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This one is off the wall, but I'm getting tired of it. Almost every time I look at the news, the RIAA or the MPAA is filing a lawsuit that is aimed at keeping a dieing business model alive. The idea of paying $20 dollars for a DVD to which $1 goes to the artists that produced the movie seems crazy. The idea of paying $15 for an album when the artist that performed it makes a few cents from it is crazy. Both of these are especially crazy when you consider the cost of making a duplicate over the internet is pennies for either.

I do not advocate piracy!

What I do advocate is a change in business model.

Michael Moore Gets To Give Something Back

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As one of Jack's commenters noted the other day, it is absolutely sinful for anyone to make money on "health" related work.

It therefore warms the cockles of my heart to learn that leftist auteur-provocateur Michael Moore is finally able to put his money where his mouth is by giving away the fruit of his labors.

Some things are just too important to be sullied by the profit motive.

The Batter or the Bat?

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No this article is not about politics, but it is about America. It is about our culture, how we see ourselves, and how we see our icons. Like him or not, think he is juiced or not, Barry Bonds is an icon.

Barry Bonds is now chasing Hank Aaron's all-time home-run record of 755. Bonds, as of June 11, 2007, had 747. Bonds is not my favorite baseball player, that place is taken by Tony Gwynn. Nonetheless, I think Bonds is unfairly treated by the media and the fans, because the media lives on scandal.

Some say Bonds is, or was, on the "juice," steroids. But allow me to compare his output vs. Aaron's, and see if the numbers support that theory.

The UN is right; you can't be any more "un"

Than you are right now, the UN is undone.

Another mushroom cloud, another smoking gun,

The threat is real, the Locust King has come.

Don't tell me the truth; I don't like what they've done.

It's payback time at the United Abominations!

-From the song: "United Abominations"

It's not very often the music I like has anything to do with this blog. When it does, it's usually the extreme opposite (see: Ashes of the Wake). Finally, Dave Mustaine and Megadeth have given me something besides the D&D/young angst lyrics I usually tolerate for my favorite musical genre.

Musically, this is my favorite Megadeth album since 1990's "Rust in Peace". 2004's "System has Failed" was their excellent return to full-fledged speed-metal; With "United Abominations" they're completely back in their element.

Lyrically, this has got to be my favorite Megadeth album ever. Never one to shy away from political topics (see: Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?), Mustaine approaches matters like the War on Terror and immigration with a lyrical snarl likely to raise Saddam from the dead just so he can kill him again. Referencing Biblical Apocolypse, nuclear holocausts, the Roman Empire, and "Columbian Neckties," nothing is sacred in this musical takeover of the global situation. They seem to have figured out that reality is much darker than fantasy. Somebody call Ronnie James Dio and let him know.

We are just a war away from Amerikhastan,

When God versus god; the undoing of man.

-From the song: Amerikhastan

"What's Your Sound Bite?"

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That was a game show, not a "debate".

Just about everything Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo got a chance to say was wonderful. Hunter was good on military issues and border security; Tancredo good on abortion and the illegal immigration crisis.

But limiting all speaking opportunities to half a minute is a guaranteed formula for a heapin' helpin' o' pablum. Eliminating Chris Matthews from the program and giving each candidate at least a two-minute speaking opportunity would have been a major improvement.

A thirty-second time limit to answers may not tell us much about the candidates, but it certainly demonstrates which will produce the best raw content for the evening news.

I think the best any candidate could have accomplished tonight would have been a headline-dominating statement or moment.

Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore affirming explicitly he is pro-choice could have been such a moment, but no one in America besides me even remembers Mr. Gilmore participated, so that opportunity has been lost.

Let's hope whoever came up with this silly format has no input on future candidate forums.

UPDATE: Transcript is up at IHT. Here is the Jim Gilmore segment referenced above:

MR. MATTHEWS: We're looking for nuance here. Governor Gilmore, you have said in the past that you believe in the first eight to 12 weeks of pregnancy, that a woman should have the right to have an abortion. Do you still stick with that exception?

MR. GILMORE: I do, Chris. My views on this, my beliefs on this are a matter of conviction.

UPDATE II: The answer that someone should have given to the idiotic question "What do you dislike about America?"


In light of recent "discussion" regarding the inclusion of "Liberal" as a bonafide mental disorder, I'd like to point out that the Icarus Project is leaps and bounds ahead of NOVATownhall blog readers in their advocacy for inclusion of new diagnoses.

The worst? I say, man: The best!

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I hope regardless of all our squabbling over peripheral issues here we can join together and declare Vote For The Worst is the funniest thing so far in the current millennium.

While there is still, admittedly, a long portion of the millennium to go, I'm guessing by the end this will still rank in the top five comedic events, alongside Al Gore's 2024 "New Ice Age" mea culpa speech atop the Michigan glacier, and various and sundry culinary pratfalls.

When Fox created this seemingly bulletproof formula of cranking up millions of teenboppers and evening slackers to "buy in" and jam the telephone lines twice a week, they did not consider the gargantuan bounty of the free market was, well, free.

Free to do the opposite.

This episode presents a case study for ascertaining the precise timeline for onset of cynicism regarding truly silly stuff among the American populace. The time table for pop culture has been set, I think we can all agree, at just about four years.

The only big question now is how many millions of dollars will Fox throw at this guy to just make it go away.

So I finally got around to watching last weekend's SNL on my DVR. I haven't watched the show in years, but I have to admit seeing that Peyton Manning was hosting peaked my inerest. Don't get me wrong, I will be a die-hard Bears fan until the day that I die. But as I've said before, I can't hate Manning just because he beat us in the Super Bowl, as much as I want to. Plus his commercials make me wonder if he's got an acting career in store after his NFL retirement.

So anyway, my point is, what's happened to this show? There were a few times I laughed pretty hard (Manning dancing in the locker room), but for the most part, the show was horrible. The actors seem OK and Manning wasn't the problem...

It has to be the writers. Nothing made me laugh. Sorry, the show just isn't funny anymore. I'm longing for the days of "I gotta have more COWBELL!"

Cebar and Superman

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Sunday was the Paul Cebar show at Wolf Trap - another complete humdinger. Cebar manages the band like a conductor - which is important when the repetoire varies from 12-bar blues in 4/4 to zydeco to African- and Caribbean-infused funk in time signatures I am certain have Frank Zappa looking down from heaven with approval. He was in control. Cebar is one wild, funky dude, and when he smiles in the midst of some particularly intense section everyone present knows that all is right with the world. Such it was Sunday night.

Much of the material was from the latest album, "Tomorrow Sound Now For Yes Music People" (unfortunately not yet available at the online store, but here is a nice oldie if you want an immediate taste). Good stuff!

On top of that, our esteemed fellow blogger and culinary stylist Kevin of Digital Camel came down for the show (and he snuck a photo - HA!)

He brought down from B'more a generous supply of the legendary Superman Was Black batch from January and all I can say is WHOA people. That is one kick-butt brew. Kevin was already near the top of my list of favorite liberals, but this skill of his has pushed him toward the pinnacle.

If anyone out there has contacts in the brewing profession, perhaps with a highly-paid apprenticeship position available, you tell them they could do a lot worse than to give young Kevin a call. Superman, indeed.


There turned out to be no chance of getting into position to sneak a photo of myself with Ann Coulter because it turns out Ann Coulter is guarded better than all the gold in Fort Knox.

As she certainly should be.

I could have gotten in line behind like 400 other people to get the book signed and perhaps a perfunctory few words from her, but after seeing her absorb one EXTREMELY rude a-hole's remarks to her during the audience Q and A, and then the unbelievably long line of fans - and poor Ann gamely keeping the smile and soldiering through the ritual - I just wanted her to be able to get out of there and have a scotch on the rocks.

My feelings for her are that pure.

Anyway, here she is. Later in the week I may have video but I think you will enjoy this. Turn the volume up.


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Analysis: Al Franken Announces For Senate

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The Coleman campaign must be shaking in their collective snowshoes.

(Oh, yeah, we need to cut Al some slack, because he had to be like - what, 45 - in this picture?)

Al Franken, he of the meteoric career (meteors don't necessarily go "up" you realize), is running for Senate in two years.

Undoubtedly he will be identified as "comedian" Al Franken in the press, but he's not very funny anymore. For a good year or so we had the rare treat of the video of his Air America show on the Sundance Channel every night, and I could not get enough of it to be perfectly honest. Apart from the pre-recorded bits, it was the proverbial car crash in slow motion, night after night.

And the operative word here is ... slow. As in, dragging.

Al's thing is he is not particularly comfortable in his own skin, and he telegraphs that like a beacon. You want to talk about dead air? Al creates dead air every time he exhales. If you had a drinking game to do shots whenever Al left an uncomfortable silence on his show, you'd be blitzed and puking within 15 minutes.

If you added bonus shots on top of that for every time he whined, the drinking game would be outlawed on the basis of mass alcohol poisoning.

He may be a clever man at the keyboard or delivering the prepared speech, but quick on his feet he is not. I think Norm Coleman would want to demand debates on a pretty much daily basis. After a week of sheer frustration Al would be goaded into attempting a half-nelson and that would be the end of that.

H/T to for the graphic.

Here is a portion of the seared-into-our-memory late night panel discussion with Jonah Goldberg, Mark Steyn and Rob Long, from the NRI Summit, January 27, 2007. Enjoy.

Steyn: "I was the Islamophobe of the year ... I believe it's the only journalism award I've ever won."

Long: "Piece of advice: Don't go the award ceremony."

What happens in Vegas is right here on this blog

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My Vegas travelogue is up at Digital Camel. (Part One here.)

There is also a LOT of cool stuff there ... amazing photography. Check it out. Some of the posts are pretty breathtaking.

Concluding thoughts

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Here in the midst of the road trip I need to take a moment to jot down some random observations before I fall asleep and they are lost to history.

--24 has now nuked Southern California twice (several seasons ago it was the Mojave desert, remember?) I read an interview a couple years ago where the writers were discussing how they realized they couldn't just sustain the ominous threat of "nuclear blast on American soil" forever, and that there would be many opportunities to play "small ball" in future plots. Small ball, I'm guessing, means something like nuclear explosions all over the place and then Jack Bauer chews off the head of Beelzebub while the heavens part and continents sink into the sea. Also, probably, a Death Star comes into the picture at some point. Or terrorists have managed to get control of a comet which will split the Earth in five pieces, which occurs within the first two hours, leaving CTU spread dangerously thin and without functioning comm between the five severed chunks of planet now in gravitational orbit around the moon.

--Possible new 24 taglines: "We don't diddle around talking about 'nuking LA.' We nuke LA, and so much more."

"24: Nuking LA repeatedly before most Americans have had their first cup of coffee."

--I went into a "bar" recently for the first time in quite a while. What struck me most, apart from the fact that bar talk has still not evolved to the Firing Line level, is the amazing proliferation of Absolut Vodka flavors. I tried "Absolut Jerky" - the martini is called the "Rawhide - and it was pretty zesty.

--Driving home from PA this afternoon I took a calculated gamble to take the "western" route rather than go back down I-95. Boy, was that a smart move. Apart from the fact the PA Turnpike to Route 15 is a pretty beautiful drive in parts, there was very little traffic. It's probably further as the crow flies, but the crow does not drive, now does he. The key trade off is, you might drive a little further, but at 4:00 pm on a weekday would you rather be just south of Frederick, MD going south on 15, or just south of Beltsville about to go west on 495. Heh. No contest. I highly recommend the western route.

--The hotel was nice but with no restaurant, so they give you chits to redeem at the Starbucks next door. I went over this morning and ordered a "large coffee" (I refuse to use their ridiculous terminology) and a tuna sandwich. As I'm paying I hand him the chit and the guy tells me, "Oh, this is for a "grande" coffee and a bagel or muffin" and sort of looks at me expectently to see if I would change my order to get the free items. "Ah, so it does not apply to these at all?" I asked ... and put it back in my pocket. I had a reason to order THOSE things. But maybe there are people who, faced with the prospect of losing out on the free lunch, would say "Yes, in that case I'll have the Orange Crush and Necco Wafers or whatever it is I get for free."

--Because this next trip is only three days and I only have to dress like a business person for two of the days, I am determined to go carry-on only. I roll up the shirts and ties and one pair of pants, wear the blazer and other pair of pants, and throw in sweatpants and a sweatshirt, and wear the shoes - and it all easily fits in a duffle bag. I should be able to cover for any accidents even if it involves spilling red wine over much of my torso and thighs (happened once). BUT: I'm bringing shaving cream, after shave gel, travel sized Head and Shoulders, and mousse. Will I get through security or end up in Guantanamo Bay? I honestly don't know, as I haven't tried this since the summer. If this blog goes dead for several days, it's safe to assume I will be expecting care packages, preferably containing nicotine gum and porn, and candlelight vigils whenever practicable.

--Reading for the trip is Steyn's America Alone (yes I'm very late to the game). I read Bruce Bawer's While Europe Slept last year on like the day after it came out and a friend said this new book gives the big picture of the same reality. I'm looking at about 12 hours in airports and planes so I should get through it unless I get sidetracked, as sometimes happens. I think I need a vacation.

--Sometimes I get no leisure time on these trips, but if I can the next venue might lend itself to some saucy, spirited photos, the kind that make you say "Yarrgh!"

24 night two update

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Just back to the hotel, no time to even take off my jacket ... damn.

First 15 min: They are making the Muslims look so bad at this point I have to say by the end of the day there is going to be a Muslim pope. This President Palmer seems to be no chip off the old block - he's more on the model of the previous president than his brother. In the final scene before the break they have ratcheted the Islamofacist angle up so far people are going to be burning mosques IN REAL LIFE if this keeps up. It will be VERY interesting to see how this season turns around .... because it will.

UPDATE: Jack is softening? I am beginning to see one of the political messages: "I don't know what means anything anymore, Curtis ... He's our only chance at a peaceful resolution to all of this." Maybe a plea for realpolitik in our future dealing with the Islamists. If we don't get pragmatic, we may never get a solution. Sins will need to be forgiven if we are to take advantage of the fact that some of the bad guys are at each others' throats. Let's see if the theme continues.

UPDATE II: We're about at the part of the show where someone should get tragically screwed. The obvious bets are Assad (sp?) or the family being held hostage.

Releasing the prisoners, negotiating with the terrorist leader: This president is such a bad president I think he dies before the season is half over. Divine justice works that way, and 24 is about nothing if not divine justice.

UPDATE III: Jack still says "nucular". Heh.

UPDATE IV: Bill Buchanan: "We have to do better than we're doing and we have to do it faster." Could be the motto for every organization in America. I see a motivational poster ...

UPDATE V: President Palmer: "Get me Jack Bauer immediately ... I need YOU to lead this search." Big turning point!

"He will see things that you and I would miss."

"What did the Chinese do to you?"

I LOVE Curtis. Everyone loves Curtis. I don't think this bodes well for Curtis. Damn.

UPDATE VI: Oh crap, a Sophie's Choice moment. He had to choose between his son and wife. Chose the son, the wife knows it, but the bad guy let the WIFE go instead.

Eric referred us to "Battleground."

This is the next classic reference. This one is pretty ugly. The wife just called the police, against all orders. I see dead people.

UPDATE VII: Chloe is the queen of war. She worked out the ex-boyfriend situation quite well. Oh my, what a woman.

UPDATE VIII: So Ahmed is ordered to kill the son. Ahmed has the gun. I hope the son gets away, but I have to wonder whether this could have gone much better if the family simply had a pistol at their disposal. He's holding the kid with what appears to be a Beretta, probably one of the new FX .40 or 9 mm models. The difference between life and death: The kid did manage to hide a knife, and I expect he will use it because he looks like a scrappy kid, but wouldn't it be better for this kid to have a gun available?

UPDATE IX: The kid made it, the wife seems to be safe, so the father is dead meat if you ask me.

The nuke is on the table in the first four hours!! This means, things are going to get REALLY weird because we are only in the appetizer stage of this meal. If a suitcase nuke is the setup, the main course must be unbelievable.

UPDATE X: The president's wife is a retard. A retard lawyer, but a retard nonetheless. Curtis has a history with Assad - and it is a BAD, BAD history. Oh crap, Jack is going to have to kill Curtis ...

and he just did. One of the best guys ever ... yep, that's 24.

UPDATE XI: Well holy f-cking sh-t. That was a surprise. They nuked LA in the first four hours.

24 update

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I just arrived at a hotel so it will be some time before I get to catch up on all the comments here, because ....

24. Oh yeah.

I'm not going to "live blog" 24 because live blogging 24 would be like live blogging sex, which tends to detract from some of the enjoyment. But now that we are at a long commercial break ...


I am so reminded of this line from Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman:

"The jugular vein is severed; not cut but torn apart as though by a powerful beast."

More at the next long commercial break. Holy cow.

UPDATE: Jack beat the helicopters to the hideout! Jack knew that transponders are kept in pockets! Jack got the guy out moments before the rockets hit! Next to Jack Bauer, we are all silly little girls ...

UPDATE II: INTERESTING angle on the Islamic terrorists!!! The show starts with a maelstrom of hand-wringing about civil rights and Americans turning against each other, warning against villainizing Muslims - and the terrorists turn out to be ... MUSLIMS! Of course, this being 24, by the 10th hour the real bad guys are likely to be a couple of teenage girls.

UPDATE III: I swear, the biting-the-guy-in-the-neck scene made for the best opening hour since the one where Jack Bauer walked into the room, shot the guy who had negotiated for immunity, and cut off his head with a hacksaw.

UPDATE IV: Oh, does Jack know from torture - or has Jack gone soft FROM THE TORTURE??!! What a friggin' commentary on current events: Torture works, Jack, TORTURE WORKS!!

Jack: "I don't know how to do this anymore."

So the problem with being tortured is: It makes us foolishly shy away from torture. (That's 24 talking, not me). So, be careful who you trust with national security, ESPECIALLY IF THEY'VE BEEN TORTURED.

UPDATE V: Prediction: The president's sister is a terrorist, although her Muslim husband is not.

UPDATE VI: Ok, the first two hours have been an Islamofascist-fest. It's ostensibly ALL about the Muslims, the nefarious bastards.

What this tells me is, it's not EVEN REMOTELY about the Muslims.

24 don't telegraph nothing. I'm thinking Prussian Blue, or perhaps the Russians, or maybe the Scientologists.

UPDATE VII: Oh, so THAT'S what you do with suicide bombers on the subway - kick 'em out the back door. Good to know.

UPDATE VIII: President Wayne Palmer: "So Jack was right. He was right all along and I - this is going to get much worse."

How delicious: Yeah, that's right. Ignore Jack Bauer's advice at your own peril.

Well godalmighty I hope I can be in front of a TV tomorrow night at 8 pm.

The preview was intriguing. Looks like the end of the world or something. Oh well, par for the course. This is what the television was invented for.

Marshmallow Man, Gators Fan

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After an absolutely horrible, atrocious season for true football fans, tonight must serve as some consolation - nay, a wonderful consolation and triumph. I'm glad to finally have some legitimate common ground with my 200 ft. tall, very puffy friend.

UPDATE: Great Caesar's ghost, Florida did not just rise to the occasion, they are the occasion. There are still over 8 1/2 minutes left and the Buckeyes have given up and this one is over. Great coaching job by Florida and EXCELLENT effort by the Gators players. They have executed perfectly on both sides of the ball. The teams are not mismatched, but Florida brought their best game of the season and Ohio State did not.

UPDATE II: This is a great win for the entire SEC. I'm not sure if Eric has fully apprehended that fact but over time I am certain he will.

UPDATE III: Earl Everett's chase-and-tackle of Troy Smith, with NO HELMET, followed by the shot of Everett getting his face fixed up on the sideline, is one of the great visual sequences in football. I'm sure we will see a lot more of that one.

UPDATE IV: Thirteen of Florida's starters are true freshmen and QB Tim Tebow has 4 possible years ahead of him. After some pretty rough years following Spurrier's departure, things must be looking up in Gainesville.

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A change of pace: The Story of Elena

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Y'know what, I am getting sick of blogging about politics and current events, and everyone else here is busy, and considering I am probably the worst at it anyway it's sort of silly for me to continue reaching and cutting - and - pasting to create posts when I really don't have many of my own ideas to relate, nor adequate time usually to relate them if I was not sick of it.

Consequently, for the indefinite future I am going to do something else I am REALLY bad at but can at least be original with, which is writing fiction. On top of that, I am going to write the type of fiction I am the very worst at, which is science fiction. And on top of that, I am going to tell the story from the perspective of a type of person I've never even met, which is an elderly Mexican woman. If anyone would prefer more serious subject matter contact me and I will give you a log in. Enjoy.

Chapter One

On the morning of her 75th birthday, Elena Perez walked along a dusty road carrying two plastic sacks of groceries, including cheese, tortillas, soap, hair spray and cat food, when suddenly she saw a flash of light in the sky. "Ay caramba, que es eso!" (Holy mackeral, what is that!) she said out loud, as the ground began to tremble, an eerie roaring sound filled her ears, and nary a bird nor animal of any kind was to be seen in any direction - north, south, east, or west. She knew this because she was spinning around.

Five days later, she was sitting at a card table playing bridge, a game unknown in her hometown in Mexico, but the recreation of choice of our new alien overlords, who had taught it to Elena. Half of the human race had been destroyed immediately by laser-like weapons which caused massive explosions, like the weapons portrayed in the movie War of the Worlds starring Tom Cruise, and the other half of humanity had been coralled into slave labor camps. A select few, mostly elderly Mexican women, were allowed to live in relative freedom and comfort as long as they agreed to complete foursomes when needed. Those with no talent for bridge were given a choice between weekend kitchen duties and certain death. Most chose the former.

During Elena's belated birthday celebration, the head alien overlord, Regis, sat down next to her and looked directly into her eyes.

"Elena Perez," he said with a perfect Spanish accent [Editors note: Regis speaks Spanish to Elena but all of the following will be translated into English for the benefit of our English-speaking readers] "you must be wondering why we have come to Earth, destroyed everything, and forced those we have not killed into slavery. It must seem ... how you Mexicans say, 'a tad crass.'"

"Oh, si senor" said Elena [Editor's note: Ditto on Elena's speaking in Spanish and it being translated] "in my country, we have very few large explosions and we never, ever play bridge."

"Ha ha ha ha ha!" Regis laughed appreciatively. "Somehow, that's EXACTLY what I thought you were going to say! But I do want to explain that we aliens need certain raw materials from your planet - raw materials unkown to mankind because they only exist in the most remote places on Earth, deep underground. Your people - and by this I mean humans, not Mexicans - do not have the technology to locate or extract these materials, and even if you did you'd have no idea what to do with them. That's where we come in."

"Oh, I see: So you and all the other overlords are like mining executives. We have some of those in Mexico City, from what I am told. Or we did ..."

"I'm glad you made that little self-correction at the end, Elena," Regis noted, "because it makes your previous two sentences far more accurate. Yes, we are very much like what you call 'mining executives.' And yes, all of your mining executives are now headquartered near Toledo where one of our regional offices is located. It's a good-sized facility, and fairly comfortable, but they are all slave laborers nonetheless, albeit of the 'white collar' variety. It's no picnic."

Elena finished her last bite of cake, set down the little paper plate, and nodded knowingly while she chewed.

Regis continued: "The raw materials will make us fabulously wealthy, ensuring we can afford to heat our home planet, Accutane, for millions of years."

A strange, perplexing thought went through Elena's mind, and it showed on her face by the slight scowl she made.

"But if all you need is a raw material we did not even know existed, why couldn't you just come and take it instead of killing everybody?"

Regis' eyes turned cold and gray, like the shark's eyes so famously described by the Robert Shaw character in Jaws. "Let me explain something to you, Elena," he hissed. "Alien overlords will do whatever they wish, whenever they wish, and it's not yours to ask 'why.' Your role is simply to eat your birthday cake when appropriate, play a little bridge now and then, and go on with your life, now as an upper middle class person. I have problems, let's call them 'opportunities,' that you would never understand. Oh dear, sweet, innocent Elena. How I wish sometimes I was born a simple Mexican woman instead of an alien overlord. I bet you've never killed anyone or caused a single explosion in your life, now have you?"

"Oh, no, senor."

"Do you mean 'no' you never did those things or 'no' as in you are disagreeing with me because you have actually killed people and/or caused explosions?"

"I mean, I may be a simple, latter day Mexican peasant farm worker who is no spring chicken, but I have not lived in a cave my whole life. I killed two men during spring break when I was 22 years old after drinking mucho tequila - I ran them over with my friend's car."

"Two at the same time?" Regis asked with mock horror.

"No about five hours apart, but the same binge."

"How about explosions?"

"No, I never cause any explosions. Nothing in my house is made to explode."

"Well EVERYTHING in my house is made to explode," Regis said. "So, can I get you some more punch?"

"No, I've had enough. Thank you very much for the party and the explanation of why you invaded our planet," Elena said sincerely. "Do you know if anyone needs a fourth today, or what else might be going on?"

Regis gave Elena the day off, patted her shoulder, stood up and turned resolutely toward the door, feeling rather proud of himself. That had gone MUCH easier than he'd expected. He waved at a group of four other matronly Mexican ladies, clasped his seven-fingered hands together, and strode into the hallway, ducking to ensure his metallic skull did not smash through the top of the door frame.

He saw an overlord rounding the corner ahead, and called out to him: "Hey, Barthlomew!"

"Yeah, Rege?"

"How are the slave labor camps going?"

"You mean before or after I breathed napalm fire down on everyone and burned their hair and clothes off?"

Regis laughed. That was an old joke, but it still tickled his three funny bones every time.

Chapter Two

Christmas Wife-O-Meter

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Here's how you can tell you have the greatest wife in the world: She buys you crack for your birthday and this for Christmas.

This just in

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85% of the 400+ people that bothered to watch Fox45, and bothered to sit down and send in a reply, responded "Yes" to this question. I guess it was a "hot button issue".

'BCS' Stands For ...

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... either 'Bowl Championship Series' or 'BS Championship Series' depending on your perspective. Since the inauguration of the computer-based system, I think there've been an equal number of each.

Being a Florida fan, I would not mind seeing them get a shot. Winning the SEC is a big deal.

However, having watched both teams a few times, I have to admit Michigan is better. They deserve to be in the championship game.

Final judgment in approx. 7 minutes. Should be interesting. It will also be interesting to see whether Fox is going to milk the announcement suspense for a half hour a la American Idol, or just let them make the announcement and then talk about it for the rest of the half hour.


UPDATE II: Oh well, sorry Happy. Stupid polls.

Internet Jukebox

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You may already know about it or you may not. Whichever the case, you should definitely go check out 3hive, the blog that is "sharing the sharing". It's likely that no matter what your musical tastes are, you'll find something you like at 3hive. A collective, 3hive is contributed to by Sam, Sean, Jon, Clay, Shan, and Joe. These guys review bands and provide links to mp3s posted on the bands' record label websites (translation: totally free and legal music). If you hear something you like, buy it. If there's a band you're wondering about, or if you're just interested in a particular genre (they've even reviewed Sufjan Stevens), search for it with the Navotron (right hand column). Some of the older posts have links that have since been killed, many appear intact. For those of you with dial-up you'll just have to exercise a little more patience. Worth it.

Romo on a Roll

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PDTIG, but that Tony Romo sure is something, ain't he?



With this kid at quarterback, the Cowboys are looking like veritable Giant-killers. I mean, shudder the thought, but they're looking almost like Bear-killers.

Chuck Norris Era Begins

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As if WorldNetDaily actually needed to get any better. Well, now it has.

In deference to my good buddy Zimzo, I will avoid all hyperbole and simply say: Welcome aboard, Chuck!

Alleged Chuck Norris Fact: "There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live." It's funny. It's cute. But here's what I really think about the theory of evolution: It's not real. It is not the way we got here. In fact, the life you see on this planet is really just a list of creatures God has allowed to live. We are not creations of random chance. We are not accidents. There is a God, a Creator, who made you and me. We were made in His image, which separates us from all other creatures.

I can tell already Chuck Norris's column is going to be one of my regular stops on the Web.

Balloons over Albuquerque Report, Pt 3

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The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta finally had a clear-sky launch this morning. Around 9:30 am, we were headed south from our luxury digs in the cozy little hamlet of Bernalillo (pop: 6,011; broken down cars on cinder blocks: 6,113) to just look around when we saw the dots in the sky. I floored it down I-25 (speed limit: 70) for about 8 miles until traffic slowed to a crawl. This looked like the tail end of the day's run but it was something to see.


We pulled off the interstate and found parking was prohibited everywhere except at the authorized festival grounds, which was the last place we wanted to subject ourselves to, so we had to do some commando-tourist duty to get these shots.

Balloons over Albuquerque Report, pt 1

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The correct answer to yesterday's pop quiz is, the largest ballooning event on Earth, the 2006 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico.

Quite the extravaganza.


It almost didn't happen, though. More below the fold.
(These two reports will be in reverse blog chronological order - which is the equivalent of correct real-life order - so you can scroll down when you are ready to read the next one).

Balloons over Albuquerque Report, pt 2

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Absolutely bracing!


(Click the link below for more from the 2006 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico.)

Pop culture gift idea?

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This is just terrible, and for the record I do not condone it. Heh.

George Bush puppetry as next event in sequence on neocon blog following post regarding NFL football game for which band U2 played pregame opener?

Good game on right now

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Anyone watching Monday Night Football on ESPN? This is a pretty tootin' good football game. New Orleans hasn't been much in the past but they are impressive. They have about a quarter left to keep Michael Vick and the Falcons down.

Everything considered, it's pretty cool to see N.O. dominate.

Redskins lose, crowd goes wild

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There are plenty of reasons to celebrate when the Redskins lose, as they most certainly did with the most ominous foreshadowings Sunday night. For one, you know Oliver Willis will be going bonkers.

Also, if you live in the DC area and don't happen to be a fan of the D-Skins, the local hoopla gets a tad irritating. So you are glad when it gets squelched.

Many years ago, before he was a TV big shot, Juan Williams wrote a Forum letter to the Washington Post saying "I'd sell my children to gypsies before I'd root for the Washington Redskins." Now that my children are grown I don't have so many options in that area, but I'd still stand arm in arm with Juan on general principles.

We all love Joe Gibbs. Let that be stated clearly: Every decent man on the planet must love Coach Joe. But his coaching staff which is essentially a group of head coach headliners, paid head coach salaries, to fill the Redskins' assistant coach positions, is the highest paid coaching staff in NFL history. THAT'S a little easier to dislike. That points to, in essence, the 'Skins owner, Daniel Snyder, who is easier to dislike.

For me, I don't dislike Dan Snyder or anyone else in the Washington Redskins organization. Snyder is committed to winning but has made some major missteps, such as hiring Jeff George and firing some outstanding quarterbacks over the years. But his teams manage to lose to the Cowboys most of the time and that, in my view, from a strictly non-partisan standpoint, is redemption enough. I just love the sport of football.

Don't watch ABC Sunday and Monday nights

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It appears ABC has folded to the liberal ideologists and Clinton legacy industry and will sanitize the less-than-favorable aspects of its "The Path to 9-11" docudrama.

"The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate, and ABC has a duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely," Mr. Lindsey wrote. "It is unconscionable to mislead the American public about one of the most horrendous tragedies our country has ever known."

Also yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and four other Senate Democrats wrote to Mr. Iger urging him to cancel the miniseries, which they said "could be construed as right-wing political propaganda."

Next, I plan to write to the producers of every single other show on ABC, which "could be construed as left-wing political propaganda."

Just kidding. Actually, I plan to watch football or the Food Network those nights because I don't care what the idiots in charge decide to do. Screw ABC. They should have immediately told Albright, Berger et. al. to relieve themselves up a rope.

We all know what the Clinton administration did about al Qaida.

(Hint: It's a Spanish word beginning with 'n' that rhymes with 'dada'.)

If you are a glutton for punishment, or have no access to cable or satellite and have no deck of cards with which to play solitaire and therefore feel compelled to watch the program, you might check in with Accuracy in Media or Hugh Hewitt (start here and here.)

One of them may be posting updates on the changes ABC may implement on behalf of the Boy President.

But I'd recommend just doing something else Sunday and Monday nights. If the "uncut" version is ever released you can buy it via the underground and watch it in your bunker.

Crikey, Steve Irwin killed

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You did a lot of good, Croc Hunter. RIP.

The Colbert Report (said without the T) is my favorite show, and this is just one of the reasons.

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