Friday, May 28, 2004

My new favorite 'celeb' babe

Sarah Bernard

Ring any bells? Unless you're a regular watcher of CNN's American Morning, probably not.

Sarah's a contributing editor for New York Magazine and appears a couple of times a week on the "90 Second Pop" feature.

And she's fantastic.

Not only is she amazingly cute - dark-brown hair, big brown eyes, beautiful face, nice bod - but she's smart, funny and seems cool as hell. Her appeal is not unlike that of the wife, which makes it much easier for the wife to put up with me saying "I love her" whenever Sarah's on CNN.

Sarah's starting to make solo appearances on American Morning, so her TV star may be on the rise. Thus I figure I should stake my claim as an early adopter of her charm.

She's still such an unknown commodity that she hardly appears in Google searches outside of New York Magazine and CNN results. A Google image search turns up only two tiny shots:

This is her at some party (from Slate)

This is a shot from a New York Magazine bit on her wedding last year. No, she didn't marry Dean from Gilmore Girls, her husband is another writer there - Hugh Lindgren.

I know, the photos don't really show how cute she is, but trust me. Or better yet, check out American Morning on Tuesdays (her regular day) at about 7:40.

And remember ... you read praise of Sarah here first.

Thursday, May 27, 2004


I've got an extra invite to give away for the Gmail beta. Anybody want it?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

A.B. gets Wired

I came home this evening to find the new issue of Wired in my mailbox. Actually, I found two copies of Wired in the mailbox, and thanks to the human kindness of the wife, Tye Fussell of 1282 Oak Grove Ave. should be getting his soon (stupid post office).

Anyway, I dug in to the mag tonight and found a really great piece on Alton Brown (host of Good Eats on Food Network) and his cooking-as-science crusade. I know TYB is a big A.B. fan, but if any of the Wisdom Nation hasn't discovered Good Eats, it's high on my recommended list.

I found Good Eats a couple of years ago and have become a full-fledged A.B. disciple.

I just counted, and I have 26 episodes on the TiFaux right now waiting to get burned to DVD (I've managed to burn out ten or so shows so far). I have both of his books and will get the new one when it comes out in September. I'll probably buy his DVD collections, even though I have all the episodes on the TiFaux or my home-burned discs.

Since Alton's come in to my world, I cook with kosher salt (the wife found me a very A.B.-like salt cellar to keep it in). I make steaks in a "rocket hot" cast-iron skillet. I have ventured into the world of scratch biscuits (in my pre-Atkins days). I've poached fish in evaporated milk. I'd feel comfortable turning pork belly into bacon (although I haven't done it yet). I no longer break eggs on the side of the bowl, and A.B.'s omlette method has let me improve upon my already-advanced technique learned years ago from The Frugal Gormet (who turned out to be a child molestor, but that's another show).

Good Eats is, simply, the best cooking show ever. I know more about the "whys" of cooking than I ever thought I would. A.B. provides a science lesson wrapped in a Pee Wee's Playhouse production. He's Bill Nye of the kitchen. You get the picture.

The Wired piece will be online June 1 if you don't care to buy the mag. It'll be linked here.

For more A.B., check out Alton's site, and don't miss his excellent if infrequently updated blog.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

RSS Update

I got an email the other day from Norman, who had found my not-yet-publicized Big List of RSS Feeds (look in the left rail).

Mostly Norman was complaining about his feed not being listed (it was an oversight, I swear - Espresso Sarcasm is linked in my rail and is in my reader - I promise), and I was happy to correct the mistake.

But I noticed that the RSS version of his Blogger Atom feed was coming from someplace called FeedBurner. I'd created RSS versions of the Wisdom feed and a bunch of other Blooger feeds with the rather-crappy system, so I went over to FeedBurner to check out their service.

As it turns out, FeedBurner rocks. Not only does it easily turn Atom to RSS, there's a bunch of other feed formats and promotional/tracking tools at the blogger's disposal. It's in "pre-Alpha" right now, so we'll see how their business model (i.e. paid?) evolves, but for now, it's the best feed-focused service I've found.

I converted the Wisdom feed to a FeedBurner RSS:

And I also set up FeedBurner versions of:

Coffee Achiever
Daniella's Misaventures
Robin's Ramblings
Reading in the Dark

Excellent service, that FeedBurner.

Oh, by the way, I've created a Big List of RSS Feeds that I'll keep updated with my favorite feeds for your RSS enjoyment (there, it's publicized).

If you've got favorite feeds you think I should list, leave a comment on this post or the Big List post and I'll check it out (I watch my comments with the very-nice HaloScan Comments RSS feed).

And if you're still not surfing through RSS, get with the times, man! Download BottomFeeder and plug in some of my recommended RSS feeds.

Hey kids - come see the pretty green cloud!

This morning in Atlanta, we're dealing with a chemical plant fire out in Conyers. It's a BioLab warehouse where they repackage things such as pool chlorine.

A big, nasty cloud of chemical haze is moving out across the far-east suburbs as I write this. Here's a photo:

This has been going on since very early this morning, and the Atlanta TV stations are living up to their reputation as clueless and useless.

Instead of focusing on information such as what kind of damage chlorine can do to a human and what you should do if you're in the path of the plume, the reporters provided such valuable information as "To give you a feel for the size of the cloud, if this warehouse was at Hartsfield, the cloud would stretch all the way to Sandy Springs. If it were at Six Flags ..." You get the idea.

Just now, a former BioLab worker called in to WSB to tell them that this chlorine cloud is no damn joke. Apparently the only way to get the information about chlorine poisioning out is to have people who know about it to call in.

I, of course, grew up in the middle of Louisiana's chemical alley, and I've seen more than my share of chemical fires, spills, vapor clouds, etc.

This is a potentially very bad situation.

But, as the WSB anchor said a while back "I've never seen anything like this."


Sunday, May 23, 2004

War is Heck

I was cruising Yahoo! News tonight and came across two bits from Iraq that compelled me to write this very un-Homespun rant.

The first was an AP story headlined "Morgue Records Show 5,500 Iraqis Killed". The AP, it seems, felt compelled to investigate and report upon the number of Iraqi civilians since G.I. Joe came to town ... while we're still on the ground trying to un-cluster that most-clustered little bit of desert.

The fact that the story mentions how Iraq is not necessarily a worse-off place now - what with Saddam having killed about 300,000 - 500,000 people and all - just underscores how this story serves to do nothing but make us look like "bad guys" despite the fact that all-in-all the Iraqis are doing a lot better now.

The second bit was a slideshow of photos from the wedding U.S. planes supposedly hit the other day, killing 45 people. Hey look, here's the keyboard player:

And he's dead now! Damn you, George Bush!!

See, here's the thing: War is ugly. In war, people die. That's pretty much the goal of war. Typically, the people who die are soliders, but often they are civilians.

It's unlikely the U.S. meant to kill innocent people at a wedding in Iraq. Maybe we targeted the wedding thinking it was something else. Maybe it was something else. Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe we did set out to bomb that wedding.

War is ugly.

Anybody remember August 6, 1945? A town called Hiroshima? We killed about 80,000 civilians - on purpose - in a matter of seconds. Three days later, we went back and killed another 50,000 or so civilians at Nagasaki. Again, on purpose.

Elsewhere in World War II, we killed about 100,000 civilians in Tokyo, 40,000 civilians in Dresden, and tens of thousands of others along the way to victory.

In case anybody is not clear on this point yet, let me make it crystal:

The United States has killed hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of civilians in our 228 years of existence, from the Revolutionary War through Iraq and Afghanistan. And we're the good guys.

In war, you kill people. Sometimes you kill civilians - whether on purpose or by accident. It's just how war works. Always has, always will.

But there was no Yahoo! News in 1945. The AP couldn't get their hands on photos of a wedding that had just taken place in Hiroshima. The media wouldn't have been able to get access to the morgue in Dresden to count the bodies there.

You'll no doubt hear anti-war types talking about the 5,500 dead Iraqis in the coming days, and the Iraqi wedding photos will also get a lot of play.

The question in my mind is whether we - fat, lazy Americans - still have the stomach for war.

Somehow, I get the feeling we don't.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

iTunes wish list

I wrote a few weeks ago about my lack of enthusiasm for having a bunch of credits for iTunes songs thanks to Pepsi. I just don't see tremendous value in what is available on iTunes. I'm not a "singles" kind of guy, and if I like a band enough to pay for their stuff, I'd still rather buy a physical CD.

But now Apple is looking to use iTunes as a platform to distribute out of print music.

Good move, Mr. Jobs.

Just think how much music has been produced over the years that is simply not available today. Stuff that was originally put out on LP that wasn't popular enough to get re-released on CD ... things that had very limited runs that you'd only find in used-record stores now ... leftover cuts from once-popular albums that have never seen the light of day ... alternate takes/demos/goofs (think R.E.M.'s Dead Letter Office) that fans of a given band would love to buy, but have no broad commercial market ... and so forth.

The financial risk involved in pressing, packaging, distributing and retailing a CD means that only material which record companies think will be popular enough to recoup all of those physical-product costs and turn a profit are ever released.

Take, for example, the new Deluxe Edition of Weezer's first album. The "deluxe" part is a second disc of demos, rare tracks, alternate cuts, etc. I bought it a few weeks ago and discovered that it's part of a series of similar "deluxe" re-issues from acts like The Who and Jimi Hendrix. Good stuff, but you won't see such re-issues for acts with more marginal appeal than Weezer (I have to figure theirs is a borderline profitable re-issue).

But cut the costs down to the $6 an hour you'll have to pay an intern to hunt down some masters, cut them over to digital and e-mail them to iTunes, and the financials suddenly start working in the favor of a track that might only sell 5,000 copies.

So this excites me.

Let me offer Mr. Jobs and the iTunes gang a few suggestions for out-of-print and rare stuff to go track down and offer up at iTunes. This, of course, is my own personal wish list. I welcome your wishes as well.

The Accelerators - Leave My Heart (album). These are The Accelerators from North Carolina, not the ones from Scotland. Leave My Heart is a fabulous record (produced by Don Dixon) full of songs about teenage girls, lesbians, inter-racial relationships, threesomes and more. I don't think it was ever put on CD. I have a cassette copy of it that I made in about 1984 from the LP that one of our gang had bought.

• Studio outtakes from The Replacements' Twin/Tone records - Legend says the boys broke in to the Twin/Tone offices one night, stole all of their early masters and tossed them in the Mississippi River. But I've got too many bootlegs that feature outtakes from Sorry Ma' to believe this. If Twin/Tone put 1,000 alternate cuts, outtakes, f*ckups, etc. from Sorry Ma', Let it Be and Hootenany for sale at 99 cents apiece, I'd buy every one of them.

• City compliations - How cool would it be to round up the homemade singles put out by bands back in the days before the "indie" revolution and organize them into cities and eras? I'd love to pick up tracks from all the Baton Rouge bands of the early/mid 80s, and it would be cool do sample what was going on in Chapel Hill, Seattle, Athens, Austin, etc. that never really broke out.

• "Deluxe" versions - In the mold of the aforementioned Weezer re-issue, I want a full disc's worth of alternate tracks, outtakes, demos and bonus material from the following: London Calling, My Aim Is True, Murmur, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, Texas Flood, Ramones, and I'm sure a lot more if I thought about it.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

If you thought killing Haitians caused a fuss ...

The first screenshots are out for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which will be released in October (we've already pre-ordered it at Amazon).

And here's what Rockstar is showing:

Hmm. Urban youths participating in a drive-by.

Another urban youth posing in front of his lowrider proudly holding his Mac-10.

Yet another urban youth, baggy pants down to expose his BVDs, hanging out in his troubled L.A. neighborhood.

So the game (set in L.A.) seems to feature African-American characters (and no doubt Latinos as well) as violent gang members. And it could be that the youth in the second photo above is the gun-toting ebony "hero" (the L.A. equivalent of Tommy Vercetti).

In Vice City, Tommy was out to kill Haitians and Cubans. In GTA3 it was mostly Italian mobsters on the other end of the guns. But come October, GTA will set its sights on America's favorite minorities, which are also being protrayed as the worst kind of stereotype (bling-bling wearing, gun-toting, low-rider-driving gang members).

The GTA franchise has become one of the most successful video games lines of all time, with more than 30 million units of GTA3 and Vice City sold to date. And - with PlayStation 2 prices coming down and gaming still gaining in popularity - San Andreas will likely outsell them both.

Get ready for the joint press conference with Joe Lieberman and Jesse Jackson.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Welcome, YetAnotherFakeEmail

Our friends over at have switched to the very consumer-friendly business model of making every visitor register for the site before they can view any content. Being pretty familiar with their old business model of publishing the entire newspaper online for free every day (and driving down subscriptions and sales of the print version), I guess they have to try something.

But I'd love to get a look at their new user database. I figure they probably have a few hundred thousand people "registered" at this point, and I'd imagine most registrations look a lot like the one I created tonight (my cookies got dumped, so in order to use the very fine set of RSS feeds That Yellow Bastard set up, I had to re-register):

First Name: YetAnotherFakeEmail
Last Name: ForTheAJC
Email Address (must be valid):
Password: password
Year of Birth: 1915
Household Yearly Income: More than $100,000 (to get them excited)
Gender: Female
Street Address: 714 Hank Aaron Drive, Atlanta, 30315
Phone: 404-555-1212
How do you use the AJC: Subscribe 7 days (again, excitement for them!)
Tell us about your interests (check boxes): Each and every thing you asked me if I was interested in! What a great user I am for you to have! The advertisers will love me!
E-Mail newsletters you'd like to receive: All of them! Gimme! Wow, you sure do have a lot of newsletter subscribers - advertisers will love that!

I wonder if the AJC people have an intern who sits around all day just weeding the obviously fake registrations like this one out of their legitimate user data. Somehow I doubt it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Trust us, we're the DMV

Word is that the State of Georgia revoked the registrations last week of about 77,000 vehicles "believed" to be uninsured. Note my use of quotation marks about "believed".

I'm all for getting uninsured motorists off the road. Down in the 'hood, I bet more than half of the Impalas and Delta 88s flying down Moreland Ave. have no insurance, and lord knows I don't want them to hit me.

But there's a potentially huge problem with what the state is doing. See, here in Georgia we have a fairly new law that says the state only recognizes you as having insurance if the DMV computers say you have insurance. You no longer have to carry insurance cards - mostly because they are legally meaningless now.

And your insurance company is responsible for telling the DMV computers that you have insurance. Gee, no chance for a problem there, huh?

I ran in to this issue firsthand in March when I went to renew the tags for my Maxima and the wife's Santa Fe. As the clerk was processing my renewal, she stopped suddenly and told me there's no insurance coverage showing on the Santa Fe, so she cannot renew my registration.

Apparently, this happens often enough that the DMV keeps stacks of instruction sheets at the ready to give to folks in my situation. She handed me a sheet and mentioned that my insurance company would have to fax in a declarations page in order for me to register. I showed her my insurance card to no avail.

She told me that what happens a lot of the time is that the insurance company will mistype the VIN number (gee, it's only about 50 alphanumeric characters and insurance companies must only have to do it about 10,000 times a day - how could that happen?) when entering coverage information.

Thankfully, my insurance company - Progressive (highly recommended) - was on the stick enough to get a declaration faxed over (at 8:30 in the morning) within about 5 minutes.

After my renewal, I had to follow-up with Progressive to get them to re-input the Santa Fe VIN into the DMV computer, because despite having a declaration page in front of her, the renewal clerk could not actually update my insurance status. The fax only allowed me to get my registration renewed.

Today, I called Progressive to make sure the insurance information had been updated. They assured me it was (I'm going to double-check on the DMV site, however).

I guess I should be glad my birthday's not in July. If I hadn't registered in March, the state would still believe the Santa Fe is uninsured. The DMV says notices go out to people whose cars show up as uninsured (just getting a notice costs you $25), but considering I also had to change my address when I registered, I doubt we'd have even gotten a notice.

If you're "believed" to be uninsured and you're stopped by a cop, you're subject to additional fines and your vehicle can be impounded.

So it's quite possible that a person - such as myself - who is fully insured can have his or her tag revoked, car impounded and potentially go to jail for somebody else's clerical or technical error.

Of course, the wife's the one who drives the Santa Fe most of the time ...

Great things about the wife - No. 1612

Not only can she wear my 4th-grade little league jersey as a pajama top ... she does.

[editor's note: I think she would be less likely to actually wear the jersey if my team wasn't sponsored by Coffee Call (Cafe au Lait and beignets). But an orange-mesh jersey with a huge coffee cup on the front and "Kenny" on the back is too much for her to resist.]

Thursday, May 13, 2004

... yep, it's Rod Dreher

This from our "Nobody Will Get This But Lee, TCL & Scott" department:

I was enjoying a click-stream-of-consciousness through some blogs tonight that ultimately led me to a post on dealing with how the Dallas Morning News handled the beheading photos of Nick Berg.

In that post was this seemingly-insignificant line:
"Editorial writer Rod Dreher pushed to run the photo ..."

So I clicked the link on his name, and sure enough, it's that Rod Dreher.

Those of you who aren't, in fact, Lee, TCL or Scott are probably asking yourself "who the hell is Rod Dreher?"

The short story is: Rod Dreher is my "arch nemesis".

In one way or another, his existence has irked me for just about 20 years now. So, of course, he pops up again as I'm innocently breezing through some blogs.

Nemesis Phase 1: Beret Boy
It was a weekend night (circa 1985) at The Chimes and Dash Rip Rock was playing. I'm not sure who all was with me that night (other than Lee, who was always there), but we were all kicked back in one of the elevated booths, draining pitchers of beer and taking in the show like the cool cats that we were. Most Dash fans at the time took in the shows with a sort of subdued intensity. But out there in front of the stage appeared two or three people who seemed to think they were at a Sparks concert - dressed up in "trendy" clothes and flailing around in a high-energy dance that only kids who go to magnet schools learn how to do.

The leader of this group of losers seemed to be this one kid who flailed just a little faster and dressed with slightly more purpose - including a ridiculous beret.

"Who the f*ck are those idiots?", I asked my guys. Lee tells me he recognizes the beret guy from one of his classes, that he thinks his name is Rod and we had gone to that weird "arts and sciences" school in north Louisiana.

"Well, he's an idiot. I hate him." was my response.

Rod the Beret Boy would become a fixture at Dash shows, always dancing like a magnet school moron and always irking me. I so dreaded seeing him walk in the door of The Chimes, Lee dubbed him my "arch nemesis".

I figured the extent of my exposure to Rod the Beret Boy would be Dash Rip Rock shows, but I was wrong.

Nemesis Phase 2: J-School Jackass
After I went into journalism, I discovered that Rod the Beret Boy was also a journalism major. Actually, he was an obnoxious, over-cocky, irritating, loud-mouthed journalism major. I suffered through a class we were in together one semester, and then changed my schedule when he walked in to my "opinion writing" class the next semester.

His involvement with The Reveille is one reason I had no interest in writing for them. I did all I could to avoid Rod Dreher.

He won all sorts of student-newspaper awards for being such a cocky jackass, which pissed me off even more.

Then on the last day of the semester in which he was graduating (we are the same age, but he didn't opt for the 6.5-year plan), Rod wrote an editorial in The Reveille that changed my opinion of him 180 degrees.

He wrote that anyone graduating LSU with any sense of ambition and any desire to make a good life for themselves should leave Louisiana the day after graduation, for Louisiana is a backwards, hopeless place that sucks the life out of anyone with talent and ambition.

Wow, I thought. He gets it. He just wrote exactly what I think about Louisiana. Maybe he's an OK guy after all.

A week later, he took a job as the movie critic for the Baton Rouge paper.

Nemesis Phase 3: The Sellout
So Rod Dreher became the embodiment of the power Louisiana has to suck all life and ambition out of you. I hated seeing his byline in The Advocate (the Baton Rouge daily, not the national gay newspaper) during my last year at LSU, but I so despised him and his hypocricy, it was even more motivation for me to leave Louisiana.

Nemesis Phase 4: Undue Fame
I didn't hear much about Rod Dreher for a few years, then one day I'm watching TV and a talking-head show is on. "Welcome Rod Dreher, a writer for the New York Post ..." the host said.

"Oh, for f*ck's sake," I thought to myself. And sure enough there was a beret-less Rod Dreher staring at me through my television.

It was clear my nemesis would not go quietly into .... well ... wherever nemesises are supposed to go quietly into.

It turns out Rod had taken a job as movie critic for the Post after a few years in Baton Rouge, and somehow had transformed himself into a right-wing editorial columnist. So, from time to time, Rod would show up on Fox News to spew the kind of right-wing garbage I'd long ago come to hate.

On one of our trips to New York, I picked up a Post (having forgotten about Right-wing Rod's job there), and was smacked upside the head once again with the reality of my nemesis.

Nemesis Phase 5: Burnout
I don't remember if TCL (a subscriber) told me that Rod had left the Post and was writing for National Review, or if I discovered this on my own. "F*cking hell" was my reaction to this development, I believe.

The nemesis had surfaced again. But on the road to Bob Novak status as a major conservative commentator, Rod threw a rod.

It turned out that his jump from the Post to National Review was a result of Rod getting really freaked out by the anthrax incident at the Post just after Sept. 11. And the attacks on New York helped push him down some weird path toward Mel Gibson-like fundamentalist Catholicism.

His name would pop up in articles about dangerous Christian writers, and he's apparently a champion of the anti-gay-marriage movement (yes, I despise him for that, too).

I don't know when he left National Review or under what circumstances, but he was clearly marginalized in his Catholic wackiness and wound up at some freaky God outfit.

Foiled by your own religious zealotry! Take that, nemesis!

I'd figured him to be forever mired in the obscure world of religious zealots. And that pleased me. He never deserved to be taken seriously as a "political commentator" at National Review, and he drank too much of the right-wing KoolAid.

Nemesis Phase 6: Ressurection
But now he's re-surfaced in Dallas. Apparently he's been there a year as an assistant editorial-page editor (these are the folks who write the "unsigned" editorials that are supposed to represent the whole paper), and pieces are just starting to appear under his own byline.

There must have been a "cooling off" period imposed by the paper to help people forget about his fundamentalist Christian rants. His reputation was so poor that there was a petition circulated by the Dallas Muslim community asking the paper to fire Rod.

Nemesis Phase 7: Trying to be cool like Cap'n Ken
The one bylined column of his appearing on the DMN site talks about how he decided to buy a house intown rather than in the suburbs and how much he loves his funky intown neighborhood. Kind of like how the wife and I sought out and love funky East Atlanta.

Will it never end?? DAMN YOU, NEMESIS!!!

This week's Pivik

Finals are going on down at LSU, and so The Reveille is done for the semester. Therefore, no Jessica Pivik column. In fact, we may have seen the last of "On Top".

But no worries. I figured Jessica would be busy with finals this week, so I wrote her column for her.
On Top

With Jessica Pivik (by Cap'n Ken)
May 13, 2004


"It's better to give than to receive."

Any girl who says that obviously isn't with the right man.

Come on, guys. I know it's a jungle down there, but with a little practice, your oral skills can rival those of Jessie Jackson.

If your gal can master the art of sword swallowing, the least you can do is learn how to make your way through her forest.

But a lot of girls tell me their men remain clueless when it comes to giving oral pleasure.

"Most of the time, I end up wondering what the hell he's doing down there," a friend told me. "But I give him an A for effort."

Some girls I talked to are just so happy to find a man willing to make frequent trips to the "Y", they don't dare criticize his cunnilingual skills.

"If I tell him he's not doing it right, I'm worried he will take it personally and just stop doing it," said a sophomore.

Most guys admitted that developing oral skills is not high on their agenda.

"I see it as part of the process," a guy responded. "If I need to go down on a girl to get laid, that's fine with me."

Historically, girls, your pleasure has always taken a backseat to his.

And Dr. Debbie Stoller of Yale University says while Bill and Monica helped bring the blow job into vogue, the same is not true of cunnilingus.

"The reciprocal act continues to be inappropriate breakfast banter; hell, there's not even a cute, colloquial name for it," she says. "The word 'cunnilingus' doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, if you get my drift."

So women are expected to give a good hummer, but men have no pressure to improve their technique.

But it's not like guys aren't interested in spending time south of the border.

A recent survey found that more men than women found cunnilingus to be "appealing."

"I want to make my girl happy," one guy said. "I take pride in all of my bedroom skills."
No, girls, I'm not giving you his phone number.

And for you girls who may be self-conscious and pull a willing man away, loosen up! He wants to do it!

As with any sexual activity, play it safe and avoid those STDs.

Whether your man is an oral pro or just a clumsy licker, the bottom line is that his face beats your hand any day.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

I hear the FBI is now hot on the tail of Tommy Vercetti

I don't know if this story is true, but if it is, it's damn hilarious.

The Google Terrrorist

It was the lead item on the government's daily threat matrix one day last April. Don Emilio Fulci described by an FBI tipster as a reclusive but evil millionaire, had formed a terrorist group that was planning chemical attacks against London and Washington, D.C. That day even FBI director Robert Mueller was briefed on the Fulci matter. But as the day went on without incident, a White House staffer had a brainstorm: He Googled Fulci. His findings: Fulci is the crime boss in the popular video game Headhunter. "Stand down," came the order from embarrassed national security types.

From US News via Boing Boing

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Bourbon Street - a Tap-Free Zone

OK, the whole Iraq beheading this still has me a bit freaked out, but the Wisdom goes on ...

A New Orleans woman has been banned from the French Quarter for one year for letting her kids tap dance for money on Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras.

Apparently, it's now considered "contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile" to allow youngsters to tap dance on the street and get paid for it. The kids made about $150 in a couple of hours.

This family, no doubt, is black. And uptown on that same day there were no doubt plenty of white parents letting their underage kids drink along St. Charles. I wonder how many of them were arrested for "contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile"?

My favorite part of this story, however, is the quote from Judge Raymond Bigelow in handing down the sentence:
"You can't have young people out there. It is dangerous. People will jack them."

"Jack them"? I hear the judge then called the mother "whack".

Posts on hold

I was planning to post bits tonight about tap dancing on Bourbon Street, or the Ga. DMV tonight, and then the stories started to come across my feeds about the 26-year-old U.S. civilian worker being beheaded by Iraqi thugs in the name of retaliation for the prison abuse over there.

That story stopped me in my tracks. A young American working to rebuild communication lines in Iraq is kidnapped and executed on camera as a political message to the U.S.

Looking at the photos of him moments before his execution, I thought about what his last minutes must have been like. Seeing pictures of his father and brother broken down in tears on their front lawn made me pissed off at the media for being there then.

And realizing what an effective weapon this kind of random, brutal and videotaped act may turn out to be for the Iraqi / Al Qaeda militants gave me the chills.

"Thank you for calling the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, Whitey speaking"

Everybody's favorite ex-Klansman, almost-governor and almost-senator of Louisiana, David Duke, is fulfilling his halfway-house "work" requirement by answering the phones at the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, an organization he founded which owns the charming URL of

Duke's halfway-house stint is the last part of a federal sentence he's serving for fraud.

So if you have a spare minute, you might want to give David a call and talk about how the black man is keeping the white man down. According to his site, the number for the EAURO is 985-626-7714. But you better hurry - he is officially free on May 15.

Monday, May 10, 2004

A girl by any other name ...

I'm a big fan of useless statistics. As Clifford Worley said, I find that shit fascinating.

So when the Social Security Administration comes out with its annual list of top baby names, I like to spend a little time poking around their database. Since 1990 (they must have upgraded to 486 CPUs that year), they've been keeping tabs on each and every name coming across the SSN applications, and you can run searches on the popularity of different names (if they are in the top 1,000) over that time.

You may have seen the list of top boy and girl names for the year:

Top 5 Boys: Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Andrew

Top 5 Girls: Emily, Emma, Madison, Hannah, Olivia

But my desire to waste my evening (nothing much on the TiFaux after we caught up on Gilmore) led me to dig deeper. Baby names are nothing if not trendy, so I wanted to see how the top names have fared over the 14 years of SSN data.

The top boy names have held fairly steady:

You'll notice Jacob's hard charge to the top spot (20 in 1990 to 1 in 2003), but otherwise it's a pretty steady list.

The girl side, however, is a different story.

Check out the moves on Madison! From 216 to 3 in just 14 years. Emma's gone from 132 to 2 and Olivia from 74 to 5. Only Emily (12 in 1990) and Hannah (31 in 1990) have been consistent performers.

I tried to put some logic to Madison's rapid rise, but Splash came out in the early '80s and if there's some other celebrity factor driving her rise, it's not coming to me at the moment. It looks like Emma's jump from 13 to 4 happened the year Rachel named her and Ross' kid that, but she'd been climbing the charts pretty quickly before then.

More fun stuff:

Take a look at the chart of Shaquille and Kobe:

Shaquille came on the scene in 1991 when he was at LSU (there were stories back then in Baton Rouge about parents who named their kid Shaquille), peaked as we went pro and disappeared in 1997 ... right when Kobe began to appear in the rankings. His rank has risen with his popularity, and it'll be interesting to see the effect of his rape trial on the 2004 rankings. Based on this chart, I get the feeling the demographic that would name a kid Shaquille is just about the same group that would name a kid Kobe.

And then we have Monica:

Nothing will send a name out of vogue quite like having it associated with "fat blow job whore".

It seems the only thing worse than being known for blowing the president is being known as the raging bitch who drove the president into the mouth of a fat blow job whore.

(Hillary fell off the list for good in 2002)

This happened to a friend of mine in college ...

We were at The Bengal, I believe. The poor guy was standing next to "the fat Indian" from Spring Break when Dave P. walked in the door. She got so damned excited, he never saw it coming.

read the story

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Weekly Jessica Pivik update

Sorry, but what she wrote this week is so utterly lacking in her normal brand of mindless "shocking" sex talk, Sex and the City ripoffs, Googled quotes or forced references to actual useful information, it's not worth me noting.

Not that it was any good, mind you. But she must have been distracted by finals or something. And I'm not providing a link, lest you all also waste three minutes of your lives reading it.

Thank you.

Hog-Dog Update

Louisiana's effort to outlaw violent "hog-dogging" events in the state is cruising to approval. Meanwhile, a bill to outlaw cockfighting can't even get through committee.

Hog-dogging, in case you missed my earlier post, is a "sport" in which mean-ass dogs are turned loose in a competition to corner (in "legitimate" hog-dog events) or kill (in the type of event to be banned) Miss Piggy.

Hmm. Kind of like cockfighting, isn't it?

So why is the bill to outlaw hog-dogging on a fast track while the anti-cockfighting bill is quietly dying in a corner of the state capitol?

Those of you from the Bayou State know the most correct answer is simply "because it's Louisiana" (this, after all, is the state where an anti-flag-burning bill became an anti-abortion bill a decade or so ago).

But there's also a universal factor at work here - cash.

The sponsor of the anti-hog-dog bill has called the events "violent, cruel, inhumane, barbaric and damn well sadistic", and says their existence in Louisiana contributes to the state's poor image and harms economic development efforts.

His quote about the sadistic nature of hog-dogging could also be applied to cockfighting, but apparently the part about hurting the economy doesn't apply.

Cockfighting supporters say a new federal ban on the transport of fighting cocks has already cost the state $206 million in chicken-fight-related business. And if Louisiana were to become the 49th state to ban cockfighting, New Mexico would have a monopoly on the sport.

Hog-dogging just hasn't been around long enough to build up a lobbying effort.

Or maybe it's true about pigs being so damn smart ...

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

The best eulogy ever

At the memorial service for NFL player turned war hero Pat Tillman, his little brother gave an amazingly frank eulogy:

Tillman's youngest brother, Rich, wore a rumpled white T-shirt, no jacket, no tie, no collar, and immediately swore into the microphone. He hadn't written anything, he said, and with the starkest honesty, he asked mourners to hold their spiritual bromides.

"Pat isn't with God,'' he said. "He's f -- ing dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's f -- ing dead.''

And with those words from his little brother, Tillman's legend grows ...

The remarks (carried live on ESPN and on a bunch of local stations) shocked a lot of people, but I absolutely love it. None of this "he's in a better place" crap. Pat wasn't religious, so that's it. He didn't believe in an afterlife, so he's dead. Period. Deal with it.

Good stuff.

Whenever we have to go to a funeral or see coverage of funerals on TV, I tell the wife that when my time comes, I don't want any rosy "he was a saint" kind of sendoff. I want honesty at my funeral, dammit.

So here, for those of you who may be asked to speak at my funeral, are some talking points for the service:

• "Ken generally didn't like people. He loved his wife and family, of course, but otherwise there were only a few people he'd really consider to be his friends. You know who you are. But for most of you here today, you probably thought Ken liked you, but he most likely didn't."

• "I think the word that best describes Ken would be 'jackass'."

• "I wouldn't call Ken a 'good man' per se. It's not like he was evil or anything; but he certainly wasn't down serving Thanksgiving dinners at some soup kitchen."

• "Religious? Hardly. If all of that Jesus/afterlife stuff is true, I figure Ken's pretty well f*cked."

• "Should you be sad that Ken's gone? Sure. But everybody dies sometime, so get over it. You'll probably die pretty soon, too."

• "[if Ken dies before 2023] Now, you all know how much Kara loved Ken. She must have if she put up with all his crap for so long. And she'll no doubt miss him. But let's face it, she's still pretty damn hot, and a hell of a catch. So for all you guys who felt robbed when Ken snatched her up, give her a few weeks to get over this, but then go for it. Second chances are rare, man."

• "Ken wanted me to read off the list of accomplishments, traits and acts he was most proud of in his life [read list of accomplishments, traits and acts provided to you at the reading of Ken's will. Please allow 3 - 4 minutes for this reading]."

• "Ken also wanted to expose the hidden secrets, lies, wrongdoings, mistakes, misjudgments and bad things you never knew about him [read list of hidden secrets, lies, wrongdoings, mistakes, misjudgments and bad things provided to you at the reading of Ken's will. Please allow 30 - 45 minutes for this reading]."

Monday, May 03, 2004

Shake, rattle and roll

Tonight, the wife and I watched the comically-horrible 10.5, NBC's earthquake mini-mini series. Thanks to TiFaux, the 4-hour event cost us only 2.94 hours of our lives.

My words will fall well short of explaining just how awful this thing was. From the opening scene of a bike rider outracing a quake (and the falling Space Needle) in Seattle to the climactic bit in which the head of FEMA meets his fate down a blast shaft with a nuclear warhead atop him, reverse-Slim-Pickens style, 10.5 was a breathtaking piece of God-awful television.

I especially liked the little bits of bad television such as an aerial pull-away shot of San Francisco achieved by rolling the previous approach shot backwards (again, thank you TiFaux for letting me confirm this when I noticed a bus going backwards) or the news flash shown on the fake TV station declaring "Marshal Law" in L.A.

Then there's the central "save the world" idea hatched by the geologist (and amateur nuclear physicist) who figured that planting nuclear warheads down six of the aforementioned shafts would fuse together the faults, thus preventing the looming "big one". So they drill down 324 feet into California bedrock, drop nukes down the shafts and backfill with gravel. And we are to believe that, instead of creating the world's biggest shotgun (think about it) and leading to widespread nuclear destruction across the Pacific Northwest (the "satellite" image they showed of the blast indicated nuclear fireballs about three times the size of Portland), this move somehow helped the situation.

And in the end, with the FEMA director lying only 120 feet down the shaft with the warhead on top of him, the last nuke didn't totally seal off the Southern California faults, leading to the 10.5 quake that turned L.A. in to an island and moved the coast back to Barstow. And it was in Barstow where all the main characters just happened to end up at the evacuation camp, so the movie ends with the new coastline development stopping 18 inches from the feet of a hobbled geologist.

Everyone at the camp is a bit shaken after this, but they quickly put the loss of Lord knows how many lives and about 10% of California behind them as they gaze upon the beautiful new gulf.

Did I mention this movie cost the wife and I 2.94 hours of our lives?

Sunday, May 02, 2004

The ultimate LSU collectible

I was searching Froogle last night for LSU gear (there's no offseason for Tiger stuff), and among the strange assortment of products that Google's ultra-powerful shopping engine turned up was this:

Nifty, huh?

At first glance, it looks like it might be some kind of alcohol-delivery system. That would be in keeping with LSU tradition, and apart from the pale-green jar top, it's a fine looking purple and gold LSU keepsake.

Turns out, though, that this is actually a medical device - a Laerdal Suction Unit (LSU). And a nice one, according to the product description:
Raising the standard for EMS suction units. The new LSU features industry-first device diagnostics, a "No Tools" replaceable battery, built in charger, and integrated vacuum regulation/power control. All this in a rugged "Bump-proof/Splash-proof" design that is very quiet. Unit comes complete with AC and DC charging cords, disposable canister with patient tubing, battery, directions for use, and a 5 Year Warranty on the unit.
And all for the bargain price of $749.95.

Geaux Tigers.