below. From the photo it's obvious why she needed "a clear, rigid, feminine pleasure device." It'd take a boatload of Shiner before anyone would go out with this whacko.

And here's her weapon of choice.

If you're interested you can buy one here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Politics and Football - Not so strange bedfellows here in Texas...

Q: Why did the Dallas Cowboys coach climb the chain link fence?
A: To see what was on the other side.

Q: What do the Dallas football team and the movie Brokeback Mountain have in common?
A: They both have cowboys that suck!

 * * * * * * * * *

Jerry Jones is flying in the Chilean miners for this weeks football game.

He's looking for anyone who can show the Dallas Cowboys how to get out of a hole.

 * * * * * * * * *

The police found a 6 year old boy wandering the streets. They offered to take him home. The boy said no, because his mother beats him.

The officers asked the boy, "What about your father?"

The boy replied, "He beats me too."

The police asked him who he would like to live with.

The boy replied, "With the Dallas Cowboys, because they don't beat anybody."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Why Some People Can't Sleep

You know who you are...

Oh My Achin' Back

How much irony can we take?

Obama panel probes stimulus waste -- at Ritz Carlton

Members of a key panel created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus bill, have scheduled a meeting on November 22 to consider ways to prevent "fraud, waste, and abuse of Recovery Act funds." The meeting will be held at the super-luxe Ritz Carlton Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona.

The group is the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel, a sub-committee of the larger Recovery Accountability and Transparency board (sometimes known as the RAT board). The stimulus bill set up the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel, or RIAP, to make recommendations to identify and prevent waste of the bill's $814 billion in stimulus spending.

"The purpose of the November 22, 2010 meeting is to allow the RIAP to have an open dialogue, with input from the public, on issues relating to fraud, waste, and abuse of Recovery Act funds," says a notice in the Federal Register. Specifically, participants in the meeting will discuss various techniques to detect and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse, as well as larger issues of transparency and public awareness. Portions of the meeting will be open to the public, while other parts will be closed.

The Ritz-Carlton is located "in the midst of the picturesque Camelback Corridor, the city's premier shopping, dining and financial district," according the hotel's website. Hungry waste-and-abuse hunters can dine in the "casual elegance, relaxed atmosphere and uniquely inviting ambiance of the European-inspired bistro 24." Or they can enjoy Afternoon Tea in the "uniquely warm and inviting" Lobby Lounge. And at any time, waste-and-abuse watchdogs who also enjoy golf will be "just minutes from some of the best courses in the world," including the Tournament Players Club, the Arizona Biltmore, and several others.
I've stayed at the Ritz-Carlton before. Not on my dime, on the client's (I was on a consulting gig for an organization that has more $$$ than God and didn't care how they spent it). "Posh" is an understatement.

If they need a facility that will accommodate public comments, there are plenty of convention halls, arenas, school auditoriums, and the like in the Phoenix area that would be suitable, and a damn sight less expensive.

Of course, why should the panel care. It's not their money they're wasting...

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Follies Happy Hour

A mullet and a Weekend at Bernies ripoff - what better way to start the weekend.

I need to update my will...

Students Busted For Cheating

Normally a bunch of students getting caught cheating on an exam wouldn't be a big story. It's more of an occupational hazard. We professors take all sorts of precautions, but it's a move-countermove game (kind of like terrorism). One side does something and the other side reacts. I only wish the students would put as much effort and creativity into studying as they do in cheating.

What caught my eye about this, though, was two things. First, the Pollyanna-ish attitude of the professor. If he thinks this is the first and only time anyone has ever cheated in his class, well, I wonder what color the sky is in his world. Probably rosy pink.

The second item of interest is the unbelievable attitude of the second student interviewed. He's got some long, unpronounceable name with many consonants, so I didn't write it down, but you can't miss him.

Please bear with the advertisement at the beginning of the video. I couldn't find one without some sort of ad. But please sit through it and see if you're as dismayed as I am.

UPDATE: The video has been removed from the ABC News website, but a written story is available. Excerpts below.
Hundreds of students caught in a cheating scandal at the University of Central Florida in Orlando have been given a choice: Come clean or face the consequences.

Regardless of their decision, all the students must retake their midterm exam this week.

Professor Richard Quinn addressed his students in a videotaped lecture, explaining that the test scores "were a grade and a half higher than [they had] ever had run before."

Those elevated test results sent up a "red flag," so Quinn ran more complicated statistics on the exam results. He said he then received confirmation of his suspicions when a student, "either through a guilty conscience or as a head's up," anonymously tipped him off.

Two hundred students, approximately one-third of the class of seniors, were believed to have received advanced copies of the exam. It was the largest cheating scandal in the university's history.

Quinn, who called the scandal "a knife to my heart, calculated exactly who'd cheated, and then gave the entire class a dressing down.

"To say I'm disappointed is beyond comprehension," he said. "Physically ill, absolutely disgusted, disillusioned, trying to figure out what the last 20 years were all about."
Like I said, Pollyanna lives.
He offered the students an ultimatum: Come clean and take a four-hour ethics course, and your records would be wiped clean. If they chose not to come forward, they'd run a risk.

"If you want to take a high-risk gamble, take it. I challenge you to take it," he said. "Because we know who you are, we know where you are and when academic affairs is done, you'll know the outcome."

Aside from the ultimatum, Quinn is making all 600 students retake the exam, whether they cheated or not. He has given the cheating students until midnight Wednesday to come forward and take the ethics seminar to risk expulsion.
So far, he told ABC News, about half of the cheaters have confessed.
Student responses:
"If this is your major, you should be studying," Riordan continued. "You should want to learn and not to cheat."

Student Alan Blanchard agreed.
"It's horrible," he said. "We don't need unethical people going into the business world, obviously. I'm sure there's enough of them out there."

But student Konstantin Ravvin expressed a different opinion, accusing the university of "making a witch hunt out of absolutely nothing, as if they want to teach us some kind of moral lesson."

"This is college. Everyone cheats, everyone cheats in life in general," Ravvin said. "I think you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in this testing lab who hasn't cheated on an exam."
I wish the video was still available, because that last knucklehead went on to say how adults cheat to get ahead all the time so why shouldn't students, and a bunch more tripe like that. Maybe the adults he knows are like that, but most of the ones I know are generally honest.

I wish the professor the best. I certainly hope the situation is resolved and all those involved get the outcome they deserve. However, I will be very, very surprised if at some point a gaggle of lawyers don't slither out from under a pile of rocks...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Different Kind Of Veterans Day Commentary

Today is Veterans Day. There will be the obligatory speeches and postings professing to honor those who have served, are serving, and will serve. Many of them will be sincere. Some will be pro forma. I applaud the former and despise the latter.

This is a different kind of Veterans Day commentary. It's one I don't enjoy posting. You may not enjoy reading it. But I think it is worthwhile and appropriate.

I am a veteran, as were my father, my mother, and my father-in-law. Perhaps that's why the letter below struck me so forcefully.

The letter speaks for itself...

Why I quit... Desert Storm vet explains decision to leave Air Force after 22 years

By Mike Banzet
I never expected to write this letter, but my Mom e-mailed me to get information about my career for a writeup on Veterans Day, and as this is the first such holiday in 22 years when I will not be on active duty, I felt compelled to let you know why I decided to quit.

Quit is a strong word, I know. Everyone I’ve talked to has repeated that I’ve had a marvelous career and that I’ve retired with honor. Maybe that’s true on paper; I guess that it’s reflected by the record. But that’s not how I feel. I feel like I’ve quit. And because I’m not a quitter, I feel I have to explain why — not that anyone is asking, but because perhaps they don’t know to ask.

Briefly, my career had been a representation of the promise of this country. Starting out on the lowest rung of the rank ladder as an F-4G Wild Weasel crew chief, continuing on F-16s and the F-117A Stealth fighter in Desert Storm, then a small part of Desert Fox as a nuclear Maintenance Officer and finally a pilot that took part in numerous deployments in Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. I finished up an awesome year on the ground in Iraq, and was selected to receive a coveted “Definitely Promote,” assuring me of promotion to lieutenant colonel. They don’t pass out many of those. My dreams were right in front of me. All I had to do was grab them. And then I retired. Why?

I had chosen, freely, to place my life between those that would do harm to the U.S. and those whom I would protect: her citizens. I had always believed in the best of America and the people of her lands; that despite occasional missteps there was a general “rightness” to our way. I lived that belief for 22 years, leading and following warriors into combat. I’m certainly no war hero; my brothers in arms have seen far more combat, more intense and personal than I. But I have become acquainted with death in a way that I hope you never do. My last tour, on the ground in Iraq was where my heart started to be hardened towards you, the electorate, and culminated in this letter, written two days before our elections. And here’s why.

You’ve elected officials who, for partisan points, spoke openly that the “…war is lost.” I happened to be in a dining facility in Baghdad that day, filled with the (mostly) young faces of (mostly) Army men and women. CNN was on the TVs, and things got very quiet when this elected official continued on, railing that the mission that some of these very people were here to do, had “…failed.” Yet, they would be donning their body armor, strapping on med kits and weapons, mounting HMMVs or MRAPs and heading outside the wire, ensuring that the newborn democracy in Iraq, purchased with so many lives, would be safe another night. The newly re-invigorated insurgents would be waiting, teeth bared back in a hateful smile, gripping the IED detonator, the RPG launcher, or the AK-47s to ply their trade with new energy, because the Senate Majority Leader had said they were winning.

You elected officials who continually defame and berate military members, whether it is the observation that if you’re not too bright, you’ll get “…stuck in Iraq” (this from a guy who has two Purple Hearts for self-inflicted wounds, and known for throwing someone else’s medals away in protest), or the calling of combat Marines cold-blooded killers (in a war; before trial). You’ve elected officials in the role of commander-in-chief who “loathe” the military, while using ROTC deferments and special treatment to avoid military service that the less “connected” take as a responsibility. On the basis of “change,” you elected someone who had close, ongoing associations with people who were part of an organization that tried to kill us [U.S. military] on our own soil.

You elected officials that promised to take property from some Americans, and give it to you, merely because they had more than you did. Those Americans that these officials have labeled as the “rich” are your neighbors, who provide jobs and pay far more in taxes than you ever will. That means they are already subsidizing your lifestyle choices; you just want more of their property without the responsibility of risking your wealth and labor to get it. You would rather hire someone to take it from them. And you have.

Yet these same officials from this same party are the wealthiest group of people in both the House and Senate. They have offshore accounts, forbid unions in their businesses and use every tax loophole they can find with their armies of accountants. But you keep sending them back to those jobs, because they promise to steal from some Americans and give to you.

You elect officials who openly embrace illegal activity; but they don’t have to live with the consequences. Other Americans pay the price. You support “sanctuary cities” and open defiance of federal law, including supporting administrations who sue our sister states as they desperately try to control a crime epidemic by supporting federal law. You support an administration that leads a party that gives a standing ovation to the leader of a country that exploits our kindness and actively encourages law-breaking in our country while insulting our fellow citizens who dare to try to enforce the law. Check out your elected officials; did they stand and applaud the racist diatribe of the president of Mexico? Did they join the attorney general and the head of Homeland Security in applauding this gaping hole in (homeland) security and law? Do you have locks on your doors? Why?

You elect officials who are openly racist, decrying that “White folks’ greed drives a world in need…” and that their own grandmother was a “…typical white person.” Someone who sits in admiration as their pastor (small p; no capital letters for racists), in a church he attended for 20 years, slanders the United States as the “…U.S. of KKK America” and delights that the 9/11 “…chickens have come home to roost.” Someone who refused to denounce a paramilitary, racist organization that placed its members in front of polling places armed with billy clubs, and yelling racist, threatening epithets. On video. And the Attorney General did nothing.

Oh, wait. The Justice Department is now apparently, under sworn testimony, the Department of Racial Payback. And you continue to support the party that supports this blatantly racist behavior because they say that they will stick it to “the man” on your behalf. A Nation of Cowards? I don’t think so; the courage of this breathtaking racism is without equal in modern times. One would think that you would use your votes to eradicate these racist policies from the U.S. But that assumes eradicating racism is your aim. It’s not, or you would be as incensed at this blatant racism as you would if sheet-covered whites were there. But longtime Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd’s old gang has been rightfully disgraced and shamed into a virtual non-existence. Thank goodness that 52 percent of you discourage that kind of behavior.

But you don’t. You support the tactic of using the epithet of “racist” as the cudgel of choice for racists who don’t like policies that conservatives advocate. Don’t like illegal activity? Racist. Your party insists that to provide a photo ID — proving you are who you say you are — is not only too much of a burden to ask a voter to bear, but it’s racist as well. This not only terribly insulting to all races, but when the burden of proof to rent the DVD “Second Hand Lions” (amazing movie!) is higher than that required to vote for someone who has control of nuclear weapons or deploying men and women into harm’s way, there is something wrong.

It doesn’t end there. Don’t like a particular female’s policies? Sexist. Yet, you support politicians who prey on 20-year old interns, seduce underage male interns, and, as a double bonus, support a person for the Supreme Court who says she is “wiser” than white people because of her race and sex. And any opponent of hers must be sexist and racist. Yet the prevailing double standard makes “bitch” an acceptable term for a conservative grandmother with the temerity to want to stop illegal activity. And “whore” is acceptable terminology for any conservative woman.

Sarah Palin seems to be a nice person, the kind you would love to have as a neighbor, regardless of her policies; but you insist that she is stupid and vile. She is ignorant and inexperienced, clearly not ready for anything, as holding a variety of elected and appointed positions culminating in the governorship of Alaska clearly doesn’t hold up against… an organizer of race-based communities. Sexist, if a conservative said those words about a liberal, but because she is not pro-killing-little-kids, 52 percent of you decided she was worth vicious ad hominem attacks that continue to this day. Not just saying that you disagree, but saying she is evil. You support it all. All because the folks that practice this abhorrent behavior promise to give you free health care stolen from other Americans who haven’t paid their ill-defined “fair share.”

My oath was this: “I, Mike, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

 I took that oath seriously. But you have responsibilities, too. You should take them seriously.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Happy Birthday to the USMC

Tonight I'll be honored to toast all Marines past present and future.

One Bad NIght

Can't a Guy Have 'One Bad Night?'
Jaws may have dropped over Charlie Sheen's New York hotel adventure (story below), but the Two and a Half Men actor isn't stressing.

"If a guy has one bad night, everybody goes insane and panics," Sheen, 45, tells Extra. "I'm not panicking."
Charlie Sheen Found Drunk and Naked in New York Hotel
Charlie Sheen was found drunk and reportedly naked in a New York hotel early Tuesday morning.

"Police responded to a call for an intoxicated male," a source confirms to PEOPLE. Sheen, 45, was taken to the hospital "in the company of a female, unharmed." He was removed from the scene for "for alcohol abuse and psychological evaluation" and considered an "aided case," meaning no arrest was made.

According to Sheen's rep, "What we are able to determine is that Charlie had an adverse allergic reaction to some medication and was taken to the hospital, where is expected to be released tomorrow."
Ah yes, the old "adverse allergic reaction" line. Boy, if I'd thought to parlay that one with the "Can't a guy have one bad night?" line I could have avoided so much unpleasantness with everyone from ex-wives to police. Both groups tend to overreact to a little exuberance.

Of course, we might have had to amend it to "Can't a guy have a few bad nights?"

In any event, all that is ancient history. The records have been sealed, the statute of limitations has expired, and I'm now a respected and upstanding member of society, entrusted with educating the youth of America.

If they only knew...

One Professor's Fantasy

I have had student conferences like this.

I have had fantasies of responding like the professor character does.

Unfortunately, they are doomed to remain just that - fantasies...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Leftover cartons from the Nov. 2010 elections. Too good to let pass...

Amen, brother...

Irony Alert

Sometimes the headlines just write themselves.

Biden Attends Meeting on Government Transparency - Meeting Closed to the Press
Joe's had some problems with promises recently. He assured everyone that last summer would be full of economic recovery. Which it wasn't. And Joe guaranteed that his Democratic Party would maintain majorities in both houses of Congress in last week's midterm election. Which it didn't.
Today the VP meets with Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board -- the person responsible for monitoring the gazillion-dollar stimulus and keeping the taxpayers informed about it.
However, no one outside the room will know what goes on in that Biden-Devaney meeting. That's because the government meeting on government transparency has been closed.
You just can't make this stuff up...

Just Desserts

Justice, Not Vengeance
A man convicted of killing three members of a Connecticut family in a brutal 2007 home invasion should die for the crime, jurors decided Monday after nearly 18 hours of deliberation.

Steven Hayes, 47, was convicted last month of 16 of the 17 charges against him, including nine counts of murder and capital murder and four counts of kidnapping. Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and her daughters, 17-year-old Hayley Petit and 11-year-old Michaela Petit, died in the attack.

Prosecutors alleged that Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky invaded the Petit home in Cheshire, Connecticut, on July 23, 2007, beat Dr. William Petit, raped and strangled his wife, molested one of the daughters and set the house on fire. 
I've posted before (here and here) about this particular crime. I just cannot comprehend the brutality, heinousness, and wanton disregard of anything remotely resembling empathy or humanity. 
Michaela was an 11-year-old girl -- tortured and killed in her own bedroom, surrounded by stuffed animals.
My daughter is 14. It wasn't that long ago that she was 11 and slept with a ginormous pile of stuffed animals. When I slipped into her room to check on her before I went to bed she had usually burrowed down to the bottom of the pile. That's one of the fondest, strongest images I have of her.
The defense attorney, speaking of the defendant, said "he isn't a rabid dog that needs to be put to death."
I agree with that statement. It's an affront to rabid dogs everywhere. They have a sickness that compels them to behave in a certain way. They literally cannot help themselves. These sick fucks, on the other hand, made a series of cold, calculating, premeditated decisions that resulted in the horrific deaths of a mother and her two daughters. 

I heard a radio interview with the father. He put things in a way that I'd never heard before, but that I thought did a pretty good job of capturing and explaining what he was going through. To the best of my recollection it went something like this.
"This (the death penalty) smooths the edges of the hole in my soul, but that hole will never go away. It will be with me always."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pre-Veterans Day

Veterans Day is this Thursday, Nov. 11. Regardless of your political leanings, this is a day to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of the men and women who wear or have worn the uniform of our military.

This year why not personalize that acknowledgment?

If you live near a VA hospital, drop in for a visit. Just a short 30 minutes or so would mean the world to the people there.

Not near a VA hospital? Participate in programs like Take a Vet to School Day (links here and here) or Thank a Veteran at Work. (Helpful note - if you're not a teacher you can contact your child's teacher and provide them the information about Take a Vet to School Day. Even better - volunteer to help with that day's class!)

Other ideas include donating time and/or money to organizations like the VFW, USO, or DAV.
There are numerous other veteran-oriented organizations and charities out there. I'm not going to list them all, or recommend one over another, but one that I regularly donate to is AdoptaPlatoon.

Some relatively new ones that look promising include Cooking With the Troops , Pin Ups for Vets , and Operation Fight the Post Holiday Blues.

If you see a service member in uniform or anything that makes you think they were one (a VFW hat, for example, or a military pin or tattoo) walk up to them and thank them for their service. A hardy handshake is almost never turned away.

Neither is a cold beer...

FOD In Pictures

In honor of the original FOD

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Funnies

This weekend we celebrate the nonsense that is Daylight Savings Time. Like most things the government mandates, the name is a misnomer. We don't 'save' any daylight. We just artificially move it from one category (p.m.) to another (a.m.).

Kind of like Social Security...

Daylight Savings Time went into effect at 2:00 a.m. today. One of my co-workers is an Aggie. Every year this normally punctual person arrives late to work the Monday after the time change. I finally had to find out why.

"Do you have a problem remembering to spring forward or fall back?" I asked.

"Oh, no," she said, pouring herself a cup of coffee. "What gets to me is staying up until 2 a.m. to change my clock."

Body clock disrupted by 'falling back'? Stay in bed

Daylight saving time ends this weekend. At 2 a.m. Sunday, the clock falls back one hour. While most of us plan to embrace that blessed hour (by sleeping right through it), the time change can throw a few people for a loop.

“They won’t be sleep-deprived, but it’ll hurt their ability to shift their body clock,” said Dr. Alfred Lewy, a professor of psychiatry at the Oregon Health and Science University.

“It might take a couple of days. For some it takes up to a week to shift,” Lewy said. “There are research papers that show that traffic accidents increase up to a week after the changes both in the fall and spring. It’s kind of like having jet lag.”

To avoid having your body clock disrupted, Lewy’s advice is simple: “Even if you can’t sleep an extra hour, stay in bed with your eyes closed. If you want to get up, don’t go outdoors. Draw the blinds and don’t have lots of sunlight come into house.”  This could help your body adjust to the time change.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

They Still Don't Get It

A short compilation of what liberal commentators are saying regarding the election results.

From Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair:
...The general anti-Obama rage out there is palpable. But it’s no more virulent than the anti-Bush sentiment that has pervaded the country for much of the past decade—although this being America, there’s an attendant hatred for Obama that has more to do with race than anything else. What makes today’s fury more worrying is the fact that angry right-wing extremists tend to carry guns in disproportionate numbers to their liberal counterparts.
Ah yes, we're all gun-toting racists. The election has nothing at all to do with his policies. It's all about the color of his skin. And of course it must be us angry right-wing extremists who are shooting up Marine facilities to vent our rage. After all, the Marines are natural targets for the anti-obama crowd.

Then there's MSNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan (and what could be a more descriptive term for MSNBC commentators than "anchor," seeing as how the network's ratings are sinking like an anvil in water):
...during a November 3 segment with Nicolle Wallace, the former George W. Bush staffer told Ratigan that Tea Partiers who fueled last night's electoral shakeup were furious at the direction of the country the past few years.

Ratigan's reply:
"The Tea Partier burns themselves in the town square and then tries to burn the whole town down, because they’re so pissed off. [It] gratifies their anger. Yee ha! You’re mad, you just killed everybody!"

"I’m mad, I’m using it to motivate me to work 18-hour days to try to first propagate the information properly and secondarily organize around it. So while I would say the emotional origin is similar, the manifestation instead of being destroy the country, destroy myself, which is what the Tea Party in my view has become, where the anger is just converted into destruction, that the anger can be converted into construction."
I guess I missed the news stories about Tea Party members setting themselves and surrounding buildings on fire while rioting, looting, and destroying everything in their path.

And while we're on the subject of MSNBC, I'd like to give a shout-out to my buddy Keith Olbermann. Way to put your money where your mouth is, Keith.

Finally, we have Bill Press, host of a liberal radio show (hey, I was as surprised as you are to find out one exists).
Bill Press says what most liberals in the media will only shroud in cryptic code: the voters who swept Democrats out of power in the House are stupid.

During the first hour of his eponymous radio program today, Press wished more liberal politicians would just say what they really think about the constituents they ostensibly serve: "Just once – probably never get reelected if you ever said it – I would like to hear somebody say, 'The voters have spoken, the bastards.'"

The left-wing talk show host suggested a few variations of the insult:

"Or, 'The voters have spoken. What a bunch of idiots.'"

"The voters have spoken. God, they're dumb. Dumb as hell."
They were so much smarter two years ago, right Bill? I wonder how they got so dumb in a short 24 months.
Liberals in the media have repeatedly made the case that the Democrats's dismal approving ratings can be attributed to poor messaging, not that the voters get the message loud and clear but reject the liberal agenda behind it.

Some have taken this argument a step further, arguing that congressional Democrats have languished because their agenda hasn't been liberal enough. But Press is one of those special liberals in the media who cuts through this circuitous argument and tells it like it is: the voters reject liberalism simply because they are knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.
Well, that's enough for now. I've got to go read my Bible and clean my guns ... oh yeah, and gloat...