October 22, 2004
I've only been blogging for a something over a year now, but what I've noticed that the community seems to be ready to help out its members in times of need. Remember when Mrs. Lileks lost her job? Lots of people helped James bar the door. Or how about the time that Dean went public about his personal demons and a request to help him and his family. Remember that one? By and large, bloggers and non-bloggers alike responded to these pleas for help because, dammit, we could. This time it's no different. Whatever help you can give, give.
Corruption in government has become so common that special interest
groups now get a *warranty card* when they buy a government official!
Thought you'd like to see a copy, so I've reproduced it below.
* * *
WARRANTY CARD ON PURCHASED GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL[tm]
Dear Special Interest,
Congratulations on the purchase of your genuine Government
Official[tm]. With regular maintenance your Government Official[tm]
should provide you with a lifetime of sweetheart deals, insider
information, preferential legislation and other fine services.
Before you begin using your product, we would appreciate it if you
would take the time to fill out this customer service card. This
information will not be sold to any other party, and will be used
solely to aid us in better fulfilling your future needs in political
1. Which of our fine products did you buy?
__ Cabinet Secretary - Commerce
__ Cabinet Secretary - Other
__ Other Elected Official (please specify)
__ Other Appointed Official (please specify)
2. How did you hear about your Government Official[tm]? Please check
all that apply.
__ TV ad.
__ Magazine / newspaper ad.
__ Shared jail cell with.
__ Former law partner of.
__ Unindicted co-conspirator with.
__ Former crony of.
__ Procured for.
__ Related to.
__ Recommended by lobbyist.
__ Recommended by organized crime figure.
__ Frequently mentioned in conspiracy theories. (On Internet.)
__ Frequently mentioned in conspiracy theories. (Elsewhere.)
__ Spoke at fund-raiser at my temple.
__ Solicited bribe from me.
__ Attempted to seduce me.
3. How do you expect to use your Government Official[tm]? (Please
check all that apply.)
__ Obtain lucrative government contracts.
__ Have my prejudices turned into law.
__ Obtain diplomatic concessions.
__ Obtain trade concessions.
__ Have embargo lifted from own nation / ally.
__ Have embargo imposed on enemy / rival nation / religious infidels.
__ Obtain patronage job for self / spouse / mistress.
__ Forestall military action against self / allies.
__ Instigate military action against internal enemies / aggressors /targets
for future conquest.
__ Impede criminal / civil investigation of self / associates /spouse.
__ Obtain pardon for self / associates / spouse.
__ Inflict punitive legislation on class enemies / rivals / hated ethnic groups.
__ Inflict punitive regulation on business competitors /environmental
exploiters / capitalist pigs.
4. What factors influenced your purchase? (Please check all that
__ Performance of currently owned model.
__ Party affiliation.
__ Professed beliefs of Government Official[tm].
__ Actual beliefs of Government Official[tm].
__ Orders from boss / superior officer / foreign government.
__ Celebrity endorsement.
5. Is this product intended as a replacement for a currently owned
Government Official[tm]? ______
If you answered "yes," please indicate your reason(s) for changing
__ Excessive operating / maintenance costs.
__ Needs have grown beyond capacity of current model.
__ Defect in current model:
__ Resigned in disgrace.
__ Switched parties / beliefs.
__ Outbribed by competing interest.
Thank you for your valuable time. Always remember: in choosing a
Government Official[tm] you have chosen the best politician that money
Finally he asked her, "Does your Mother feed you like this at home?
"No," she said, "but my Mother's not looking to get laid, either
1. Odd or mismatched clothes. "Often space aliens don't fully understand the different styles, so they wear combinations that are in bad taste, such as checked pants with a striped shirt or a tuxedo jacket with blue jeans or sneakers," noted Brad Steiger, a renowned UFO investigator and author.
2. Strange diet or unusual eating habits. Space aliens might eat French fries with a spoon or gobble down large amounts of pills, the experts say.
3. Bizarre sense of humour. Space aliens who don't understand earthly humour may laugh during a serious company training film or tell jokes that no one understands, said Steiger.
4. Takes frequent sick days. A space alien might need extra time off to "rejuvenate its energy," said Dr. Thomas Easton, a theoretical biologist and futurist.
5. Keeps a written or tape recorded diary. "Aliens are constantly gathering information," said Steiger.
6. Misuses everyday items. "A space alien may use correction fluid to paint its nails," said Steiger.
7. Constant questioning about customs of co-workers. Space aliens who are trying to learn about earth culture might ask questions that seem stupid, Easton said. "For example, a co-worker may ask why so many Americans picnic on the Fourth of July," noted Steiger.
8. Secretive about personal lifestyle and home. "An alien won't discuss domestic details or talk about what it does at night or on weekends," said Steiger.
9. Frequently talks to himself. "An alien may not be used to speaking as we do, so it may practice speaking," Steiger noted.
10. Displays a change of mood or physical reaction when near certain high-tech hardware. "An alien may experience a mood change when a microwave oven is turned on," said Steiger.
Personal Question: Can the majority of your co-workers can claim at
least half of these too?
That's what this election will mean. I don't think Kerry's going to win, but I'm bracing myself nonetheless. I'm bracing for condescending, patronizing head-patting from European acquaintances, which is a good deal worse than such acquaintances simply ignoring me out of disgust. I'm bracing for Michael Moore riding the wave of celebratory euphoria and becoming a political celebrity of unprecedented stature for someone from the filmmaking industry, rather like Oliver Stone winning a Senate seat, only with the added bonus of making our philosophical leaders look like the stereotypical fat, loud, obnoxious Americans we're already seen as. I'm bracing for Barbra Streisand, Janeane Garofalo, Arec Bardwin, Martin Sheen, MATT DAMON, Bruce Springsteen, and a thousand other actors and artists being filled with giddy joy and the sense that through the power of movies and songs and petulant theme concerts and appearances on The Daily Show they can change history, even if they haven't given a moment's thought to what they're fighting for except "change".
And now those words you hate to hear: Read. It All.
Update: And Peeve Farm appears to be another one of my frequent reads that I've somehow left off of my my blogroll. Ugh. Situation corrected.
If you are part of a society that votes, than do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for .. but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule, you will rarely go wrong.
If this is too blind for your taste, consult some well meaning fool (there is always one around) and ask his advice. Then vote the other way. This enables you to be a good citizen (if such is your wish) without spending the enormous amount of time on it that truly intelligent exercise of franchise requires.
1. Scintillate, Scintillate, asteroid exiguous.
2. Members of an avian species of identical plumage congregate.
3. Surveillance should precede salutations
4. Pulchritude poses possesses solely coetaneous profundity
5. It is fruitless to become lachrymose over precipitately departed lacteal fluid.
6. Freedom from incrustations of grime is contiguous to rectitude.
7. The stylus is more potent then the claymore.
8. It is fruitless to attempt to indoctrinate a superannuated canine with innovative maneuvers.
9. Eschew the implement of correction and vitiate the scion.
10. The temperature of the aqueous content of an unremittingly ogled saucepan does not does reach 212 F'.
11. All articles that coruscate with resplendence are not truly auriferous.
12. Where there are visible vapors in ignited carbonaceous material, there is conflagration.
13. Sorting on the part of mendicants must be interdicted.
14. A plethora of individual with expertise in culinary techniques vitiate the potable concoctions produced by steeping certain comestibles.
15. Eleemosynary deeds have their insipience intramurally.
16. Male cadavers are incapable of yielding any testimony.
17. Individuals who make their abode in vitreous edifices would be advised to refrain from catapulting petrous projectiles.
18. Neophyte's serendipity.
19. Exclusive dedication to necessitous chores without interludes of hadonisita diversion renders John a habatudinous fellow.
20. A revolving lithic conglomerate accumulates no congaries of a small, green bryophitic plant.
21. A person presenting the ultimate cachination possess thereby the optimal cachination.
22. Abstention from any aleatory undertakings precludes a potent potential escalation of lucrative nature.
23. Missiles of ligneous or petrous consistency have the potential of fracturing my osseous structures but appellations will eternally name innocuous.
Answers to follow. If you're so inclined, leave your answers in the comments.
Kerry picks up one Bush state from 2000 (New Hampshire, with 4 electoral votes). Bush has a slight advantage in all the three closest states--Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin--of which he won only Ohio in 2000. If the other 47 states all follow Tradesports' expectations, Bush wins if he carries either Ohio or both Iowa and Wisconsin. Kerry needs Ohio along with either Iowa or Wisconsin.
So all my hopes do not rest with Ohio. As much as I want those 20 EV's to end up in Bush's tally, picking up Iowa and Wisconsin would be just fine, too. However, with all of the cheating bullshit that the Kerry campaign seems determined to try, it might not be enough. God help us all if these third world, Banana Republic tactics work.
From an interview with John Kerry in Rolling Stone magazine:
Q: What do you think of the color-coded terror alerts the Department of Homeland Security issues?
Kerry: I think Americans, sadly, laugh at it. They don't know what to do.
Q: Will you continue that program?
Kerry: No. I'm going to find some more thoughtful way of alerting America.
Reader Jonathan Wilson offers a preview of Kerry's French-looking alert system:
Level 1: Ennui
Level 2: Comme ci, comme Ã§a
Level 3: Plus Ã§a change, plus c'est la mÃªme chose
Level 4: Regardez!
Level 5: Zut alors!
Must be the first installment of the more sensitive war on terror.
October 20, 2004
For those guys that can't resist a sharp quiz, we recommend the dubious Cooking to Hook Up: The Bachelor's Date-Night Cookbook, which will tell you what kind of girl you are. I took it and, no, I'm not telling. If you're smart neither will you.
Okay, so I'm not that smart. Anyway, I took the quiz as best I might, what with being a Pale Penis Person and all. Here are my results. I'm not surprised to find that my results mirror who I actually married. Birds of a feather and all that.
Oooh, people are going to hate this 527 spot, which yanks the heartstrings like Quasimodo pulling bell-ropes on Easter. Ill help em out: SO WHAT? HITLER LOVED HIS DOG, and besides HE ORDERED THE EVENT AND CANT PRONOUNCE NUCLEAR! Right now George Soros is filming a response ad that has Michael Moore hugging one of his Upper West Side condo neighbors, who tragically lost a parking spot on 9/11.
October 19, 2004
A female VOICE OVER rises over a scene of gentle rolling hills.
Ten years have passed.
The Age of Man spreads across
Middle Earth, now renamed Man Land.
We see crowds of URUK-HAI, chained by the ankles and doing slave labor for human plantation owners. A human overseer cracks a whip and an URUK's ARM falls off in a torrent of blood.
But still, a sense of unease lays heavy
over the men and women of Man Land
as they watch warily for
the Other Eye of Sauron.
We see a CAVE. Out of the mouth pokes the familiar face of GOLLUM, now covered in bandages. GOLLUM looks around nervously, then leans back in and continues applying SALVE to his burns.
DISSOLVE to a scene in HOBBITON, where happy HOBBITS are frantically building their little town into a thriving city. MILLS and IRON WORKS are built along the river, turning out goods at a record pace. The furnaces of industry grind into the future.
And in the land of the Hobbits
a new era has also come to pass.
The legendary Bilbo Baggins, having spent
a decade in the Grey Havens,
finally succumbed to a mortal
case of Hobbit Rot.
Open on a banner, spread across a massive celebration. This is the FUNERAL OF BILBO BAGGINS.
The world has moved on.
We see an older and wiser SAMWISE GAMGEE, now the SHERIFF OF HOBBITON, making the rounds of party goers.
MERRY and PIPPEN arrive, on an elaborate STAGE COACH being driven by six URUK-HAI in loincloths.
We do not see FRODO. Also noticably absent, is GANDALF.
The URN containing the pink, jellied remains of BILBO is prayed to and then drank by his heirs through straws.
There's more! Read it all.
Many of you, gentle readers, have probably heard of the famous (some would say infamous) role playing game "Dungeons & Dragons". This Saturday nerds and those who make their livelihood off of nerds around the world celebrated the 30th birthday of "Dungeons & Dragons". Prior to D&D the closest thing to role playing games were various tabletop strategy games. D&D creator Dave Arneson and perpetually bitter king nerd Gary Gygax transformed the little figurines into fully realized characters of a player's own imagining and catapulted gaming from table tops to character sheets.
I would like to devote today to great moments in "Dungeons & Dragons" history. You may scoff, but without the kobolds and magic missiles of D&D where would computer RPGs be today? Here's a hint: GAY ANIME ROBOT STORIES. If you prefer Nordic barbarians over huge-eyed elves with romantic problems then you should view D&D with just a modicum of respect. Just a modicum.
6. Early in the movie we infer that Dennis Quaid is no longer married to Sela Ward because his demanding job as a paleoclimatologist drove her away. Given that this means he preferred drilling ice to well, Sela Ward, do you expect us to have any sympathy for this idiot at all?
What he said.
Nearly four years ago, after the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency, Mr. Bush came into office amid popular expectation that he would acknowledge his lack of a mandate by sticking close to the center. Instead, he turned the government over to the radical right.
When the nation fell into recession, the president remained fixated not on generating jobs but rather on fighting the right wing's war against taxing the wealthy. As a result, money that could have been used to strengthen Social Security evaporated, as did the chance to provide adequate funding for programs the president himself had backed.
The president's refusal to drop his tax-cutting agenda when the nation was gearing up for war is perhaps the most shocking example of his inability to change his priorities in the face of drastically altered circumstances. Mr. Bush did not just starve the government of the money it needed for his own education initiative or the Medicare drug bill. He also made tax cuts a higher priority than doing what was needed for America's security; 90 percent of the cargo unloaded every day in the nation's ports still goes uninspected.
[Note: a John Kerry debate talking point. Cool.]
The Justice Department cannot claim one major successful terrorism prosecution, and has squandered much of the trust and patience the American people freely gave in 2001. Other nations, perceiving that the vast bulk of the prisoners held for so long at GuantÃ¡namo Bay came from the same line of ineffectual incompetents or unlucky innocents, and seeing the awful photographs from the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, were shocked that the nation that was supposed to be setting the world standard for human rights could behave that way.
Like the tax cuts, Mr. Bush's obsession with Saddam Hussein seemed closer to zealotry than mere policy
The international outrage over the American invasion is now joined by a sense of disdain for the incompetence of the effort.
Mr. Bush remains enamored of tax cuts but he has never stopped Republican lawmakers from passing massive spending, even for projects he dislikes, like increased farm aid.
[***Note: if the president hadn't passed farm aid, the Times would be frothing at the mouth over it.]
The Bush White House has always given us the worst aspects of the American right without any of the advantages.
[***Note: The Times thinks that there are advantages? Bullshit detector pegging. Hard]
I'm disappointed. The Times didn't manage to insert BusHitler into the editorial. I'll guarantee you that it wasn't due to lack of effort.
October 18, 2004
"He's coding! Quick, another amp of epi. Clear!"
"No pulse; up the voltage to 300.... Clear!"
"D&mmit! We need help. Somebody call Doctor Ortiz!"
"We've got a weak pulse; patient still on life support."
As a lifelong Cardinals fan, game 5 has me a little queasy already. St. Louis is the only team in MLB history to twice blow 3-1 leads in the postseason. Now I'm fearful that they'll add blowing a 2-0 NLCS lead to that tally.
Maybe someone could tell uncle Tony, the Cardinals' skipper, that pitching to Beltran right now might not be such a smark freaking move. Just an idea.
In my opinion, the polls were being deliberately gimmicked, in hopes of helping Kerry. In early August it looks as if there was an attempt to engineer a "post-convention bounce", but it failed and was abandoned after about two weeks. But I'm not absolutely certain about that.
The data for September, however, is clearly an anomaly. The data is much too consistent. Compare the amount of jitter present before September to the data during that month. There's no period before that of comparable length where the data was so stable.
The September data is also drastically outside of previous trends, with distinct stairsteps both at the beginning and at the end. And the data before the anomaly and after it for both Kerry and Bush matches the long term trendlines.
If I saw something like that in scientific or engineering data, I'd be asking a lot of very tough questions. My first suspicion would be that the test equipment was broken, but in the case of opinion polls there is no such thing. My second suspicion would be fraud.
In September, I think there was a deliberate attempt to depress Kerry's numbers, so as to set up an "October comeback". Of course, the goal was to engineer a bandwagon.
Public opinion isn't usually as ephemeral as these polls suggest that it is. But there can be long-term trends, and I find it interesting that such a thing actually does show through. It's quite striking how close some of the data falls to the long term trendlines which I've drawn in.
The reason the Democrats and the MSM are getting frantic is that they're losing.
From your mouth to God's ears, all my atheist readers notwithstanding.
October 15, 2004
Over on ABC's 'Noted Now' website, a quote from my own Governator:
SCHWARZENEGGER SAYS BOTH BUSH AND KERRY EVASIVE IN DEBATES: "Both of them did not answer some of the questions, which I think is upsetting to me. I think it is much better to be straightforward with the people.... You know like Kerry did. Bush did the same thing in some instances, not really get into it and answer it."
So I click along to the linked Reuters story and get this (the deleted words are in bold):
"Both of them did not answer some of the questions, which I think is upsetting to me," Schwarzenegger told KGO radio in San Francisco. "I think it is much better to be straightforward with the people."
"I mean if you get a question about Iran and about the nuclear power and what you are going to do in the future with this nuclear power, and you don't even answer that question, I think it's a mistake, You know like Kerry did," he continued. "Bush did the same thing in some instances, not really get into it and answer it."
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