In an earlier entry, I suggested that God couldn't answer the Pope's questions about Auschwitz because he was off helping a high school sports team to victory.
I stand corrected.
No copies of Playboy or Penthouse are in the clubhouse of baseball's Colorado Rockies. There's not even a Maxim. The only reading materials are daily newspapers, sports and car magazines and the Bible.Given that they've lost the last seven of nine road games, I'm guessing God decided to hang around the Rocky Mountains rather than the Rockies team. Or maybe one of the players jerked off.
While praising their players, Rockies executives make clear they believe God has had a hand in the team's improvement.
"You look at things that have happened to us this year," [general manager] O'Dowd says. "You look at some of the moves we made and didn't make. You look at some of the games we're winning. Those aren't just a coincidence. God has definitely had a hand in this."
I always took fundamentalists, even Catholic ones, to be prudes... which makes it odd that this one seems to like getting spanked so much.
(found via Pharyngula)
Here's an interesting site - Prosper.com:
Prosper, America's first people-to-people lending marketplace, was created to make consumer lending more financially and socially rewarding for everyone.Essentially, you become your own lending company, with all the attendant risks and rewards.
The way Prosper works is intuitive to people who have used eBay. Instead of listing and bidding on items, people list and bid on loans using Prosper's online auction platform.
People who want to lend set the minimum interest rate they are willing to earn and bid in increments of $50 to $25,000 on loan listings they select. People who lend can easily diversify using "standing orders", which automatically make many small loans to different borrowers.
Might have to look into it, although in today's world of identity theft and declining morals (what with all the homosexuals and pornographers and puppy-eating evildoers*), it sounds a bit too risky.
* Curse them!
National Review's John Derbyshire sees a bleak future:
I tell you, it's war. The end point of this, if people like Mr. De Witte win, will be a situation like that in Charles Beaumont's story "The Crooked Man," about a future world where homosexuality was the norm and heterosexuality is illegal. The hero gets arrested for a secret tryst with a woman. That's where we're headed. You heard it here first. (Unless you read the Beaumont story, which was circa 1955.)This was Derbyshire's response to an ad campaign that wanted heterosexuals to see what it's like to be called the kinds of names that homosexuals put up with on a regular basis. Nothing indicates that the people behind the program actually think heterosexuals are awful or dirty, just that maybe, sometimes, there's value in walking at least a couple of inches in someone else's shoes.
Completely missing the point, Derbyshire, desperate to maintain his hetero street cred (since Lord knows his fascination with homosexuality isn't doing it any favors - which might also lead one to think that alessandra is a self-loathing lesbian, but nevermind...), portrays it as an all out Logan's Run world in which heterosexuals are vaporized by big laser dome things that look like disco gear gone bad.
I don't know John's schedule (although there may very well be secret trysts in steamy Turkish baths involved*), but I'm willing to bet it takes a serious daily regimen of dumb to say such idiotic things.
* Not that I think all gay men engage in such things, of course, but so long as we're dealing on the level of outlandish known as "Derbyshire...."
Sure, this is my seventh niece/nephew, but it's still nifty as can be. The more of our genes that are passed into the world, the better...mwahahaha... errr... moving along. Here he is:
So, yeah, congrats to my brother and his bride on their new arrival! It's cool that all three of us brothers have had kids in the last several months; now, if only they'd all move out to Colorado.
Anybody else notice that the Washington Post today has not a single tribute to a fallen warrior? And the closest thing on the front page is the story of a guy whose wife died of breast cancer and he created a web memorial to her.No, they don't have a single tribute. Not just one to be found.
Instead, they have an entire section of their website dedicated to every service member known killed in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
Oh, those America-hating lefties!
This is the point where I suspect some of my fellow war supporters will chime in with "Yeah, but they're just doing that to undermine the war!" So, quite simply, damned if they do and damned if they don't.
If you approve of sending people off to fight a war for you, you better be damned willing to look at each and every face of the fallen, and not just on Memorial Day.
Update: Over at RWS, a commenter said that "Faces of the Fallen" doesn't count as tribute. In which case, I suppose, the Vietnam Memorial is "just a bunch of names on a wall."
For those who didn't like my indirect association of a certain segment of the American religious right with the anti-gay nationalists and militant Christians in Moscow, allow me to also present this:
Moscow's influential mayor said on Tuesday the city banned gay activists from holding a parade because it is morally cleaner than the West, which is caught up in "mad licentiousness".Huh... morals... traditions... the decline of both leading to a people indulgent of its every whim... where have I heard that before?
"Our way of life, our morals and our tradition -- our morals are cleaner in all ways. The West has something to learn from us and should not race along in this mad licentiousness," he told Moscow radio, according to local news agencies.
"We may have a democratic country, but we live in an organized country and an organized city."
My money is on "god does not exist:"
Pope Benedict XVI visited the Auschwitz concentration camp as "a son of the German people" Sunday and asked God why he remained silent during the "unprecedented mass crimes" of the Holocaust.Not surprisingly, God was unavailable for comment, probably off helping some high school sports team to an all-important victory or something equally as important.
Benedict walked along the row of plaques at the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex's memorial, one in the language of each nationality whose members died there. As he stopped to pray, a light rain stopped and a brilliant rainbow appeared over the camp.
"In a place like this, words fail; in the end, there can be only a dread silence, a silence which itself is a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?"
Perhaps Linda Breder, a prisoner at Auschwitz, has an answer:
There was no God in Auschwitz. There were such horrible conditions that God decided not to go there.Ms. Breder, interviewed for the book Auschwitz: A New History, went on to say that many of the survivors she knew became atheist as a result of their time in the extermination camps. Well, hey, I've heard from plenty of folks that I'm an atheist just because God didn't give me what I wanted, that I didn't want to bow to his authority... would they dare say the same to these people?
It was God's plan that some of them waste away to nothing, while others were gassed within minutes of their arrival. It was the Holy of Holies who found good reason for families to be torn apart, the elderly and the children marched to their deaths, the rest wondering when their time may come.
No, I'm atheist because there's absolutely no evidence that any gods exist, and while the horrors of Auschwitz may not rule out the existence of all gods, they certainly make belief in an all-loving and all-powerful god an exercise in magical ly-twisted pretzel logic.
Why was God silent?
Well, He wasn't in the overcrowded ghettos. He didn't catch a ride in the crowded, dark, piss-stinking cattle cars. He didn't stand in line for selection by Nazi doctors. He didn't claw at the walls of a gas chamber. He didn't march barefoot through a Polish winter, only to be shot for asking for a drink.
In short, he wasn't there.
So, speaking about the party mentioned below, after a couple of beers and a wee dram or two of good whisky, 'twas the matter of blogging that did arise 'twixt David J and myself... the Cliff's Notes version of which is:
Given that blogging now seems to be a self-referential circle jerk, not so much akin to the Mainstream Media (MSM) as to the MSM were it comprised of high-school students, many with learning disabilities, is this as good a time as any to hang up one's keyboard and get back to the important stuff in life?We had some thoughts. How about you?
For those of you who stop by here as well as Vodkapundit, you might have been wondering "Hey, where the hell is Steve Green?" You know, since he hasn't posted in three weeks.
Well, fear not, he's alive and well, dressed as smartly as ever, at least judging by his appearance at a friend's birthday get-together we both attended yesterday. Burgers, brats, beer and - uh - Dalwhinnie and Lagavulin.
(And I was still home by 10pm, implying, of course, that I am getting old).
This concludes our test of the WWR Emergency Broadcast System.
So much for freedom and progress in Russia:
Police and nationalist protesters forcefully prevented Russian and foreign gay and lesbian rights activists from rallying Saturday in Moscow, where they had hoped to put on a display of gay pride despite the city government's vehement refusal to grant permission for a parade.Read the whole thing.
...But police had closed the entrance to the garden where the tomb is located, and as the first half-dozen activists arrived carrying flowers, they were set upon by about 100 religious and nationalist extremists dressed in black who kicked and punched them.
"This is a perverts' parade," said one protester holding an icon of the Madonna, a woman who gave only her first name, Irina. "This is filth, which is forbidden by God. We have to cleanse the world of this filth."
As a Green member of Germany's Bundestag, Volker Beck, was giving an interview before TV cameras, about 20 nationalist youths surrounded him and pummeled him, bloodying his nose. Volker Eichler, a gay activist from Berlin who witnessed the beating, said police did not intervene.
City authorities cited the potential for violence as the primary reason for banning the parade. But they also voiced disproval of the very idea of gay rights.
Huh, nationalists and religionists fighting together in a battle waged as part of a perceived culture war, and effectively supported by the government... where have I heard that before?
(Note: I have no idea if the Russian means anything close to what I intended; for all I know it could say "Eat at Shoney's")
Update: For those who think the comparison is over-the-top, of course it is. However, when the religious right nutjobs constantly refer to this as a culture war, as a battle for the heart and soul of America, as standing up to evil and protecting the land, then don't weep when I point out where such a mindset can lead.
I've already had a run-in with one gay-hating whackjob who, if she had her druthers, would probably love to give Irina above all the help she needs. These idiots exist, and they are fueled by angry rhetoric and ugly ideologies; words have meanings and impact, and when you call something a war, don't be surprised when someone wants to be a little soldier.
Now, everyone go and enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. I am.
Cheese may go with wine, but it seems that cheese-eating surrender monkeys don't so much.
The Judgment of Paris, as it has become known, was re-enacted yesterday, 30 years to the day after the original, with two teams of tasters in London and the Napa Valley, California, thanks to Mr Spurrier's wit and ingenuity...Not that the French don't still produce excellent wine, but for what I am willing to spend, I find I get more for my money selecting a wine from the American West Coast, Australia, or Chile.
At the tasting of 10 red and 10 white wines, evenly split between French and American in both classes, the panel awarded the top place in both categories to Californian wine. A Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 1973 topped the white wines, beating famous French names such as Puligny-Montrachet.
Granted, though, it might seem a bit more classy to announce to your guests that you'll be serving a Left Bank Baron Le Foofyfoo instead of, say, a Woop Woop or a Red Truck.
(found via Instapundit)
Lashuan Harris' children did not go quietly to their deaths.Well, Jesus, where would she get a crazy idea like that? I mean, it's not like the stories say that God told Abraham to kill Isaac or anything. Sheesh.
Trayshaun, the oldest at 6, was the first to go over the railing at San Francisco's Pier 7. He fought her as she took off his clothes, his mother told police afterward. He said, "No, Mama. What are you doing?"
The second child, 2-year-old Taronta, struggled, too, as she wrestled him out of his clothes, and then screamed as he went over the side.
The little one, 16-month-old Joshua, had gotten out of his stroller and was playing around, she said. Harris said she took off Joshua's clothing, too. He clung to her tightly, she said, before she tossed him into the water.
Harris' attorney, Assistant Public Defender Teresa Caffese, said her client is mentally ill, that she committed the acts because she heard voices in her head. She believed, Caffese said, that God was telling her to kill her children.
Oh. Wait. They do?
Earlier Wednesday, a psychiatrist testified that Harris suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and thought that heaven was an actual place where she could send her sons.The pyschiatrist apparently didn't bother to mention that millions upon millions of Americans also think heaven is an actual place where they might end up if only they don't think about their neighbor lady's boobies too much.
Religion continues to be our greatest source of silliness and tragedy. For shame.
As a satisfied Vonage customer for almost a year, I was tempted to apply to get in on their IPO which took place today. They made a number of shares available to customers through a bidding process, of sorts. I completed about 3/4 of the process before deciding I didn't have time to complete it (and the few grand I was willing to put up for the stock probably wouldn't have gotten me in the door anyway).
Well, yay me:
Vonage shares priced Tuesday night at $17, at the mid-range for the targeted price, and subscribers who signed up to participate in Vonage's "directed share program" were told Tuesday night how many shares they would be getting and how much they'd have to pay for them.Whoops.
The shares opened flat in trading Wednesday and pretty quickly started to fall, down almost 5% by mid-morning. And when an IPO stock starts to fall, everyone wants to sell.
Well, that's a bunch of poo, making us in the Mountain and Pacific time zones miss the live broadcast, meaning millions of people out there already know the winner, and here I sit, dying to know!
OK, perhaps not dying; more of an idle (idol?) curiosity. More interested, of course, in seeing what Katharine wears.
So here we go... cheesy opening song, welcoming back Carrie Underwood, and I shall refrain from making any "under my wood" jokes, because I am classy classy classy. There's Taylor... and there are Katharine and her girls.
Alright, and now it looks we're going to suffer through nigh on an hour of "special guests" until they let us know the outcome. Paris is back on stage. Still like her voice, but she's not much when it comes to laying down the scat. However, I'm sure that little segment makes David J all kinds of happy.
Chris Daughtry co-singing with Live? Well, good for him, although I think this puts Live about 12 seconds from being permanently assigned to the Has-Been Tour Circuit. The coordinated movements between Chris and lead singer dude are, if you'll pardon the expression, pretty darn gay.
Kellie Pickler - ahhhh, pretty is as pretty does. Same goes for kinda dumb.
Meatloaf is on stage, and so is his strange twitching motion. Can't really say much, though, because Kat's dress is giving me a strange twitch too. I suppose I've lost all my female readers by this point, huh?
Whoops, sorry, dozed off there for a spell, although Pickler's lobster terror woke me from my slumber.
"Taking Care of Business" sung by the guys... they all seem to fit up there, except for Chicken Little. He's like the little brother that someone's mom is forcing the others to let in the band. Aw mom, do we have to? Aw, mom. Dude.
Taylor gets to break out his harmonica; I'm shocked. They let some originality into the show. This is truly The End Times.
Commercial break... hmm, Taylor and Katharine at the drive-in. This must be where they make their super babies from their super Idol genes, right there in the backseat of that Ford. Touching.
Elliot singing U2 with Mary J. Blige. Has anyone else pointed out that Elliot looks like Mr. Tumnus? And has anyone pointed out that Mary J. Blige just totally crapped on the vibe of this song?
Ooh, Christina Applegate in her Hanes. Hello. Anyone remember that episode of "Married with Children" where Kellie is using her assets to distract another bowler by bending over the ball return? Maybe it's just me.
Just checked the on-screen guide and it turns out this show has another half hour to go. Good lord. Guess I'll go put the wee Fiona to sleep while Underwood sings her country-fresh cheese about Jeebus and driving lessons.
...and I'm back. Looks like I just missed Taylor singing. Oh well. 23 minutes to go.
Note: "Fpoon" is not a very pretty word.
And the women take the stage... I really hate these group singing things. Although the scenery's nice - good to see the Pickle and that other hot one that momentarily entered my mud-wrestling fantasies before being kicked to the curb by the voters.
Clay Aiken's fanboy numero uno soils himself upon meeting his idol. Aiken's kind of the Rick Astley of this century, isn't he? All dandy and foppish. The old ladies eat that right up.
Hey, it's Dionne Warwick. This would explain the Google searches for "Dionne Warwick's age" that started coming in to the blog about an hour ago (seeing as how I'm tape delayed). Well, I'm always happy to help my web-searching friends, so - goodly visitors - Dionne Warwick is 942 years old.
American Idol? Feh, how's about Kiwi Idol?
Huh, they got Prince. I'm impressed. I remember the local radio folks talking about the rumor and saying it couldn't possible be true because Prince doesn't need the exposure, Prince wouldn't sell himself out like that, Price is above such things! Win some; lose some. I happen to like The Artist Formerly Known as Having Integrity, and could listen to the "Purple Rain" soundtrack over and over happily (and also watch that scene in the movie where he gropes on a semi-clad Apollonia over and over).
Prince sings "this is gonna be a long night." Apparently he skipped the first 90% of the show.
Dear Ford: it's not a "bold move" to do an entire commercial in which your vehicles are almost absent. Further, if your Ford Fusion angle is going to be "life in Drive," attempting to allure young professionals with new kids in to thinking they still are moderately interesting to others, don't show some 16-year old twit getting his license and a Fusion to boot.
Back to the show... Kat and Taylor singing that Dirty Dancing song that we were all tired of more than a decade ago. Wow, could they have given Katharine a less movement-friendly dress? That said, I think those two have a little sumfin'-sumfin' going on and it's all about to come to a crashing end (if it even survived Kat's Scientology admissions).
And the idol is...
Well, we kind of knew that, didn't we?
What we didn't know is that David Hasselhoff would be crying in the audience. I hear his crying is big in Belgium.
AND OH LORD NO MY GOD MAKE IT STOP DON'T MAKE HIM SING THIS GODAWFUL BALLAD THAT SOME LOWEST-COMMON-DENOMINATOR HACK WROTE FOR HIM - make it stop, make it stop! I'm bleeding out of every orifice.
(But, you know, as bad as this song as is, he can still entertain the crowd, and he's the only contestant I remember ever leaving the script to interject his own touches... such a shame they'll suck all of this charm and passion right out of him in the years ahead).
You know, it's not like I watch the show or whatever, but anyway...
Katharine McPhee is up... apparently doing a song she's already done... is that required? Could we not have a rule that they have to wear a previous outfit and get that yellow dress back out of the closet?
OK, so she's doing that KT Tunstall song... it's ok. I think the biggest drawback is that she has a backing band that's as into the song as Tom Arnold was into Roseanne's privates.
Taylor's up... a little Stevie Wonder "Living for the City." Nice jacket (seems like everyone is dressing up, what with Simon and his sportcoat). Yeah, Taylor's definitely the better entertainer, but Kat's the Queen of Boobiedom.
C'mon, folks - sit down and let's have a chat right here round the blog-hearth - none of us are going to buy an album by either of these folks (at least not a personality-scrubbed album courtesy of Cowell and company). So, that said, who would you rather see more of? Taylor or - uh - Kat's boobs? Yeah, thought so.
Back to the Kat with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." My boy Ewan likes it: he's lying on the floor in front of the television gurgling and gooing and such. Of course, he's a breastfeeder, so it could be the uh... well... you know. Funny aside - no matter how you turn the boy on his playmat, he'll soon be turned so he can see the television properly.
Paula says that every father of a daughter is crying after Katharine's performance... proving, yet again, that Paula is probably a crack addict.
Elton John's "Levon." Not really my thing... and, yeah, Paula is definitely hitting the bottle or the weed or the pipe between songs.
OK, um, Katharine hasn't won anything yet but she's singing her first single? Alrighty then. Dress does a nice bit of push-up there. Song's sort of putting me to sleep though. Typical songwriter fluff with all the lyrical depth of a children's song. Apparently "my destiny" is to take a nap.
I fear for what they're going to make Taylor sing. I'm cringing in anticipation.
"Do I Make You Proud?" Oh lordy... now, I'm worried...
Oh man, oh man, oh man... they have taken the American Idol vacuum and sucked the life right out of Taylor Hicks.
Mrs. WWRant says "both of these songs are dreadful; someone should be taken out and shot."
There's a reason pop songs are forgetful: animals seek pleasure and avoid pain, and pop songs tend to make your ears want to crawl inside your skull and die.
But, all of that said, I'm thinking Taylor is the next American Idol.
Katharine's bosoms, however, shall live long within the shallow confines of the naughty spaces in my heart. Amen.
Note: As of 8:15pm, DialIdol says it's Taylor too.
All seven people infected with bird flu in a cluster of Indonesian cases can be linked to other patients, according to disease trackers investigating possible human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus....Indeed it is... evolving. Or, who knows, maybe the Intelligent Designer thinks it's time to smite some of us with a pandemic. 'Cause he's Love*, don't you know?
Almost all of the 218 cases of H5N1 infections confirmed by the WHO since late 2003 can be traced to direct contact with sick or dead birds. Strong evidence of human-to-human transmission may prompt the global health agency to convene a panel of experts and consider raising the pandemic alert level, said Maria Cheng, an agency spokeswoman.
"Considering the evidence and the size of the cluster, it's a possibility,'' Cheng said in a telephone interview. "It depends on what we're dealing with in Indonesia. It's an evolving situation.'"
Seriously, I'm not terribly fatalistic about what will happen if human-to-human transmission is confirmed. Of course, I'm leaving for a remote island tonight by private helicopter. An island with big guns and laser cannons and hungry attack dogs in case any of you infectoids try to come ashore for refuge.
* Please overlook that whole "drowning the wee babies in a global flood" thing. He was an immature and brash myth back then, just recently co-opted from older ones.
With the fresh news that the dumb people of New Orleans* have re-elected Mr. Ray "As God is my witness, I thought buses could float" Nagin, I doubt that this crook has much to fear from his constituents:
A congressman under investigation for bribery was caught on videotape accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from an FBI informant whose conversations with the lawmaker also were recorded, according to a court document released Sunday. Agents later found the cash hidden in his freezer.In fact, sources tell me he's already gearing up for a campaign to be governor of Louisiana.
At one audiotaped meeting, Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., chuckles about writing in code to keep secret what the government contends was his corrupt role in getting his children a cut of a communications company's deal for work in Africa.
Jefferson, who represents New Orleans, has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing.
* The smart ones left town and never came back is my guess.
It was a one-two encounter between Axl Rose and Tommy Hilfiger.How bizarre...a male fashion designer... with a girlfriend?
The rocker and designer capped a Thursday evening out at a new club called The Plumm in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood with midnight fisticuffs.
The scuffle reportedly started after the Guns N' Roses front man moved the drink of Hilfiger's girlfriend, Dee Ocleppo.
"I moved his girlfriend's drink so it wouldn't spill," Rose told the Los Angeles radio station KROQ on Friday. "It was the most surreal thing, I think, that's ever happened to me in my life."
I'm not buying it.
The internet has democratized the information society, allowing any individual with a computer and connection to be heard, seen, or otherwise experienced; where as once upon a not-so-long ago, a lone voice might have been limited in its range of exposure, the internet has changed all of that. Now, with just a series of clicks, people all over the world can hear your voice, contemplate your ideas, and experience the local on a global scale.
Rabbi Avi Shafran: pinhead.
Back on March 12, a paean to “the dignity of atheism” appeared on The New York Times op-ed page. It was penned by celebrated philosopher Slavoj Zizek who, had he consulted the same periodical’s obituary page a mere three days earlier, would have come face to image with the late Richard Kuklinski.Or, perhaps Mr. Kuklinski simply took a page from the playbook of the Old Testament God, esteemed deity of the good Rabbi. If you want anger and viciousness and irrational behavior, look no further than Mr. Yahweh Up In Heaven Hallowed Be His Name.
Mr. Kuklinski, who was retired from life at the age of 70, claimed, utterly without remorse, to have killed more than 100 people as a Mafia enforcer...
The happy hit man’s example might not have given pause to Professor Zizek, the international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities. But it should have.
Because the notion that there is no higher authority than nature is precisely what enables people like Mr. Kuklinski – and the vast majority of the killers, rapists and thieves who populate the nightly news.
The rest of the post is typical "atheists can't have morals" hogwash, which I won't bother getting into, as it's all been covered before in the archives. Suffice it to say that introducing a deity to the mix doesn't solve anything other than making moral behavior "whatever God says it is at any given time." Color me unimpressed, by both Rabbi Shafran and the God he follows.
Republicans: valiant and passionate defenders of states' rights... you know, until given the chance to codify discrimination into the Constitution:
Colorado Sen. Wayne Allard said he hopes this is the year the U.S. Senate will vote for his proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage, which cleared a key committee Thursday and is headed to the full Senate in June.Now is the time? We're a country at war, a country that can't secure its own borders against anyone other than those who try to come here legally, and this is Allard's most pressing issue?
"Now is the time to send to the states a constitutional amendment that protects traditional marriage and prevents judges from rewriting traditional marriage laws," said Allard, a Republican.
Thursday's party-line vote was a small victory. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure, which states, "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman."
Maybe these idiots would have better luck if they just wrote up another Three-fifths Compromise for homosexuals.
Huzzah, Katharine survives for yet another week, thereby allowing one more chance for a wardrobe malfunction.
A bearded Jacob Brooks was moving fast Monday afternoon, dropping mail door to door on Capri Street as dogs growled from behind their mesh fences.My views on illegal immigration aside (I'm in favor of securing the borders and opening the path to citizenship for many already here), it's ridiculous that even an Iraq war veteran trying to reunite with his wife is treated this way.
Brooks learned to move fast the hard way. As a foot soldier in the Iraq War, the 26-year-old was regularly inundated with mortars, rocket attacks and suicide bombings.
But being able to move fast won't get him anywhere with immigration services. Getting his wife Luba Brooks, a German citizen, out of Europe is a long, frustrating process that's getting under his skin.
"If my wife isn't over here by January of next year, I'm leaving and I ain't coming back," said Brooks, who has only spent four months with his wife since they married in 2003.
I've been through the immigration boondoggle, what with the Mrs. being from England, and it's not fun, probably running a close second to a swift kick in the nuts. Oh, sure, we encountered the odd person who genuinely wanted to do a good job and was a victim of the same system that kept us waiting, but more often than not it seemed the INS wasn't so much interested in faster, better, cheaper as they were slower, worse, and let's see how many fees we can charge these shmucks.
I can't offer much in the way of help to Mr. Brooks, but here's what worked for us:
Don't bother with calling the 1-800 number for anything. All you'll usually get is someone who can barely speak English and who is looking forward to clocking out.
Identify someone inside the INS. Look for the agent who approves a form of yours. Any name of someone that isn't hourly. Call that person for a status update. Call them every damn day until they know to expect your call. They'll do your legwork for you just to make you go away.
Read all the forms carefully. Make a copy of each one and complete the copy first so you make no mistakes, then complete the real one. The INS can't be bothered to stop terrorists from attending flight school here, but they sure can spot when you've left a field on a form blank - no mercy!
When it comes to the interview, don't worry about memorizing what kind of toothbrush your spouse uses. A more likely question is "where did you eat last night?" Also, bring photos and love letters and whatever else indicates that your spouse is crazy (because, really, why would they jump through all these hoops rather than just cross the border with Mexico).
Don't bother with a lawyer unless your case is terribly convoluted (hey, Pascal, sorry if I just drove away any business). With the power of the Internet, utilizing immigration websites, Usenet forums, and more, you can do this by yourself if you can read and focus for several minutes at a time.
And, finally, resign yourself to the fact that these people have control of your future to some degree. It sucks, but that's the way it is. Be polite to the imbeciles and nice as pie to those who show even the slightest interest in your cause. It's a hard slog, but it will work out.
Ian McKellen appeciates myth for what it is:
There was a pause, and then famed British actor Ian McKellen, piped up:Actually, Sir Ian, given the Vatican's reaction and the hubbub in the blogosphere, it would seem that a lot of people aren't clever and bright enough to do anything of the sort.
"Well, I've often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction. I mean, walking on water, it takes an act of faith. And I have faith in this movie. Not that it's true, not that it's factual, but that it's a jolly good story. And I think audiences are clever enough and bright enough to separate out fact and fiction, and discuss the thing after they've seen it."
One more thing that may no longer separate us from all other animals:
MONKEYS are able to string together a simple “sentence”, according to research that offers the first evidence that animals might be capable of a key feature of language.Of course, the monkeys have known for years that we're not that far removed from them, ever since they first caught a Dubya speech on television*.
British scientists have discovered that the putty-nosed monkey in Nigeria pictured above sometimes communicates by combining sounds into a sequence that has a different meaning from any of its component calls, an ability that was thought to be uniquely human.
Note: Another interesting article, this time on human speech development.
* Hey, I voted for him. I can make such jokes.
OK, here we go, once again:
Did Elliot sing? Guess I missed it while unloading the car.
Katharine McPhee: looks absolutely stunning, top to bottom, yabos to - uh - bottom. Randy and Paula are drug-riddled idiots, obviously, criticizing Katharine for her song choice when she didn't even choose the goddamn song. Simon was right on this one.
Taylor Hicks... well, I kind of missed this one as the wee Fiona was shakin' it in front of the screen and wanted to dance with her daddy. So, no comment. Sounded good I s'pose.
Elliott Yamin... well, ok, kind of missed that one too as Fiona insisted I dance with her once again (when the music kicked in, the wee Fi said "Ohhhhhhh...." and dragged me to the dance floor).
Crouching Katherine, hidden boobies.... I like it. I'd like it better if she were in a dress with a slit up to here, sitting atop a baby grand, and offering to buy me drinks. Sorry, but my good friend David is deaf if he thinks girl can't sing.
She makes me tingle in my special places.
Oooh, Taylor doing a Joe Cocker song... he better nail this. OK, not quite Cocker, but pretty damn good.
Elliott...it'd be swell if the band was as swingy loosey goosey as he is with the rhythm. Right now, it kind of feels like a shell of a song, a singer trying to bridge the gaps in his band.
Katharine, looking like a navy blue popsicle of tasty goodness, takes the stage. Sorry, I got distracted with impure thoughts. Sounded fine to me. I think the judges are on crack. Has Paula cried yet, or did that stop when Daughtry went home to sing for Fuel?
Taylor - doing "Try a Little Tenderness." I just don't think anyone will ever top the version from the movie "The Commitments." And that dude was like 16 with lungs going on 47. But, still, damn fine version.
I'm thinkin', hopin', but not prayin' (being the atheist) that my prediction from weeks ago will come true: Taylor and Katharine, in the finals, AND MAKING HIPSTER BEAUTIFUL BABIES!
We're going to be just fine in the fall elections...Strong national defense? Check.
We stand for a strong national defense. We stand for economic policies that are pro-growth, involving tax cuts and free trade. We are strongly for fiscal restraint in the budget process.
Tax cuts? Check.
Free trade? Well, aside from that little steel tariff debacle to win votes in certain states, check.
Fiscal restraint? Uh...
Well, wait, he did say "in the budget process." So, maybe the process of developing the bloated Bush budgets was really, really streamlined and revolutionary.
I snapped it out myself," said William Kelly, 43, describing his most recent dental procedure, the autoextraction of one of his upper teeth.Being rather aware of the state of dental services in the United States, I won't even suggest that every man, woman, and child in this country receives adequate dental care. However, on average, we certainly seem to have a higher standard than our friends across the pond. As with the socialistic ideal of redistribution of wealth making us all equally poor, here we have a program that makes us all equally toothless.
It is easy to be mean about British teeth. Mike Myers' mouth is a joke in itself in the "Austin Powers" movies. In a "Simpsons" episode, dentalphobic children are shown "The Big Book of British Smiles," cautionary photographs of hideously snaggletoothed Britons.
But the problem is serious. Kelly's predicament is not just the result of cigarettes and possibly indifferent oral hygiene, though he said he is careful to brush once a day. Instead, it is due in large part to the deficiencies in Britain's state-financed dental service, which, stretched beyond its limit, no longer serves everyone and no longer even pretends to try.
(found via my friend Ang, who says "I can't believe a government like the U.K. can't figure a way to solve this," missing the point that the government is the problem, not the solution)
Had a small gathering at WWR WWHQ last night, so threw together a meal for the guests (by "threw together," I mean "spent several hours prepping everything"). The menu, for those that care:
Mixed greens with sauteed eggplant and cherry tomatoes, in a balsamic vinaigrette, with baked parmesan chips
Mixed grill of chicken breast, steak, hot Italian sausage, and a rainbow of sweet peppers. Served with three chimichurri sauces (traditional, spicy, and paprika-based) for dipping
Grilled angel food cake topped with tropical fruit, rum whipped cream, and Mexican chocolate sauce
Naturally, each of the above was accompanied with wine and/or beer, and then more of the same.
After enjoying a pleasant dinner on the back patio, we all retired to the basement to watch the 1996 British film, "Brassed Off," starring a number of Brits you've since seen in a lot of other movies.
Good times all around. How's your weekend?
Mr. One-Expression-Stolen-From-Nickelback goes home (although I'm sure he's going to be a star on the tweener "punk rock" circuit), and - my friend and yours - Katharine McPhee lives to sing and jiggle another day.
I love this country.
Apropos of nothing, except for the latest brouhaha in the political blogosphere which you might have seen, I have only this to add:
If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Yeah, I came up with that one myself. I did. Honest. No lie.
People on the right dish out abuse and then cry when it comes back at them; people on the left do the same. People in the middle just kind of roll their eyes at the whole affair.
That is all.
Note: I'm not saying one shouldn't be insulting to people en masse. Good lord, I'd be out of business if that were the case!
However, if you're going to go on the offensive against particular folks, and be offensive in the process, don't be surprised when they return the favor on their own blog, going after you. Now, if they go after your recently deceased friend, well, they're just assholes.
Rival Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah have agreed to end the violence that has raged between them for two days, according to a statement from Fatah's Ahmed Halaf obtained by Palestinian news agency Ramattan.*whew!*
Now they can get back to the business of killing those damn dirty Jews like before!
Forgive me, but why is this a good thing? Let them have years of in-fighting; let them slaughter one another and implode in a glorious bit of Allah-driven idiocy that takes their attention from Israel for even a few months. We shouldn't be reporting a resolution - we should be encouraging more conflict between each of these terrorist groups (yes, Fatah is a terrorist group, so sorry).
Don't give in, Hamas! Fatah is only trying to fool you!
Fatah, don't be lied to by these snakes in the grass! Hamas will destroy you!
Rah rah rah.
Today, while down in Colorado Springs on business, my colleague and I stopped at the Panera Bread just off I-25 on Academy Blvd. We ate, we worked, we chatted, and then I think I saw this guy, Bradley Cooper (better known as Will Tippin on "Alias" and some chef on that chef show that didn't last).
I could be, most likely am, mistaken, but the guy in line was a dead ringer, and looked a bit like someone who might be wondering if anyone knew who he was, or maybe he was a guy who was tired of people wondering if he was that guy on "Alias" when really he was just the midnight watchman at Miller's Tool & Die.
Either way, I feel a little closer to Hollywood (which is odd when you consider that Colorado Springs is 66 miles farther by highway than Denver).
Update: Hmmm, after spending more time looking into this than could have possibly been warranted, it would appear that Mr. Cooper is on stage with Ms. Julia Roberts tonight in New York City.
Ah well, I suppose it's back to Miller's Tool and Die for our young midnight watchman after all. He'll watch the metal rusting and watch the time go by. Why, just a week ago at the diner he stopped to get a bite, and this here lovely lady, she sat two seats to his right.
And Lord, Lord, Lord (Lord, Lord, Lord)...she was alright.*
* If I have to explain it, it won't much matter to you.
So, I'm sitting here watching "Deal or No Deal" tonight and, as I watch the dollar values disappear from the board, I start thinking about something... no, not how they calculate the offer they'll make to the player at the end of each round... rather, I wonder if they have a webpage for all those hot models on the stage?
Much to my surprise, some of the photos are even (well, to James Dobson) a bit naughtyesque.
Even when it's all laid out neatly for you in a science museum.
9News apparently went along for the ride on one of the "Biblically Correct Tours" offered by one of your garden-variety Young Earth Creationist nutters here in Denver.
They have the video.
I won't be able to view it until tonight. It'd be nifty if someone else could watch it and see if it's even remotely amusing (or if they humor the wackjob as "the other side of the controversy").
As gas prices continue to rise, the Democrats put forth a plan of action:
While about half of the oil consumed in the United States comes from foreign countries, Cantwell said Democrats believe America can be "energy independent" by 2020.Um, isn't paying $3 at the pump already requiring sacrifice from millions? Isn't it really the market's way of saying "Hey, you might want to conserve a little bit, drive a little less, check the ol' tire pressure?"
"It begins with conservation and efficiency," she said. "We can ask Americans to sacrifice. We can ask Americans to conserve. We can ask Americans to innovate and invest in new technologies. We just can't ask them to accept the status quo."
I have a feeling that when a Democrat starts to speak of sacrifice, the words "new taxes" probably aren't far behind.
The status quo is exactly what can inspire change and push us toward energy independence. Easing the burden by distributing the pain is a sure path to continued complacency.
Apparently, the ACLU thinking that even horrible little men like the Reverend Fred Phelps have constitutional rights is just too, too much to bear.
Fascinating that many on the right, the self-proclaimed defenders of liberty and freedom, are so willing to turn their back on their principles when something makes them uncomfortable. OK, maybe fascinating isn't the word. More like "entirely predictable" when dealing with those whose political maturity model looks remarkably like "us vs. them."
By the by, did anyone notice much of a stink from the aisle to the right when Phelps stuck to protesting dead homosexuals? Hey, just sayin' is all.
I loathe Fred Phelps and his family. I loathe the Ku Klux Klan. I loathe all sorts of vile and detestable human beings. Heck, I'm not even particularly fond of most organized religion or extremist political ideologues. I am, however, quite fond of the right of each and every one of them to have a voice in the public square.
Even if that voice says "God hates fags." (Which, you'll note, is wrong on two counts because -1- God does not exist and -2- non-existent beings aren't in the business of hating anyone).
In fact, I love that right so much, that I'd marry it. I'd not only marry it, but lather it up in whipped cream and chocolate sauce and get funky on the monkey with it until the wee small hours of the morning. I love me some of that old time Constitution!
Update: The intellectuals at Stop the ACLU jump on the same gag'em bandwagon, and completely miss the point when they say:
By the way, how dare I mention this group without mentioning the heroic efforts of Patriot Guard to stop them. A group of patriotic bikers find wherever these creeps are protesting and set up barriers. God bless the Patriot Guards.Huh, countering ugly speech with positive speech, all without government restrictions on rights. Go figure. That's just crazy talk!
She's not so wee anymore... she turns three years old today. Why, it seems like just yesterday she was in diapers. And, uh, this morning too*.
Picture of my lil' girl to follow soon...
Update: OK, there's your photo of the kid.
We bought her a training bike yesterday. Of the four options available, she picked the most expensive one, which is impressive considering she really can't count much past three.
For her birthday, she spent the afternoon at the zoo, got the bike, went out to dinner, and then opened all of the gifts from her relatives. She's got so many toys that we had asked for clothes instead. Happily, she's at an age where getting anything new, even clothes, is a cause for celebration (at least long enough for me to take a photo, at which time she says "all done!" and moves on to the next gift).
The party with her friends is this Saturday, which means I've got some work to do before then to make the backyard kid-friendly and lawsuit-resistant!
* Pull-up diapers, actually; not that you care.
The U.S. diplomat heading crucial talks on Iran's nuclear ambitions has predicted full European support for a U.N. Security Council resolution that would allow sanctions or even force.So, based on past experience, we're going to spend the next 12 years enforcing sanctions that achieve little other than making Europe feel like it's doing something useful in the world, and then have boots on the ground in 2018.
Should be interesting.
I wonder what the wingnuts and moonbats of 2018 will be like... will they wear spandex jumpsuits and blog through the telepathical internets?
The mind (well, ok, my mind) reels that, in the twenty-first century,this kind of debate is actually taking place:
Now, behind the quiet Vatican walls, a clash is shaping up between two poles of near certainty: the church's long- held ban on condom use and its more recently focused advocacy for human life from the womb to old age.A religion that favors the "rights" of a hundred million little wiggly woos to swim in someone's hoohah over the happiness and fulfillment of a living human being is, well, sicker than any AIDS patient.
The dilemma, as it has been for years, is AIDS. And in recent days, church officials confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI had requested a report on whether it might be acceptable for Catholics to use condoms in one narrow circumstance: to protect life inside a marriage when one partner is infected with the HIV virus or is sick with AIDS.
Well, color me impressed. This morning, here in Denver, thanks to "A Day Without Immigrants," traffic was quite light and I made it to work in near record time. Additionally, the radio reported that there were no accidents along the I-25 corridor during my drive*.
Can we make it a week or two without immigrants? I could get used to this.
Bonus: Maybe we should call it "A Day with Free Lunch."
My colleague and I went to a local grill for lunch, only to find the menu was severely limited in scope as the kitchen staff was busy protesting for their right to be kitchen staff. Due to the thus unavoidable delays in getting our order out to us in a timely manner, the restaurant said our lunches were on the house.
* Which is not to imply that immigrants are slow, bad drivers. Unless, you know, you're looking to be offended; in which case, be my guest.